2009 F150 Review

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The 2009 Ford F150



The Ford F150 has been the best selling truck in America for
over 30 years, but with rising fuel costs causing decreased truck sales,
coupled with increased competition, the engineers at Ford wanted to not just
refresh the new F150, but reinvent it. 


The result – a truck that has improved in
literally every way.


Ford stresses the capabilities of the new F150, speaking
more about what it does than what it is, but in the end the redesigned 2009
F150 is one impressive truck (even
though the ’09 Ford quarter ton can
outwork trucks in the half ton class). There is no part of the new F150 that hasn’t been noticeably improved
upon, from the sharp exterior styling to the powerful engine lineup to the
plush interior options fitted up with cutting edge automotive electronics. The folks at Ford stress the capabilities,
and this new truck does a great job of satisfying all sorts of truck owners,
whether you’re driving the truck for its looks or if you’re using the truck for
a towing- and hauling-intensive construction job, the 2009 F150 likely has you
covered. Ford was so confident about
their new truck that they invited the media to Detroit to drive the 2009 F150 on the open
road and on the test track, and to show how much better it is, they provided
not only 2008 F150 models for testing, but also 2009 model Dodge Rams, Chevy Silverados, and Toyota Tundras.



The 2009 Ford F150 boasts of the most capabilities, but they
also have more optional figurations than any other truck in its class. This begins with Ford’s seven trimline
options for the F150, with the entry level wearing the XL badge, the followed
by STX, XLT, FX4, Lariat, King Ranch, and the new Platinum package headlining
the list. Next, consider the three
optional cab sizes (Regular, Super Cab, Super Crew), and finally the various
bed options (6.5” styleside, 6.5” flaresire,
8” styleside), and when you look at the optional
cabs, trimlines, and bed options, you have 35 customizable options for the 2009
F150, and that doesn’t include 4×2 or 4×4, so if you add those into the mix,
there are around 70 options for the new F150, but Ford has them organized in a
manner that makes picking the best truck for you enjoyable, and the buyer
really has a tremendous amount of ability to get exactly what he or she needs.




The engine lineup of the new F150 is improved upon from
2008, although there is still no diesel option, and across all seven trimlines,
there is a trio of available V8s. The base engine is a 4.6L 2V V8 making 248
horsepower and 294 lb-ft of torque, and when mated to the standard 4-speed
automatic transmission, it offers economy of 14/19 in a two wheel drive
configuration and 14/18 when equipped with four wheel drive. The mid-level engine is new to the F150, borrowing a 3V cylinder head design from the Ford
Mustang, this 4.6L V8 makes 292 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. The top engine option for the 2009 F150 is
the mighty 5.4L V8, offering 320 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque, and when
properly equipped, the 5.4 can haul over 3000lbs and tow an amazing 11,300
pounds…a number far surpassing any other truck in its class.



Both the 4.6L 3V and 5.4L engine both come with a standard
6-speed automatic transmission, and the gearing of that transmission is setup
to allow for great low end acceleration, without compromising fuel economy;
allowing the 4×2 variants of the 4.6 3V and the 5.4 to get 20 miles per gallon
on the highway. All 2009 F150 models
(except for SFE models) have an option of 4 different rear differential ratios (3.15:1
/ 3.31:1 / 3.55:1 / 3.73:1), allowing the buyer to select his or her ideal
ratio to balance strength capabilities and efficiency.


While it may be a minor part of the drivetrain and of the
truck as a whole, one interesting feature of the 2009 F150 is the exhaust
system. Ford engineers spent almost
three years working on the exhaust system, and they had a handful of key
concerns. The first is flow, to yield
the best power, but often especially free flowing exhaust systems are often too
loud, according to market studies, but at the same time, truck owners want
their V8 to sound like a V8. The result
of Ford’s efforts shine




Chassis and Suspension

One of the reasons that the 2009 F150 is strong enough to
handle a payload of over 3000 pounds and tow 11,300 pounds is the fully boxed
frame. The cross bars in the frame
structure, go clear through the frame rails, welded at multiple points for
superior structural rigidity. However,
the chassis is tuned to optimize both strength for towing, hauling, and safety
while still offering a smooth, comfortable ride.



