Jeff Ford
September 1, 2004
Photos By: Ford Motor Company

When given the opportunity to flog blue oval iron at the behest of Ford Motor Company we take our job seriously. Though it might be unwise to admit to it, we treat the vehicles as if they were our own. we don't eat in the cars and trucks delivered to us, but we do make them "ours" for the limited time we have them.

A few months ago, Sergio Gutierrez, our source for Ford press vehicles, dropped off an '04 Ford F-150, followed by an '04 F-250 Harley Davidson truck. Both were here for about two weeks. The F-150 did some light towing and light-duty dust and dirt off-roading (we're not ones to wash undercarriages). We came away impressed, and thought you might like our thoughts on what could be your next towing vehicle.

The F-150 we tested was equipped with the four-wheel-drive option, as well as all the bells and whistles that come with the Lariat package. Though we aren't quite married to the look of the '04, we will say it is distinctive and might grow on us.

On a long haul trip from Lakeland, Florida, to Macon, Georgia, the brawny Super Crew got an average of 17 mpg and was way more comfortable than any 4x4 truck has a right to be-in fact, it's interior reminded us of the Lincoln Navigator. The Audiophile sound system just rocked with its ability to make the windows rattle. We used our test CD, ZZ Tops' Mescelero and its tasty cut "Crunchy" (I don't know what that means) to test the speakers and found them excellent.

On the ride-and-drive front, we expect a truck to feel . . . well, like a truck. This new Ford is more like a passenger car than a big ol' knuckle-dragging four-wheel drive. With its new metallurgy, Ford has produced one of the quietest and best mannered trucks we've seen. Towing was good, but only done locally so no long haul numbers could be pulled for mileage. The 5.4 was not strained too terribly by the weight of a '72 Mach 1, though we suspect that mileage on the big green Effie would suffer. We also used an all-aluminum Ultralite trailer that cut our weight by a sizeable number. Still the '04 is a capable performer.

THE F-150
• Deluxe Heated Seat Package $645
• Trailer Towing Package $350
• 5.4L 3V EFI V-8
(payload cap. 1650 GVWR 7200)
Standard on This Model
• Electronic four-Speed Automatic
Transmission with Overdrive
(Higher Torque Capacity)
Standard on This Model
• 3.73 Axle Ratio Standard on This Model
• Leather trimmed Captain Chairs $595
• Audiophile system $250
• Six-disc changer $295
• Destination Charges $795
Total MSRP $37,425