The truck has styling very reminiscent of the third generation Ford SVT Lightning concept, most noticeably in the front bumper, grille (in shape, not including the split grille), hood, and back end; the color varieties it appears in are like most modern Ford F-150s though. It has a Chevy-like, horizontally-split grille and headlights that are similar to the 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche. The Supercharged 5.7L V8 engine, is also similar to the Lightning concept but with a larger displacement V8 (the Lightning had a 5.4L V8). The Contender comes with a variety of bed modifications. Despite those, the Conender still loosely resembles the Nissan Titan, Toyota Tacoma, and Dodge Ram 1500.
Despite having a 5.7 liter supercharged V8 engine, the Contender only develops 305HP thus it's acceleration and top speed are unimpressive (159 mph), and can be equally matched by the Bobcat but the top speed is higher. On the bright side though, the Contender is impressively durable with collisions and gunfire. Handling is below average with the truck feeling heavy, and understeering around corners. Despite it being a pickup, it isn't good off road, since the truck has 2WD, and the suspension is firm and doesn't have enough ground clearance.
A green "Supercharged" Contender driven by the Irish Mob can be found in Steinway. It has huge chrome brush guards, four fog lights atop of chrome roll bars, and sports a special green color. Its speed and acceleration have increased a very small amount from the supercharger being added.
A Contender is also requested as part of Stevie's Car Thefts, appearing with a dark grey body color. As a new Contender will respawn at the same spot until the player delivers one to S&M Auto Sales, the player can save one at their safehouse before delivering another. The maximum amount of money you can obtain from delivering the Contender to Stevie is $8,250.
Bucky Sligo drives a slightly modified Contender. It sports a tonneau cover and a unique dark green-to-black color-shift paintjob. Once the player chases Bucky to his hideout, his Contender can be taken and stored at a safehouse. The color cannot be obtained from a Pay 'n' Spray.
GTA IV + Episodes from Liberty City
- The McReary mob variant can be found around Steinway.
- Usually found in most districts of Broker and Dukes.
- Is usually seen in Star Junction, Fishmarket North, Fishmarket South and The Triangle, Algonquin.
- The one requested by Stevie can be found in the Twitchin' Sugar factory compound on Creek Street, in BOABO, Broker.
- In the BradyGames guide, the Contender is occasionally referred to as the E109, though the game never calls it the E109. In the game's files, however, the model for the Contender is called E109. It hints that it is a beta name, a reference to the Ford F150, for the Contender.
- In a car commercial on CNT (Sully's Auto Mart), a white Contender is referred to as the EXT, which could be another beta name for the truck. The truck in the commercial also has 5 spoke rims which may be the beta design for the truck.
- In GTA IV, after collecting all thirty cars for Stevie he agrees to purchase cars from Niko Bellic, with the Contender fetching $2,500.
- The Contender doesn't have any white reverse lights. No number plates either, although there seems to be room for one in the back.
- The default radio stations for the Contender are:
- GTA IV: Liberty Rock Radio 97.8.
- The Truck also appears as an Undrivable prop in Brucie's Garage and Stevie's garage, However, further inspection shows the truck to be, if not noticeable smaller than the current model, and further notice is a smaller Rollbar as seen on the "Supercharged" variant, yet scaled smaller.
- If the player attempts to climb into the rear cargo compartment while the vehicle is in motion, the player will just lose the balance and fall. If the player is lucky enough, they will fall on to the road. Otherwise, they will fall over in the cargo compartment and become stuck while their health gradually reduces, eventually getting Wasted.
- The slogan "Built to rule" appearing on the billboards is a play on Ford's slogan "Built tough" which is used for their F-series. This is even more obvious knowing that Vapid, the brand constructing the Contender, is the Grand Theft Auto IV parody of Ford.
- Advertising for the Contender appears in GTA Chinatown Wars.