2009 Ford F-150
2009 Ford F-150. Click image to enlarge

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2009 Truck King Challenge

Head Lake, Ontario – The newest Ford F-series pickup is 61 years removed from the original 1948 F1, but it still carries many of the forward thinking features that first model offered, like a larger cab, improved suspension, better payload and extra driver comforts. Sticking to a program of innovation and improvement over its many generations of F-series trucks has equalled the sales success of this model.

For 2009 the F-series sports several key changes. Payload and towing capacity have increased, supported by a new frame designed with new high-strength steel. To support these weights, Ford opted to add longer (6.0 in./15 cm) and wider (3.0 in./7.6 cm) leaf springs that improve lateral stiffness and offer a better ride, particularly under load. Compare this to GM’s 2.5 in./6.4 cm-wide leaves, or Dodge’s new coil spring rear suspension. Also upgraded are the tires – new LT (Light Truck designated) tires have stiffer sidewalls for better towing and payload support.

2009 Ford F-150
2009 Ford F-150. Click image to enlarge

Truckers always seem to be looking for more space, and the ’09 F-series offers it with a new longer wheelbase that supports a stretched four-door SuperCrew cab, with 15 cm more for the backseat alone. And because the frame has lengthened, Ford did not rob the cargo bed for that stretch. That extra space in the rear is part of a completely new flat floor. This feature is highlighted by a rear bench seat that folds up flat against the back wall – freeing up the maximum cargo space for bulky items.

The new cab is also better insulated from noise and is supported entirely on isolated rubber mounts that make it more comfortable than previous versions. In fact, I recently test drove a new Ford Flex (that cleverly-disguised mini-van), and after driving the F-150 on public roads in the Michigan countryside I was struck by how similar they were – firm, smooth and quiet.

This quiet interior is complemented by a nice range of driver comforts in the newly appointed base cabin package. And for ’09 another high-end trim level called Platinum has been added: sliding in above the King Ranch, this brings to seven the number of appearance packages that the F-series now offers. While largely unchanged from ‘04, the new cabin (with tweaks) leaves Ford’s interiors competitive – but no one else offers this array of trim packages.

2009 Ford F-150
2009 Ford F-150; photo by James Bergeron. Click image to enlarge

Innovations on the ’09 model include items such as an integrated trailer brake controller, pull-out tailgate step, retractable box-side steps, stowable bed extender and available cargo management system.

Among the best of these is the integrated trailer brake controller that Ford first introduced in its Super Duty series of trucks three years ago. Now available in the half-ton model, this feature will be of particular interest to the more than 50 per cent of owners who tow regularly (GM has this now but Dodge and Toyota do not). This F-150 also adds another new towing feature: a Trailer Sway Control system that can sense yaw motion in the trailer (fishtailing) and apply precise braking and cut power to bring the truck and trailer back into line.

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