Redesigned from the ground up, the 2015 Ford F-150 is a bold statement in the highly competitive full-size pickup truck segment. Having spent the last 37 years as the best-selling truck in the U.S., the Ford F-150 shows no signs of slowing down, nor can it afford to with plenty of tough competition like the Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500, GMC Sierra, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan looking to knock it from its throne.
The 2015 Ford F-150 pairs a groundbreaking aluminum alloy body with an expanded lineup of powerful and fuel-efficient EcoBoost engines to provide all of the ruggedness expected of a pickup truck with the improved fuel economy that today’s truck buyers demand. The 2015 Ford F-150 goes on sale by the end of this year, and to meet the needs of any buyer, it will be available in a number of build configurations including three body styles, three bed lengths, four engines and five trim levels.
As the undisputed champion of the full-size truck market, Ford pulled out all the stops when it came to the development of the all-new 2015 Ford F-150. Utilizing an all-aluminum body and an engine lineup comprised mostly of V6s, the new Ford F-150 sets the tone for future pickup trucks in the U.S. Although the 2015 Ford F-150 is not yet on sale, we headed to Texas (aka Truck Country) to drive the entire lineup of models including this V8-powered XLT SuperCrew with the FX4 Off Road and Sport Appearance package.
Previewed by the 2013 Ford Atlas Concept, the 2015 Ford F-150 brings a new level of styling to the full-size truck market. The face of this new F-150 features a massive six-sided grille, which varies by trim level, and it is flanked by large, vertical headlights with an interesting body-colored cutout. The rest of the truck’s design isn’t as bold, but the prominent wheel arches and the angular taillights round out the dynamic styling. For the most intense effect, the 2015 Ford F-150 also offers full LED lighting, which adds a unique accent around the headlights and taillights.
The aforementioned Sport Appearance package brings a higher level of visual sportiness to the 2015 Ford F-150 with its monochromatic paint job (Blue Flame in the case of this tester) to go along with a black billet-style grille, body-colored bumpers and distinctive six-spoke, 18-inch wheels with dark painted accents. Aside from the use of aluminum and the sharp styling, Ford also factored a few other innovations into the new F-150 such as the reconfigurable BoxLink bed organizer system, a remote tailgate that lowers automatically, LED lighting incorporated into the door mirrors, tailgate and cargo bed, and a redesigned tailgate step that is now easier to use.
More so than its styling, the 2015 Ford F-150 made headlines by ditching steel body panels in favor of lighter weight aluminum. Ford says that the military-grade aluminum alloy body panels are able to stand up to any rigors of daily truck use, and the overall benefit is that Ford was able to shave 700 pounds from the truck’s curb weight, which helps improve towing abilities and fuel economy. Of course, this isn’t the same type of aluminum used for your favorite carbonated beverage, and in an admittedly simple and non-scientific test, we were able to push pretty hard on various body panels without any noticeable give.
The 2015 Ford F-150 can be optioned with three body styles (Regular, SuperCab and SuperCrew), three bed lengths (5.5 feet, 6.5 feet and 8 feet), four engines and five initial trim levels.
While the exterior of the 2015 Ford F-150 sets new standards in material use and design, the interior is chocked full of its own innovations including some of the latest technologies that you’ll find in today’s luxury vehicles. For driver assistance, this includes Active Park Assist, Lane-keeping, Blind Spot Information System, and adaptive cruise control. The F-150 can also be equipped with the latest Sync with MyFord Touch infotainment system, a 360-degree camera and a 110-volt power inverter outlet.
In terms of comfort, the new F-150 offers plenty with spacious seating for up to six passengers and niceties like “multi-contour” massaging front seats and inflatable rear seat belts (for added safety). Ford used the 2015 F-150 to show that being innovative doesn’t necessarily mean breaking away from old traditions. As most other full-size trucks have gone to front-hinged rear doors on the extended cab models, the F-150 SuperCab still uses rear-hinged doors that now open a full 170 degrees to make ingress and egress easy for all passengers, while the SuperCrew has massive rear doors that open up to expose generous rear passenger legroom. Both SuperCab and SuperCrew are great for cargo, too, as they offer a perfectly flat load floor.
In terms of powertrain options, the big news for the 2015 Ford F-150 is the addition of the all-new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. This engine, along with the bigger 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, allows Ford to offer three distinct six-cylinder options for improved fuel economy without giving up any performance or towing abilities. We had the chance to check out the lone eight-cylinder engine for 2015, which is the 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8 producing 385 hp and 387 lb-ft of torque. At this point, it would appear that the only reason the V8 engine is still offered in the F-150 is to appease the hardcore truck crowd who think there is no replacement for displacement, since this engine has less torque and towing capacity than the 3.5-liter EcoBoost and returns worse fuel economy. Ford hasn’t released specifics for the F-150’s fuel economy numbers, but it says that the weight loss and other improvements should shave 5 to 20 percent off last year’s figures. Regardless of engine, all 2015 Ford F-150 trucks will come with a six-speed automatic transmission.
On the road, the 2015 Ford F-150 is further proof of just how far pickup trucks have come in the last 20 years. Gone are the days of getting sideways while going down a washboard road, while the overall noise level inside this truck at highway speeds is as quiet as some of the better family sedans currently on the market. Even the electric power steering makes the F-150 feel much smaller than it actually is, and this is especially noticeable in parking lot and U-turn maneuvers. For those who plan to tow or haul, the new F-150 doesn’t disappoint. In what will likely be a surprise to many truck shoppers, the new F-150’s max tow rating of 12,200 pounds isn’t for the V8 but rather for the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6. We had the chance to drive all but the base naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6, and while the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost offers the best balance, the larger EcoBoost V6 is the right choice if you plan on putting this truck to work.
We were also able to spend some time putting the F-150 through its paces in some off-road driving, and Ford continued to impress. In stock form, the F-150 4×4 had no problem getting through heavy mud or doing some moderate rock crawling. Until a replacement for the F-150 SVT Raptor comes about, off-road enthusiasts should be sure to check out the optional FX4 Off Road package with its electronic locking rear differential, Hill Descent Control, off-road shocks and skid plates
In bone-stock base form, the 2015 Ford F-150 has a starting price of $25,240 for a work-ready XL trim level, but the volume-selling XLT trim with the four-door SuperCrew configuration starts at $35,930 with the base engine and two-wheel drive. This well-equipped test unit we drove priced out at $47,930. All in, a top-of-the-line 2015 Ford F-150 Platinum loaded up with all the bells and whistles will cost you almost $60,000.
In the land of full-size pickup trucks, the Ford F-150 has reigned supreme for almost 40 years, and after spending time behind the wheel of the all-new 2015 Ford F-150, it doesn’t appear that the truck’s domination is in jeopardy of ending any time soon. The new F-150 won’t go on sale until closer to the end of this year, but it has already taken home one of the top awards for a pickup truck as it was recently named the 2014 Truck of Texas.
Photos by Jeffrey Ross