By Allyson Harwood
Ford is making a big change with America's most popular truck: For 2015, the all-new F-150 becomes the first in its segment to have an aluminum body, setting it apart from competitors Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500, GMC Sierra, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan. The move to aluminum makes the new F-150 capable of hauling more payload, and its weight reduction improves fuel economy while making it possible to use a smaller engine to power the full-size truck. The F-150 has best-in-class towing and payload capacity, yet is also one of the most luxurious trucks out there. It runs the gamut from base XL to XLT, Lariat, cowboy-tinged King Ranch, and top-of-the-line Platinum, with 2- or 4-wheel drive, and regular, SuperCab (extended) and SuperCrew (crew) cabs.
The all-new F-150 offers best-in-class towing and payload capacity, plus smaller displacement engines with impressive fuel economy. It's built for hard work, yet has a quiet cabin filled with modern luxury amenities. It has a wide offering of cabs, engines, trim levels and interiors.
The F-150 is a big truck that doesn't fit in most single-car garages. Its size is comparable to a Ram or Silverado, but if you want something smaller, you may want to consider a Colorado, Tacoma or Frontier. Pricing can escalate to above $60,000, and there's no diesel engine available.
For 2015, the all-new F-150 has a new look, a redesigned frame and a body that's now made of aluminum. There are two new engines available, as well as a new interior with high-tech options, and features that make it easier for the full-size truck to tow and haul.
Driving Impressions While initially skeptical about a small-displacement engine powering a large truck, our concerns quickly vanished once we were out on the road. Ford's engineers have pulled 700 pounds out of...... the F-150, and with that, a 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 makes the full-size truck feel spry and agile. There is a larger EcoBoost engine available, but unless you plan on towing 12,000 pounds, it isn't necessary. We towed, drove off-road and enjoyed a long road trip, and the F-150 was wonderfully consistent and confident in every arena, no matter what challenge we threw at it. The ride is comfortable, but the brakes are a little touchy. The new F-150 is quiet inside, and its cabin contains cool, functional features like a 360-degree camera to make it easier to park, a bevy of safety features, and cabin choices that range from hose-it-out basic to downright posh.
Ford's tailgate step, integrated into the tailgate itself, makes it easy to get into and out of the F-150's bed. Also available on the F-150 are integrated cargo ramps mounted below the tailgate, making it convenient to load wheeled work equipment, motorcycles or ATVs. And the tailgate can be lowered remotely by pushing a button on the key fob.
Once seen as a luxury option, the 2015 Ford F-150 is available with a 360-degree camera. Not only does this help when parking, but it offers something a luxury sedan can't boast: The camera comes in handy for added visibility when driving at low speeds on a trail.
Tough meets modern in the 2015 Ford F-150, where buyers can get cool features like a Wi-Fi hotspot, two 3-prong power outlets, smart cruise control, active park assist, and the ability to have the Sync infotainment system read text messages to you while you drive. The SuperCrew (crew cab) is extremely roomy, with rear-seat legroom that would make some full-size sedans envious. The F-150's floor is flat, making the middle rear seat comfortable, while also allowing more room for storage. Also making the cab comfortable are seats that have been carefully sculpted to reduce fatigue.Exterior
The 2015 Ford F-150 has the only truck body that's made of aluminum, but using that material doesn't reduce the truck's capability or strength. When it comes to the F-150's exterior, the style is rugged and bold, but much of its appearance was inspired by function. Its LED headlights and taillights look good, but more important, they use less energy. LED spotlights come in handy in poorly lit areas like campgrounds. There are pop-out steps at the bed sides to make it easier to reach cargo. Even the seamless sliding rear window looks good, but is designed to reduce complexity.
Every F-150 gets the same ultra-strong hydroformed, fully boxed frame, which uses significantly more high-strength steel than in 2014. Aside from the solid foundation, one of the most impressive things about the 2015 F-150 is that the equipment that comes standard makes it easy for an F-150 owner to get work done safely without breaking the bank. All F-150s also come with hill-start assist and Trailer Sway Control, both extremely handy when towing. Also standard are fail-safe cooling, and Curve Control, which works to keep the truck under control if the driver goes into a turn too fast.
For an additional fee, you can get running boards that deploy when a door is opened and retract when the door closes. Front passengers are offered heated and cooled seats and rear-seat passengers can get seat heaters too. On the safety front, the 2015 Ford F-150 is offered with inflatable rear seat belts and a blind-spot information system. A voice-activated navigation system is available, which gives you real-time traffic updates. You can have text messages read to you as you drive. The ultimate options are the Platinum and King Ranch models, which deliver top-of-the-line equipment and model-specific style.
There are four F-150 engines to choose from: one regular V6, two twin-turbo V6s and a traditional V8. While Ford hasn't announced fuel economy numbers yet, it expects that fuel efficiency will be up to 20 percent better than in the 2014 F-150. All four engines use a 6-speed automatic transmission. Ford doesn't offer a diesel engine in the 2015 F-150, but it does have two excellent twin-turbocharged V6 engines that have plentiful torque and are ready for towing and hauling. And those who aren't interested in a turbo V6 can look into the trusty 5.0-liter V8.
283 horsepower @ 6,250 rpm
255 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA
2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6
325 horsepower @ 5,750 rpm
375 lb-ft of torque @ 3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA
3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6
365 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
420 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA
385 horsepower @ 5,750 rpm
387 lb-ft of torque @ 3,850
EPA city/high fuel economy: NA
The 2015 Ford F-150 starts at a competitive $26,615 for the regular cab, 2-wheel-drive XL. With that, the full-size truck has a regular-length bed – 6-1/2 feet – and the base 3.5-liter V6. One of the key areas where Ford is focused on aggressive pricing is with the engines. Looking at that same XL, you can upgrade to the excellent 2.7-liter EcoBoost for just $795, or to the 5.0-liter V8 for $1,595. On the other end of the spectrum, the most expensive trim level is the Platinum, which costs almost $64,000 when you check off most of the options boxes. This soon after the new F-150's release, it's a little early to calculate resale values, but if you want the confidence of knowing what folks in your area are paying for their new trucks, check out the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price.