Battle of the bestselling trucks: 2014 Ford F-150 vs 2015 Ford F-150

For decades, the bestselling “car” in the U.S. has been a truck.

That truck is the Ford F-150, which (once again) beats the full-size pickup-truck competition – and every other light-duty vehicle sold here – in sales going into the 2015 model year.

So the redesigned 2015 F-150, unveiled back in January at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, has a lot to live up to. To make things even more interesting, this new F-150 features radical updates like an aluminum body and downsized EcoBoost engine.

Will Ford’s legions of truck buyers accept these changes? Or is the F-150’s reign over?

Exterior design

The 2015 F-150 features more expressive styling taken from the Atlas concept that belies the truck’s utilitarian purpose. Highlights include a massive grille, stylized LED headlights and taillights, and impressive flared fenders.

These new styling cues may be viewed as frivolous trinketry by some, but they make the 2015 F-150 look tougher and more interesting than the outgoing model. If you’re going to buy a truck based on its looks, why not get the one that looks like a battering ram?

Interior design, comfort, amenities

Each generation of the Ford F-150 has become more car-like than the last, and the 2015 model is no exception.

The 2014 F-150 isn’t exactly spartan, but the 2015 includes features like a larger, 8-inch LCD center-stack screen with truck-specific apps that include fuel economy and towing tips. Both models feature versions of the Sync with MyFord Touch infotainment system.

Helping drivers guide the massive 2015 F-150 in its berth are assistance systems such as a 360-degree camera array, curve control, adaptive cruise control, and parking assist.

Many 2015 F-150s probably won’t be so lavishly equipped, but the availability of these features should boost the new truck’s appeal. 

Powertrain

The 2015 Ford F-150 introduces a new 2.7-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V6. 

Specifications haven’t been released, but the smaller engine pushes the efficiency envelope just as buyers were getting used to the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 introduced with the previous-generation model.

That turbocharged V6 returns for 2015, alongside a naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V6 and a 5.0-liter V8. The base 3.7-liter V6 and the 6.2-liter V8 available on the 2014 F-150 won’t return.

The 2015 F-150 powertrain options place a greater emphasis on efficiency than before, but will pickup buyers care about that if it means sacrificing power? 

We’ll have a better idea when more-complete specifications are released.

Performance

Thanks to an aluminum body (on a traditional steel ladder frame), Ford expects the 2015 F-150 to be up to 700 pounds lighter than its predecessor.

Assuming the carryover V6 and V8 engines produce similar power to those in the 2014 F-150, this should translate into improved fuel economy and tow ratings.

However, the off-road performance F-150 SVT Raptor and sporty Tremor models won’t return for 2015, although new versions could show up later in the new truck’s product cycle.

The absence of those models means the 2014 F-150 still has more to offer performance enthusiasts, although the 2015 trucks will probably perform where it counts.

Price

Pricing for the 2015 Ford F-150 hasn’t been revealed, but it definitely won’t be as straightforward as that of a midsize sedan.

Like the 2014 F-150 and most other full-size pickups, the 2015 model will likely be offered with a vast array of cabs, beds, drivetrain configurations, and trim levels. 

The gap between a basic contractor’s work truck and a loaded luxury model will be a yawning chasm. While it’s hard to make direct comparisons, it’s possibly the new F-150’s aluminum body will increase its price.

Cool factor

The 2015 Ford F-150 promises to be more refined, more luxurious, and more efficient than the 2014 F-150, pulling it farther away from traditional notions of what a truck should be.

This (not to mention the absence of the sporty Raptor and Tremor models) may irk hardcore truck fans, but it should make for better trucks that appeal to a wider array of buyers.

Will it make for cooler trucks, though? The new styling will certainly help in that department (the 2015 should look great lifted), and eco-boosters might be impressed by the downsized 2.7-liter V6.

Trucks seem to have a cool factor that is immune to concerns like environmental responsibility, though. They’re just too quintessentially American not to be admired. As the newest of the breed, the 2015 F-150 is also the coolest truck of the moment.

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