America’s best-selling pick-up. Check. Great looks and styling. Check. All new 2.7 L Ecoboost V6? Check. All aluminum body? What? But check.
When the 2015 Ford F-150 debuted in shows across North America last year, it was the talk of the town. Becoming the white elephant in the room, Ford took a huge gamble when it decided to build the 2015 F-150 with an all-aluminum body. This revolutionary new body, combined with a lighter high strength steel frame, shaves off over 700 pounds in weight as compared to the outgoing model. That’s a huge number to take in when average weight savings of about 50 pounds are thought to be great. This first could be a game changer for pick-ups.
The new body also means a new look for this truck. Yes, it still looks like a Ford, but styling cues from the 2013 Atlas concept truck are clearly visible, and welcome. At the front, the grill is now larger and predominant, looking more like that of the larger Super Duty model. The lines are chiseled and angular, a look I really like. Adorning the front are the new optional class-exclusive LED headlights, a must have in my opinion. On the sides, the belt line is lowered at the front doors to retain a “pick-up” type look. Integrated LED side markers are a nice touch as compared to last year’s yellow lights. And not to be left behind, the tailgate has also been redesigned to give it a more refined look. Another nice sleek look is in back window, which is now a single piece of glass, complete with electric window. Ford states that the rear defrost will be much more effective versus the outgoing model’s design. We found that with the full-length sunroof open, sliding open the rear window gave excellent air-flow.
Getting something out of the bed of a pick-up truck has neverbeen easy, especially if you’re vertically challenged. To address this issue, the new F-150 now has hidden, retractable side steps AND an integrated tailgate step – well done, Ford!
Step inside the 2015 F-150 and be treated to a 2” wider cabin. If you think that the extra space is in the seating area, you’re mistaken. Thinking of construction and industrial uses, Ford decided to make the center console wider, so that now, you can even fit the ever-present laptop in it if needed. Speaking of extra space, there are so many bins, nooks, and crannies that you might not be able to find something if you misplace it or were hiding it from your kids.
The dashboard is still plastic (in base models), but it’s tasteful and only the upper portions are made of the hard plastic while lower portions get softer materials. I found the center console/arm rest area to be quite comfortable, thanks to the extra padding. The gauge cluster is also in sync with other Fordmodels, where the driver can choose what information is to be displayed – in fact, there are seven different configurations you can choose to suit your needs and tastes. As the center of the dash sits the infotainment center, complete with touchscreen. Now, as most of you may know, Sync (powered by Microsoft) hasn’t been the most user friendly system. The first generation was sluggish, inaccurate, and not very responsive. The current generation is better, but still suffers from sluggishness and at times, the touchscreen is still unresponsive. That being said, voice control is quite good. I’m looking forward to Ford’s partnership with Canadian-owned Blackberry in the next generation operating systems, which will launch in certain Ford vehicles in 2016.
So, all the design features aside, how does the new 2015 F-150 drive? Surprisingly well, in fact. I was able to test the truck over a week and was surprised at the differences. One notable difference was the quiet interior – not that the outgoing model was loud, but the 2015 is just quieter. Ride quality was excellent and the F-150 didn’t really feel and handle like a pick-up truck, but rather a large sedan. The oversized seats provide excellent comfort for long or short drives. For rear passengers, there is good legroom, and if you choose the Supercrew setup, there is more legroom than a BMW 750i at 43.6” – so stretch out and relax in comfort. My kids, with their legs fully stretched, barely reached the backs of the front seats.
Another gem for this new F-150 is the all-new 2.7 liter Ecoboost V6 engine, which produces 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. Add the new start/stop technology and this engine produces an impressive 10.9 L/100 km fuel efficiency rating. Initially I didn’t have high expectations for this engine, but once I drove it, I was impressed. Power delivery is effortless as the Ecoboost churns out about 17-18 pounds of boost to really get you moving. A couple of my friends couldn’t believe the power coming out of such a small motor. If you really need a bigger engine, you can still get the 3.5 liter naturally aspirated V6, 3.5 liter Ecoboost V6, or the 5.0 liter V8. In all honesty, I think the 2.7 liter will be best-selling of the bunch. You really have to drive the 2.7 liter to appreciate its power.
The 2015 Ford F-150 is going to be the catalyst for change in pick-ups. This vehicle has so many class exclusive features, such as the 360 degree camera, inflatable rear outboard safety belts, stowable loading ramps, and remote tailgate release, that other models are scrambling to keep up. I can see a lot of SUV/crossover owners who might just opt for this new F-150.