2009 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4
2009 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4×4. Click image to enlarge

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2009 Ford F-150

Ottawa, Ontario – Fuel prices and a tanking economy be damned, the Ford F-Series pickup cannot be stopped.

In 2008, the F-series was, for the 43rd year in a row, the best-selling light truck in Canada. The truck continued its streak south of the border, too, where it also continues to be not only the best-selling truck, but the best-selling vehicle, period.

That’s good news for a company that really needs it right now, not only because it is in a certain amount of financial distress, but because it no doubt just spent a lot of money developing this latest generation version of its full-size pickup.

Is it that good? Not as good as the also-new-for-2009 Dodge Ram, according to the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), which named it the Best Pickup in its 2009 Car and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards.

But it is good. Just before Christmas, Ford handed me the keys to this F-150 4×4 Super Crew model to test. Sadly, with nothing to tow, I wasn’t able to test this truck’s nearly 10,000 pound (almost 4,500 kg) towing capacity, or Ford’s new integrated trailer brake controller.

2009 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4
2009 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4×4. Click image to enlarge

I did spend a week using this truck in a variety of conditions, including plenty of cold and snow. Let’s say I was grateful for the four-wheel drive system, which allowed the truck to plough through deep snow with ease.

The timing was right too, for our annual Christmas tree hunting trip. My wife and I, her sister and husband and their five-year-old son piled into this truck and made the trek to the tree farm. Super Crew models offer an almost obscene amount of rear-seat space, which was handy: my six-foot-five brother-in-law had plenty of legroom and two adults and a bulky child seat fit in the back seat without any problem.

2009 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4
2009 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4×4. Click image to enlarge

The flat floor in the rear compartment is great for passengers back there; three can sit abreast without subjecting the middle occupant to an impromptu game of footsies with outboard passengers.

Maybe the only serious drawback to the interior is getting into it: full-size trucks have become so large that, even with my tester’s step bars, getting up into the truck is still a workout. And forget it if you’re mobility-impaired; this isn’t the truck to take grandma out in for a night on the town. (At least, not without a step ladder, or three strong friends.)

For much of the week I drove it, the truck bed carried mostly snow, but neither that nor the couple of ladders or the two seven-foot Christmas trees we hauled home were anything near enough to tax the truck’s 1,480 pound (671 kg) payload (although a couple hundred pounds of snow does affect a truck’s ride.)

Speaking of the ride, this truck goes over the road with surprising civility despite being but one step down from the top run in F-Series hauling capability – opt for the 3.73 rear axle ratio (my tester had a 3.55 gears) and towing capacity can go as high as 11,300 pounds (5,126 kg).

2009 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4
2009 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4×4. Click image to enlarge

With Ford’s 5.4-litre, 310-hp V8 under the hood, this F-150 moves with authority too, in spite of its 5,367 pound (2,434 kg) curb weight. That engine routes its horsepower and 365 lb-ft of torque through a new six-speed automatic transmission that Ford says helps an F-150 like my tester achieve official fuel consumption ratings of 14.8/10.1 L/100 km (19/28 mpg) (city/highway). Of course, these numbers don’t account for cold weather, snowy roads, and rush hour traffic, all of which conspired to drive my observed fuel consumption well above 20 L/100 km (14 mpg).

Like other recent Ford six-speed autos, this one does its work smoothly and without a fuss. My only beef with the drive-train is that, unlike GM’s 4×4 system, the F-150’s doesn’t include an “auto” setting to shift the system between rear- and four-wheel drive as conditions dictated. Instead, I had to remember to shift out of four-wheel drive manually when roads cleared up (using four-wheel drive on dry roads can damage a drive-train).

2009 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4
2009 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4
2009 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4×4. Click image to enlarge

As comfortable as our rear-seat passengers said their accommodations were, it’s hard to beat this truck’s leather-trimmed front seats, which are wide and coddling, and three-step heaters kept us warm in winter’s worst.

While the F-150’s interior, at least in my generously-optioned tester, is designed to coddle, the truck’s exterior is all business. Fold-out box-side steps in front of the rear wheels allow easier access to the front part of the truck bed, and a tailgate step eases entry into the cargo box. My tester also had a stowable bed extender. As handy as all of these features are, they’re not immune to winter’s rigours. The box-side steps become easily clogged with snow, and won’t fold out without much encouragement, and the tailgate step on my truck was frozen in the stowed position.

If you’ve been paying attention to the truck market at all lately, you know that this kind of comfort and capability doesn’t come cheap. My Lariat trim tester’s base MSRP was $46,699. To that, Ford added White Chocolate Metallic paint ($300); 18-inch wheels and tires ($420); chrome step bars ($700); skid plates ($120); power moonroof ($1,300); power sliding rear window ($170); a navigation system ($2,300); pickup box extender ($350); pickup box access step ($300); tailgate step ($300); trailer brake controller ($240) and a rear view camera ($500).

Add in freight, and the as-tested price came to $55,099. It’s safe to assume that not all of those buyers who routinely make this truck a best-seller are spending that much, and certainly, many drivers who use their trucks for work purposes can do without at least a few grand of this trucks options, not to mention the fact that most can also make do with the less-expensive regular- and SuperCab models.

I may not have the kind of experience measuring a truck’s ultimate utility, but from a comfort-and-convenience point of view, it’s not hard to see why so many swear by the F-Series.

Pricing: 2009 Ford F-150 4×4 SuperCrew
  • Base price: $46,699
  • Options: $7,100 (White Chocolate Metallic paint, $300; 18-inch wheels and tires, $420; chrome step bars, $700; skid plates, $120; power moonroof, $1,300; power sliding rear window, $170; navigation system, $2,300; pickup box extender, $350; pickup box access step, $300; tailgate step, $300; trailer brake controller, $240; rear view camera, $500)
  • A/C tax: $100
  • Freight: $1,300
  • Price as tested: $55,099
    Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives

  • Specifications: 2009 Ford F-150

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