New Aluminum Ford F150, 2015 First Drive

First Drive, Aluminum 2015 Ford F150, 700 lbs Lighter

In the old days, a new truck model would come out with about 4 new changes. Then Ram in 2014 came out with air ride, 8-speed automatic, a 1/2 ton diesel, larger Hemi, rear coils, air damper, and variable exhaust brake. So about 10 years of upgrades came in one year.

Now for the Ford F150 for 2015, it’s an all new truck. I lost track after I counted 10 major changes. We’ll all been hearing about the aluminum skin for over a year now. We also know that the 2016 Ford Super Duty will be aluminum skin. But wait there’s more, more than any other truck in history has changed this much.

I attended the Ford press conference where Bill Ford president and Mark Fields, the new CEO, launched the first official 2015 F150 at the Dearborn Truck Plant. Soon it will be ramped up to 1200 trucks a day, then the Kansas City plant kicks in. First trucks will be at dealerships in December.

Lets start at the bottom, high strength E-coated steel frame rails are still boxed but taller and wider. Rated strength at 70,000 psi, more than one ton trucks.

The aluminum body, just like a horse trailer is thicker than previous steel sheet metal. Rust resistance, aluminum frame in roof and fender supports is heat treated and hydro formed by some of the new 500 robots. The military grade aluminum sheet metal is dent and hail resistant. Rocker panels have internal double frame. The bed floor is dramatically thicker than last years steel floor. Bed walls have internal bracing for the Box Link tie downs. Parts are designed to be replaced in sections, so easier to rebuild after an accident. riveted or welded. Body shops can replace B-pillar without taking off the roof, replacing cab parts without taking out the dash. Self-piercing rivets from robots replace the welding robots. The same adhesive used in last years F150 are used in the aluminum body but more of it.

For 2015, four engines, dropping the 6.2L and 3.7L. The new High-Output 2.7L V-6 EcoBoost will tow 8500 lbs with 325 horsepower and 375 torque. Block is made the same material (compact graphite iron, CGI) as the Power Stroke diesel. Smaller engine than in mid-size trucks, should beat their MPG I haven’t towed with it, but I went off road and raced with it and it’s fast, fills like a V-8, has direct injection and twin turbo’s. Start-stop is standard for saving fuel, it shuts off engine when you stop and turns on when you go. Yes, this is not your grandpa’s truck.

The same 3.5L V-6 EcoBoost with 365 horsepower and 420 torque. This engine has the F150’s high tow rating at 12,200 lbs in a 4×2. The base engine is the 3.5L TI-VCT V-6 with no turbo’s and 283 horsepower, 255 torque. The only V-8 is the 5.0L V-8 and it sounds like a hotrod Mustang with 385 horsepower and 387 torque.

My two favorite options are the 360 view using 4 camera’s to show you how close your are all 4 sides and adaptive cruise control, locks on the speed of the car in front of you, love it. New remote unlocking and dropping tailgate is cool, the super double moon roof covers both rows of seats and the 2nd generation vibrating seat is amazing. This is a long list.

Lane-keeping, I’m not sure about, it actually steers you back to your lane if you are weaving excessively.  In 2004, the F150 had the bed rail raised 3 inches, making it hard to reach over the bed. For 2015, the bedrail is lowered 1 inch and the cab beltline is lowered 2 inches. All this makes better visibility, the windshield top is raised and the hood slopes down more. The optional tailgate step is improved, it all fits inside the tailgate including the handle so you have a usable tailgate as a work bench again. The shorter rear leaf springs won’t squat as much under a load and offset shock absorbers help lessen wheel hop and driveline shutter under a load. Push button start finally, leave the keys in your pocket.

New 400 watt outlets producing 110V is large enough for laptops, cordless hand tool chargers and big screen TV’s. LED’s is the theme this year, they are on mirror spotlights, cargo LED’s in the bed, tailgate LED point at at trailer hitch and headlights-tailgates. Super Cab with half doors still open forward but will open 170 degrees so they are usable in parking lots. Inside cab is 2 in wider, more leg room for second row seats. Bigger cab, at least inside, sculpted seat back for knees, thinner door panels for 2 inch wider seat area, more head room.

Cargo management in the bed is improved with Box Link, using 4 cleats like a trailer E-Track, supports many optional accessories like bike/ATV ramps will store on Box Link cleats. Ramps attach to the tailgate with a slotted plate.  Dynamic hitch assist in the backup screen using steering angle shows you where you are heading so you can steer to the hitch alignment. The screen center line helps keep the ball centered for the trailer coupler. New mirrors, have more glass up and down to find your trailer.

Driving is almost automatic, tells you blind spots with cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control locks speed on who you’re following and Lane-keep  steers you back to your lane, automatic high beams and rain-sensing wipers, just open your eyes once in a while to see if you’re there yet.

Ford is betting the farm on the success of this truck. They let us get rough with them off road driving thru Water Moccasin infested creeks, rocks and ruts in Texas. I’ve towed 8,000 lb trailers, drag raced and I like them. I’ll do more with trailers when my press truck comes to Colorado.

Official all new F150 rolls of the assembly line in Dearborn Michigan.

New tailgate that will open and drop with a key fob, but the tailgate step is now inside the tailgate so you have a flat usable workspace again.



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