2010 Ford F-150 Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
September 17, 2009

The 2010 Ford F-150 leads the light-duty full-size pickup class for serious truck buyers, though ride and handling are still not strengths.

TheCarConnection.com’s editors have driven various versions of the Ford F-150, along with most of its rivals, to put together a definitive Bottom Line assessment. Then to develop an especially comprehensive review, TheCarConnection.com has grabbed highlights and insights from some of the Web’s most reputable review sources, relevant to the 2010 Ford F-150.

While the demand for full-size trucks has decreased a bit over the past couple of years, Ford is hoping to lure more shoppers back this year with a greater number of models than ever, along with enhanced safety and some nifty new tech features. Most notably, 2010 brings improved fuel efficiency to base F-150 models, more safety and tech features available across the line, and a new Ford F-150 SVT Raptor model that promises a complete off-road-honed high-performance package.

From the outside, the 2010 Ford F-150 looks big, strong, and macho from just about any angle. Along the sides, a classy looking undercut defines the wheel wells, while in back the tailgate has been made a little more aerodynamic, with an integrated spoiler and character lines. Ford continues to improve the F-150’s interior; last year’s redesign brought a slightly more upright instrument panel, punctuated with round climate control vents.

Here’s where it gets complicated; like the other full-size trucks from Ford, Chevy, GMC, and even Toyota, the 2010 Ford F-150 is offered in a host of cab, bed, powertrain, and suspension variations. There are three cab configurations with multiple wheelbases and box lengths each, providing choices to satisfy just about any trucker's need with the F-150. Worth pointing out is that four-door Super Crew models get a wheelbase that’s six-inches longer, with nearly all of the extra room going to the rear seating area (keep this in mind if you’re worrying about parking space, though). Ford made some significant packaging improvements with the last redesign; the floor of the rear seating area is now completely flat, and when the rear seats fold up (they nest effortlessly into a compact package against the rear cab wall), a huge parcel can be accommodated behind the front seats.

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V-6 models are no longer offered in the F-150 model line. All 2010 models, as in 2009, come with either a 248-horsepower, 4.6-liter two-valve V-8, a 292-hp, 4.6-liter three-valve V-8, or a 320-hp, 5.4-liter three-valve V-8. Six-speed automatic transmissions are standard on the top two engines, while the base 4.6-liter two-valve engine gets a four-speed automatic. All models with the three-valve V-8 engine for 2010 now get the fuel-economy improvements that were exclusive to last year’s Ford F-150 SFE (Superior Fuel Efficiency) model. With rear-wheel drive, the Super Crew model as such achieves 15 mpg city, 21 highway while maintaining the ability to tow 7,500 pounds.

On the road, there’s no way you’re going to confuse the ride and handling of the 2010 Ford F-150 with that of a sports coupe—or even that of a sedan—but the F-150 handles relatively well for a pickup. Steering has been improved over previous versions, and the seats afford a good forward view along with good long-distance comfort.

New to the lineup this year is the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, a high-performance version of the F-150 that’s configured for challenging off-road situations such as off-road racing or desert treks. Although the appeal for everyday commuters might be limited, the SVT Raptor does come with some unique design elements, including a very distinctive grille with the Ford name carved into it, special side-marker lamps, various body-panel and fascia changes, and brush guards that are hard to miss.

Initially the SVT Raptor will be powered by a 320-horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic, but later in the year it will be offered with a new 6.2-liter V-8. The SVT Raptor rides high and includes internal-bypass FOX Racing Shox, with the suspension designed for 13.4 inches of usable travel in the rear suspension and almost as much in front. Huge BF Goodrich All-Terrain tires with tall sidewalls are intended for rocky and irregular surfaces. The SVT Raptor is also Ford’s first vehicle to get Hill Descent Control, which helps maintain control on steep, loose downhill grades.

In any of its trims, the 2010 Ford F-150 now offers a complete safety package, front side airbags, full-length side-curtain bags, anti-lock brakes, and stability control all standard. Trailer sway control, a very useful safety feature for those who frequently tow on the highway, is also standard. The F-150 gets top five-star ratings from the federal government in all test categories except rollover likelihood (three stars), and top ‘good’ ratings from the IIHS in front, side, and rear categories.

