2015 Ford F-150 Review

Ford has been selling the F-Series since 1948, but the F-150 model didn’t arrive until 1975, when Ford used it as a `tweener pickup to span the gap between the F-100 and F-250. When Ford rolled out the Atlas Concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, we were pretty sure that the automaker was already hard at work overhauling the existing F-150 in its likeness. And for the 2015 model year, our suspicions are confirmed, as brand-new F-150, based on the Atlas concept, hit dealers.

2015 Ford F-150 Review
2015 Ford F-150 Review

2015 Ford F-150

With this redesign, Ford will focus on drastically reducing the F-150’s total weight by making use of lightweight aluminum materials. Under the hood, the model will carry a familiar line of engines with a new, 2.7-liter EcoBoost delivering awesome power and better fuel economy.

2015 Ford F-150 Exterior

The 2015 Ford F-150 is offered with a completely revised design language – even down to a newly styled F-150 logo – with lots of high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloys inspired by aerospace, commercial transportation. The same type of aluminum alloy is even used on the HMMWV and Bradley Fighting Vehicle currently in service. What’s more, the new materials help trim about 700 pounds from the pickup’s total weight, helping it to improve acceleration and improve efficiency.

Ford has yet to release towing figures and deeper details, but we figure the reduced weight and added strength from the revised frame (more on that later), will add to the already capable capacities.

That added capability might come in handy in an unconventional way. The movement to adopt the Society of Automotive Engineering’s voluntary J2807 towing standards is underway, although not all manufacturers have been quick to climb aboard. The SAE’s tow rating standards system basically levels the playing field for manufacturers’ quoted tow ratings, eliminating overestimating for a ’I-can-tow-more-than-you’ sales pitch. Much like horsepower ratings, the SAE numbers may fall below what the manufacturer wants to hear, thereby making their engine look less powerful. The J2807 standards have the possibility to ’reduce’ tow ratings, at least on paper. The 700-pound weight drop would likely lessen the blow to the F-150’s current tow ratings, so with Ford’s clean-slate opportunity in 2015, we hope they adopt

2015 Ford F-150 Exterior
2015 Ford F-150 Exterior

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Up front, a new front fascia, with a prominent three-bar grille flanked by distinctive headlights with LED technology for improved night vision. Integrated LED fog lights sit down low either side of the familiar-looking center bumper section. Exposed, closed-loop tow hooks are optional.

Out back, more LED lighting abounds with reworked taillights and LED lighting within the bed. The tailgate now features a more prominent spoiler and revised foldable/stowable step. Perhaps the bed’s biggest new feature is an electronic-operated tailgate. Push a button on the key fob and watch the gate drop. Integrated loading ramps fit nicely on either side of the bedrails for easy loading and unloading of motorcycles, lawnmowers, or the neighbor’s new refrigerator.

Holding up all that new technology is a new high-strength steel frame. It features eight crossmembers that are through-welded to the main two framerails for added support. Staggered, outboard-mounted shocks are still used to cushion the rear end’s ride. Ford claims the new frame is rated up to 70,000 psi – stronger than the steel found in its competitors’ heavy-duty truck frames.

Some new additions for the 2015 model year, include:

  • 360-degree camera view
  • Integrated loading ramps
  • Boxlink – custom brackets and cleats in the cargo box to fit a wide array of accessories
  • Smart trailer tow module to alert the driver of any potential trailer issues, from burnt out bulbs to a connection issue
  • Remote tailgate
  • LED spotlights on the sideview mirrors
  • Next-gen tailgate step that is fully integrated into the tailgate and invisible when not in use
  • LED-lit cargo box
  • Box-side step for 5.5-foot bed

Interior 2015 Ford F-150

Ford is still keeping details on the interior a secret, but we know it will offer better-quality materials, and new technologies like SYNC, MyFord Touch and an 8-inch “productivity screen” in the instrument cluster. But Ford did let us in on some new additions for 2015, including:

  • 400-watt and 110-volt outlets inside the cabin
  • Eight-inch LCD productivity screen that shows that displays important items, like towing and fuel economy tips
  • Second-row inflatable safety belts
  • Adaptive cruise control
Interior 2015 Ford F-150
Interior 2015 Ford F-150

Aesthetically, the new interior looks good. The new steering wheel has plenty of redundant controls, making operating the navigation and center cluster screen a snap. Four large air vents dominate the dashboard, which itself, looks covered in rich materials. The center stack is wide and leaves plenty of room for the numerous buttons and controls. The center console-mounted gear selector is driver-centric with the cup holders more passenger oriented. Accent lighting gives the cabin a futuristic feel at night as does the huge panoramic moonroof, a first for any pick-up. A 360-degree view camera system is also new for 2015, making parking and tight-spot maneuvering a much easier task. Much like systems on other vehicles, it uses front-, rear-, and side-mounted cameras to produce a bird’s-eye view of the truck on the navigation screen.

We imagine rear seat legroom will still be limo-like with a flat load floor and foldable seat bottoms. Ford has also included two 110-volt power outlets for charging laptops, cell phones, or the like.

Drivetrain

The 2015 F-150 is offered with a choice of four engines. Returning are the base 3.5-liter, naturally-aspirated V-6; the mid-level 5.0-liter, naturally-aspirated V-8; and the range-topping, twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. Ford is dropping the 6.2-liter V-8 that previously held the range-topping position.

All-new for 2015 is the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 with an Auto Start-Stop system — a first in the light-duty pickup segment — that puts down 325 horses and 375 pound-feet of torque. The Auto Start-Stop is said to be specially tuned for truck use and will not activate when in tow mode or four-wheel-drive. The system shuts the engine off whenever the truck is stopped, then restarts the engine within milliseconds of the brake being released. Combined with the aluminum body construction, we imagine the 2.7-liter EcoBoost will give class-leading fuel economy numbers.

Interior 2015 Ford F-150 Exterior

In addition to the thousands of hours laboratory testing done in developing the 2.7-liter EcoBoost, Ford ran the 2013 Baja 1000 with a disguised 2015 F-150 powered by one. Just like the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 did in the Baja a few years back, the engine performed admirably, finishing the race.

Prices

Model P  rice
Ford F-150 XL $26,615
Ford F-150 XLT $31,890
Ford F-150 Lariat $39,880
Ford F-150 King Ranch $49,460
Ford F-150 Platinum $52,155

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