Vehicle Overview from Kelley Blue Book
KBB.com 2002 Ford F150 Overview
America's Work Horse Pickup
The F-Series models represent the meat and potatoes of Ford's truck business. So it should come as no surprise that the battle between the F-150 and Chevrolet's C/K pickup is almost the stuff of legend in Detroit; sort of the automotive equivalent of the Hatfields and the McCoys. The F-150 rides on an aging platform that is now in its sixth year of production. Though Ford stylists have managed to keep the look fresh and modern, time and the competition are catching up to the big Ford.
The F-150 comes in so many variations and with so many possible options that it would take an entire page just to list them all. (If you really must see them, click Build a Car in the left-hand navigation bar on this page). For our test, we chose the F-150 SuperCab XLT with the 139-inch wheelbase and 6 1/2 foot bed. Engine choices for the F-150 include a 4.2-liter V6 that produces 202 horsepower; this engine is standard on the XL and XLT trucks. Optional on the XL and XLT and standard on the Lariat model is Ford's 4.6-liter Triton V8 engine. This smooth and powerful motor uses an overhead cam configuration and makes 231 horsepower and 293 lb.-ft. of torque, an all-important commodity when it comes to towing. Optional on all models is the big 5.4-liter Triton V8 that produces 260-horsepower and an astounding 300 lb.-ft. of torque. Needless to say, no matter what purpose you have in store for your F-150, with a tow rating as high as 7700 pounds, Ford has a power plant that can handle just about any situation.
If you chose the 4.6-liter V8, you will be getting an engine that is strong and surprisingly efficient. With the overdrive automatic transmission, we averaged almost 18 mpg with the cruise control locked at 70 mph. City figures are not so rosy, but then again, none of the other big V8 trucks do any better. Unless you're planning to tow a large boat or trailer, the 4.6 is probably all the engine you will need.
A look inside the F-150 reveals the truck's age. The cabin is a bit on the tame side, with vast expanses of hard gray plastic covering the dash, door panels and pillars. What you will find pleasing about the dash is that most controls are placed within easy reach of the driver and glow an eye-pleasing shade of green at night. The optional steering wheel mounted controls for the radio and cruise control are easily memorized, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road. The front seats tend to favor the firm side and could do with a bit more lower-back support; the rear bench seat bottom is short and legroom is only average, rendering the rear quarters rather uncomfortable for anything but brief trips. You may also notice that the rear bench is lacking head restraints.
The SuperCab has two small doors that open in the opposite direction of the front doors. The rear doors cannot be opened without the front doors being opened first. With both the front and rear doors open, the full length of the cab is exposed. The front seatbelts are built into the seats themselves, creating an obstruction-free opening from which to load or unload unwieldy items. Once inside, the rear doors must be closed first, followed by the front.
Ride and handling on the F-150 can best be described as "middle of the road." As with so many of these big trucks, the tires, wheels and suspension options can cause the ride and handling to vary greatly. You will have to take note of how your test vehicle is equipped before you make your final decision. Our F-150 wore the optional 16-inch cast aluminum wheels and P235/70Rx16 all-season tires. If you test a similar vehicle, you will most likely find the ride to be acceptable on smooth surfaces and a bit jittery over bumps and broken pavementa trait felt most by those resting on the rear bench seat.
Minor criticisms aside, the F-150 is still a darn-good pickup. Its only shortcoming is that it is growing old in an ever-growing field of newer and more refined trucks. Then again, given the aura that surrounds big trucks and the image of those who drive them, perhaps the word "refined" is not always a desirable attribute.