2015 Ford F-150 - Stronger, Slimmer, TrimmerPosted in Vehicle Reviews on January 28, 2015
The best way to get your mind around the massive array of modifications and upgrades to the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 is to imagine that the country’s bestselling pickup went to boot camp—for four years! Ford’s quest to update the next-gen truck began in 2009; since then, the F-150 has endured torture tactics and extreme testing to produce Ford’s strongest and most talented full-sizer ever.
Ford’s all-new truck is Game-Changing: Boot Camp pays off with driving, towing, payload and off- road upgrades
“We wanted to build the toughest, most capable F-150, while making it as much as 700 pounds lighter,” said Pete Reyes, Ford F-150 chief engineer. “We challenged the team to torture the truck harder than any F-150 before it.” Reyes also calls the new truck a “poster child for innovation” with its 11 class-exclusive features along with upgraded performance and safety and updates to exterior and interior styling. The truth? Almost everything has been transformed.
What’s new? An all-new high-strength aluminum-alloy body and high-strength steel frame tested with more than 10 million miles of both simulated and real-world evaluation that included the Baja 1000 and putting the pickup in the hands of select truck-tough customers. Although it weighs 700 pounds less, it has best-in-class towing upped 900 pounds and 1,000 pounds more payload capacity. There are four engine choices; Ford expects fuel economy to be improved by 5 to 20 percent depending on the model.
It’s a poster child for innovations
We drove five versions along a traditional drive route of close to 150 miles in San Antonio’s Hill Country region and evaluated the truck’s towing prowess pulling a 9,000-pound trailer. Our takeaways? Quiet ride, nimble handling with precise steering, great power and performance, strong brakes, and good pedal feel, plus a collection of nice interiors. Best portion of the drive? Putting the pickup into low range over an off-road course with uphill and downhill sections; a corduroy track of partially buried logs; water—and mud!
We took Peter Frantzekakis, F-Series engineering manager and 4WD guru, along for the ride. He noted a number of the changes that improve off-roading, such as a 15mm wider track, 1-inch higher ground clearance (comes from raising the crossmembers and the engine up and changing its angle), a new transfer case, an improved e-locker, recalibrated hill descent control, lighter weight by some 15 percent that makes it handle better over bumps and dips, and staggered outboard rear shocks that reduce the “power hop” at the back of the frame (one facing forward, the other rearward). We found it capable and composed, with the exception of the ride over the logs, which was decidedly bumpy.
The keypad is now higher on the truck door, which helps keep it away from dirt and mud, and it can be used with gloves. Door-handle clearance was enlarged for gloved hands too. The rear seat area gets a flat floor for stowage of large items, such as toolboxes. Plus, doors that open wider ease access for people and cargo. Additionally, the tow/haul mode has been improved to hold gears longer, and the electronic trailer brake controller now has a “smart” trailer connect.
Our favorite features? The new accessory ramps that clip into the tailgate plate and can be stowed in-bed, with cargo clips for ATVs, motorcycles, and other sport vehicles. Also, the spotlights integrated into the outside mirrors.
On sale in autumn, the 2015 F-150 will start at $25,420 and top out near $70,000.