The 2009 Ford F-150 is now available in eight trims—nine if you count the new SVT Raptor—ranging from the basic, very affordable XL all the way up to swanky Platinum, King Ranch, and Harley Davidson editions. Since the F-150’s size is a challenge to some, it’s inherited a number of features that were previously only offered on the Super Duty trucks, including an integrated tailgate ladder and box side step. Premium Sony sound systems are available, as are SNYC (Ford's voice-activated media and phone interface) and Sirius Travel Link (that provides navigation plus real-time traffic, weather, and fuel prices among other features). For 2010, the top King Ranch and Platinum models get even more standard equipment, including second-row heated seats, a power-sliding window with defrost, and the Sony system, including a CD changer. Newly offered is the MyKey programmable vehicle key system, which is standard on all models but the XL.

7

2010 Ford F-150

Styling

The 2010 Ford F-150 lineup looks tougher than ever, with bold styling that stands out regardless of the surroundings.

Few would argue that the latest generation of Ford’s venerable F-150 pickup is understated, and with the introduction of the edgy new Ford F-150 SVT Raptor high-performance off-road edition, the truck lineup is more pronounced than ever.

The 2010 Ford F-150 is Ford’s signature pickup truck, a workplace mainstay that has been among the best-selling vehicles in the country for decades. One of the keys to the F-150’s staying power is its incredible versatility and diversity of body styles—Cars.com writes that, “for 2010, it comes in 10 trim levels” comprised of “three cab styles: regular, extended and crew cab.” The potential combinations are “mind-boggling,” according to Edmunds, and virtually guarantee that there is a 2010 Ford F-150 to meet your needs. Compared to the previous generation, Kelley Blue Book writes that this F-150 is “much huskier, with an imposing front end, strong shoulders and a deep, deep pickup box.” The various trims are primarily distinguished by their grille treatment, which Cars.com says begins “with a simple one on the base XL and topping out with mesh grille inserts for the highest trim level.”

The 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is significantly more distinct, however, and Jalopnik reports that “the agile, performance truck was designed to give the impression it is always on the move.” The Raptor is nearly seven inches wider than a standard F-150, and reviews read by TheCarConnection.com love the aggressive styling modifications, which include a grille with the word “FORD” carved into it and numerous SVT badges.

Beginning several years ago, Ford made a major investment in its interiors, and the results have been impressive. With the new F-150, Ford has continued its interior styling improvements, and Kelley Blue Book calls the latest cabin “both attractive and functional.” Consumer Guide adds that the “gauges are easy to read,” although the “audio and climate controls are mounted high, just out of easy reach.” Compared to most other Ford vehicles, Cars.com writes that “the interior includes enlarged buttons” which are easy to manipulate even with large work gloves on. Differences on the SVT Raptor are minimal, with Car and Driver finding that the “inside is a mostly standard F-150 cabin, which is a pretty pleasant place to start.”

7

2010 Ford F-150

Performance

The 2010 Ford F-150 lags near the back of the class in acceleration, but it still manages to provide best-in-class towing—a critical stat for truck buyers.

Although fuel economy for the Ford F-150 has been increased, it still trails the class leaders. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that the 2010 Ford F-150 excels in several other performance categories, though acceleration isn’t one of them either.

The 2010 Ford F-150 lineup launches with a trio of V-8s, the majority of which will be of the 4.6-liter variety. Cars.com writes that “power plants start with an entry-level 4.6-liter V-8 that’s more powerful” than before, offering 248-hp and 293 lb-ft of torque. Edmunds writes that a second 4.6-liter mill comes “with 292 hp and 320 lb-ft and a 5.4-liter V8 with 320 hp and 390 lb-ft” is also offered. The two 4.6-liter engines are distinguished as either two-valve or three-valve versions, with the three-valve representing the more capable variant. Reviews of the engines are mixed, but tend towards the negative; ConsumerGuide says that “these trucks have good acceleration away from a stop, in around-town driving, and in highway passing,” although most other automotive experts deride the F-150’s acceleration. Edmunds says that the F-150’s 0-to-60 time is “well behind trucks like the Tundra and Silverado with their top-shelf V8s.” Even the souped-up Ford F-150 SVT Raptor draws fire for its powerplant, with Car and Driver noting that their “only real complaint with the Raptor is the 310-hp, 5.4-liter V-8” that is “woefully overtaxed by the vehicle’s mass and large tires.” Overall capability isn’t much of a problem, however, as Cars.com finds that “the F-150 offers best-in-class towing (11,300 pounds) and payload (3,030 pounds) ratings.”

