2003 F-150 New Car Test Drive
Quieter and more carlike than ever, the Ford F-150 continues to be the light-duty pickup truck by which all others are measured. The world's best-selling truck continues to evolve into a sedan with a handy bed attached.
All 2003 models get a new noise control package, 75 improvements in all, according to Ford, for a 10-percent quieter ride. Audio system choices now include a cassette/CD player and an in-dash six-CD changer. All 2003 F-150s now have the LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) systems as standard equipment.
A new Heritage Edition F-150 commemorates 100 years of Ford Motor Company history. An F-150 STX Edition is newly available on Regular Cab and SuperCab XL and XLT. King Ranch models get chrome tubular running boards, a six-disc in-dash CD changer and woodgrain bezels.
There is something for everybody at Ford's F-150 store; they've made sure of that. Three engines are available: Standard engine for the base XL is a 4.2-liter V6 that makes 202 horsepower. A 4.6-liter V8 rated at 231 horsepower is optional in XL models and XLT, standard in all others. A 5.4-liter V8 rated at 260 horsepower is available as an option for most F-150s, and we recommend this engine if you're going to be doing serious work with your F-150. Five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions are available, but you can't get the big engines with a 5-speed manual. No light-duty diesel engine is available for F-150 models. For that, you have to opt up to an F-250HD.
Body styles include short and long beds; regular cab, SuperCab four-door, and SuperCrew four-door, in either Styleside or fendered Flareside bed styles. Two- and four-wheel drive models are available. The three cab styles are offered in XL, XLT, and Lariat trim levels; SuperCabs and SuperCrews can also be had as King Ranch models, with leather captain's chairs, a premium audio system, and unique badging.
SuperCrew features rear seats that can quickly be converted into covered cargo space. The full-size SuperCrew far exceeds a compact four-door pickup for space and comfort, but rides on a light-duty chassis rather than a heavy-duty platform with its excessive weight, rougher ride, and greater fuel thirst. Overall length is kept reasonable by using an ultra-short bed that measures just 5-1/2 feet. The bed is a compromise, but it relieves the driver of the daily burden of maneuvering a pickup into tight urban or country spaces. The Lariat SuperCrew is equipped like a luxury sport-utility, with leather upholstery, power-adjustable pedals and an optional moonroof and rear-seat entertainment system.
Air conditioning is standard equipment on almost all F-150s and electronic automatic temperature control is now standard on Lariat, King Ranch and SuperCrew models. Power-adjustable pedals are standard on all models for 2003. Antilock brakes (ABS) are standard throughout the F-150 line, and remote keyless entry is standard on XLTs.
The F-150 model matrix is huge, and includes some specialty models. The high-performance SVT Lightning packs a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 rated at 380 horsepower and 450 foot-pounds of torque. Special SVT wheels, tires, and suspension are calibrated more for handling than for hauling. This limited-production street rod is available only as a 2WD regular cab on the 120-inch short wheelbase.
Also available for 2003 is a new Ford Harley-Davidson F-150 SuperCrew. It features a supercharged 5.4-liter Triton V8 engine with 345 horsepower and 425 foot-pounds of torque. It's available in black or optional two-tone paint, black over silver with a high cutline and orange details. Body-color bumpers, a new front end with fog lamps, a chrome grille and chrome tie-down hooks, and clear-lens headlamps are standard, as are 20x9-inch chromed aluminum wheels with the Harley logo. The H-D pickup is lowered one inch, with a dual inlet-dual outlet muffler that ends in chrome 3 1?2-inch slash-cut exhaust tips. A special 100th Anniversary nameplate commemorates the centennial of Ford and Harley next year.