The 2015 Ford F-150 has taken most of the oxygen from the room in the last year when to talking full-sized pickups. If it isn’t about the all-aluminum body construction, it’s about the vast array of EcoBoost engines.
While those are thick topics to get into, styling and design itself are also worthy of a few words here. The new pickup breaks a lot of ground in its detail, yet manages to look like a good-old Ford F-150 at first sight.
Since fuel-economy is all the rage today, several aerodynamic details play into its design like a flush windshield with no trim to drag air flow, and a there’s rubber flap between the cab and the cargo box keeps air from causing turbulence between the two.
Another detail like the air slots in the front wheel wells which I first thought looked like broken plastic is actually functional. Air from behind the grille is ducted here to create air curtains around the wheels to reduce drag.
Our tester here had the pricey XLT Chrome Package at $1,695 which gives it a unique grille, tow hooks, running boards, and chrome 18-inch wheels. There’s also chrome door handles and a nicely finished exhaust tip.
Standard on the XLT was the Box Link cleat system which allows for integration of several cargo carrying accessories. Optioned was the spray-on bedliner, LED box lights and the now famous tailgate step.
The Super-Cab has clam shell opening side doors which allow a full opening front to rear for rear-seat access. This is nice on one hand, but requires the front passenger step out and open the door to let rear passengers in and out.
Interior design has Ford’s familiar flavor but takes on a more chunky and technical appearance here. Blacks and greys flow across higher quality materials than before with a good helping of soft touch surfaces on the doors, dash, and console.
The rear seat does offer reasonable room, though if you want more you can go with the full-sized crew cab. It has seating for three across and the lower cushions fold upward to allow cargo room for tall and bulky items.
Our XLT had package 301A which adds a number of things like power adjustable pedals, an upgraded base infotainment system with satellite radio, SYNC connectivity, and a small screen for a back-up camera.
The center-stack features an array of buttons large enough to use with work gloves, as does the steering wheel which has controls for both the audio system and the instrument cluster’s TFT center screen information center.
Controls for the four-wheel drive and the optioned electric trailer-brake controller were located with easy reach just to the right of the steering wheel.
Under the hood is the smaller of two optional EcoBoost V6 engines. The 2.7 liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 has 325 horsepower and 375 pound feet of torque delivered exclusively through a six-speed automatic transmission.
The new 2.7 liter engine is the smallest found in any full-sized truck, built tough with a combination block of aluminum and compacted graphite iron, the same material used in the 6.7 liter PowerStroke diesels found in the Ford Super Duty trucks.
Our truck as tested was rated by the EPA at 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined. In our week we achieved 19 mpg combined in a variety of both city and highway, with the AC on at all times.
While the body of the 2015 Ford F-150 is aluminum, its frame remains steel. Fully boxed and now using as much as 78% light-weight high strength steel, it’s stronger than before yet lighter. Chassis weight was also saved using aluminum in places like the front spindle uprights and in the drive shaft.
New materials aside, the chassis design is similar to before, featuring staggered outboard mounted shocks and leaf springs at the rear. Large jounce bumpers and generous rubber bushings contribute to a softer touch on and off the road.
Its quiet ride on the highway was as much an outcome of its chassis design as it was its aerodynamic qualities which have reduced wind noise to an almost bare minimum.
While this truck isn’t an off-road oriented model, it wouldn’t be one of our tests without taking it off into the trails to see if this new aluminum bodied Ford feels as tough as the old steel.
Its relatively soft suspension provided excellent ride and maneuverability both on the rougher trails as well as the sometimes punishing washboard gravel roads.
Overall the 2015 Ford F-150 EcoBoost achieves 4.5 out of 5 stars on our test this week.
For a more detailed review and photo galleries see the review on our partner channel ActivityVehicle.com