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2015 Ford F-150: an aluminum tin can wimp or a heavy-duty tough guy?

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Each year, car manufacturers promote their 'all-new' vehicle. It has become such a cliche' that many consumers do not even pay attention to the hype. But just possibly, Ford really has something new that deserves everyone's attention. It is the all-new aluminum body full-size pickup truck. It is the 2015 Ford F-150.

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The unveiling was not a very well-kept secret. Ford had been promoting their 'concept' Atlas pickup for about a year and had even had requests to purchase it. Preceding the Detroit Auto Show opening, stories began to appear in various newspapers, although there were no photos available. Then, on Monday, January 13, 2014, it happened. The unveiling took place and the announcement was made. Photos were taken and distributed from Ford events in Detroit, Dallas, New York, and Los Angeles.

The Detroit Auto Show was, by its nature, a big event. The Dallas event was held at Gilley's and was also huge, because almost half of all the F-150's sold are sold in Texas. The location was packed out and was complete with trick lariat performances by a couple of cowboys, photos with a few Cowboy Cheerleaders, a terrific country and western band, and a lot more.

Sure, there have been aluminum body vehicles before this one, but usually in smaller race cars and such. This is a full-size pickup and there has to be some question as to whether consumers will endorse this radical departure from all the former emphasis on steel. It appears to be somewhat like the old story of the camel's head sticking under the tent flap. Once it shows up, it is difficult to get rid of the camel. In this case, Ford introduced the camel's head when they changed from the proven V-8 power plant to the EcoBoost.

Loyal and long-time F-150 truck owners were leery of this new-fangled approach to their traditional V-8 power. It had a reputation for having the power needed to pull their horse and cattle trailers or whatever other heavy-hauling purpose they needed. Changing to a smaller engine was difficult for some, but eventually the 'camel' wedged his head inside the tent and the EcoBoost was generally accepted.

So, now, the 'camel' is pushing more of his body inside the tent. The body is all aluminum with this latest edition of the F-150 pickup. Ford's public relations are saying that is the “toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 ever.” That is a big statement. Something very noticeable in all the press releases is their emphasis on almost everything except the aluminum body. The hype is more about all the new productivity features and smart innovations.

This all-new Ford F-150 includes a 360-degree all-around camera view, integrated loading ramps for ATV's or motorcycles, trailer hitch assist, remote tailgate opened, locked, or unlocked with the key fob, and a lot more. There is a new 8-inch LCD screen for the instrument panel, under-rear-seat storage in some of the models, and more.

The primary power-plant for the all-new F-150 will be a new 2.7-liter EcoBoost, although the 3.5-liter V6 engine, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost, and a 5.0-liter V8 will be available. The new 2.7 EcoBoost is more lightweight, more compact, but supposedly can deliver the capability of most mid-range V8 engines.

Bottom line: the US military uses heavy-duty aluminum in many of their vehicles and other equipment and it is definitely proven. Now, with Ford producing a full-size pickup with an all-aluminum body is simply the next step of the camel pushing into the tent even further, and obviously ahead of the rest of the camel pack. This camel is definitely a heavy-duty tough guy.



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