It’s a bit tempting to wonder whether designers at Ford get nervous every time they are asked to come up with a new look for the venerable F-150 pickup truck. After all, as the best selling vehicle in America year after year, you don’t want to mess things up and make the fans unhappy.
Well, for the 2015 model year, the F-150 has taken on a full redesign. The results? Breathe easy, Ford engineers, you got it right.
The biggest change is the all aluminum body, which generates huge savings in vehicle weight – as much as 700 pounds on some versions, according to Ford. That weight reduction helps boost fuel economy, and Ford officials say, creates a smoother ride on the road. Ford has really emphasized improving fuel economy throughout pretty much all of its vehicle lineup in the past few years, and the blue oval has been fairly successful in this endeavor. Another benefit to the body change is that it is underpinned with stronger steel, which will help minimize damage from crashes. The F-150 has a solid list of safety features.
The F-150 comes in three cab sizes: regular, Super Cab and Super Crew. There are five trim levels: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum. Our test drive model was the Platinum, and, talk about luxury, this machine has it in spades. The front end on all the trucks is notable for its large grille with bracket-shaped headlight groupings. Ford improved driver visibility by making the windows larger, and this touch also gives the trucks more of an SUV-type feel, which is not a bad thing.
The interior of the F-150 gets a nice upgrade. It is more spacious; the Platinum version that we drove seemed to be more roomy than many apartments in New York City. The MyFord Touch system, which has been rightfully called lousy in the past, is a little better now because there are more ways to control things by hand. It still could use a bit of work, though. The center stack also has been improved, with good access to the controls and an attractive appearance. The seats were as comfortable as the nicely worn in sofa in your living room.
The F-150 is offered with a choice of four engines. The base is a new 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 282 horsepower and 253 pounds-feet of torque. There is another new engine as well, the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 that makes 325 horsepower. Next is a carryover engine, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 that makes 365 horsepower. Finally, the big dog is the 5.0-liter Coyote V-8, bringing 385 ponies and 387 pounds-feet — it was in our tester, and it’s a beast, baby. All of the engines are linked to a six-speed automatic transmission and drivetrains are rear-wheel or four-wheel.
The F-150 starts at about $27,000 and ranges to around $57,000.
There are a number of reasons the F-150 has been the best-seller year after year. One of which, of course, is because of strong fleet sales to organizations needing work trucks. But another reason is the loyalty that these machines engender. Whether you’re hauling a bunch of stuff, heading to the job site, or just going in to town to run some errands, it’s hard to beat the quality of this American icon.