2009 Ford F-150
Ringing in at $21,320, the most basic, brand-new, 2009 Ford F-150 XL Regular Cab offers "more capability with better fuel economy" than other trucks, comments Matt O'Leary, Ford F-150 chief engineer. Ford also claims an additional $1,600 in standard equipment on the F150 XLT SuperCrew for '09, representing a $1,000 increase in vehicle value. Ford brass claim more towing and hauling capacity, more standard safety items, and now-standard V-8 power in a field that mostly installs V-6s in its base models, all at a price of "more than $1,000 less than a comparably equipped competitive truck."
Standard safety features on the '09 F-150 include AdvanceTrac stability control, trailer sway control, safety canopy side curtain airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, and SOS post-crash alert system. Despite an extra two cylinders over rivals Chevy Silverado and Dodge Ram, Ford's base F-150 benefits from a new six-speed automatic transmission that enables EPA city/highway fuel economy ratings of 15/21 mpg with the new SFE package, numbers that Ford calls "unsurpassed."
An notable standard feature is Ford's new "EasyFuel" capless fuel filler, a surefire way to never leave that gas cap on top of the roof. But if EasyFuel ever has any trouble sealing off today's air-tight fuel systems, you can bet that legions of Ford drivers with "check engine" lights aglow will be none too happy. Just think, it could soon be like the early '80s again, when new emissions regs lit up check engine idiot lights across America like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.--Colin Mathews