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 having a Supercharged engine, it's acceleration and top speed are unimpressive, 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 car feeling heavy, and understerring around corners. Despite it being a pickup, it isn't good off road. The car has no AWD, the suspension is firm, and doesn't have enough ground clearance.
A green "Supercharge" Contender is driven by the McReary Mob that can be found in Steinway. It has huge chrome bull bars, four vapid lights atop of chrome anti-roll bed bars, and adorns a special green color. Its speed and acceleration has 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.
- Is usually seen in Star Junction and The Triangle.
- Usually found in most districts of Broker and Dukes.
- The McReary mob variant can be found around Steinway.
- The one requested by Stevie can be found in the Twitchin' Sugar factory compound on Creek Street, in BOABO, Broker.
- One can be found during the mission, Hostile Negotiation; parked in front of the entrance to the warehouse Roman gets kidnapped in.
- 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 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.
- 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, or any number plates.
- The default radio station in the Contender is Liberty Rock Radio 97.8.