When you combine the sales of all Ford F-Series, the team from Dearborn, Michigan is responsible for the most important vehicle on the planet in terms of sales volume. Nothing like being under a little pressure when it comes to introducing an all-new F-150 then, eh?

Our first impressions are that the 1,000 person team responsible for the new F-150 did their homework. The new model is considerably better looking and gains features and capabilities, many lifted from last year's all-new Super Duty. Put a 2009 F-150 next to a 2008 Super Duty and you'll see they share a more squared off look and a similar face. The F-150, however, sports more refined styling than its bigger brother. Details in the hood, the fenders and on the tailgate show real attention to design that make the F-150 look rich and tough ... as opposed to just tough.

See the 2009 Ford F-150 Photo Gallery

Just as the F-150 borrowed some of the Super Duty's styling, it also now shares some of the same equipment. The innovative tailgate stepladder is now an option on the F-150. An integrated folding step positioned below the side of the pickup bed is also available to make it easier to grab gear out of the tall and deep pickup box.

Underpinning the all-new truck is a traditional ladder frame that provides 10-percent more torsional stiffness than 2007 F-150s. Since the frame is the truck's foundation, a stronger frame is better. On to this new frame, Ford offers a huge variety of cabs and box sizes, 35 configurations in all. The one that changed the most is the SuperCrew -- the cab with four standard doors. It's significantly larger than the previous generation, offering even more passenger and interior cargo room.

Powertrains are improved from 2007, but are essentially carryover. The familiar 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter V8s form the mainstay of the engine lineup. A light-duty diesel is expected in 2010 or shortly thereafter. The suspensions are also generally similar to 2007, although redesigned and upgraded along with the frame.

One reason the F-150 has become a favorite of American drivers is because Ford offers the truck in so many different styles. To help ensure that the new truck remains just as popular as ever, the F-150 can be decked out in seven different trim levels from the work-truck oriented XL to the urbane urban cruiser, the Platinum edition. Look for them all at a Ford dealer near you this summer.

See Our Full Coverage of the 2008 Detroit Auto Show


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