New Car/Review

Ford

Ford F-150 Lariat 4X4 (2001)

SEE ALSO: Ford Buyer's Guide

By Matt/Bob Hagin

SPECIFICATIONS

     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 31,125
     Price As Tested                                    $ 34,685
     Engine Type              SOHC 16-valve 5.4 Liter V8 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 330 cid/5409 cc
     Horsepower                                   260 @ 4500 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               350 @ 2500 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  138.8"/79.9"/225.9"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     5337 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  25.5 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                           265/70R17 all-season
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                   Front-engine/four-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                        Six-passenger/four-door
     Domestic Content                                        XXX
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               XXX

PERFORMANCE

     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            13/17/15         

     0-60 MPH                                       10.0 seconds
     Maximum payload capacity                        1715 pounds
     Maximum towing capacity                         7700 pounds
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

("The American pickup is a vehicular phenomena," says Matt Hagin. "It outsells everything on wheels." His dad Bob says its just a 20-year flash-in-the pan fad that won't last.)

MATT - The pickup truck has evolved from a utilitarian hauler for farmers and construction workers to a pampered member of many families. More than 70-percent of the annual output of pickups sport some kind of seating behind the driver and the traditional two-seater is becoming a disappearing species. And it wasn't too long ago that rear passengers in pickups had to climb over the front seat to gain entry to the those cramped rear quarters but now you can buy a conventional pickup with four full-sized doors. An example of this is our test mount for this week, the Ford Supercrew Lariat. In days gone by, this configuration was only available on those really big jobs that were used by construction crews or power-pole installers.

BOB - That was back in the days when a family went on a camping trip in a big Detroit station wagon and dragged a small tent-trailer behind. Now the family may very well use a big fifth-wheel house trailer that has all the amenities of home and I'm sure that this is exactly what Ford had in mind when the introduced its Supercrew line in general and the Lariat model in particular. The bed is interesting in that the floor is made of specially-reinforced steel while the sides are of composite plastic. It eschews the traditional bed that can carry four-by-eight sheets of plywood for a five-foot "shorty" that can carry a load of weekend groceries and not much more. But just in case the owner wants to haul more traditional home-fixit loads, there's a tube-frame partition available that extends the bed a couple of more feet. The Supercrew Lariat is really more like an SUV with a small bed tacked on in place of the third row of seats. I suspect those aftermarket plastic-hinged tonneau covers or high-class matching camper shells will be popular accessories for this family-oriented "truck."

MATT - It really is a very versatile machine for the outdoorsy family that likes to do engage in participation sports. Ours had a factory-installed Class III towing package that is rated at 8000 pounds and they all come pre-wired for trailer lights. This means it can easily pull some of those relatively large power boats and the four-wheel-drive system can easily drag heavy boat trailers up slippery launching ramps. The axle ratio in our test rig was a special 3.55-to-one for power and it also was equipped with a limited slip "spool" to improve its grip.

MATT - Ford must expect the eventual buyer of the one we tried to do some semi-serious off-roading since it's equipped with a skid-plate kit under the engine and transmission to keep rocks and boulders from knocking things off. And the brakes are discs all around, which is a big advantage when it comes to trailer-towing. The chassis is pretty much a conventional truck-type ladder frame with independent coil spring suspension in front and a solid axle in back that rides on leaf springs. To make sure that the F-150 Supercrew Lariat can easily be driven by all members of the family, the operating pedals can be electronically adjusted for height by means of a switch that's located on the dash.

BOB - The standard engine in this truck is a 4.6-liter V8, but our test rig carried the larger 5.4-liter single-cam V8 that provides 260 horses and 345 pound/feet of torque. This is more than enough "grunt" for most drivers. The only transmission available in this classy rig is a four-speed automatic with a top-gear overdrive which bolsters the notion that it's meant to be driven by all the members of the family. It's commitment to family motoring is further reinforced by the fact that ours had a power-operated moonroof and that a video player can be had for those in the back seats. An interesting special-purpose version is built for scuba divers and has a built-in air compressor, a collapsible boat and other underwater niceties.

MATT - Somehow I get the feeling that when that one comes around, you'll leave the "special testing" to Brendan, Tom and myself.

BOB - You're right. Scuba diving sounds too cold for this old guy.

 

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