Taking on a project like redesigning something as popular as the F-150 is enough to separate real designers and engineers from ordinary wannabes. It takes an abundance of talent, mixed with a lot of confidence and a touch of naivety to even try this massive feat, especially when you consider the chances of screwing up nearly four decades of truck sales leadership. Truck aficionados can relax; Ford knows better than to mess with success.
The 2015 F-150 has been fully redesigned, with a new look and a new lightweight body that should deliver improved overall performance and fuel efficiency. Using design details from the Ford Atlas concept shown in Detroit last year, the recently displayed production 2015 Ford F-150 moves the pickup truck well into the future.
Aluminum body panels and a high-strength steel frame help the new F-150 lose as much as 700 pounds compared to the current model. Because Ford is using military-grade aluminum, 6000 series alloy, it’s said that the switch to aluminum won’t compromise capability.
The new F-150 retains the bold grille, hood creases and headlight design of the former Atlas concept truck. Additional cabin width along with thinner doors increases cabin space by 2 inches, most of it between the two front seats.
Top models are available with LED lighting for the low- and high-beams, as well as LED signature light pipes. The windshield base is pushed forward for more rake and better aerodynamics, and the center of the roof now extends down toward the rearview mirror. A deeper front air dam sits below the bumper.
Interior styling is also all-new, with materials that feel more passenger-car premium. There's also a large 8-inch screen between the two main gauges that can display information customized by the driver.
The F-150’s weight loss will have huge ramifications for fuel economy, as will a suite of fuel-saving technologies, starting with a new 2.7 liter “Nano” EcoBoost engine. Until now, the Ford F-150 has had the choice of a 3.7 liter V6, a 5.0 liter V8, and the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 that promises both performance and fuel economy.
While Ford isn’t delivering power numbers, estimates put the Nano in the 300 horsepower and 350+ ft-lbs of torque range, slotting in nicely between the base 3.5 liter non-EcoBoost V6 (which replaces the 3.7 liter) and the 5.0 V8, which carries over with the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6.
The 2015 F-150 will be available in Regular, SuperCab and SuperCrew cab configurations. Rear-seat access is improved on the SuperCrew, which can be had with a 5-foot, 7-inch bed or a 6-foot, 7-inch standard bed. The SuperCab retains its reverse-hinged rear door design and is available with a 6-foot, 7-inch standard bed or the 8-foot, 1-inch long bed.
Regular cab models shrink 4 inches in length, mostly taken from the storage space behind the rear seats. The Regular cab will offer a 6-foot, 7-inch standard bed. Expect XL, XLT, STX, FX2, FX4, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trim levels. No details have been announced on special editions such as the off-road-optimized Raptor.
Ford has not announced tow ratings or payload figures, but says reduced weight means all ratings will rise from the current model. Last year's 3.5-liter EcoBoost, for example, is rated to tow 11,300 pounds. The new 2.7-liter EcoBoost should be able to handle 8,000 pounds.
Interesting new features include a power-locking rear tailgate with remote opening and 115-volt outlets with 400 watts of power. LED headlights and taillights are standard or optional depending on trim level. Available safety features include a 360-degree rearview camera, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. The SuperCrew Cab can also be had with a panoramic sunroof.