Ford F-150: The New American Idol
Will the new F-Series keep Ford at the top of the list? Is
this the truck that represents Ford’s direction for the next 100
years? Is this what everyone’s been waiting for?
00:00 © PickupTruck.com
play king of the hill with Ford unless you’re sure you’re
going to win.
trucks keep trying to climb the hill and bump the F-Series off the dirt
mound, but despite different door layouts, a variety of powertrains, myriad
suspension setups and numerous drivetrain configurations from other manufacturers,
no one’s be able to unseat the champ.
As of January
2003, the F-Series has been the best-selling truck in America for 26 years,
as well as the best-selling vehicle in the country for 21 years. The F-Series
makes up 23 percent of Ford Motor Company’s total U.S. sales, and
accounts for nearly 28 percent of the Ford Division’s total sales.
Over 27.5 million F-Series trucks have been sold to date.
If you think
Ford is going to lie down and let the others climb up and over, you’re
seriously mistaken. To prove that it intends to hold onto every truck
title in the U.S., Ford has introduced the 2004 F-150, and states that
it represents a “whole new era of Built Ford Tough.”
Styling, or, Familiarity Breeds Contentment
Ford has built its
truck reputation on being Ford Tough, and for many, that toughness comes
across in the exterior design treatment. We all remember seeing the bold,
brawny Tonka truck concept, and also recall Ford hinting that some of
the Tonka’s styling cues might carry over to the ’04 model.
final product turns out to be is a design that Ford calls tough, but not
brutal like the Tonka was. Since styling appeal involves a lot of personal
taste, the majority should like it since it follows the lead of many other
Ford designs, where evolution wins over revolution.
The new F-Series
is more contained and restrained than expected, especially after the impressive
introduction of the Tonka, but it is appealing nonetheless. Designers
used cues from the previous F-150, Super Duty, and Tonka to create an
exterior that is more aggressive than before, yet still clean in its execution.
Ford F-150 What’s New Highlights
Stiffer body frame
• Revolutionary new interiors
• More interior volume
• Five series offerings
• All new exterior design
Higher level of occupant safety
• More cargo capacity
• New engine technologies
• Three cab choices
• New Rouge River manufacturing facility
definitely wanted to push the design to a new level, to move the excitement
needle up a notch. The result is a shape symbolic of F-150’s strength
but with an underlying tone of sophistication that really gives this truck
aspirational qualities,” said Pat Schiavone, design director for
no Hot Wheels add-ons and overdone body cladding here, nor is there an
abundance of chrome or fancy geegaws. The styling is purposeful, clean,
the design, the first thing you notice is that the badging is considerably
larger than before. The front blue oval has been bumped up to nine inches,
making it larger even than any of BillyJoeBob’s belt buckles. The
surface of the oval contains a subtle crown, designed to add a three-dimensional
effect. With the larger badge comes a larger package overall. The truck
has a 1.6-inch wider track front and rear for a total of 67.0 inches,
and the circular wheel arches easily accommodate the standard 17-inch
wheels and tires, or the 18-inchers standard on the Lariat model.
end features an inverted trapezoidal grille with an “up and over”
surround that is incorporated into the raised-dome aluminum hood. The
hood creases and the dome effect are intended to signify the tremendous
power waiting in the engine bay of the new truck. The headlight package
features large, quad circle-style lamps with clear composite lenses. The
fit and finish on the front end is impressive, and speaks to Ford’s
attention to build quality and detail. The F-150’s front bumper
is either body-color or chromed, depending on model offered, and features
large, integrated fog lamps in most of the two-wheel drive models, or
tow hooks on the four-wheel-drive versions.