The relatively squared off shape of the previous generations was gone as the 1997 Ford F150 sported a rounded front end and cab, similar to that seen on the 1994 Dodge Ram. The 1997 F150 also received an entirely new engine lineup, as the industry was introduced to Ford’s new Triton engine family. The base engine was a new 4.2L Essex V6 making 202 horsepower, followed by a 4.6L single overhead cam V8 making 220 horsepower. The premium engine for the 1997 Ford F150 was the 235 horsepower, 5.4L Triton V8, mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission.
The 1997 Ford F150 was offered with either a standard (previously Styleside) or Flareside bed matched to a regular cab, super cab, or crew cab. The F150 was available in both rear wheel drive and four wheel drive variations, as well as a short or long cargo box. The 1997 F150 was the most versatile half ton truck offered at that time, and the improvements made put it back on top of the truck market, being named Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year in 1997. The 1998 Ford F150 saw no changes to the F150, although the F-Series saw some changes as the F250 Light Duty models, which were basically F150s with 7-lug axles and heavy duty suspension, were removed from the lineup.
1999 saw a new grille and horsepower ratings on the Ford F150, as well as two new trimlines and the second installation of the SVT Lightning. The 1999 F150s powered by the 4.2L V6 would remain the same throughout the tenth generation, but in 1999 the 4.6L V8 was up to 231 horsepower and the 5.4L jumped to 260 horsepower; statistics that would remain the same through 2004. The new trimlines for the 1999 F150 were the King Ranch and the Harley Davidson Edition. The King Ranch was a luxury sights and sounds package, offering plush leather interior and state of the art electronics. The Harley Davidson F150 was similar to the Lightning, packing a supercharged V8, but in a super cab and short bed chassis. Adorned in the familiar Harley orange and black and a generous amount of chrome, the 1999 F150 Harley Davidson models added a luxury feel to the Lightning option.