2009 Ford F-Series Caught Testing

Ford Motor Company has now moved into its final, confirmation prototype stage on the next-generation F-150, as a slew of production- finished trucks have hit the streets. The F-150 program appears to be going at full throttle, as we spotted three distinct prototypes on the move —standard short-cab, extended-cab, and four-door crew-cab — as they all roamed the streets of Detroit. It seems likely that Ford engineers are doing their best to avoid a slow, staggered roll-out of the various F-Series cab configurations.

The latest prototypes are, not surprisingly, covered in thick camouflage which hides many of the most telling details. Our close-up shot of the taillight reveals two or three inches of foam padding along the bed rail, giving the false impression of an unusually tall, deep bed. Additional foam inserts are strategically placed around the truck, to obfuscate the varied sheetmetal turns. We managed a close-up front-end photo that manages to cut through the camo a bit, revealing a large three-bar grille, which likely gives us at least an approximation of the the next F-150's face. The headlights appear to have avoided the tall, stacked treatment found on the new Super Duty pickups, in favor of something more familiar to the F-150 faithful.

Ford engineers were careful to keep the interiors obscured with custom-crafted dash covers, so our interior shots are not all-revealing. However, this first look inside the next F-150 reveals a generous center armrest with ample storage, four visible cupholders, and what appears to be pleasant interior materials. The current F-Series interior was a real breakthrough in design and quality, so this new design appears to be more of an evolutionary change.

Ford is obviously eager to get these pickups to market, to battle the new Toyota Tundra and the redesigned trucks from GM. Just how quick they can be in showrooms is the big question. We wouldn't be surprised to see these pickups take an official bow at Detroit's North American International Auto show, next January.

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