The Ford F-series has been one of Ford’s most popular car models for many years. Fully redesigned in 2004, the current rendition of the F-150 continues to improve on Ford’s long experience with full-sized trucks. Available in a multitude of trims and styles to accommodate many different purposes, the F-150 appeals to many different buyers. It can carry both people and work loads with a large towing capacity of over 10,500 pounds or 3,050 pounds in the bed. However, mechanically it is smooth, quiet, and performs excellently both off or on the road.
See also the main fact sheets for the Ford F-150.
- Quiet and refined
- Responsive steering and good cornering
- Attractive new styling
- Not much interior storage space.
- No side curtain or side-impact airbags.
Performance and HandlingEdit
The Ford F-150 offers a ride that's smooth and firm, with a minimum of body roll in corners, and a nice, plush ride over cobbled pavement, rutted dirt roads, and freeway slabs. The ride is smoother than most off-road pickups. The F-150's excellent ride and handling are benefits of a frame that's fully boxed with hydroformed front rails. The seven-crossmember skeleton is stronger, stiffer and heavier than any previous Ford pickup frame. The current frame is nine times more resistant to twisting and 50 percent more resistant to bending than the C-channel frame used up through 2003.
The power rack-and-pinion steering in the F-150 is exemplary. It's responsive, without hesitation or delay, and without being darty or overly quick or nervous. The truck tracks like a laser beam, turns in quickly, and recovers quickly even with no load in the bed.
The front suspension is a double wishbone setup for both 2WD and 4WD models. The rear suspension has outboard shock absorbers to control rear-end motions better in quick maneuvers. The outboard position literally gives the shocks better leverage against axle movement, providing better control on washboard surfaces, and reducing the tendency to skate around in bumpy corners. The rear leaf springs are three inches wide. Liquid-filled motor mounts and a long list of other measures keep vibration and noise to a bare minimum.
Brakes are smooth and responsive. They start slowing the truck just a little way into the pedal travel, and the more you push the pedal, the more acute the braking becomes. The absence of dead space in the pedal travel is a welcome relief from typical truck practice. All F-150s come with four-wheel vented disc brakes and ABS.
The big 5.4-liter V8 is smooth and quiet. Rated at 300 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque, it delivers quick acceleration. The F-150's 5.4-liter V8 is part of Ford's Triton engine series, and features a single overhead camshaft per cylinder bank, three valves per cylinder, and variable valve timing. A 5.4-liter F-150 with 2WD rated 15/19 mpg City/Highway. The high-capacity 4R75E four-speed automatic transmission that comes with the 5.4-liter is smooth and responsive, downshifting quickly and crisply when you punch it, and shifting almost seamlessly when cruising.
The smaller, 4.6-liter V8 also features aluminum overhead-cam heads, but with a more conventional two valves per cylinder. Upgraded to 248 horsepower for 2007, the 4.6-liter V8 offers a broad torque band, with 90 percent of its peak torque available at just 2000 rpm for strong towing performance and solid acceleration when hauling heavy loads. However, the main benefit of the 4.6-liter over the 5.4-liter may be price because fuel economy is not appreciably better. The 4.2-liter V6 is an attractive option for work trucks. It's a nice, smooth engine of the traditional pushrod-overhead-valve kind, though performance is sluggish by modern standards. The V6 is rated at 202 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The V6 2WD automatic is rated 16/20 mpg; with a five-speed manual transmission, city mileage actually dropped to 15 mpg.
The Ford F-150 comes standard with the following features:
- Driver and front passenger airbags
- LATCH feature for child safety seats
- 4-wheel disc brakes
- Anti-lock system (ABS)
- SecuriLock anti-theft ignition (PATS)
Reliability and MaintenanceEdit
Ford Motor Company provides a basic Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty, as well as extended coverage for the Powertrain and Safety System and protection against corrosion perforation. There is also specific warranty coverage for the Emissions System. And all new Ford come with improved Roadside Assistance coverage.
Interior and ComfortsEdit
The Ford F-150 features six distinctly different interiors. The basic XL is surprisingly nice. At the other end of the spectrum is the King Ranch, which has a western feel that's very inviting. The seats have been improved for 2007 models and Ford says they provide more support and comfort. 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 immediately slide off.
