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Ford’s F-series pickups are among the best-selling vehicles in America, year after year, because trucks are important to Americans. That makes the new 2015 Ford F-150 a very important new vehicle, especially with all of the changes going on—an aluminum body, a new small turbocharged engine option, and other technological and design upgrades. For truck owners, both commercial and private, the new F-150 brings many significant changes.
At the top of that list of changes is an aluminum body. Far from the flimsiness of a beer can, the high-strength aluminum alloy in the F-150’s body is, Ford claims, tougher than ever. The material also allowed Ford to execute an exterior design that’s more aerodynamic while retaining the “signature Built Ford Tough appearance” derived from the “machined cubic-style shapes,” according to the F-150’s chief designer, Gordon Platto. Inside the 2015 Ford F-150, the look isn’t such a great departure from previous versions of the pickup, though there’s a new level of upscale look and feel on premium trims. Blocky shapes and sturdy structures are the visual theme to back the F-150’s chosen mission.
Engines are another area of innovation for the 2015 F-150. Four engines are available, and while three are familiar, the all-new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 is an unusual choice for a full-size pickup. Built around a compacted-graphite iron block, the smaller turbocharged V-6 offers automatic stop/start to reduce gas usage in traffic, as well as a range of friction-reducing technologies to further improve gas mileage. It’s clear Ford has made extensive efforts to make this the go-to for gas mileage in the new F-150. Also available will be an updated 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V-6 engine, and the familiar 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 and 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V-8. All four engines are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Both 4x4 and 4x2 drive configurations are available.
The new 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine in the 2015 Ford F-150 rates 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. That allows the small turbocharged V-6 engine to offer V-8-like towing capacity of up to 8,500 pounds, and payload capacity of up to 2,250 pounds. The standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine rates 283 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, enabling towing capacity of 7,610 pounds and payload capacity of 1,910 pounds. Towing and payload ratings for the EcoBoost V-6 and Ti-VCT V-8 in the 2015 F-150 haven't yet been released.
The 2015 F-150’s front suspension is a coil-on-shock independent arrangement, while the rear retains the Hotchkiss-type solid axle riding on leaf springs and outboard shock absorbers. Electric-assist power steering and four-wheel vented ABS disc brakes round out the other key mechanical specs released thus far.
Materials changes in the new F-150, however, are perhaps even more interesting. Using phrases like “military-grade,” “high-strength,” and “Ford tough,” to describe its aluminum body, Ford is making sure that the weight-saving aluminum used in the cab, front-end, box, and tailgate aren’t perceived as flimsy or weak. The extensive use of aluminum saves about 700 pounds versus the previous all-steel F-150—a substantial reduction in mass that should markedly improve gas mileage. Under the aluminum body work, however, there’s still plenty of steel—in fact, more high-strength steel than ever is used in the structural underbody and frame elements to improve both capability and crash protection.
Three cab styles will be offered: Regular, SuperCab, and SuperCrew. Matching the cabs, three beds will be offered, with lengths of 67.1, 78.9, and 97.6 inches. At launch, these cab and cargo box configurations will be complemented by five trims: XL, XLT, King Ranch, Lariat, and Platinum. New equipment offerings for the 2015 F-150 include: Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with cross-traffic alert, inflatable rear seat belts, pickup-box LED lighting, Sony premium audio, and, on Platinum models, real wood trim. An off-road-oriented FX4 package will be available, bundling off-road-tuned shocks, skid plates, and an electronic locking rear axle.
More details about the 2015 Ford F-150 will arrive over the coming months as it gets nearer to its on-sale date.
- Atlas Concept-inspired looks
- Lightweight aluminum bodywork
- Intriguing new 2.7-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine
- Balance between capability and efficiency
- Lack of power or capability specs thus far
- Potential for greater repair expense with aluminum
- Not as new-looking as we'd hoped