2008 F150 Walkaround
In the world of pickups, styling boundaries are determined by a three-box layout: one for the engine, one for people, one for cargo. And the 2008 Ford F-150 shows the evolution of 70 years of function. Angular means easy to clean, easy to park and gives maximum inside volume for outside space. The F-150 is easily recognized in any trim level by the circular front lights within a rectangular housing, stepped front window ledge, opening rear doors on the Regular Cab, and the tall bed. In this case, it's hip to be square.
The door edge that allows a lower glass line at the front is stylish but also very useful; it allows a better view of front quarters near the truck and means you can have a good-sized mirror that doesn't limit forward vision because you look over it rather than around it. For 2008, extendable dual-element towing mirrors bring the F-150 in line with the bigger Super Duty pickups, as well as the Ram, Titan, and Tundra. Any cosmetic sacrifice is well worth the extra visibility with a trailer behind.
Pillars between the doors may yield a blind spot for those who sit more rearward and everyone should appreciate the windshield pillar designed to help preserve forward vision. Relatively square shoulders on the hood make it easy to see the edges of the truck, a bonus for tight parking lots, plow operators, and squeezing between trees or rocks en route to outdoor recreation.
The F-150 is a rarity in modern pickups in that it offers two bed designs. The Flareside is shaped to mimic pickups of old, where the box walls were between the wheels and you could stand on the sides for loading. The Flareside really is more stylish than the Styleside bed, that which is essentially a box with some character lines in the sheetmetal, and more space within. In either case you can get a locking tailgate and a rearview camera in the gate latch fitting.
The Harley-Davidson Edition features black paint with red stripes in a scheme that's in keeping with the tradition established by this model. The chrome Harley badges are a bit much for some of us, but it drew many admiring looks.
2008 F150 Interior Features
Ford has all bases covered inside the F-150, with plenty of patterns, textures and finishes, including at least three different gauges clusters, and the choice of a 40/20/40 split-bench front seat or captain's chairs in many models. On those trucks with a bench seat, the central dash area is not designed for better middle-passenger legroom.
Mindful that you can't have everything for $18,000, the basic XL is quite respectable and a good value given a single option tab on a bigger pickup can be nearly half the XL's purchase price. Generous fleet owners will pop for AC for their employees but in typical field work plain is preferred.
At the other end of the spectrum the King Ranch chairs may look like a fine saddle (and require the same maintenance in some climes) but you want to ensure the jeans are clean and spurs off before you climb into this cowboy clubhouse. Virtually everything you might need is either standard or available, and much the same degree of luxury in a more subdued style can be found in Lariats, which follow a more eclectic approach to decor and make one wonder if eight colors and surface textures might be one or two too many.
The front bench is still split three ways: The center section flips down to reveal a console with storage and cup holders. The console is flat, so you can put a clipboard on top of it and it won't slide off until you stop, start or change direction quickly. Captain's chairs on FX and Lariat models, especially with power adjustment and the optional adjustable pedals, provide good driver positioning for virtually everyone. Finding it may take some time because the backrest angle adjustment is manual and the power controls are on the side of the seat with the door very close. The seat bottoms lacked thigh support on the Harley-Davidson model we drove, which could become tiring on long drives.
Controls are simple, lacking arcane icons or any hint of a universal controller, so everyone from 8 to 80 can find their favorite music or change the temperature instantly. Displays are easily read in polarized shades or at night; full instrumentation is typical but the secondary gauges (oil pressure, volts, etc.) are not numbered and rather lethargic. Ford's black temperature controls are not the most attractive (and they look better in silver as found in the Lincoln Navigator). Most gadgets will remain powered until you open a door, even if the key has been removed. Bench seat models use a column-mounted shift lever, while some bucket seat models use a substantial floor shift lever; both work well although we'd often prefer overdrive as a shifter position and not a thumb-button press.
The navigation system works really well. It's easy to program destinations and features like context-sensitive volume make learning how to use it relatively intuitive. We'd say it's better than most. The screen is a bit small, however.
Pickups without space are pointless and the F-150 won't disappoint. The Regular Cab is roomy enough to fit three adults across and has plenty of space for the miscellaneous debris and detritus that tends to accumulate in trucks. SuperCabs have a full-width back seat best-suited to kids and short rides for bigger adults since legroom is the squeeze point; it's similar in size and intent to the Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra extended cab or the Titan King Cab. For larger families or routine four-passenger service, the SuperCrew's extra six inches of rear legroom and regular back doors will be welcome in a space slightly larger than a Ram Quad Cab or Tundra Double Cab.