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Original MSRP: $21,565 - $44,355
MPG: 14 City / 19 Hwy
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2009 Ford F-150 Performance

This performance review was written when the 2009 Ford F-150 was new.

Reviewers are generally pleased with the 2009 Ford F-150's performance, saying the truck has plenty of power and is easy to live with.  Some reviewers were particularly impressed with the truck's off-road and towing capabilities.

  • "Our 2009 Ford F-150 4X2 Supercrew Lariat edition showed ready acceleration and easy maneuverability, given its size, thanks to the over-powered steering and good visibility to the front corners of the vehicle." -- CNET
  • "The preproduction model I drove was quiet and smooth. The ride quality exceeded that of many competing pickups. The 5.4-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic transmission is a proven unit that delivers ample power without struggling." -- Kansas City Star
  • "The F-150's easy/breezy/beautiful (cover girl) nature also comes through in on road driving, handling and hauling." -- The Truth About Cars

Acceleration and Power

The 2009 Ford F-150 is available in three engines, and most reviewers say all are capable.  There are two 4.6 liter V8 engines; one has two valves, the other has three. The largest engine is a 5.4 liter three valve V8 that makes 310 horspower and can run either on gasoline or E85 ethanol.  Many reviewers say that buyers should choose engines based on their needs; people who do a lot of towing will naturally want a more powerful engine.  However, reviewers also note that buying a larger engine means paying at the pump. A two-wheel drive F-150 with the 4.6 liter engines gets and EPA-estimated 15 miles per gallon in the city and 20 on the highway. The EPA estimates that the 5.4 liter engine gets 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 on the highway when using gasoline.  The F-150's SFE high efficiency trim gets an EPA-estimated 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 on the highway. The F-150 has a six speed automatic transmission.

  • "The F-150 isn't as quick and powerful as the Toyota Tundra, but it's plenty fast if you go with the big engine." -- BusinessWeek
  • "This big V-8 has plenty of power and matched to the new six-speed automatic transmission, it's managed exceedingly well. " -- Orlando Sentinel
  • "It sounds funny to say, but the new six speed transmission is a stand out feature of the new F-150. The truck has emerged from the four speed doldrums with a well sorted and smartly programmed cog swapper. " -- Jalopnik

Handling and Braking

Though it is still and full-size truck and handles like one, most reviewers were pleased with the way the 2009 Ford F-150 drives. Though some report a slightly bouncy ride, that's typical for a pickup truck.

  • "Suspension geometry front and rear has been tweaked, leaf springs lengthened and extra foam added to seats to reduce much, but not all, of the pickup bounce on uneven roads." --Chicago Tribune
  • "On curvy mountain roads, we found ourselves taking corners faster and faster to test the limits of the truck's handling" -- PickupTrucks.com
  • "Enhancements to the F-150's suspension have smoothed out the ride. On a mix of dirt roads and highway driving, the stiffer frame didn't reveal itself in a stiffer ride. It was surprisingly quiet and smooth. Ford uses a mix of sound deadening materials such as laminated steel (known as quiet steel) and a retuned powertrain to keep noise to a minimum." -- Detroit News
  • "There's a new frame-still fully boxed-and it does feel a little stiffer. The steering is much improved. "-- Car and Driver
  • "Smaller bumps are easily absorbed, but even moderate-size ones are followed by a reverberation that's typical in pickup trucks. The tail end can hop on rough roads without some weight in the bed--also typical of pickups." --  Consumer Guide
  • "Steering feel in our SuperCab tester proved a bit soft on center but had a firmer, quicker feel when cornering, and directional stability has been improved. The ride on our SuperCrew around uneven concrete and blacktop surfaces of Dearborn, Michigan, was noticeably absorbing just about every rut and pothole (and there were many). Likewise, on several around-town freeway loops, where concrete was broken and rutted, our empty Ford tester hunkered down and swallowed up the hits." -- Motor Trend

Off Roading

The reviewers who took the 2009 F-150 off-road were impressed with its capabilities. Four-wheel drive is available on all trims, and the FX4 model is designed for off-road use. 

  • "Available are rear-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive that cannot be left engaged on dry pavement but includes low-range gearing for off-road use." --  Consumer Guide
  • "We further took the off-road package through nasty trails and obstacles. The four-wheel-drive system offers a push-button rear locking differential for extra traction, as well as bigger, standard all-terrain tires, new shocks, custom wheels, stickers, and a unique grille. The system is so capable, we made it through heavy-duty mud bogs and rocky hillclimbs in four-wheel-drive high range, not even needing low range. The FX4 had no trouble extricating itself over a slushy steep slope, crossed with a few felled trees and several ill-placed boulders, where low range was put to use, the rear locker engaged. " -- Motor Trend
  • "While Ford has stretched luxury to new heights in the F-150's new Platinum trim package, we're most enamored with the revamped FX4 offroad model." --PickupTrucks.com

Towing

While some reviewers say that an unladen Dodge Ram, with its new coil over suspension drives better than the F-150, others say that the F-150 as no trouble out-towing the Ram.  Many reviewers are also very pleased with the additional towing features on the F-150, including trailer brake control and a smarter, more responsive transmission.

  • "Still, bragging rights are bragging rights, and the Ram can't hold a candle to the F-150's 11,300-pound maximum towing capacity, which is achievable when you pony up for the 5.4-liter V-8 and its six-speed automatic transmission." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "I've towed a rather heavy trailer with the new F-150 and this 5.4-liter V-8 and six-speed transmission, and I have never driven a half-ton truck that handled a trailer better. Properly equipped, it can tow a staggering 11,200 pounds. -- Orlando Sentinel"
  • "I'm a towing layman. And between comparably equipped trucks, the Ford was infinitely easier to drive than the Dodge and Tundra, both of which had transmission hangups that made towing a chore and engine braking nearly impossible. The Silverado 6.0 performed very well, if not as coolly as the F150, the outcome of overactive brakes and a jumpy transmission." -- The Truth About Cars
  • "Integrated trailer-brake control is also offered, replacing those clunky plug-in modules that you install under the dash. In my half-day test drive, towing a 5,000-pound box of something, the trailer-braking action was far smoother and more integrated than that provided by the usual auxiliary modules."--  Los Angeles Times
  • "With wider and longer leaf springs, stability and confidence under load are as good as anything in the segment. Maybe that's not surprising because the new F-150 has the highest towing capacity at 11,300 pounds and the largest payload at 3030 pounds of any vehicle in the segment." --  Motor Trend
  • "Similar to the system found in competitors' trucks and Ford's Super Duty pickups, tow/haul mode holds engine rpm at higher revs during acceleration before upshifting, and it downshifts the transmission on descents, using driver brake input to engine brake the truck rather than burning up the wheel brakes to slow the load." --  PickupTrucks.com
Review Last Updated: 7/16/09

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