Long-Term Wrap-Up: 2001 Ford SuperCrew Lariat
Our super-duper supercrew waves goodbye
Time certainly flies when you're having fun, and in the case of our long-term SuperCrew, it went by especially fast. It's hard to believe we've spent a year with our 2WD, but looking at the nearly 10K miles on the clock and recounting the numerous trips to the home-improvement center, local sand dunes with dirt bikes, and the daily commutes, the SuperCrew served us with nary a complaint nor problem.
As we've previously noted, right after we took delivery of our Deep Wedgwood blue four-door, a catalyst sensor wire fell off, illuminating the check-engine lamp. Over the past 12 months, that's been our only real service issue. One of the cargo-extender locking tabs fell off, too, but that was replaced under warranty. Same goes for the driver-side rear inner kickplate that went MIA, which was also replaced gratis. Aside from the regular-scheduled maintenance, and the above-mentioned pittance, the SuperCrew hardly needed a dealer visit.
Inside, we found the SuperCrew to be more Town Car than trucklike. With its cushy, heated leather front seats (which provide the right support in all the right places) and surprisingly supportive leather couch out back, carrying four large adults was a comfortable affair.
Our one complaint about the interior is frivolous: We wish we'd opted for the in-dash six-disc CD changer (instead of the bulky cubby unit) to allow full use of the cavernous center console. On a trip to the dealer, we elected to replace its lid, which was somehow torn during a late-night photo shoot. With another top fitted, and $129.95 removed from our back pocket, the interior looked new again. Ford wisely takes the simplistic approach to its center-stack design, with large rotary controls for the HVAC (which will freeze occupants in 100-degree heat) and easy-to-use stereo with good-size buttons, making station changes a no-brainer with work gloves on.
From day one, the SC found its place in our fleet as a consummate do-it-all vehicle that was equally at home shuffling the kids to school, as it was schlepping engines in the bed or towing the family boat to the lake. We appreciated the dual, four- and six-pin wiring harness, which allowed easy connection of trailers, with or without electric trailer brakes. And towing is where this F-150 shines: its 5.4L/260-hp (and 350 lb-ft of torque) V-8 and 4R70W four-speed slush box easily handles loads upward of 8000 lb. Launch ramps weren't an issue, though we wished we'd chosen the optional 4WD when we tried to retrieve from lake-weed-coated ramps. Acceleration and passing power suited our needs, and the 5.4 didn't labor with moderate loads and the overdrive disengaged.
The soft-shifting transmission was silky on road, but we wish the shiftpoints and firmness could be increased like its competitor's. Unladen, we also noticed the tranny tended to hunt while traversing mountain passes, but with trailer attached, we had no problem pulling a grade at 50 mph.
We never expected our workhorse to obtain great fuel economy, but its EPA ratings (15 city/19 highway) were close. The F-150 surprised us, turning in a best 19.7 mpg, a worst of 9.6, and a test average of 12.5. All told, we poured 654 gal of gasoline into the tank (to the tune of $1054), added a half quart of oil (at $1.29) between service intervals. Total cost of maintenance (scheduled and other) came in at $429.57 for a grand total of $1484.86 or $0.16/mile.
It's always poignant when we turn the keys of a long-termer back to the manufacturer, but this was one truck we didn't want to leave our fleet. Not only did it serve our needs to a tee, but its rock-solid dependability, compliant ride, and potent powertrain made it among our all-time favorites.