And Then You Drive it
So far, everything looks rosy for the 2009 Ford F-150. We're looking at class-leading fuel economy, capability, and almost limitless configurations of cab size, bed length, and interior trim. But when you get behind the wheel, it doesn't feel significantly different from a 2008 F-150. Engineers boast about weight reduction (up to 100 pounds less than the previous truck, depending on configuration), but dropping 100 pounds from a 5000-plus-pound behemoth doesn't exactly give the truck razor-sharp reflexes.
The six-inch-longer leaf springs still allow for axle hop in some situations and do not hold a candle to the coil springs that give the 2009 Dodge Ram such a good ride. Those looking for comfort during daily driving would be much happier in a 2009 Dodge Ram, but drivers looking for more overall capability who don't mind a rougher ride will be happy with the F-150's driving experience. Dodge is expecting those customers to jump up to the three-quarter-ton Ram, while Ford continues to push the limits of half-ton capability.
So, You Want to Tow
Interestingly enough, the 2009 Ford F-150 will out-tow all the competition even though several key competitors have more horsepower and torque. The 2009 F-150 is able to tow 11,300 lb in any cab configuration when equipped with the 5.4-liter V-8 and 3.73 axle gears. With this much capability, the 2009 Super Duty with a 5.4-liter V-8 is almost a redundant product.
The 2009 Ford F-150 is a much better tow vehicle than the 2008 truck thanks to the six-speed automatic transmission and standard trailer sway control. The six-speed is flawless when it comes to climbing and descending hills. We strongly recommend the optional rear-view camera, integrated trailer brake controller, and available towing mirrors for regular towing duties. Ford's brake controller is flawless and much smoother than the leading aftermarket brake controllers.
If you're a fan of Ford pickups, the 2009 F-150 is everything you'd expect, but the bottom line is that the 2009 Ford F-150 isn't that much different from the 2008 truck. Everything from the design to the powertrain has evolved slightly, but there aren't any truly brilliant advances beneath the sheetmetal. Watch the sales figures closely over the next few months to see if customers are looking for the same old solution to the pickup truck or if more innovative approaches like the 2009 Dodge Ram sway buyers in these difficult times.