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It doesn’t matter whether you give a hoot about pickup trucks or not. It doesn’t even matter whether you care so little about cars you don’t know the name of the model you’re presently driving. Whatever your thoughts about our shared automotive universe and your place within it, you need to pay attention to this: Ford has just unveiled its 2004 F-150 pickup. The world’s most mass-produced vehicle, the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for the last 20 years — with over 26 million sales on its tally sheet — has just been completely reengineered from scratch and reborn.
The deck is loaded and the stakes couldn’t be higher. As any vaguely aware person can tell you, Ford is on the ropes. The F-150 is the company’s crown jewel and cash cow all rolled into one big safety net. The timing is excruciating: Either the redefined F-150 will tide its masters over and even turn back the surging flood of red ink; or it will disappoint its loyalists, succumb to its rivals and slip heartbreakingly off its perennial throne.
If the consequences weren’t so dire, the debut of such an important new vehicle would be an automotive soap opera of the first magnitude. Staring fate and fortune in the teeth, Ford has made several brave bets with their new F-150.
For instance, the two-door Ford pickup is a thing of the past. Every 2004 F-150 now boasts a four-door cab, whether it’s a Regular Cab, SuperCab, or SuperCrew. What this means is that all cabs are six inches longer than before so that even the Regular Cab, with its pair of opposing-hinge access doors, features nine to ten cubic feet of stow space behind the front bench seat. With the SuperCab, you get roomier bench seating for three in the back; with the SuperCrew, you’re essentially driving a cozy four-door SUV. Opt for the front bench, in fact, and you can travel as a party of six.
2004 Ford F-150Enlarge Photo