In back, the rear suspension is a Hotchkiss design, and is optimized
by moving the Sachs shock absorbers outside the frame rails, another first
in the segment. By moving the shocks outside, the amount of lean or body
roll is reduced, especially during transient maneuvers. This setup also
helps reduce rear end skipping or skating over washboard roads. The live
axle suspension utilizes leaf springs, which seems like an outdated system,
but the engineers assured us that this combination works best for the
ride and control they were looking for in the new F-150. The leaf springs
are now 3 inches wide—20 percent more than last year’s model
and the same as on the Super Duty trucks. It should provide better towing
stability and control.
The new suspension
will help improve towing characteristics on the F-150. The resistance
to side loads is stronger, and limited-slip is optional on vehicles with
either the 3.55:1, 3.73:1, or 4.10: 1 rear axle ratios. Although the engineers
did not release towing figures, the press book notes that the standard
truck can tow up to 8300 lbs, while the beds have a payload capacity of
2000 lbs. The optional Tow Group Package comes with a 7-pin trailer wiring
harness, frame-mounted hitch receiver, and a heavy-duty electrical/cooling
and Security, or, Protecting the Investment
Personal Safety System has been in place on many of its sedans, coupes,
and SUVs, this is the first time it will appear on the F-Series.
Safety System is a compilation of active and passive features that combine
to provide the occupant with a high level of crash protection. Features
include frame and body crashworthiness, seatbelt and airbag restraint
systems, and accident avoidance features like the anti-lock brakes discussed
The new F-150
is the first Ford product to meet the newest Federally required safety
standard 2008, which calls for protection of smaller occupants and those
who are out of position or unbelted. This means the passenger seat has
a weight-sensing technology that shuts off automatically when it senses,
by weight, an undersized person such as a child or small adult. The front
airbags also are dual stage, and will deploy either partially or fully
depending on many factors, including crash severity, seatbelt usage, and
is manufactured with the prerequisite crumple zones, as well as a collapsible
steering column, pyrotechnic pretensioners in the belts, adjustable head
restraints, and steel door beams for side impact protection.
who don’t trust technology, the Regular Cab has an airbag shut off
switch that can be activated manually. In addition, the new truck meets
another federal requirement for rear impact protection, which is designed
to maintain the fuel tank integrity in a 50-mph, 70-degree rear offset
features include the SecuriLock coded electronic key system, standard
locking tailgate on all models, standard keyed lock on the spare tire,
battery saver feature that turns off the interior lights if accidentally
left on, and an available Reverse Sensing System as found on the Super
or, Do We Have a Winner Here?
As you can
see by the information in this article, Ford knew just how big a task
it had when redesigning the F-150. Too much at stake and too many competitors
means this has to be the most important launch so far in the new millennium.
We had a
chance to ask a few questions about the competition. When grilled about
why Ford isn’t offering anything along the lines of GM’s Displacement
on Demand or its QuadraSteer setup, Ford responded by saying that with
the trucks being used so much for hard work, there was really no large
benefit of the 4-cylinder to 8-cylinder back and forth, especially during
towing and load hauling. As far as QuadraSteer, Ford says it will keep
an eye on the market, and if the customer demand is really high, it will
revisit a four-wheel steering system if necessary.
F-150 product marketing manager, also gave us a few tidbits about his
feelings toward Nissan entering the full-size marketplace. He noted that
Ford was flattered Nissan benchmarked the F-150 for its new truck, but
Ford will do nothing different as a result of Nissan entering the marketplace.
However, he did say Ford will be keeping an eye and ear on what Nissan’s
doing, from a product and image perspective.
no one is going to get in Ford’s way when it comes to being number
one in the truck market. and as Marentic noted, Ford has every intention
of maintaining its leadership position.
If the ride
and handling live up to the press, he’s got a strong chance of making
  [Lineup]