2015 Ford F150 Review
2015 Ford F150 2015 pickup at a glance
BODY STYLE: full-size pickup truck
DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, rear-drive and four-wheel-drive
ENGINES: 3.5-litre DOHC V6 (283 hp, 255 lb/ft of torque); 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 (325 hp, 375 lb/ft); 5.0-litre DOHC V8 (385 hp, 387 lb/ft); 3.5L EcoBoost V6 (365 hp, 420 lb/ft)
BOX SIZES: (Regular cab) 6.5 ft, 8.0 ft; (SuperCab) 6.5 ft, 8.0 ft; (SuperCrew) 5.5 ft, 6.5 ft
PAYLOAD: 3.5-litre (non turbo) max rating 866 kg (1,910 lbs); 2.7-litre max rating 1,021 kg (2,250 lbs); 5.0-litre max rating 1,496 kg (3,300 lbs); 3.5-litre EcoBoost max rating 1,442 kg (3,180 lbs)
TOWING CAPACITY: 3.5-litre (non turbo) max rating 3,447 kg (7,600 lbs); 2.7-litre max rating 3,855 kg (8,500 lbs); 5.0-litre max rating 4,989 kg (11,100 lbs); 3.5-litre Ecoboost max rating 5,533 kg (12,200 lbs)
FUEL ECONOMY: n/a at time of writing
PRICING: Base 4×2 XL Reg Cab with 6.5-foot box 21,399; 4×2 XLT SuperCab with 8-foot box $38,899; 4×4 Platinum SuperCrew with 6.5-foot box $66,999 (contact Ford for numerous models and price points)
Aluminum makes the new 2015 Ford F150 a better hauler
SAN ANTONIO, TX: There are plenty of reasons to visit San Antonio.
Not the least of which is the River Walk.
Just below street level, this oasis of tree-lined paths and stone bridges gently winds through the downtown core, connecting you to the city?s dining hot spots, historic sites and other attractions.
Go for a stroll or take a river taxi. Better yet, grab a waterside table ? and an ice-cold margarita ? to enjoy the perfect backdrop for a spicy Tex-Mex dinner.
The Alamo is also not to be missed.
Founded in 1718, it was the first of five missions built along the San Antonio River, and has been nominated for World Heritage status. Here, the famous battle between Texas defenders and Mexican general Santa Anna?s troops took place, and although it may be a tourist trap, it?s worth the visit.
Ditto for Oktoberfest.
The Lone Star State has a rich German heritage, and nearby Fredericksburg is the place to land for authentic German fare and a mug of doppelbock or weizenbier.
But none of these temptations are what led me here. I was in San Antonio to drive trucks ? more specifically the all-new, aluminum body Ford F150 pickup.
In case you were wondering, this is not the stuff of beer cans. This alloy is military grade, not Coors Light, making the Ford F150 not only more resistant to dents and rust, but lighter by 317 kg or 700 lbs.
That?s about four of me, and the effect on fuel economy is significant, with expected savings between five and 20 per cent, depending on model. The drop in weight also impacts driving dynamics, making this full-size truck more nimble, and with less lean in the corners.
Towing and payload are why people buy pickups, be it for hauling trailers and boats, or bricks and lumber. With less fat on the bones, the Ford F150 can tow up to 500 more kg (1,100 lb) and carry up to 240 kg (530 lbs) more payload. These now max out at 12,200 lbs and 3,300 lb respectively.
There?s an F150 for nearly any purpose and budget, with the base 4×2 XL with regular cab starting at $21,399, climbing to the Platinum 4×4 Super Crew at $66,999.
Five trim levels, XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum, provide content from basic work truck to luxo cruiser. The passenger cabins of the latter two rival most premium SUVs.
And there?s the FX4 offroad package, for those choosing to go bush bashing in their shiny new pickups. It can be added to most 4×4 models, and includes electronic locking rear axle, skid plates and off-road-tuned shocks.
F150 also has box sizes from 5.5 to 8 feet, and passenger cabins with one or two rows of seating. Super Cab models offer modest rear legroom accessed through clamshell doors, but Super Crew models allow three Texas-sized adults to really stretch out.
Powertrains for the F150 include carryovers from last generation, and a feisty newcomer that punches well above its weight.
This comes in the form of a 2.7-litre Ecoboost V6 (with auto start-stop) that delivers a surprising 325 hp and 375 lb/ft of torque. That?s lot of that grunt, and it comes in early ? with some wheelspin in 4×2 models. Power also builds rapidly when passing, along with a deep, throaty exhaust note when you plant the pedal.
For tighter budgets, a 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 replaces last year?s 3.7-litre unit. It produces 283 hp and 255 lb/ft of torque, which is a little less than the one it replaces. But keep in mind it?s now powering a lighter truck.
Coming back is the 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6, pounding out 365 hp and 420 lb/ft of torque, and allowing the F150 to achieve its maximum towing capacity. The 5.0-litre V8 is also returning, but with more power at 385 hp and 387 lb/ft of torque.
Toss in a few equipment groups, upgrade packages and axle choices, and there are literally thousands of ways to configure an F150.
Of course, we sampled only a few as Ford?s PR team ran us through a couple of demos to highlight its capability.
First up was a towing exercise in a 4×4 Lariat with 3.5-litre Ecoboost.
I seldom pull heavy loads, but could immediately sense the ease with which it pulled from a full stop, not to mention how quickly got up to speed with the 9,000-pound trailer. Despite its drop in curb weight, the F150 always felt surefooted.
Next we went off road.
All vehicles were stock, although fitted with available skid plates ? and running boards, which I thought would be trashed by the large protruding rocks and wheel-swallowing ruts. The F150?s ground clearance and suspension travel, evidently, were more than up to the task.
So was the 2.7-litre V6 that powered my first tester. Climbing steep inclines, not to mention powering through the muck, it seemed no more challenged than the 5.0-litre V8.
But today?s pickups are more than just workhorses, which is why Ford engineers listened carefully to their customers.
They addressed instrumentation, conducting focus groups to determine not only where information should be placed, but also how it should be organized. They were told that items like audio, navigation and climate control belonged on the centre stack, while those relating to fuel usage, towing, offroad and vehicle settings should be on the eight-inch ?productivity? screen between the speedo and tach.
I cycled through the tabs and found it well organized and intuitive. And the customizable home screen puts the stuff you really care about all in one place.
Other thoughtful touches include big knobs and buttons for climate control and audio. These can be operated with a gloved hand, as can the door handles that unlock and open with a single squeeze.
They?ve even resolved annoying night reflections. Illuminated armrest controls, for example, are now angled so that they don?t appear in side mirrors.
Helping you access the cargo box is an available side step, and even cleverer, one fully stored within the tailgate. Both the step and assist handle pop out of its top edge.
Moveable tie-down cleats, LED cargo lighting, side-mirror spotlights and remote locking tailgate are among the many items that make this truck even easier to live with.
The 2015 Ford F150 is coming to dealerships later this fall, and with its top-to-bottom improvements in every area, there?s little doubt it will remain the benchmark in this ever-improving segment.