Test Drive: 2008 Ford F 150 Super Crew 4x4 trucks car test drives ford
2008 Ford F-150 Super Crew 4×4. Click image to enlarge

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Ford Motor Company of Canada

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Ford F150 Owner Reviews

Used Ford F-150

Review and photos by Jil McIntosh

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2008 Ford F-150 Super Crew 4×4

Oshawa, Ontario – For the most part, truck buyers are a very loyal bunch. When they latch on to a brand, they stick with it, which helps to explain why Ford says its F-series has been the best-selling line of pickup trucks in Canada for an incredible 41 years.

An all-new model is waiting in the wings for 2009, and so the 2008 F-series undergoes minimal changes from the 2007 models: most of the V8 engines are now able to accept E85 fuel (if you can find it), there are some trim changes, and as equipped on my F-150 Super Crew 4×4 tester, there’s a new optional cargo management system for the pickup box, and a backup camera with its display built into the auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Test Drive: 2008 Ford F 150 Super Crew 4x4 trucks car test drives ford
2008 Ford F-150 Super Crew 4×4. Click image to enlarge

As with all of the domestic brands, the F-150 offers a staggering number of configuration choices. There are three body styles – Regular Cab, Super Cab and Super Crew – and all of them have four doors, although the ones on the Regular Cab are small, rear-hinged ones that require you first open the front ones. There are also three box lengths, Flareside or Styleside box configurations, two- or four-wheel drive, and then five trim lines, not counting the additional King Ranch, Harley-Davidson, Limited and 2008-specific 60th Anniversary Edition packages. If you can’t find one to suit you, it’s obvious you don’t really need a truck in the first place. Depending on what you order, base prices can range from around $22,000 to $50,000.

My tester began life at $37,499 and then received some $11,000 in options, turning this workhorse into a fairly luxurious if very pricey machine. Part of that was for the larger of the two available V8 engines, a 5.4-litre flexible-fuel mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. Other choices are a 4.6-litre V8 or 4.2-litre V6. A diesel engine and the 6.8-litre V10 gasoline engine aren’t available until you move up into the F-250 or higher line-ups.

The 5.4-litre’s performance is about mid-range when compared with its domestic rivals: the Chevrolet Silverado, with 5.3-litre V8, and the Dodge Ram (which will also be completely redesigned for 2009) with 5.7-litre V8. The Ford’s 300 horsepower is the lowest, with the Chev making 315 and the Dodge 345. The all-important number, torque, finds the Ford in the middle: it makes 365 lb-ft, compared to 338 at Chevrolet and 395 at Dodge. The Japanese rivals have also been bulking up: the Nissan Titan’s 5.6-litre V8 makes 317 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque, while the Toyota Tundra’s optional 5.7-litre V8 makes a whopping 385 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque.

Test Drive: 2008 Ford F 150 Super Crew 4x4 trucks car test drives ford
2008 Ford F-150 Super Crew 4×4. Click image to enlarge

Depending on the model and equipment, the F-150 can tow up to 5,000 kg (11,000 pounds) and haul a maximum payload of 1,386 kg (3,050 pounds). By comparison, the Toyota’s maximum is very close at 10,800 lbs, while the Titan can pull a maximum 9,300 lbs; in half-ton versions, the Chevrolet handles up to 10,500 lbs and the Dodge Ram up to 9,100 lbs.

The F-150 rides on a frame with fully-boxed rails, and with outboard-mounted rear shocks that Ford says helps to reduce body lean and keep everything straight on rough roads; it seems to work, since the ride is firm but surprisingly smooth for a truck. Anti-lock brakes with discs at all four corners are standard on all models.

There’s a lot here to get moving off the line, but once everything is underway, the V8 is quiet at cruising speeds and will handle highway passing very easily; the transmission shifts well and includes a button in the column shift handle for turning off the overdrive. Make sure your gas card is paid down, though: against a published fuel consumption of 16.9 in the city and 12.1 on the highway, the best I could do was 19.6 L/100 km � and from what I’ve read from other reviewers, that’s better than many.

The steering is relatively light, but still has a comfortable enough weight to it that it doesn’t feel over-boosted. I like a truck that feels like a truck, and the F-150 is definitely that.

