Ford's full-sized pickups are built for comfort

January 19, 1992|By Al Haas | Al Haas,Knight-Ridder Newspapers

Ford's full-size F-Series pickup has gotten its twice-a-decade face lift for 1992 and looks years younger.

In addition to getting a more contemporary front-end treatment, the nation's top-selling vehicle has been redesigned inside to make it more comfortable and carlike.

There is a good reason why America's reigning machomobile is getting still more creature comforts and pleasure-car features: A growing number of people are taking big pickups out of their traditional roles as workhorses, and using them as passenger cars and recreational vehicles.

Thus, big pickup builders such as Ford are trying to make them as comfortable and civilized as possible. The full-size pickups now offer almost as many amenities as cars, and furnish surprisingly good rides and low noise levels.

Indeed, about the only creature comfort not available on the full-size Ford pickup this year is a paneled drawing room for after-dinner sherry and cigars.

The test vehicle, a loaded F-150 4X4 SuperCab, is a case in point. The carlike goodies on this extended-cab model included power windows and doors, tilt steering, air conditioning, fancy upholstery, a stereo, bucket seats separated by a console, and a back seat for three, with more legroom than many subcompact cars.

The F-150 4X4 SuperCab is, indeed, quite a versatile vehicle. It is a big, strong beast of burden that will tote a ton in its cargo bed, and find room in its extended cab for five or six folks, depending on whether it is equipped with the three-passenger front bench or the two buckets. It also can be equipped to tow trailers weighing up to 7,100 pounds. Thanks to its four-wheel-drive system, it will cart those assorted loads through serious snow and mud.

In other words, you get a big work truck that can double as a family car and an on- and off-road recreational vehicle.

The price of this versatility is fairly reasonable if you keep the option list fairly short. The 4X4 SuperCab I tested had a base price of $16,487. After it was loaded to the gills with options, the sticker weighed in at a corpulent $23,404.

The SuperCab comes in two lengths. There is a short-wheelbase model, which has a 138-inch wheelbase and an 82-inch-long cargo bed, and the long-wheelbase version I tested, which has a 155-inch wheelbase and a 98-inch bed.

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