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The 6R80 six-speed is also the standard transmission for the top of the line 5.4-liter Triton V8, where it replaces the old four-speed automatic.

Both the 5.4L and 4.6L V8s use new ‘open valve injection’ technology. As the name suggests, open valve injection injects fuel into the cylinders while the intake valves are open (instead of closed like during conventional combustion cycles). The incoming air improves the mixture of air and fuel before the 'charge' is ignited. Ford says the result is increased horsepower during towing, higher RPMs, and an improvement in emissions from the more efficient burn.

Ford isn’t releasing any horsepower or torque figures for the new engine line, but better power band management from the 6-speed transmission and improved horsepower from open valve injection are expected to help Ford meet its claims that the new F-150 will continue to tow and haul the most payload in the segment. The 6-speed should also help the F-150 hit higher fuel economy numbers.

Brand New Interior

While the previous F-Series interiors were more car-like than ever before, the 2009 units kick it up another few notches. It's all new and closely aligned with the interior design of the 2008 Ford Super Duty. Interior trim pieces include real wood surfaces and finished metals.

"Customers tell us that they spend an awful lot of time conducting business from their trucks, so we’ve worked hard to ensure the new F-150’s interior is both functional and comfortable," says Michael
Arbaugh, the F-150's interior design chief. "We raised the bar on ourselves, pushing even beyond what we delivered on the game changing interiors in 2004 and brought home the new trucks with architectural elements finished in real woods and metals that help the new F-150 interior look like it’s been 'built,' rather than designed."

The revised gauge cluster is built around two large meters in the instrument panel that display tach and speedo information. Four smaller analog indicators constantly provide transmission, coolant, and oil temperatures and fuel levels.

FX4 off-road and the new, ultra-premium Platinum edition F-150 get real brushed aluminum trim that borders and flows around all of the control surfaces and switchgear. It's a tough look that F-150 design director Pat Schiavone says took over 10 tries to get the right appearance and feel.

The center stack of the dash is crammed with buttons for the HVAC controls (dual zone in some models) and infotainment systems.

The F-150 also receives Ford's new telematics system, SYNC v2.0, that's been created in partnership with Microsoft. SYNC allows for easy pairing between the vehicle and electronic peripherals, like phones and iPODs. SYNC enables the truck’s occupants to control all of those devices hands-free, using voice commands.

Even though SYNC 1.0 just debuted in the new Ford Focus, 2.0 adds two important new features. '911 Assist' will automatically call 911 through a SYNC Bluetooth paired cell phone if the airbags deploy. 'Vehicle Health Report' will produce a maintenance schedule and service condition report for the truck.

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