Test Drive: 2008 Ford F 150 Super Crew 4x4 trucks car test drives ford
Test Drive: 2008 Ford F 150 Super Crew 4x4 trucks car test drives ford
2008 Ford F-150 Super Crew 4×4. Click image to enlarge

What I don’t understand is why trucks these days have to be so big. It’s a long step up into the cab, and thankfully, my tester’s optional side steps were wide enough to be useful as a ladder up into it. The truck’s height and width, along with its massive hood, made it a real handful any time I got off my rural roads and had to deal with city traffic or, even worse, city parking lots. Even a few friends – big manly men who tow boats and campers, and definitely don’t eat quiche – questioned why you now must climb into and slide out of a truck, instead of simply getting into it.

Once you’ve hiked your way up, you’ll find very comfortable seats up front; rear legroom is exceptional in the Super Crew, but the back cushions, which flip up for extra cargo space, are flat and hard. My tester’s XLT trim line sits in the middle, above the XL and STX, but below the FX4 and Lariat trims.

The XLT dash is all plastic, but it looks good, with minimal gaps and several textured surfaces. I love Ford for the simplicity of its controls, and the F-150 is no exception. The heater dials are big and easy to use with gloves, the vents open and spin without having to turn nasty little thumbwheels, and even my optional touch-screen navigation system could be fine-tuned right away, without having to consult the owner’s manual. My sole complaint was with the cruise control, operated by buttons on either side of the steering wheel. The huge on and off buttons, which take up one whole side by themselves, could easily have been sufficiently scaled down to leave room for the missing “cancel” control.

The four-wheel drive system uses a dial to go from two- to four-wheel and then into Low. The Harley-Davidson edition is available with an automatic all-wheel drive system that can be used in all conditions; on all others, the four-wheel system shouldn’t be operated on dry pavement. At the Truck King Challenge last year, I had an opportunity to take a similar model on a very challenging off-road course; it didn’t do as well as its competitors, scraping on some obstacles that others cleared easily, and getting temporarily stuck a couple of times.

Test Drive: 2008 Ford F 150 Super Crew 4x4 trucks car test drives ford
Test Drive: 2008 Ford F 150 Super Crew 4x4 trucks car test drives ford
2008 Ford F-150 Super Crew 4×4. Click image to enlarge

The optional cargo management system consists of a number of different items that can be mixed and matched; mine included a bed divider and storage bins. These plastic bins were strong and lockable, but it was quite a reach to them over the sides of the truck box.

Another impressive add-on to my truck was the new rearview camera. Backup cameras usually are bundled in with navigation systems, since they broadcast on the dash-mounted screen, but the F-150′s is part of the rearview mirror and is a $495 stand-alone option. When you’re in any gear other than Reverse, it looks like a regular auto-dimming mirror. As soon as you shift into Reverse, the camera appears as if by magic on the left-hand side of the mirror, with lines that help with guidance for parking. The wide-angle camera also provides an overhead view of the trailer ball, so it’s considerably easier to hitch up a trailer if you don’t have a helper to guide you.

It’s little things like the camera that make the F-150 a handy multipurpose vehicle: you can hitch it up, drop it into 4×4, and make the muddy trek up to the barn out back, and once you’re finished, you can wash it, shine up the chrome, and take some full-size friends out for the evening. Of course, if gas prices keep going as they are, you may well head out to the dealer to look at the thirsty F-150 and end up appraising the Ranger instead.

Pricing: 2008 Ford F-150 Super Crew XLT 4×4

Base price: $37,499

Options: $10,868 (5.4-litre V8 $1,150; 3:55 limited-slip rear axle $375; floor mats $60; power-adjustable pedals $195; skid plates $120; power sunroof $1,020; power sliding rear window $395; trailer tow package $475; heated towing mirrors $358; navigation radio $3,020; keyless entry keypad $65; bed divider $140; header bar $140; load bars $140; cargo management system $225; storage bins $250; reverse camera $495; reverse sensing system $325; XTR package of all-terrain tires, chrome step bar and 18-inch chrome wheels $2,250; captains chairs $380; power driver’s seat $365; $1,075 credit for options deleting standard equipment)
A/C tax: $100
Freight: $1,250
Price as tested: $49,717
Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives

Specifications
  • Specifications: 2008 Ford F-150

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    Manufacturer’s web site
  • Ford Motor Company of Canada

    Crash test results
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)