FORD F-150 IS HOT
by Casey Williams
There’s something hot about a pickup truck. Cowboys drive them, throw hay into them, and lasso wayward calves from them. More domesticated ranch hands haul their favorite weekend toys, travel comfortably on vacation, or load up on mid-century furniture at the local flea market. In a market full of capable vehicles, it is hard to think of a better truck for both customers than the redesigned 2009 Ford F-150.
In the world of automobiles, the Ford F-Series is an old gray hair at 60, but keeps its youth by working out and staying contemporary. Although the 2009 edition is not a complete nip n’ tuck, it receives a very thorough face lift that comes off as a new pickup. You’ll know the ’09 model by its Super Duty-style grille, flared fenders, integrated rear side step and chrome-stripped triangular taillamps. Engineers also transplanted the deployable tailgate step from the SuperDuty models to allow convenient access to the bed.
F-150 interiors are among the most debonair in the business and continue the same theme as before with rich materials and refinement that would please Jonathan Adler. There are enough satin finish silver accents, wood grain panels, and contrasting-color stitched leather in high-line models to furnish a New York loft. Entry models are not quite so exclusive, but never give the impression of basement living.
Our Lariat-grade test model was loaded with heated and cooled leather seats, dual zone automatic climate control, an art-worthy gear selector, 32-oz. McCup drink holders, and rear legroom that rivals a stretched Town Car. There’s enough floor space to host an all-night rave (or keep my parents comfortable on the way to dinner). Given reclining front seats, flip down rear bench, and easy access with power-deployable steps (Platinum editions), you could host a sleepover.
Some boys like music or sports to go with their big trucks. Ford offers an audio system with Sony speakers, Sirius Satellite Radio, and USB iPOD input to bring all of the ear-pleasing rhythm and play calls you could endure. Ford’s Sync system, co-developed with Microsoft, not only enables drivers to voice-command the navigation and audio systems, but also accesses real-time weather forecasts and satellite maps. Bluetooth connects your cell phone to the truck for hands free dialing.
The interior spoils like a Ritz Carlton, but underneath it all lies a platform true to the F-150 truck DNA. All of the 2009 F-150s are equipped with V8 engines. Base models come with a 4.6-liter V8 that generates 248 HP or 292 HP, depending on configuration. A larger 5.4-liter Triton V8 grunts out 320 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque – ideal for towing and hauling heavy loads like a sports car, pontoon boat or a weekend of “finds”. Six-speed automatic transmissions come with the two most powerful engines and helps improve fuel economy over 2008 models. Optional all-wheel-drive, standard electronic stability control, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, and Trailer Sway Control make hauling those loads a ton safer.
Especially when decked out in elegant attire, the hot and powerful F-150 will turn heads wherever it goes, but is not afraid to scrape the matte lacquer off its manicure when real work is required. The rest of the time, you can enjoy it with your partner deep in the woods, busting through deep snow, snuggled inside on heated seats, drenched in music, listening to sports, or washing it to a shine. It is no surprise the 2009 F-150 just won the North American Truck of the Year award at the Detroit auto show.
2009 Ford F-150 Lariat 4×4
Powertrain: 320-HP 5.4-liter V8, 6-speed automatic
Towing capacity.: 7,200 lbs.
Fuel economy: 14/18-MPG city/hwy.
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