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2004 Ford F-150 Full-Size Pickup Truck

New Truck Review of the 2004 Ford F-150 Full-Size Light Duty Pickup Truck

Description: Full-Size Light Duty Pickup Truck
Base MSRP Range: $21,215-$35,570
Invoice Price Range: $18,953-$31,040

Ford's full-size and light duty (half-ton) trucks in the new designs for 2004 look strong and muscular. Posed in tall stance and projecting a bold face, F-150 reveals curvy bulges on the sides around wheel wells and large squarish headlamp clusters on front corners flanking a big grille in the shape of an inverted trapezoid. A few styling cues lifted from Ford's Super Duty trucks are evident, such as along the top of side doors where forward sections swoop low so the driver can get a better view of the over-sized rear view mirrors.

Overall, it's an eye-catching design of crisp angles and complex curves blending together to forge a unique statement for a powerful pickup. Cab designs consist of a Regular Cab, SuperCab and the SuperCrew. Two-door Regular Cab is a conventional scheme offered with bench or bucket seats and a cargo box extending in length for 78.8 or 97.5 inches. The SuperCab gets two front-hinged doors trailed by two narrow ones with rear hinges. There's a front seat with buckets or bench and a small rear bench with flip-up seat design and a canted seat back for added comfort. Cargo boxes for SuperCab include the two lengths listed for Regular Cab plus an abbreviated box of 67 inches. Spacious SuperCrew comes with four front-hinged doors and two rows of seats for a capacity of five or six. Only cargo box here is the brief one at 67 inches. Two-wheel-drive (2WD) orientation with a front-mounted engine sending torque to the rear wheels is standard but four-wheel-drive (4WD) traction is available across the board with manual or electronic switching. The steering mechanism changes to a responsive rack and pinion system and brakes for all versions put a disc on every wheel plus anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic brake force distribution (EBD).

For passive safety, F-150 trucks stock dual stage frontal air bags and side-impact air bags tied to computer-controlled equipment minding the tension of seatbelts and deployment of air bags. Two different Triton V8 engines link to a four-speed electronic automatic transmission. Standard is a reworked version of Ford's overhead-cam 4.6-liter V8, which achieves 231 hp. Optional is a new 5.4-liter Triton V8 that runs up to 300 hp. Trim tiers rise from base XL and STX to a well-equipped XLT, the off-road FX4 edition and deluxe Lariat.

All have interiors that look more like a comfortable car than a working-class truck. Most use cloth fabric on seats, although leather comes with Lariat, and variations include satin-metal finish or bright chrome for vent rings, door handles and optional consoles. Top-of-the-line Lariat with the leather buckets shows a floor-mounted shifter stick projecting from the console like a sporty car.