One of the most anticipated debuts at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show has finally happened and it comes in the form of the 2015 Ford F-150. Right off the bat, we can now confirm that the latest F-150 is comprised of a high-strength steel frame and a high-strength aluminum-alloy body, which helps shave off 700 pounds compared to the out-going model. Besides the weight-saving materials, an available 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost engine bows for the first time, confirming what we already had been expecting. This new engine, along with the rest of the 2015 F-150 lineup, went through more than 10 million miles of testing and even ran in the 2013 Baja 1000.
Starting with the most important change, Ford hasn't come out and said exactly what type of aluminum the 2015 F-150 will consist of but it did say it is similar to that found on a military HUMVEE, commercial transportation and other various aerospace applications. The F-150's signature fully boxed ladder frame consists of new high-strength steel and is stronger and lighter than the one it's replacing. This new steel frame is rated up to 70,000 psi, which is stronger than some competitors' heavy-duty truck frames. In all, eight through-welded crossmembers beef up stiffness and staggered rear outboard shocks bolster stability. Ford claims that the 2015 F-150 is the strongest and most durable model to ever be introduced and was tested under a variety of conditions, including crisscrossing the United States while towing a trailer through desert valleys and over high-altitude mountain passes. As mentioned above, Ford even went as far to test the 2015 F-150 and its new 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine by entering a disguised truck into the Baja 1000, which it completed, and then engineers drove it home.
In all, four engines are set to be offered in the new F-150, including the new turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost engine that features auto start-stop technology. This start-stop technology only shuts the engine off when you're not towing anything or not in four-wheel drive. Ford promises this new engine will offer power similar to that of a mid-range V8. The outgoing 3.7-liter naturally aspirated V6 has been downsized slightly to 3.5-liters, while the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine will return as expected. The 5.0-liter V8 engine is now the biggest engine offered in the F-150's portfolio as the 6.2-liter V8 sails off into the sunset. All four engine choices are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. On 2015 F-150s equipped with an EcoBoost engine, Active Grille Shutters, which stay open when the engine requires extra cooling, will be a standard feature. These same shutters will automatically close in an effort to reduce aerodynamic drag when cruising at highway speeds.
Design-wise, it's immediately obvious when looking at the 2015 Ford F-150 that the nose reflects the Atlas Concept very closely, giving the Blue Oval's latest variation of its light-duty pick-up a chiseled look. The LED headlight and tail lamp design also shares similar styling cues from that of the Atlas Concept. The next-gen tailgate step makes its debut on the latest F-150 along with other new features like a 360-degree camera view, integrated loading ramps in the bed, 400-watt power outlets in the cab and a remote tailgate release.
Inside, the 2015 F-150 features some styling cues that were first seen in the Atlas Concept at the Detroit Auto Show last year. The steering wheel is one of the more notable features that made the jump from the Atlas Concept to the production version of the 2015 F-150. A new 8-inch touchscreen sits in the middle of the dashboard and allows drivers to customize the home screen with apps they expect to use often. Big buttons and controls are easy to operate even when wearing gloves, and various storage spaces positioned through-out the F-150's cabin can accommodate the usual job-site staples like cell phones, drinks and laptops. In the Super and Crew cab configurations, rear under-seat storage provides a spot to store valuables away from prying eyes. Other new features include second-row inflatable seat belts, Curve Control that regulates four-wheel braking when entering a corner too quickly, adaptive cruise control, Lane-Keeping System, Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert, trailer hitch assist and a smart trailer tow module.
When it goes on sale late this year, five primary trim levels will be available: XL, XLT, Lariat, Platinum and King Ranch. Those who like chrome can opt for the chrome appearance package on the XL, XLT and Lariat trim levels, while the FX4 off-road package can be added to most four-wheel-drive models. The FX4 off-road package includes an electronic locking rear axle, skid plates and off-road tuned shocks.
The 2015 Ford F-150 will continue to be assembled at the Blue Oval's truck facility in Dearborn, Michigan, and its Kansas City assembly facility in Claycomo, Missouri. Pricing and fuel figures are expected to be made available closer to the 2015 F-150's sale date.
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