Performance » 7 / 10
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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
Impressive ride and handling dynamics for a full-size truck
V6 has adequate power for commuter duty, but it struggles with even modest loads
Four-speed automatic transmission is standard with V-8 power
With a range of engines to choose from, performance on the 2008 Ford F-150 varies considerably across the lineup. The improved handling and steering feel, however, are consistent on all Ford F-150s.
The 2008 Ford F-150 comes with four engine options. Cars.com writes "the base F-150 engine is a 202-horsepower, 4.2-liter V-6," while "two V-8s are available: a 248-hp 4.6-liter and a 300-hp 5.4-liter." On the Harley-Davidson edition Ford F-150 2008, the latter can be outfitted with a supercharger that Automobile says "pumps up Ford's 5.4-liter V-8 to 450 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque." Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com are not entirely impressed with the engine options, and ConsumerGuide says that even the 5.4-liter V-8 on the Ford F-150 "trails Dodge's Hemi V8 for overall power and GM's 5.3 V8 for refinement." Edmunds adds "the truck's beefy curb weight is too much for the 4.2-liter V6 and 4.6-liter V8 engines." Cars.com finds that "the 5.4-liter V-8 produces quicker acceleration than the 4.6-liter, though neither engine is phenomenal." The supercharged version of the 5.4-liter on the Harley-Davidson Ford F-150 fares better, and Motor Trend claims that it "pulls longer and harder than you expect."
One area where many reviewers find more to fault with the 2008 Ford F-150 is the transmission. Cars.com says "a four-speed automatic transmission is standard with V-8 power, but V-6 models can team with a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual." ConsumerGuide writes "all F-150s offer rear-wheel drive" and "V8 models are available with 4-wheel drive." Regardless of how many wheels are driving the Ford F-150 2008, ConsumerGuide says "the transmission tends to rush upshifts and delay downshifts, frustrating passing response and hilly terrain driving." On the supercharged Harley-Davidson edition, Automobile laments the lack of "fifth and sixth forward gears," as the "four-speed automatic is simply no match for the blown V-8."
Fuel economy is not spectacular on the 2008 Ford F-150, but that shouldn't come as much of a surprise. ConsumerGuide rates the Ford F-150 right with its class average and says their 5.4-liter V8 "Lariat SuperCrew averaged 13.2 mpg in a city/highway mix over 7435 miles." The EPA estimates that the V-6 on the Ford F-150 2008 will return 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway as an automatic and 14/20 mpg as a manual. On the 4.6-liter V-8 in 2WD mode, the EPA estimates 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway, while all other engine and drive wheel configurations result in a 13/17 mpg rating.
One area where the 2008 Ford F-150 shines much brighter than its predecessors is handling. Edmunds reviewers find that "the 2008 Ford F-150 delivers impressive ride and handling dynamics for a full-size truck," and ConsumerGuide agrees that "firm, responsive steering highlights capable handling." As for ride quality, Cars.com writes that "the suspensions react more positively to pavement flaws by rebounding rapidly," and Kelley Blue Book feels that these 2008 Fords are the "best-riding F150s to ever leave a Ford factory." When it comes time to stop the 2008 Ford F-150, Edmunds says to expect brakes that "feel solid, with a firm pedal, but stopping distances are still longer than most of the F-150's competition."
The 2008 Ford F-150 suffers in terms of acceleration with all except the supercharged engine, but the ride and handling are a definite plus.