AutoTest File - 2004 Ford F-150

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Feb 25, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    The Ferrari of Trucks: The New F-150 Remains The Benchmark For Pickups

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    By AUTOWEEK
    (08:30 Feb. 16, 2004)

    In racing, they say it’s harder to lead than to follow. Ford’s F-150 must have cracked the code for sheer domination because for 22 years it has been our nation’s top-selling vehicle.

    For most of this battle it was only a three-workhorse race between Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet. But then came along Toyota in 1999 with the Tundra, and this year Nissan introduced the Titan. With Honda’s truck entry looming on the horizon, any slip-up by the F-150 could see its reign atop the sales chart screech to a halt.

    To find out what makes this truck a perennial best-seller, we thrust the Lariat 4x2 SuperCrew with the top-range 5.4-liter sohc V8 into our AutoFile test gauntlet. It pumps out 300 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque, up from the old truck’s 260 hp and 350 lb-ft. In this race, though, that is only enough to trounce the Tundra’s 240 hp and 315 lb-ft.

    We clocked a respectable 8.44-second 0-to-60-mph time, which easily outpaces the 9.7-second run posted by the Dodge Ram 1500 (AW, Oct. 28, 2002). But that was with the 4.7-liter V8. Factor in the 345-hp, 370-lb-ft Hemi engine and those numbers should be bettered.

    Handling, as well, is just enough for the F-150 to keep pace. It ran through the pylons at 40.3 mph and laid down 0.73 g on the skidpad (the Ram did 42.0 mph and 0.76 g). Stopping from 60 mph took 132 feet, beating the Ram’s 134 feet and equaling the nearly 1500-pound-lighter Lexus RX 330 (AW, Feb. 2). Not bad for a two-and-a-half-ton machine.

    That mass did contribute to the most frequent owner complaint: thirstier-than-advertised gas mileage. We confirmed this allegation, averaging 13.71 mpg in mixed driving compared with the EPA estimates of 15 city and 19 highway.

    Thus far no slip-ups, but no definitive signs, either. So why all the Truck of the Year fuss? As usual, numbers rarely tell the whole story.

    From the first photos to our initial acquaintance face-to-face, we instantly recognized this truck was a winner. One owner boasted, “In agricultural country it’s treated like the new Mini I had in Boston. Every time I stop, someone comes up and admires my new truck and asks me all about it.” We got the same reaction, with one staffer recounting, “I got stopped twice by anxious truck guys who had to look it over like it was a Ferrari.”

    “Then you open the door and, Wow!” described another owner. Wow, indeed. Gone are those uninspired, cheap-looking plastics in favor of a roomier, elegantly styled environment fit for a sports car. Owners echoed our praise for the F-150’s classy interior and also applauded the huge leap forward in quality over not just the last F-150, but Ford products as a whole.

    On the road, the F-150 is nimble and negotiates its weight with athletic precision due mostly to the car-inspired double-wishbone, coil-on-shock front suspension (a truck first). The powertrain is smooth in its delivery, and the cabin is so isolated it could easily be called a luxury ride. As one staffer said, “You wind up going 75 or 80 without even realizing it.”

    Even under testing conditions, the four-speed automatic was direct and quiet with no hesitation during full-throttle shifts. The sublime driving experience had one owner forgetting there was a bed in back. However, with a fully equipped towing capacity of 8500 pounds, its rugged—if vastly more refined—character is still intact.

    We found most respondents to our AutoFile survey didn’t just buy the new F-150 out of loyalty. Almost every owner revealed they first tested the Ram, Silverado and Tundra and researched the Titan before signing on the dotted line. It was the F-150’s overall package that swayed their hearts and their wallets.

    And if those enthusiastic new owners are anything to go by, we should see the best-seller streak grow to 23 years.

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    LIKES
    Styling, in and out
    Quiet Ride
    Luxury-like quality

    DISLIKES
    Gas mileage
    Bouncy ride
    Could use more power

    OTHERS CONSIDERED
    Chevrolet Silverado
    Dodge Ram
    Toyota Tundra

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    OWNERS SAY...

    The F-150 has striking good looks and a premium interior that would look at home in a sports sedan. It drives with an athletic prowess and is solid, comfortable and quiet. It was our main choice because we also like to go off-road at most any opportunity. With the F-150, we didn't have to compromise on or off the pavement. Bill Davis, Paris, Ky.

    I've always liked Chevrolets, but I'm not impressed with that new design. Without a doubt, the new F-150 is one of the best-looking trucks available. Everyone I meet can't stop looking at it and wants to know all about it. The cavernous interior is light-years ahead of other trucks in terms of luxury and refinement. The tall bed imposes on rear visibility, but it's easy to get used to and allows for more payload capacity. The lack of power and poor gas mileage are the F-150's only drawbacks. Paul Marshalek, Naperville, Ill.

    I looked at the Toyota Tundra and Dodge Ram, but the F-150 made a better work truck. The Tundra is too small and expensive, while the Ram is cheap in spots and not as reliable. All the necessary safety and utility features came standard on the F-150 and I was able to negotiate a really good price. For the money I could not have found a better deal. The truck handles and brakes well, and the bed will carry just about anything.
    Jim Hayes, Fallbrook, Calif.

