With the goal of being the most advanced Ford pickup ever, the last-generation F-150 started life as a 2004 model with a new frame, a new body, and a long list of new technologies and features. Awards quickly piled in, the model lineup expanded, and once again, the F-150 appealed to masses of truck shoppers and went on to sell like hotcakes.
Look for various two- and four-door body styles, numerous trim levels, six-or eight-cylinder power, and two or four-wheel drive. A manual transmission was available with the smaller V6 engine, though all other models got an automatic as standard equipment.
Higher-end powerplant choices included a 4.6 litre V8 with up to 248 horsepower, as well as a 5.4 litre V8 with 300. Features included a sunroof, heated leather seats, automatic climate control, premium audio and a rear-seat DVD player all the standard power accessories.
What Owners Like
Many of F-150’s loyal owners say they feel ‘spoiled’ every time they drive their truck — thanks in part to a solid and comfortable ride, spacious cabin and overall refinement levels. A feel of safety and sturdiness, high payload capacities and poor-weather traction from 4x4 models are also highly rated.
What Owners Hate
As it tends to go with pickup trucks, happy owners gripe almost exclusively about gas mileage.
Earlier F-150 models suffered from failing or broken power window regulators. This could prevent proper power window operation or even see the glass fall down into the door, requiring an expensive repair. On a test-drive of a 2004 or 2005 model, ensure all power windows work as expected.
Also, be sure to note the feel of the brake pedal and listen for squealing from the truck’s front end while stopping. A spongy pedal or a high-pitched metallic screech at low speeds usually indicates that a brake-job is due.
Rear differentials could also be a potential issue. Owners have reported that a bad rear diff tends to make a metallic grinding sound at highway speeds before failing outright. This is an expensive part to rebuild or replace, so be on the lookout for any unusual sounds or chattering, ‘binding’ sensations from the rear end of the truck.
Finally, if you’re unsure of the history of the model you’re considering, budget for a full tune-up and fluid change, just to be safe.