Ford F-150 SuperCrew - Short
on Bed, Long in Utility
think this is, the X-Files?"
Ford has ruled the roost for close to 20 years when it comes to pickups with the best selling F-Series trucks. We're not just talking king of trucks sales, we are talking about the most sold of ALL vehicles.
But the F-Series has always seemed kind of anonymous, the stereotype of the American pickup truck - two doors and a bed. Sure you could purchase a SuperCab, and more recently even get two additional, though hidden, doors on the truck, but it still 'looked like a pickup truck should'. Let's not forget you could also buy a Crew Cab with four full size doors, but it arrives with a full size 8 foot bed - the stereotypical construction / contractor's pickup truck.
The 2001 Ford F-150 SuperCrew strikes a distinctive new profile, one wedged between the practicality the performance of the traditional F-150 and a SuperDuty Crew Cab. Call it the 'Swiss Army Knife' of pickup trucks - able to handle almost any situation with its huge interior (for a pickup), four full size doors and shortened bed.
We ask only one question Why has it taken Ford so long to bring such
a vehicle to market? SUVs and pickup trucks are hot. It doesn't take
a genius to figure that one out. Consumers love them for their inherent
characteristics - ride height, four wheel drive, cargo carrying capacity,
etc., but when almost every auto manufacturer on the planet is pumping
out SUVs, even Porsche is about to sell one, you need to do something
to broaden the appeal and stand apart from the crowd. Lincoln did
this last year with the introduction of the Blackwood - the consummate
American luxury sedan, four doors and a bed - but not everyone is
going to pony up $50K for a uniquely styled pickup truck. Consumer
tastes, requirements, and expectations are rapidly changing. In 1974,
70 percent of F-150 owners drove Regular Cab trucks, as opposed to
SuperCabs. Now, those statistics are exactly opposite with 70 percent
of F-Series owners choosing four-door trucks. Ford's answer to the
question is that the consumer market is now ready for a new, affordable
all-American vehicle, a melting pot blend of SUV and pickup truck
- never mind that the rest of the world has been merrily using four
door pickup truck (aka Utes) for years.
Inside & Out
Our Amazon Green SuperCrew arrived with the XLT trim package and four wheel drive. Not as fancy as the Lariat trim, but definitely business class flying for a pickup truck..
The cloth interior
was cavernous, able to accommodate up to six adults (with six Big
Gulp class cupholders). We never had a problem fitting everyone
who wanted to go for a ride in the truck. Especially nice was ingress
and egress with the full size front and rear doors. No more circus
contortion acts around the front seats or through a slender extended
cab door to hop into a small jump seat or rear bench that sits at
a 90 degree angle.
The front was a 40/60 split bench with powered driver's seat and manually adjustable passenger. Both seats had a manual lumbar control. Between the driver and passenger was a fold down console that doubled as cupholder and additional storage.
Rear seating was also a full size 60/40 split bench and quite comfortable for long and short trips. During the holidays we pressed the SuperCrew into service for several trips to SFO airport to pick up and drop off passengers. There were no problems fitting all the luggage people wanted inside the truck with themselves plus the driver and other passengers. The rear seats have fold-flat capability to increase interior space when needed.
The instrument cluster, radio and CD, and HVAC controls were neatly arranged and ergonomic. There was never any fumbling to adjust the radio or air-conditioning, though the four wheel drive shift knob was somewhat hard to see and reach for by the steering wheel and gear shift. The dash is a major expanse of plastic, but it's high quality plastic. There is a funny kind of half-bin on the passenger side dash above the SRS airbag. It looks like you could leave small stuff in it but beware of taking corners too sharply, a pair of sunglasses on the dash quickly slid their way into the passenger side map holder in the right side door. Two cupholders (actually one cupholder and a removable ash tray) pop out of the dash below the HVAC controls to the right of the cigarette lighter and a 12-volt power port.
A new feature we liked in the SuperCrew was the power adjustable pedals, a first in a pickup truck. Found on the left hand side of the driver is a button that lets you adjust the brake and accelerator pedals up to three inches rearward from their standard location. Ford states that this feature is expected to provide greater comfort for a wider range of drivers, making the SuperCrew appealing to a greater number of customers.
The AM/FM stereo had good, but not great fidelity. There are twelve programmable FM stations and six AM. The CD player was a bit hard to find at first. We eventually located it securely hidden away behind the left hand side fold-down rear passenger seat next to the tire jack. The CD player fits up to six compact discs.
We like small touches of good design to demonstrate how much thought goes into a good pickup truck. Ford lived up to expectations by using a novel sliding rear window in the cab that requires only one hand to operate. Two fingers were all it took to open and slide the window open or closed. Nice job.
On the outside the 4x4 SuperCrew sits up quite high so it requires some effort to get in the truck. Aiding ingress are some of the most solid interior handles we have ever seen or felt. And though some people may not like running boards on their truck, we found them very useful.
If you look at the SuperCrew from head-on or directly behind it, it's tough to tell there is anything different about it from the standard F-150. Its when you see the truck from the side that its shortened bed and long cab make an impact. We thought that the shortened bed took some getting used to on a truck of this size (as have some PUTC readers have also commented in the discussion forum) but it quickly grows on you. Ford has done an outstanding job laying out this truck.