got our first glimpse of the interior at Ford’s technology seminar
last summer, we were impressed. Many of the features inside are reminiscent
of an SUV interior, and will be a considerable factor in vehicle purchase
for those looking for more than basic utility.
behind the design was a modular approach: make the arrangements fit different
needs and trim levels.
panel is comprised of bold vertical bands that allow the interior to work
with a variety of colors, textures and materials that almost customize
each truck across the vehicle offerings. For example, the FX4 features
“warm steel” effect bands and a carbon mesh surface for the
IP center stack and door panel trim. The Lariat, on the other hand, steps
upscale with woodgrain trim pieces. There are also three different IP
clusters depending on the model, but all clusters, gauges and vents feature
a round theme.
In the middle, if you opt for the captain’s chairs up front instead
of the 40/20/40 split bench seat, is a flow-through center console that
houses a floor shifter on FX4 and Lariat models. The stick design shift
lever is in bright trim, and falls to hand easily for the driver. The
center console also sports an armrest, storage bin and two cupholders.
Move up from the center console to the dash and you’ll find the
HVAC controls. If you get a bench-seat-equipped F-150, the center stack
is reconfigured so there’s more leg room for the center seat passenger.
is Ford’s rail storage system, a unique design that allows the owner
to customize his storage and entertainment options. The rail system is
standard on XLT, FX4 and Lariat SuperCab and SuperCrew models. Each compartment
is designed to snap in or out, depending on what storage bins your require.
The two brushed aluminum rails are integrated into the headliner and extend
from just behind the rearview mirror all the way to just behind the second
row of seats. At the front of the rail system is a dome light console
and large storage bin. It comes with an integrated power supply, so you
can modify and configure it to your heart’s desire. Ford’s
suggestions include holders for first-aid kits, tool kits, flashlights,
and two-way radios. There are so many different variations, Ford is still
deciding on which bins to manufacture first. It won’t be long, though,
before the aftermarket takes over and has more bins available than can
be imagined. The 2003 SEMA show will be an interesting place to scout
out the options.
bins and a nice-looking dash are all well and good, but unless the seats
are comfortable, the rest is useless. Ford understood that basic need,
and spent a lot of time on the seats and seating arrangements inside the
F-150. The standard seating is a 40/20/40 split bench. Starting with the
XLT model you can get front captain’s chairs with a center storage
console, and the FX4 and Lariat SuperCab and SuperCrew offer the chairs
with the console and floor shifter. All SuperCab and SuperCrew models
have a 60/40 split rear bench seat that flips up for cargo storage.
On the SuperCab,
Ford addressed something that’s been a gripe for anyone who has
ever sat in back: the seat rake angle. For 2004, on the rear seats, the
SuperCab now offers a new backrest recline of 21 degrees, which matches
the seating position on the SuperCrew. This makes it much easier on the
rear seat riders, as well as the driver who won’t have to listen
to comfort complaints any more.
cabin is wider and longer than before, with six more inches of length
in Regular and SuperCab configurations, and the front seats offer more
room. Grab handles are abundant for ease of entry and exit, and opening
the rear access doors only requires using a single, double-acting handle
that replaces the inner/outer door handles on the current model.
Regular Cab features four doors, a first in the segment, which makes it
a breeze to reach behind the front seats. And you’ll be doing a
lot of that, since Ford incorporated 13 inches of floor space behind those
seats. That space will easily fit five gallon paint buckets, tool boxes,
or even golf clubs.