    I looked at Toyota, Chevrolet and Dodge, but they could not offer the solid overall package found in the Ford. This is one of the best vehicles I have ever bought. The 4.6-liter V8 suffers from a major lack of power, but the truck looks and feels like a car from the inside. Other than wishing for the 5.4-liter, my only major complaint is with the shoddy customer service I get at my dealer-the same experience I used to get from Chevrolet. Aside from dealer service, Ford has finally made a product that can compete with the imports. Mike Jeske, Tomball, Texas

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    STICKER
    Base (includes $795 delivery): $32,910
    As tested: $36,175
    Owners paid; average: $21,734 to $40,185; $29,640

    OPTIONS AS TESTED
    Rear-seat entertainment ($1,295); leather
    captain's seats ($595); tow package, with
    heavy-duty battery, hitch platform, transmis-
    sion oil cooler, heavy-duty radiator and trailer
    harness ($350); 3.55 limited-slip axle ($285);
    platform running boards ($250); power rear
    window ($245); reverse sensing system ($245)

    OTHER MAJOR OPTIONS
    Moonroof ($810); deluxe heated-seat package,
    with power-adjustable pedals, dual power seats
    and heated seats with driver-side memory
    ($645); tubular running boards ($350); six-disc
    CD changer ($295); audiophile stereo system
    ($250); two-tone paint ($250); truck bed
    extender ($150); 3.73 rear axle ($50)

    CHASSIS
    Body-on-frame four-door truck

    DIMENSIONS
    Wheelbase (in): 138.5
    Track (in): 67.0 front, 67.0 rear
    Length/width/height (in): 224.0/78.9/73.1
    Curb weight/GVWR (lbs): 5305/7050

    CAPACITIES
    Fuel (gal): 30.0
    Cargo (cu ft): 55.5
    Towing (lbs): 8500

    ENGINE
    Front-longitudinal 5.4-liter/330-cid sohc V8
    Horsepower: 300 @ 5000 rpm
    Torque (lb-ft): 365 @ 3750 rpm

    Compression ratio: 9.8:1
    Fuel requirement: 87 octane

    DRIVETRAIN
    Rear-wheel drive
    Transmission: Four-speed automatic
    Final drive ratio: 3.55:1

    SUSPENSION
    Front: Double wishbone with coil springs,
    gas-charged shock absorbers, antiroll bar
    Rear: Hotchkiss-type non-independent live
    leaf springs, outboard gas-charged shock
    absorbers, antiroll bar

    BRAKES/WHEELS/TIRES
    Discs front and rear, ABS, aluminum
    265/60R-18 BFGoodrich Radial Long Trail T/A

    STANDING-START ACCELERATION
    0-60 mph: 8.44 sec
    0-100 km/h (62.1 mph): 8.91 sec
    0-quarter-mile: 16.22 sec @ 85.3 mph

    ROLLING ACCELERATION
    20-40 mph (first gear): 2.9 sec
    40-60 mph (second gear): 5.0 sec
    60-80 mph (second and third gear): 6.1 sec

    BRAKING
    60 mph-0: 132 ft

    HANDLING
    490-foot slalom: 40.3 mph
    Lateral acceleration (200-foot skidpad): 0.73 g

    INTERIOR NOISE (dBA)
    Idle: 42
    Full throttle: 73
    Steady 60 mph: 65

    FUEL MILEAGE
    EPA combined: 16.80 mpg
    AW overall: 13.71 mpg

    RESIDUALS
    $18,016 after 36-month lease,
    49.8 percent of new vehicle price

    RUNNING COSTS COMPARISON*
    Segment: $109.02
    Ford F-150: $84.66

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  2. JW2

    JW2 New Member

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  3. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    The Titan isn't the Ferrari of fullsize trucks? :eek4:
     
  4. DMClark

    DMClark Active Member

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  5. BlazinBlazer Guy

    BlazinBlazer Guy Witness to The De-Evolution of Mankind.

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    IBHisXLNC :eek3:
     
  6. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

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    I see no reason to call it 'Ferrari', its not sporty, doesn't have the best handling or acceleration numbers, comes up short on power and doesn't have a sexy exhaust sound. Random words? Yes.
     
  7. UCFGavin

    UCFGavin Active Member

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    365 hp and they want more hp?

    edit: saw that was torque :doh:
     
  8. Big_Luke

    Big_Luke serious as dick cancer

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    The Lightning will always be the Ferrari of full size trucks.


    well, the Dodge for this year but I can't really see calling that a truck.


    here we go again.
     
  9. DMClark

    DMClark Active Member

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    You didn't read the article, else you would have seen where it came from since they clearly explain it.
     
  10. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

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    I did, that's what makes it even funnier, people are oogling over something that took 3 years to look like its 'bigger' brother?:rofl:


    NGA PLZ
     
  11. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

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    Still a great truck...
     
  12. Sideways

    Sideways Do I look like I give a damn?

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    :Cheap feeling, boring, bland interior:

    And that is just comparing the Titan's interior to an XLT :eek3:
     
  13. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    They are awesome, but they are huge fatasses, and pretty slow as a result :sad2:

    The lightning better not be a fatass too :squint:
     
  14. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    Looks like yet another year of being the best selling pickup on the planet :cool:
     
  15. Bloke

    Bloke Banned

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    they should have got the v6 diesel they were working on to solve the mileage problems
     
  16. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    I'd rather have quality in and out than sacrifice any of it for a speedier fullsize truck.
     
  17. BLoG

    BLoG Scented Meat

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    obviously. They made the right call. It only really matters for the lightning.

    The new F-150s just scream quality inside and out. While the last gen was pretty nice, they were definitely not designed and built with the same attention to detail. And as for the generation before that (like my truck), those details were completely ignored :o I don't think they had heard of NVH standards back then :wtc:
     
  18. threeclaws

    threeclaws R.I.P.

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    :werd:


    Actually I'd be happy with any kind of a modern diesel, 13MPG would kill me, I already hate my 16MPG :hs:
     
  19. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Because most people don't want to pay the extra money for the engine unless they're familiar with them or doing heavy duty towing or hauling.

    Ford may test the water with a half ton diesel, GM may give the Hummer H2 the Duramax, and DCX is going to offer a diesel Liberty.

    We'll see if North America is ready for light duty diesels.
     

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