Ford may be a “car” company, but the F-150 full-size pickup truck is the bestselling vehicle in the United States. There’s a lot riding on every redesign.
Unveiled at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, the latest 2015 Ford F-150 promises to be smarter and more efficient than ever, and just as capable.
The styling is more aggressive, with a huge grille, LED headlights and taillights, and more angled surfaces and detailing that make the previous F-150 look nondescript by comparison.
The engineers have put in just as much effort under the skin.
Ford says it’s made the new F-150 700 pounds lighter than its predecessor, thanks to extensive use of high-strength steel in the frame and aluminum in the body. To make sure this lightened truck was still tough, the company entered a camouflaged prototype in the Baja 1000.
Another nod to efficiency is the new 2.7-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V6, which comes with a start-stop system. Specific figures haven’t been released, but Ford says this smaller engine makes the same power as “some mid-range V8s.”
Other engine options include a naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6, a turbocharged EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6, and a 5.0-liter V8.
Ford has also added plenty of tech to the F-150 in an effort to make this big truck “smarter”.
This includes some driver aids that wouldn’t be out of place on a Mercedes-Benz, including a 360-degree camera system that gives drivers a bird’s eye view of the truck while parking, and a trailer-hitch assist that adds a visible line to the rearview camera display, helping to aim the F-150’s bulk while backing up.
The 2015 F-150 also features Curve Control, which uses the brakes to tug it back into line if the driver gets too exuberant, adaptive cruise control, Lane Keep Assist, and blind-spot monitoring.
The F-150 may be a work vehicle, but it still gets an 8-inch LCD center stack screen, with truck-specific apps for fuel economy and towing tips. The Sync with MyFord Touch infotainment system is optional.
As with most new trucks, the bed gets a few gimmicks too. There are integral ramps for loading ATVs, a remote tailgate, and the latest version of Ford’s tailgate step.
The 2015 Ford F-150 goes on sale later this year in a mind-boggling array of trim levels, cab and bed styles, and two- and four-wheel drive configurations.
There’s also an FX4 off-road package, but so far Ford isn’t releasing a redesigned version of the dune-dominating SVT Raptor.
Will all this be enough for the F-150 to keep its sales crown?