First Glance at the Pickup Truck: Every inch a Harley
The H-D F-150 is based on the short bed crew cab edition of the pickup. Sprayed with Lava paint so dark that it looks black in some light, red in other light, and wearing subtle ghost flames along its flanks, the truck leaks attitude at every stoplight. I tried to count how many times "Harley-Davidson" and the bar and shield make an appearances on the F-150's exterior and interior, but I lost count at 14. Prominent badges dress each front fender; the name trails along each side of the bed; the logo is carved into each 22" forged aluminum wheel; even the rubberized bedliner advertises the Motor Company (Harley, that is). I'm a Harley owner, and I love it. If you're not a Harley owner or HOG (Harley Owners Group) member, you will probably find it to be overkill.
Some cool options on the exterior of my test F-150 included a bed extender ($195) and a tailgate step ($350), both of which I would consider essential with the short length and high lift over height of the bed. Ironically, if you plan to haul your Harley in your H-D F-150's bed, you're going to need to do it with the tailgate down, because the bed is only 67" long.
In the Driver's Seat: Chrome won't get you home
My test truck was equipped with standard Microsoft Sync voice activation, along with an optional ($2,450) Sony nav system. With all of these big companies working together, the H-D F-150 should be eligible for some kind of synergy award. If you've never used Sync, you'll be amazed at how well it integrates communications and other interfaces in a vehicle. Though I'm an Apple guy, I can admit that Microsoft got it right with this system.
The truck's second row is as roomy and comfortable as the second row in a full-size SUV. Three adults can easily sit together, and the distance between seat and floor is just right. When you need to maximize stowage in the cabin, the bench seat flips up, leaving a nearly flat load floor. If you're a dog owner, you'll love this feature, because your dogs don't have to step all over the leather to ride in the cab (You don't let your dogs ride in the bed, do you?).
Fit and finish are great, and everywhere you have to touch, there's a pleasant, high quality texture. Any complaints I may have had about Ford truck interiors in the past have been vanquished by the H-D F-150.
On the Road in the H-D F-150: Some serious grunt
When the road gets curvy, the F-150 remains remarkably composed and level. Power rack and pinion steering feels precise, with none of the wallow or vagueness I've found in some other trucks. The H-D package's 22" wheels contribute a bit of harshness on rough surfaces, but nothing I couldn't live with as a tradeoff for the great looks -- and they are great looking. This is a truck that I could drive every day, and happily.
F-150 incorporates a ton of standard safety features, including front airbags and a safety canopy, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, Advancetrac with RSC and tire pressure monitoring. Ford's trailer sway control system is impressive, and included as standard equipment on F-150. If you tow with your pickup, you'll appreciate this technology working on your behalf.
I could live without the H-D package's power deployable running boards. The slight delay after doors open nearly always tripped me up, and I even wound up gashing my leg when I stood in the wrong place while opening a rear door. My clumsiness, granted, but what's wrong with fixed running boards on a 4x2 truck, anyway?
Journey's End: Right on target
The competition is stiff in the truck world right now. The Dodge Ram 1500 can be optioned out to the hilt, and you can pack a potent HEMI engine under its hood. The Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra rides on the very plush GMT 900 platform, one of the best-handling chassis setups available. Toyota's Tundra and Nissan's Titan make great use of their interiors, and each deserves consideration.
Ultimately, the question for most potential buyers of the 2010 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson won't be "Is this the best truck I can buy?" The question will be "Is this the coolest truck I can buy?" The answer to that question is an unqualified "HELL, YES!"