Test: 2004 Ford F-150 STX Lariat SuperCab 4x4
Although Ford’s strategy of offering five trim levels with the completely redesigned F-150 pickup drew the ire of financial analysts in the beginning, the move is a tremendous benefit to consumers. Shopping is less complicated as each trim level is directed to a customer with specific needs and budget. There are no confusing “extra value” packages or sales gimmicks such “sport” or “limited” options within a trim level. But Wall Street was concerned that Ford’s best-selling model was bogged down with expensive complexity on the assembly line. Since Ford lost money in two of the last three years, analysts weren’t happy with the multi-trim approach.
When the new F-150 was introduced last summer, most of the media attention was focused on the top three trim levels. The mid-range XLT is clearly the F-150’s most popular trim. According to figures in USA Today, Ford expected it to take a 45 percent share of the total mix. The rugged off-road-inspired FX4 was projected for 15 percent of the sales volume followed by luxurious Lariat at 25 percent. That left only 15 percent for the base XL and the new STX. In fact, Ford estimated the STX would grab only five percent of all new F-150 sales in the beginning.
“Actually, it’s now a little bit higher than five percent,” says Ford F-150 marketing manager Todd Eckert. “The STX has found a nice niche.”
The STX is a sportier version of the base XL and offers additional choices in configurations and features without busting anyone’s wallet. Body-colored bumpers and grille surround for a monochromatic appearance and 17-inch alloy wheels for accent distinguish it from the XL. The interiors are similar with cloth seats and hose-it-out black vinyl floor covering, but the STX does offer optional sound systems.
The F-150 STX is available in 10 different configurations:
STX was an option package on the previous generation F-150. But Ford found confusion with trying to market an XL STX, so the model received its own trim.
“Because of the popularity of this package, we decided to offer a unique series,” adds Eckert. “The trucks are more individualized and less confusing from an ordering perspective.”
Our STX test vehicle was a SuperCab 4x4 Flareside. It came with a base price of $29,575 (including $795 destination charge). For comparison, here are the starting prices on other SuperCab models in the F-150 line:
• XL SuperCab 4x4 6.5-foot Styleside, $28,080