Perfection. That's what we experienced over nearly 30,000 miles behind the wheel of our 2009 Truck of the Year, the Ford F-150 pickup. Nothing broke. No pieces fell off. No smells or noises or missteps from the drivetrain. Our hard-working F-150 simply did its job day in and month out, all the while racking up kudos from our drivers nearly as fast as it rolled on the miles.
It was early 2009 when we took delivery of our...take a good breath...F-150 4x4 SuperCrew Cab Lariat Styleside -- painted in Royal Red clearcoat and trimmed with tan leather captain's thrones. Total tab, including 310-horse, 5.4-liter V-8 and six-speed automatic: $46,135. Yours truly put on some of the little big rig's first miles, a blissful 300-mile trek from the snows of Mammoth, California, back to Los Angeles. "Cary Grant in overalls," I dubbed the F-150 then. "Handsome, soft-touch materials, clear gauges, and just the right amount of brushed-look accents create an ambiance that screams 'luxury sedan.'"
Apparently, other staffers shared my enthusiasm; the F-150's odo passed the 7500-mile mark within a month. "A majority of exterior noise and tire drone is suppressed in the F-150," wrote assistant Web producer Nate Martinez, "unlike in my brother's Chevy Silverado, which jounces over bumps and has numerous squeaks and squawks." The SuperCrew cab configuration earned thumbs-up for delivering "SUV-like interior space" and seating room for "three across in the rear without touching knees or elbows." Added assistant Web producer Carlos Lago: "My 84-year-old granddad found the doors a little heavy, but loved the truck -- saying he preferred its seats to any furniture in his house."
By now, nothing dramatic had happened in the F-150's sphere -- always a good thing for a long-term tester. In fact, nothing dramatic ever happened around our workhorse. Our entire dealership experience consisted of picking up our pickup, then returning it three times for routine oil changes and tire rotations. Total dent to our maintenance wallet: a mere $141.53. Never did the F-150 require warranty service or any other unexpected fix.
While the Ford's service record may have proved boring, the F-150 maintained an always-interesting existence. Towing? Effortless -- with caveats. "Rear backup camera made hooking up to my jet-ski trailer a breeze," penned managing editor Rusty Kurtz in the logbook. "But the backup sensors beeped constantly while backing down the boat ramp -- unnerving. You can turn off the sensors by toggling through a menu on the screen, but it must be done while the vehicle is in Park. A busy boat ramp is not the place to do this."