The suspension of the 2009 Ford F150 is designed perfectly
to balance ride quality under all conditions and optimizing towing and hauling
capabilities. While Dodge has gone to a
coil-over suspension setup, Ford’s engineers found better result with rear leaf
springs for towing and ride quality. To
achieve this, the F150 uses an innovative leaf system which has the truck
riding essentially on just two, longer leafs when not under load, and when
weight is added to the bed or the hitch, the added pressure engages a third
leaf that is much stronger and stiffer.


The steering assembly has received new internal dampers,
that allow for far less drivetrain vibration and less ‘road noise’ transferred
through the steering wheel. This makes
for a much smoother ride for the driver, but unlike some steering assemblies
that take too much of the feedback out for the driver, the new F150 combines a
smooth ride with a clear feel for what is going on under the front wheels. The stability and comfort of the 2009 F150 is
preserved whether the truck is under heavy load or not, and even when traveling
unpaved roads, the suspension allows the truck to be very nimble. In the four exercises that we completed in
the F150 (towing, hauling, suspension testing, off roading), at no point did
the suspension of the F150 seemed stressed beyond its means, or outside of its
comfort zone.




Style and Technology



The drivetrain, suspension,
brakes, and chassis allow the 2009 F150 to be the most capable truck in its
class, but what is capability without style and comfort? The exterior of the new Ford F150 is fully
redesigned to give the truck an sleek new look, but a tremendous amount of
design went into aerodynamics as well as aesthetics, and the crew cab models
show the benefit of those efforts, boasting the best aerodynamics in their


All of the 2009 F150s include a
new lower front spoiler to help the truck cut through the air, every tailgate
features an integrated spoiler, and all of the new F150s have redesigned
mirrors that cut down on wind resistance, so not only are they better for
aerodynamics, but they also cause less wind noise at speed. Even something as simple as the tail light
design helps with the aerodynamics, so nothing was overlooked during the design
phase. Overall, the various improvements
to the 2009 F150 have made substantial improvements in the amount of road and
wind noise, even at higher speeds.



The cab of the 2009 F150 is
redesigned from top to bottom, with varying levels or refinement depending on
the trimline chosen. From the headliner
to the seats, to the dashboard to the floorboards, the F150 is molded around
the passengers to offer ideal comfort and the most possible functionality. 


The seats have been improved to be
more comfortable than the 2008 and earlier F150, and when compared to the Ram,
Silverado, and Tundra, the F150 offers arguably the most comfortable ride. The front bucket seats offer superior comfort
starting with the XL, and as the trimlines go on, the seats get more
comfortable, adding leather and options like in-seat heating and cooling. The rear seats offer a 60/40 split style, but
with cushion areas large enough to seat three. The larger of the two seats features a hydraulic assisted one touch lift
function, which moves the whole seat back, and flat against the cab, allowing
for a tremendous amount of rear cargo space. That same area is also improved upon by the F150s flat floor area, as
removing the “hump” typically found in the rear allows for easier loading. This point was driven home by a Ford display
showing a 50” television box that would not fit in the other three trucks, but
was able to fit easily into the F150.



The F150 offers handfuls of
goodies for the inside and out to make the 2009 models more functional for any
type of buyer. The huge new center stack
offers an upgrade navigation package, which not only includes state of the art
global positioning, but also mobile internet, a Sony sound system, and the new
Tool Link and Crew Chief programs. The
center console has a storage area big enough to load hanging files, making the
F150 like a rolling office. Those who
want their mobile office to have a luxury feel, the new Platinum F150 fills the
interior with plush leather seats, premium sound, a sunroof, and brushed
aluminum accents throughout.



The 2009 Ford F150 puts half ton
truck capabilities in a sleek quarter ton truck. Technology, both inside and out make this one
of the most well equipped trucks in the market, and the powertrain makes it one
of the most powerful across the engine lineup. Overall, the F150 brags of 31 years of being the head of the 150/1500
class, and having taken this new truck from Ford through the paces, there is a
good chance that Ford will remain atop the class for years to come.


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