2003 F-150 New Car Test Drive
The F-150 is a stylish truck, one that pays more serious attention to aerodynamics than either the Dodge or GM pickups. It's rounder, friendlier and looks more like a car. That may be part of the reason it outsells all other pickup trucks by a considerable margin. In two years, the whole F-150 design will change to something far more radical and big-truck-like, putting an end to the aero truck phase at Ford Design, but for now, the F-150 is still a looker, loaded with features.
The F-150's aerodynamic hood drops away very rapidly from the base of the windshield, so it's easier to see what's immediately in front of the truck, handy for maneuvering off-road, for parking, and when navigating in the city. Its fenders seem to make small rural roads smaller. In tight quarters, this feels like a big truck.
The F-150 takes its interior design cues from the company's passenger cars. The designers simply adapted these cues to the pickup's larger cab. The curves, surfaces, textures, instrumentation and graphics inside the F-150 are more adventurous, more modern, and in some ways better executed than the GM and Dodge, big and bold but not outsized for such a big vehicle.
The mid-range F-150 XLT has dual air bags with a passenger-side deactivation switch. It comes with a back panel cover and rear storage tray, dual map lights, map pockets, an upper vinyl applique, courtesy lamps, color-keyed carpeting and headliner, complete instrumentation including a tachometer, an auxiliary 12-volt power point, power windows and locks, an electronic AM/FM stereo CD/cassette system with four speakers, cloth split bench seats with recliners, armrests, and manual lumbar support on the driver's side, speed control, tilt steering wheel, remote keyless entry, and speed-dependent interval windshield wipers.
Compared to full-sized cars, pickup trucks come with ample amounts of head, leg, hip and shoulder room. They offer a lot of interior space for the money. Even the F-150 XLT regular cab, which does not have a rear seat or extra doors, offers plenty of room for the driver and passenger to stretch out. The XLT's cloth seats recline, and a lumbar support on the driver's side provides even more driving comfort.
All Ford pickups share another trait: a relatively high ride height, even on 2x4 models. That can be a blessing when you're trying to see out over the traffic ahead, but it's a curse when trying to load equipment into the bed; nor does it help when trying to go around corners, where an unladen pickup can hop, Still, bed heights on the two-wheel-drive models are three inches lower than on four-wheel-drive trucks (32 inches vs. 35 inches on the SuperCrew, for example), a huge difference when loading heavy items.
The Lariat SuperCrew features handsome leather seats, front and rear. Getting into and out of the rear seats was easy. The rear seats are comfortable and offer good legroom, allowing passengers to slide their feet under the front seats. Adults should be able to ride back there for longer trips. It's also a nice, comfortable place to change into and out of almost any kind of recreational gear. And the F-150 aftermarket is a billion-dollar business. You can get anything you want for a Ford truck.
SuperCrew's rear seats fold down and are split 60/40, offering a nearly flat luggage space. It's a great place to put cargo or pets. Small storage compartments behind the front seats add utility. All in all, the SuperCrew offers lots of utility and is a great choice for people who seldom need a full-size pickup bed.