Detroit 2008: Live intro of the 2009 Ford F-150

click above for high-res live shots of the 2009 Ford F-150

We already brought you official photography of the newly-revamped 2009 Ford F-150 just after midnight today, but that's hardly enough attention for America's best-selling vehicle. Now that the Blue Oval boys have rolled out the new truck into Cobo Arena - with help from Toby Keith and a cast of characters - we see little reason to think that the F-series won't retain its crown.

Improving the F-150 "truck-ness" are several features, such as the tailgate step that we appreciated so much on larger Super Duty, and new fold-down steps that can be accessed from the side of the truck. Considering how deep the box is on this truck, the steps will definitely come in handy on the ranch or at the grocery store.

Ford's slick Integrated Trailer Brake Controller is now available on a half-ton truck for the first time, and Trailer Sway Control helps keep the vehicle on the road while towing so that hopefully you won't need to experience the effectiveness of Roll Stability Control and side-curtain airbags. Tow and payload ratings are as-yet announced; we expect to hear more by the Chicago Auto Show next month.

More after the jump...

The mechanical bits are improved as well, with an available six-speed automatic that now matches Toyota's offering, and a new frame that is lighter yet improves torsional rigidity by 10% (not that the frame of the outgoing model was a wet noodle). There's no word yet on power figures for the 5.4L Triton, but expect Ford to bring up the tail end of the pack until Boss and EcoBoost engines arrive in a couple of years. Yes, the V6 is gone, but let's be honest - most of us are not buying a full-size truck with an antiquated and underpowered six-banger unless we happen to start a fleet or the dealer offers a ridiculous discount. Despite the substitution of a 2-valve 4.6L V8 as the low-end engine, fleet mileage is said to improve by 1 MPG, which hopefully reflects an economy increase for the higher-end motors.

Inside, the six-inch stretch applied to the SuperCrew's cab offers a truly impressive amount of room for a four-door half-ton pickup. It's fitting with an appropriately large center console, which is capable of swallowing a couple of laptops, a respectable number of tools, or a lot of beer (we kid, we kid!).

The most controversial aspect of the new F-150 is the exterior styling. In person, it doesn't look like anything but a Ford truck, so let's stop with " It looks like a bla bla bla..." right now. For our tastes, though, we see too much influence from Ford's smaller SUVs, and way too little Super Duty. Opinions will certainly vary on this matter. Video of the 2009 F-150 reveal is available after the jump.

The video meant to be presented here is no longer available. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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