It’s been quite a while since Ford offered a manual transmission with the F-series truck lineup, and by all indications Ford isn’t interested in returning to the standard setup. The Ford F-150, which is available in either 2WD or 4WD, comes with either a four-speed automatic or, as Cars.com points out, “a six-speed automatic” for the three-valve and 5.4-liter variants. The shifters are well-received by reviewers, and ConsumerGuide likes how “the 6-speed automatic transmission kicks down quickly under part-throttle application,” but they warn that “downshifts are sometimes delayed.”

The F-150’s fuel-economy numbers, even though improved, aren’t that impressive even for a truck. According to the official EPA estimates, the 2010 Ford F-150 should return 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway when outfitted with a 2WD, six-speed setup, but those numbers drop to 15/19 with the four-speed. For 4WD versions, the EPA estimates 14 mpg city and 18 mpg highway with 4WD and 14/20 numbers for the six-speed.

Reviews surveyed by TheCarConnection.com read more like reviews of a sedan thanks to the F-150’s admirable composure and handling. Edmunds raves that, with the F-150, Ford has delivered a truck with “solid ride and handling dynamics,” and Consumer Guide loves the “firm, responsive steering.” Ride quality is impressive as well, and Kelley Blue Book claims that “each and every version of the F-150 we’ve driven offered exceptional ride quality.” The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is even more capable, thanks to a host of upgrades that Jalopnik lists as “internal bypass FOX Racing Shox…and an upgraded front suspension.” The improvements make the Raptor a pleasure to drive both on-road and off, as Car and Driver finds that, “on the highway, the Raptor feels much like the softer-sprung, four-wheel-drive F-150 on which it’s based.” Even the F-150’s braking performance is impressive, especially for such a heavy vehicle, and Edmunds claims that they “stopped a four-wheel-drive Super Crew from 60 mph in an impressive 127 feet.”

8

2010 Ford F-150

Comfort & Quality

The 2010 Ford F-150 continues Ford’s quality improvement trend, and new bed features borrowed from the Super Duty lineup make the F-150 even more useful.

The 2010 Ford F-150 has been completely revitalized, especially with the introduction of the latest generation last year. For 2010, Ford has continued to make improvements to the F-150’s interior quality, and the seating arrangement is particularly comfortable.

The 2010 Ford F-150 has ample room for four occupants in every cab configuration, and Edmunds says that “in SuperCrew form, the 2010 Ford F-150 can comfortably seat four people, and you can squeeze up to six in a pinch.” Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com are particularly impressed with the overall room, and Consumer Guide raves that the front offers “plenty of room on comfortable, supportive seats.” Kelley Blue Book is equally impressed, calling the seats “some of the most comfortable in our experience.” There’s more good news in the rear, where Cars.com notices that “the SuperCrew’s cab provides a backseat that rivals the interior space of the Toyota Tundra Crew Max.” Edmunds agrees, calling the backseat “superb thanks to abundant legroom, a flat floor and a seatback angle that’s pleasantly reclined.”

As a pickup truck, versatility and utility is the F-150’s primary reason for being, and the Ford F-150 doesn’t disappoint in the cargo category. Beginning with the bed, Consumer Guide says that the box “can be outfitted with dual side rails that can host adjustable tie-down cleats, removable bins, a bed divider, and a collapsible bed extender.” Cars.com adds that “a step pulls out of the open tailgate and hinges down to ease climbing into the bed,” making loading operations significantly easier than before. Space abounds inside the cabin as well, and Cars.com finds that the interior holds “a large, lockable center storage console to accommodate laptop computers, with added ridges compatible with hanging file folders.” Kelley Blue Book points out that the console “is just one of more than 30 storage areas built into the interior for things like cell phones and music players.”

Ford has made huge strides in terms of interior quality, and although the materials aren’t free of imperfections they are well ahead of what consumers are used to from Ford. Edmunds says that “all F-150s feature simple controls and good-quality materials (by full-size truck standards).” Cars.com adds that “the F-150’s seats use high-grade materials,” although Car and Driver takes exception to the “center-console appliqué, which looks like a cheap sticker from the local auto parts store.” Otherwise, however, build quality is tight and the materials exceed expectations.

One way the Ford F-150 distinguishes itself in the competitive pickup market is through its acoustic insulation, which is among the best in the class. ConsumerGuide feels that the F-150 is “very quiet for a pickup,” while Cars.com points out that “cabin noise has been lowered dramatically…and the Platinum trim level boasts additional noise abatement.”