The SuperCrew features a roomy back seat where adults should find comfortable and convenient accommodations. The big difference in the back seats between SuperCrew and SuperCab models is rear legroom: 39.0 inches for SuperCrew, 32.7 inches for SuperCab. The rear seat bottom flips up for carrying cargo behind the front seats.
The FX4's optional captain's chairs are comfortable, with decent support for the hips and back. They also look great, trimmed in black leather with light gray stitching. Adjusting the power seats may be a little awkward for drivers with big arms, however, because the clearance between the door armrest and the seat is a little tight. Rake adjustment on the power driver's seat is manual, and raking it forward can be a bit awkward. The center console between the captain's chairs is deep, holds a lot of stuff, and features a pair of big, solid cup holders. The floor shifter for the automatic transmission works very well.
The Lariat has one of the classiest, quietest, most completely equipped pickup truck interiors around. In Lariat trim, an F-150 rivals luxury cars in terms of design, materials and completeness, with beautiful, rich wood trim, both shiny and matte metallic finishes on major panels, and a lovely three-pod instrument panel behind the multi-function steering wheel.
At every level, attention to detail is obvious. Giant mirrors afford an excellent view rearward. There's a hook for your dry cleaning. Optional rear park-assist helps greatly when parallel parking one of these big rigs. Its alarm beeps ever more rapidly as you back toward something and it even turns down the radio to make sure you hear its warning. A set of overhead storage bins is available that snap into rails; Ford offers five different sets of these bins, and the aftermarket offers overhead entertainment systems and other specialty items for this rail system. All of these details make this truck more pleasant to own and operate. Everything else inside functions very well and looks good.
The F-150 shares styling cues with Ford's handsome Super Duty pickups, including the sharp downward drop in the forward part of the door windows, allowing a clear view of the massive outside mirrors. A high beltline gives the truck visual strength and makes occupants feel more secure.
The nose is square in concept, with a large, bold, big-rig grille opening. Yet the front fascia wraps around to the fenders for a precise, sophisticated appearance. The bodyside and cargo box sheet metal is chiseled, though it looks slab-sided at the same time, a theme that carries through to the tailgate. F-150 is both upscale and utilitarian, a look that's very appealing.
The different trim levels are quite distinctive. Just one example: XLT and Lariat have a honeycomb grille (black on XLT, Arizona Beige on Lariat), while XL, STX, FX4, and King Ranch wear bar-style grilles.
Practical considerations are a big part of the design, and some of this can be easily seen. Every bed, no matter which length or style, is more than 22 inches deep, for a generous margin when hauling larger cargoes. All models, including the regular cab, have four opening doors on the body with storage room and/or seats behind the front seat. The SuperCab (extended cab) doors are larger than the vestigial doors on the regular cab, while, as mentioned, the SuperCrew has four full-size doors.
Styles and OptionsEdit
FX4 and Lariat models with bucket seats use a floor-mounted shifter, while all other configurations have a standard column shifter. An optional overhead console uses interchangeable modules so owners can add whatever features they find most useful. Regular cab F-150 models have handy reverse-opening access doors for getting to the storage area behind the seat.
Click here to see all OPTIONS and FEATURES
- F-150 XL
- F-150 STX
- F-150 XLT
- F-150 FX4
- F-150 Lariat
- F-150 King Ranch
- F-150 Harley Davidson
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- Nissan Titan: side-by-side comparison
- Honda Ridgeline: side-by-side comparison
- Toyota Tundra: side-by-side comparison
- GMC Sierra 1500: side-by-side comparison
- Lincoln Mark LT: side-by-side comparison
Autopedia Contributor Favorites
Ford Manufacturer Sites
- Ford F-150 - Official US Site
- F150online.com - Large Enthusiast Community for 1997-Present
- Fordf150.net - Ford F150 Forums, Photos, Specs, etc.
Maintenance & Cost History Example
- Ownersite.com - Maintenance Records & Fuel Costs Typical of 1997 F-150