2008 F-150 SuperCrew New Car Test Drive
The 2008 Ford F-150 lineup offers a plethora of models for virtually every occasion or occupation, starting well below $20,000 and climbing beyond double that. The F-150 line offers something on the order of 75 permutations, more than some car companies' entire lineups. All are capable of work or play, even those models with luxurious interiors, and all have four doors.
One V6 and two V8 engines, the larger available as E85 compatible (for ethanol), and two transmissions are offered. Nearly every derivative is available with two- or four-wheel drive.
On-going refinement following a major 2004 redesign makes the Ford F-150 a refined, easy-to-drive pickup. It offers familiar and comfortable surroundings for previous Ford owners.
The smallest, least-expensive F-150 isn't boring, it leaves room for customization and keeps overhead down. With the segment's only rear-hinged side access doors, the Regular Cab gives excellent recline space and an easy reach to everything dropped behind the seat. At the other end of the scale, premium models include two-tone leather seats, polished 22-inch wheels and other touches: Within those extremes lies something for everyone.
2008 marks the first availability of an XL-grade SuperCrew with 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed: maximum people space with a work truck ethic. Detail changes for 2008 run the gamut from functional to decorative, the latter a Wheels and Stripes package for STX models, the former a standard tachometer for XL and STX with manual transmission, tire pressure monitors on the heavy-duty package, plus the availability of a cargo management system, remote start, telescoping towing mirrors, and a rearview camera (that does not require purchase of a navigation system).
With one of the deepest beds in the half-ton pickup segment, the F-150 has generous cargo volume out back and a maximum payload rating of 3,050 pounds. A properly equipped Regular Cab F-150 is rated to tow up to 11,000 pounds; other models max out in the 9000-pound range.
The 2008 Ford F-150 lineup offers three cab styles, two bed styles and three lengths, six wheelbase choices, six model designations, and three drive systems.
Starting with the least expensive, the trim levels include XL, STX, XLT, FX, and Lariat. Within the Lariat group are special, lower-volume models including the Lariat Limited, King Ranch, and Harley-Davidson, and the FX offers FX2 and FX4 versions. A Foose Edition F-150 designed by hot-rod master Chip Foose will be available as a late-2008 model. Regular Cabs are roomy with one row of seats, SuperCabs add a rear row ideal for kids, with legroom similar to small cars and doors you can't open until the front doors are, and the SuperCrew has legroom like big sedans and four standard doors.
The base XL is for the fleet or first-time buyer where budget's a priority. The base F-150 XL ($17,345) is a short, Regular Cab two-wheel drive. Wheels are steel, the grille is black and bumpers painted, vinyl covers the floor and seats, and the audio is AM/FM. However, it does have intermittent wipers, map lights, a 40/20/40 split bench front seat with driver lumbar adjustment, and on SuperCabs ($23,440) air conditioning. Since it frequently adds other upgrades and a larger engine, 4WD adds almost $6,000 (and a V8) to the most basic example and $3,000 to the lowest-priced SuperCab.
STX models up the ante without going broke, with body-color front and rear bumpers and grille trim, air conditioning, CD player, and cloth upholstery. A 4x2 Regular Cab short bed starts at $21,050 and a 4x4 SuperCab Flareside goes for $29,045; there is no STX SuperCrew.
Central to the lineup, and sales, is the XLT. To an STX it adds chrome bumpers, black honeycomb grille, remote keyless entry, power mirrors/locks/windows, carpeting, auto headlamps, tinted windows, and better fabric for the 40/20/40 seat. The XLT offers the greatest spectrum of configurations, ranging in base price from $23,350-$33,745.
Off-road style and intent characterizes the FX2/FX4 models, which all come with the 5.4-liter V8. Hefty rubber mats protect the carpet; other upgrades include a leather-wrapped wheel, unique instrument display, and sport cloth upholstery with driver and passenger lumbar support. Monotone paint includes the bumpers (gray with tow-tone paint), flares cover 18-inch aluminum wheels, and the door gets keypad entry. On Regular Cabs ($24,105-30,645) the FX4 is $5,750 over the FX2 and there's no long-wheelbase FX4; on SuperCab and SuperCrew ($28,700-35,445), the 4WD version is a $3,295 premium.
The Lariat label is reserved for more luxurious, car-like interiors, and does not include Regular Cab or Flareside models; retail prices range from $29,895-$35,595. Fancy bits include 18-inch aluminum wheels, power heated mirrors with signal repeaters, climate control, leather-trimmed seats and steering wheel, powered driver's seat, trip computer, light-faced gauges, and chrome and Arizona Beige trim.
For 2008, Ford will build 5,000 Lariat Limited F-150s, replete with serial-number plates, spun-metal instrument cluster trim, two-tone leather cabin, color-matched grille and bumpers, and three-dimensional chrome bed side badging. Limited models are offered only as 139-inch wheelbase SuperCrews in two- ($35,160) or all-wheel drive ($38,160).
Top tier among regular production models is the King Ranch, with Castano leather modeled after the saddles that roamed the Texas ranch. Exterior trim is similar to Lariats, with color-matching components and Arizona Beige accents. At this level, items such as heated power seats and power-folding mirrors are standard. The King Ranch is SuperCrew only, short or standard bed, with two- or four-wheel drive, and retail from $35,495-$38,795.
The limited-run Harley-Davidson edition SuperCrew ($38,125) comes with special bodywork in Menacing Black or Black and Vintage Copper two-tone, four buckets in two-tone leather, piano-black trim panels peppered with H-D ba.