9

2010 Ford F-150

Safety

The 2010 Ford F-150 builds on its safety pedigree with the introduction of Ford’s first-ever Hill Descent assist system in the Raptor.

A few new safety features take the 2010 Ford F-150 even closer to the front of the class.

The 2010 Ford F-150 earns perfect five-star ratings from the NHTSA in every impact category and in all of its varied body configurations. This is an impressive feat for any vehicle, and few automobiles manage to sweep the NHTSA crash-test ratings. The Ford F-150 earned the IIHS’ highest possible rating, ‘Good,’ in both frontal offset and side impact tests. The 2009 Ford F-150 was also named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, and TheCarConnection.com expects similar results for the 2010 edition of the Ford F-150.

The new F-150 lineup is bristling with protective technology, and the list of safety features rivals that of any other pickup on the road. Cars.com writes that the standard safety features “include side curtain airbags to protect front and backseat occupants; antilock brakes; and an electronic stability system with traction control and Roll Stability Control.” Jalopnik adds that additional safety features include “Trailer Sway Control,” which can take control of both braking effort and engine speed to “bring both vehicle and trailer under control.” The 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor also gets Ford’s first-ever “Hill Descent Control,” which Jalopnik says means that “the driver can control hill descent without applying the brakes.” Kelley Blue Book simply calls the safety features list “outstanding,” with additions for 2010 that include “’smart’ airbags and seatbelts and new seats and restraints” that improve rear-end collision protection.

One of the problems with driving large trucks is poor visibility, but Ford has taken steps to improve sightlines from the driver’s seat of the F-150. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that these efforts have been largely successful, as ConsumerGuide writes that “visibility is generally good in SuperCab and SuperCrew models.” Unfortunately, and somewhat paradoxically, the smaller “regular cab…has huge rear pillars that block a lot to the back corners.”

9

2010 Ford F-150

Features

The 2010 Ford F-150 digs ever deeper into the high-tech toolbox, delivering tremendous value with its assortment of creature comforts and usable worksite features.

With ten trim levels on tap, the 2010 Ford F-150 is bound to offer a standard features list that appeals to you. Sticker prices for some of the F-150 models may seem a bit high, but the value is undeniable thanks to Ford’s recent improvements in its features loadouts.

The 2010 Ford F-150 XL, the lowest trim level available, is designed as a fleet work vehicle, and accordingly comes equipped with little besides a radio and air-conditioning. The 2010 Ford F-150 STX is very similar, but it gets a CD player in addition to the radio tuner. Moving up to the Ford F-150 XLT, where most consumers will start shopping, brings a significant features increase, as Edmunds reports that you’ll get “cruise control and full power accessories” with this trim. Higher trims add ever-more features, including Ford’s superb SYNC system, which Cars.com describes as a “voice-activated multimedia system [that] is available with 911 Assist, a new service similar to GM’s OnStar.” Kelley Blue Book lists one of the newer standard features as the MyKey “programmable vehicle key [that] is made standard on all models except the base XL” and allows parents to set speed and volume limits on the F-150 for when their kids are behind the wheel.

Leading the way on the Ford F-150’s options list is a top-notch navigation system that gets rave reviews in articles read by TheCarConnection.com. Cars.com writes that the nav system “uses an 8-inch touch-screen that can show real-time traffic and gas prices for nearby stations when teamed with Sirius Travel Link.” Kelley Blue Book looks to the rear of the F-150, where they find an “integral tailgate step that makes clambering into the box easy” and a “stowable bed extender” that gets “high marks” from reviewers there. Ford clearly hasn’t lost sight of their commercial audience either, as Edmunds discovers the availability of “Work Solutions options [that] include an in-dash computer with Internet access, a Midbox storage system (a lockable compartment located between the cab and bed) and a ‘Tool Link’ system (which allows one to keep tabs on tools stored in the truck’s box via radio-frequency tracking.”

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April 28, 2015
2010 Ford F-150 4WD SuperCrew 157" XLT

Built Ford Tough!

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I just recently purchased my used 2010 Ford F150 Super crew and absolutely Love it! I have a friends that have Ram 1500's and Silverado 1500's and even though there trucks are newer than mine, I like mine a... + More »
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April 13, 2015
For 2010 Ford F-150

Chirpping Dash Board

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I have a 2010 F-150 FX-2,4.6 liter,37000 miles. The dashboard has been removed twice to try find a chirpping sound in the dash when it is cold. Had not had any other major problems
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