Ford has a lot of momentum with the F-150, the best-selling vehicle in America for decades. So we think it courageous and to be admired that the automaker isn’t just aiming for continued evolution with its redesigned 2015 F-150. It’s shooting for a higher target in efficiency and performance—and from what we’ve seen so far, it’s an investment that’s paying off.
With a body and bed made of glued-and-riveted aluminum panels, and a high-strength steel frame, the new F-150 arguably borrows the best of both worlds, for strong payload and towing ability and enough toughness for heavy use. Yet it’s a strategy that pays off transformationally when you place the F-150 on the scales; it’s more than 500 pounds lighter than comparable models of its predecessor.
You can still get a big 5.0-liter V-8 in the 2015 Ford F-150, or a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6, but the stars of the lineup really are the EcoBoost turbocharged V-6 engines—in familiar 3.5-liter form, and in new 2.7-liter form, with the latter engine aiming to replace small-displacement V-8s. Official fuel economy numbers for the most revolutionary powertrain in the lineup—that 2.7-liter—remain unannounced, although we’re expecting class-leading numbers, and it’s fitted with engine stop/start, which is another technology that will pay off in real-world commuting conditions.
The actual packaging hasn’t changed all that much; there are still seemingly countless variations of Regular Cab, SuperCab, and SuperCrew cabs, plus three bed lengths, in many different trims, building to the top, super-luxurious King Ranch and Platinum. What’s new are some innovative details, including loading ramps that lock into the bedsides, for easy ATV loading; a BoxLink system that fits cleats and brackets to the bed so that it can be divided and so cargo can be anchored; a rearview camera with trailer-hitch assist that projects a line to the screen, so amateurs can hook up a trailer; LED headlamps and lighting in the cargo box; and a step that slides out of the tailgate along with a post that serves as a handrail.
Considering all that innovation, it’s probably not so surprising that Ford decided to play it safe in styling, and packaging. You’d never know that this truck is such a radical from its looks. The F-150 carries on the very upright styling it’s had now for a couple of generations, and it steers very clear of looking like anything but a tough truck. It's mostly similar to the outgoing F-150's collection of shapes and controls, made to use with work gloves, and hard buttons restored to the dash even on versions equipped with the MyFord Touch screen interface.
Is the Ford F-150 the best car—er, vehicle—to buy? With all the revolution in this new truck family, there’s definitely a lot to give potential shoppers a little apprehension; and Ford’s current standing in reliability ratings and continued MyFord Touch woes don’t help. Further, we've only managed to get one of our four primary editors into the F-150 for real seat time at this point. But even with our cursory look at the new model so far, and the momentum of the nameplate, we can already that it delivers on the promise of better utility through light weight.
Read the full review on the 2015 Ford F-150 for more. Also, stay tuned through this week and next, as we bring you all the nominees for The Car Connection’s Best Car To Buy award—and check back for the winner, November 10.This year there are 11 nominees ranging from family sedans, crossovers, a pickup truck, and even ... in The Car Connection Polls on LockerDome