2001 Ford F-150 SuperCrew - Short on Bed, Long in Utility
by PickupTruck.Com Staff

"Whattya think this is, the X-Files?"
- Anonymous GenX pedestrian at the corner of Haight & Fillmore after staring at our SuperCrew for about 30 seconds.

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.

The Ford F-150 SuperCrew cuts a solid profile with its four 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.
The SuperCrew will appeal to many consumers in the marketplace. Mom can use it to take the kids to school (and intimidate the other mothers). Dad can use it for manly types of work (picking up fertilizer at the nursery for mom to use in the garden) and not dirty up the back of his pretty SUV.
Junior can move all of his stuff from dorm to apartment (and move his friends stuff too). When they are all done the entire family can hop in and head to Disneyland for vacation. Everyone wins!

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.

Turning specifically to the bed. It's almost like an optical illusion. You think there is very little space but it's actually quite substantial - over 44 cubic feet. At 5 1/2 feet long you might not be able to fit a couch with the tailgate closed, but Ford offers an optional bed extender to lengthen the bed to 7 feet with the tailgate open. There are multiple tie down points in the bed to help secure any loose items. For construction work you could easily fit a toolbox in the back, but because the bed starts just before the rear wheel wells the box would have to be somewhat shallow.

Ford has produced an attractive and rugged looking truck that stands apart in the full size truck crowd.

On the Road

Our SuperCrew came with the optional 260hp/350lb-ft 5.4L Triton V-8. While we did not get to run the truck with a full payload, we did find that with four adults inside the cabin, plus some heavy luggage, the truck has more than adequate passing power on the freeway. The SuperCrew comes standard with a 4.6 L Triton V-8 producing 220hp/290lb-ft. The only transmission option is the 4 speed automatic which produced smooth shifts.

Gas mileage was a little better than expected achieving just over 14mpg in mixed freeway and surface driving conditions. EPA testing shows 14mpg in the city and 18mpg on the highway. You don't buy a SuperCrew for its fuel efficiency.

On the road behavior was quite good but somewhat firm and harsh, as can only be expected with a four wheel drive truck. Those who rode or drove in the truck were split. Some preferred the stiffer ride offered in the 4x4 while others would have liked the cushier ride found in a two wheel drive truck. Regardless there were never any problems with an unstable rear end even in rough pavement, though fast acceleration from a standing start could get the rear wheels spinning. Four wheel anti-lock brakes provided excellent stopping power and control even under rapid braking conditions.

When it came to parking this truck we found it fairly nimble, even in modestly cramped lots, but you have to use extra caution when backing out. The very short bed and long cabin take a little time to get used to when trying to estimate how close or far you are to the next row of cars. Lots of

large windows and excellent mirrors make it easy to see in every direction during parking. If you are going to park this truck indoors, make sure it clears the garage. Our 4x4 wouldn't fit in one place where the roof was too low.

Summing Up

The 2001 Ford F-150 SuperCrew is an outstanding all-around truck. With its great looks and ability to carry a large number of passengers and moderate payload, Ford has found the perfect balance in a full size truck almost any consumer can enjoy.