Positive comments abound about our 2004 Truck of the Year winner: "I'm still amazed how Ford has been able to civilize the full-size-pickup driving experience without compromising its work ethic. Brakes, steering, structure, and damping set the bar for others." But we have a bone to pick with Ford for the new three-valve engine's power rating: "Now if only the 5.4 V-8 felt a little more 'full-size' when you asked it for class-leading acceleration, that would be nice." A not-so-subtle editor said, "Throttle response is abysmal (where are the 300 horses hiding?), downshifts are met with a busy engine and no corresponding surge of acceleration.

This drivetrain (biased for torque--I know) isn't worth the premium for the 5.4 V-8 or its fuel economy." Our oft-used F-150 hit the 10,000-mile-service mark, which brought us to the dealer for another oil/filter change and tire rotation. They also replaced squeaking brake components under warranty.

FROM THE LOGBOOK
"When all is said and done, I still think it deserves our trophy."
--Chris Walton

2004 Ford F-150 4x4 SuperCrew
Base price $34,980
Price as tested $38,460
Vehicle layout Front engine, 4WD, 4-door, 5-pass
Engine 5.4L V-8, SOHC, 3 valves/cyl
Hp @ rpm 300 @ 5000
Torque @ rpm 365 @ 3750
Transmission 4-speed automatic
0-60 mph, sec 8.9
EPA mpg 14 city/18 highway
Total mileage 10,110
Average test mpg 13.1
Maintenance cost $57 (5000-mile service, same for 10K)
Normal-wear cost $0