F-150: Most Towing and Hauling Capability, Improved Efficiency and
More than eight months after the debut of the 2009 Ford F-150, Ford has announced long-awaited power, fuel-economy and pricing numbers (plus a few other surprises) for the country's best-selling vehicle.
As was first reported in June — and confirmed in August — Ford is restaking its claim to the largest trailer towing rating in the segment, 11,300 pounds, regardless of cab configuration. That's 300 pounds more than the 2008 model, which Ford attributes to the '09 F-150's re-engineered ladder frame.
The new F-150 also carries a hefty best-in-class 3,030 pounds payload rating for its cargo box.
Ford has improved overall mileage by an average of 8 percent across the lineup and up to 12 percent on certain models. The V-6 engine has been dropped as an option, and two extra gears were added to the transmission teamed with the top V-8 motors.
The legacy two-valve, 4.6-liter V-8 is paired with the F-150's old four-speed automatic transmission. It's rated the same 14/19 mpg city/highway as the discontinued 4.2-liter six-cylinder engine.
A new three-valve, 4.6-liter V-8 has been added to the engine lineup, rated at 292 horsepower and 320 pounds-feet. It's paired with the F-150's new fuel-efficient 6R80 six-speed transmission. The EPA rates a two-wheel-drive 2009 F-150 with the six-speed and three-valve 4.6-liter V-8 at 15/20 mpg.
For those seeking greater fuel efficiency, Ford is introducing a brand new SFE (superior fuel economy) package for 4x2 XL and XLT trucks. According to Ford, fuel economy has moved from tenth to third place among buyers' top purchase considerations.
SFE trucks are estimated to achieve 15/21 mpg thanks to 18-inch aluminum wheels with low-rolling-resistance tires, which help reduce friction between road surfaces and the truck, and a tall 3.15 rear axle, instead of the standard 3.31, for efficient highway cruising.
The SFE F-150 competes directly with General Motors' recently announced 2009 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra XFE half-ton pickups. The Ford and GM rigs are rated the same 15/21 mpg, but Ford says its SFE F-150 has several notable distinctions compared with the XFE twins. The SFE F-150 tows 500 pounds more, doesn't require a tonneau cover for improved aerodynamics and doesn't require removal of the front chin spoiler if the truck is taken off-road.
The F-150’s legacy three-valve 5.4-liter V-8 also receives the 6R80 six-speed transmission. Power is boosted to 320 horsepower and 390 pounds-feet running on either E85 or gasoline. Unofficial documents leaked in May had suggested 5.4-liter power ratings would be split into two tiers, depending on fuel type. Fuel economy is up as much as 2 mpg on the highway compared to a similarly configured 2008 F-150 with the 5.4-liter V-8.
Ford also attributes fuel economy gains to the use of ultra-high-strength steel, which helped lighten the truck's frame by up to 100 pounds (depending on wheelbase and cab configuration), a slick fuel shut-off feature, that cuts fuel to the engine when the driver lets off the accelerator, and improved aerodynamics. Ford says the F-150 has the lowest aerodynamic drag rating in the segment: .403.
Finally, Ford has announced that pricing for the 2009 F-150 will start at $21,320, for the two-valve 4.6-liter four-speed automatic V-8 regular cab XL work truck with air conditioning and a $975 destination fee. A 2008 F-150 equipped with a 4.2-liter four-speed automatic V-6 regular cab XL work truck with air and a $950 destination fee cost $20,845.
Ford says a 2009 Lariat trim F-150 SuperCrew will start at $35,820, versus $41,320 for a comparably equipped 2009 Dodge Ram Laramie Crew Cab.