2015 Ford F-150 Is the Game-Changer We’ve Expected

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2015 Ford F-150The Ford half-ton pickup, the F-150, is the top selling vehicle in the USA – car or truck.  For the 2015 model year, Ford launches an all new F-150.  And it is literally ALL NEW.  In most model changes, there are numerous parts carried over from previous generations.  The 2015 Ford F-150 is so completely re-done that there are probably no common part numbers with the 2014 model.  The body is all aluminum with the exception of a “quiet steel” dash panel (between the engine compartment and the passenger compartment).  You can lift the military grade front fender with one finger.  The aluminum panels are not welded as in steel bodied vehicles they are riveted and glued.  The result is a stiffer vehicle that feels even more robust than its predecessor. Ford says the use of aluminum has yielded a reduction in weight by up to 700 pounds.2015 Ford F-150 F342015 Ford F-150 R34

The interior width in the cab is two inches wider than before.  The aluminum structure allows the pillars to be smaller while meeting or exceeding all relevant safety standards.  With thinner pillars, driver’s visibility is improved.  The belt line has been dropped by an inch increasing downward visibility as well.

The 2015 Ford F-150 is available with a Regular Cab (2-door), SuperCab (extended cab with rear access doors) and SuperCrew (4-doors) cab style.  There are three box lengths:  5 1/2, 6 1/2 and 8 feet.

Feature Laden:  All those gee whiz things we have been seeing on luxury cars recently, you know, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot information system, active park assist, rear view camera, reverse sensing system, 360-degree cameras, LED accent lights, LED everything lights, information screen in the instrument cluster and MyFord Touch in the center display, are available on the 2015 Ford F-150.  The lighting strategy for the truck is probably the best in the industry.  When all the boxes are checked, there are LED accents for the headlamps and taillamps that communicate the F-150’s DNA. There are LED headlamps available.  There are LED lamps in the bed to improve nighttime visibility.  Of course, there are puddle lamps below the outside rear view mirrors, but there are also LED spot lamps on the top corners of the mirrors to allow the area beside the vehicle to be illuminated (now, if these could be used to blast the car beside you, the good ol’ boys in Texas driving with their open bottles could have a hoot).2015 Ford F-150 Cockpit

The Interior:  In the lower models of the 2015 Ford F-150 you get what you expect from a base truck.  Lots of plastic, cloth seats (comfortable), minimal equipment.  There are five basic trim levels: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum.  By the time you get up to King Ranch or Platinum you could be riding in a Lincoln.

Wide Powertrain Lineup:  While the 2015 Ford F-150 does not offer a diesel, it does have four gasoline engines.  The base engine is a 3.5L naturally aspirated V6 with 283-horsepower and 255 lb. ft. of torque.  The first step up and expected to be the highest volume powerplant is a 325HP 2.7L EcoBoost V6 with 375 lb. ft. of torque.  This is about the power of a small displacement V8 in half the size.  There are two top-of-the line engines based on what you want to do with the truck.  The 365HP 3.5L EcoBoost V6 has 420 lb. ft of torque.  The sole V8 in the line-up is the 385HP 5.0L V8 with 387 lb. ft of torque.  The 3.5L EcoBoost has the highest trailer towing rating of 12,200 lbs.

Driving the 2015 Ford F-150:  Solid, comfortable, quiet, responsive, confidence inspiring are all words that could be used to describe the F-150.  Just as Ford did several years ago when they were dropping the 3.5L EcoBoost in the F-150, they focused on the new 2.7L EcoBoost V6 to prove its capability.  The engine power and torque are excellent for the truck when empty which is the way we drove them at the launch event in Texas.  The engine sound is probably enhanced but it sounds much larger than 2.7L.  The base 3.5L V6 is perfectly adequate for the vehicle, driveability is excellent.  The up-level engines are hard to beat – powerful and torquey.  During a drag-strip event, the EcoBoost V6s both seemed to have a bit of turbo lag, but in the real world on the roads around San Antonio there was no obvious turbo lag.

Pricing, Fuel Economy and Weight:  Pricing ranges from $25,420 on a base XL to over $60,000 for a loaded Platinum.  Ford was not divulging fuel economy or the actual weight of the vehicle during the review in San Antonio so we cannot yet analyze the actual weight savings or the impact of the weight combined with the new powertrain lineup on the product.  Stay tuned.

The Ford Event:  Normally auto journalists do not write about the actual event they experience when evaluating a new vehicle.  They are normally very lavish affairs that few would or could afford on their own.  Ford events of late seem to go counter to industry norms.  Remember, the launch of the 2015 Ford F-150 pickup is not-even-arquably the most important of the year not only for Ford but for their competition as well.  Ford would have been expected to pull out all the stops to showcase the vehicle in its best light.  This event could best be characterized as “compressed”.  There were enough Ford engineers and managers on hand to discuss particulars about the trucks, but there was simply not enough time.  It was as if the Ford handlers had stop watches making sure each presentation took exactly the amount of time it should.  The drive time allowed for the vehicles was about normal for one day of an event, but everything was over by about 2PM and the rush to the airport began.  The Ford folks had to repeat this with the next wave of journalists that night.  They were also holding training for dealer sales people while the journalists were driving on the roads around San Antonio.  Exhausting.  Slow it down.  Take time to be a bit more thoughtful.

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