Ford F-150 XL
Tow 6000 for Under $22,000

The XL trim level isn't specifically called a work-truck model, but it is understood to be the worker of the line and represents 20 percent of overall F-150 sales. The F-150 is all-new for 2009, but the XL (base price $21,790) remains the entry-level workhorse of the bunch. It comes on regular cab, SuperCab, and SuperCrew F-150s, with a 6.5-foot styleside or flareside box or 8.0-foot styleside behind the regular cab, a 6.5-foot box behind the SuperCab, or a 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed with the SuperCrew. The base engine is the 4.6-liter, 248-horse V-8, with a four-speed automatic. The 292-horse, three-valve, 4.6-liter V-8 and 320-horse, three-valve, 5.4-liter V-8 are available with long-wheelbase XL-equipped trucks, but they cost at least $895 and $1525 (respectively) above the $22,090 base MSRP.

Front and rear bumpers are black, as are the manual side mirrors. The three-bar grille and surround are black, too. The XLs ride on 17-inch gray-steel wheels with 235/70R17 tires. There is minimal badging on this trim level. The 17-inch spare is mounted under the bed. For the regular-cab XL, exterior options include side steps for the truck bed ($325), a tailgate step ($350), bed extender ($195), cargo-management packages, and upgraded 17-inch wheels and tires. Those who tow will appreciate manual telescoping side mirrors ($140), an integrated trailer brake controller ($230), and a choice of trailering and heavy-duty payload packages that can increase the XL's capacity to 3030 pounds of payload and 11,300 pounds of trailer.

Opt for the base F-150, and you and both of your passengers enjoy vinyl 40/20/40 bench seating. Adding the $115 Decor package replaces the vinyl with cloth and upgrades the black front and rear bumpers to chrome units. Air-conditioning is standard, but you'll crank up the windows and lock the doors yourself, which allows you to track a fleet of vehicles and adds mobile office versatility. Cabin options include an AM/FM/CD stereo with aux input, cruise control, satellite radio, and Ford Work Solutions. The highest base price in the XL line is on the 4WD SuperCrew with the three-valve 4.6-liter--that's $34,810.

Fleet Options
The F-150 XL has been the best-seller in the world of light-duty pickups, with 40-percent market share in 2008. That's no surprise, considering the 2WD regular cab offers best-in-class standard payload (1690 pounds), max payload (3030 pounds), GVWR (8200 pounds), and towing capacity (11,300 pounds) when compared with similarly equipped competitors. Want something fancier than the XL? The rest of the line--STX, FX4, SLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum--can also be ordered from Ford Fleet.

One special fleet option is the MidBox. Picture a long-wheelbase regular-cab chassis with a short bed, and a lockable toolbox and storage area taking up the space between the back of the cab and the short bed. It looks essentially like a basic long-bed truck with an extra handle on each side. A snow-plow option also is offered. For those looking to outfit fleet trucks with toolboxes, racks, and stake beds, Ford works with several upfitters that can provide the right combination for a buyer's needs. In addition to the F-150, fleet sales include the E-Series van, Expedition and Navigator, Explorer, and Explorer Sport Trac. Ford's fleet information can be found at www.fleet.ford.com.