In an effort to grab some attention away from GM's new line of full-size pickups, Ford pulled the wraps off its F-Series Atlas concept at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. According to Raj Nair, Ford's group vice president of global product development, "The Ford Atlas Concept previews the innovations that will transform what people expect from their pickup."
Evolutionary design changes are the name of the game for full-size trucks, and the Atlas Concept is no exception. The massive front grille resembles that of current Super Duty models, while vertically stacked LED headlights speak to the Atlas' high-tech character. Around back, the look is finished off with matching LED taillights and a pair of rectangular chrome exhaust outlets.
While specific powertrain details have yet to be announced, Ford did note that the Atlas Concept features a next-generation EcoBoost engine with an auto stop/start function to improve fuel economy. Significant aerodynamic enhancements such as active grille shutters and industry-first active wheel shutters, which hide within each wheel and deploy at highway speeds, serve to further bolster the Atlas Concept's efficiency quotient. While these fuel saving measures might sound like technological breakthroughs, Ford is projecting only a 2-mpg bump in highway fuel economy (current EPA-estimated rating: 16/22 city/highway).
In terms of functionality, the Atlas Concept incorporates a new truck-friendly version of Ford's Active Park Assist called Trailer Backup Assist, which automatically reverses the truck into the proper position to load a trailer. Additional convenience comes in the form of a new tailgate step, hidden cargo ramps to help with loading wheeled items, washable seating surfaces, LED cargo box lighting and a 360-degree camera that provides a bird's eye view of the vehicle during low-speed driving situations.
Contrary to rumors, this F-Series concept is not comprised of aluminum-intensive body pieces, though Ford's Nair stated, "The next-generation F-150 will have a significant weight drop."
Seeing as Ford is expected to introduce the 2015 Ford F-Series within the next year or so, it's safe to say the Atlas Concept provides an accurate look into the future of America's best-selling truck.
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