by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on May 19, 2016
At last our road test of the 2015 Ford F-150 reached its end. The only thing left to do was sell it. Our first step was to take it to Carmax for an initial appraisal. This turned out to be our last step also. Here's why...
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on May 6, 2016
Some months back I had this great idea for a fuel economy test. Would our 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 really do all that much better than a 5.0-liter V8 when tested in the real world away from the controlled confines of the EPA test dyno? At the time, our 20 mpg-rated 2.7-liter EcoBoost 4x4 had averaged just 16.4 mpg with some 18,000 miles under its belt, a figure that trailed the 17-mpg combined rating of a 2015 Ford F-150 4x4 with the 5.0-liter V8 engine.
EPA ratings notwithstanding, this question was not without merit. We were not the first to complain about EcoBoost fuel economy, and our man Jay suspected this boiled down to a fuel enrichment strategy that's necessary to keep the turbos and exhaust system cool, a move that'd use extra fuel. Ford's 5.0-liter V8 wouldn't need to employ such tactics because, well, it has no turbochargers.
So I obtained a Lariat 5.0-liter crew cab 4x4 that was very similarly equipped to ours. Mark Takahashi and I drove them both on three different test loops totaling 692 miles. To eliminate variables we followed one another at a respectful distance, swapped between the trucks, took turns in the lead and used the same gas station fuel pump at the beginning and end of each loop.
It was perfect.
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor on April 27, 2016
After running through 10 miles of mud, water and dirt, my buddy Albert and I were ready to go home. It was a hot, extremely windy morning in San Bernardino and the long-term 2015 Ford F-150 was waiting for us in the parking lot. We were both pretty sore, with scrapes and sunburns, so we needed coddling. This is my litmus test for trucks.
by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Editor on April 14, 2016
Last month, Dan Edmunds' thorough mpg analysis of our 2015 Ford F-150 only further confounded our efforts to pin down a reason for its poor fuel economy. Four extra quarts of oil in the sump? Boy Blue here, didn't even flinch. We're also convinced at this point that our experience is far from being an outlier. In fact, Wards Auto left the 2.7-liter Ecoboost V6 off its engine award list last year because it experienced similar real-world test results.
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on April 1, 2016
It's easy to feel over-confident when you're driving a full-size truck like our 2015 Ford F-150. A big truck can lull you into a false sense of security, potentially leading you into tricky or embarrassing situations. But in this case, a late-afternoon drive back to the southern California coastal region from the Palm Springs desert area, the F-150 earned its stripes as an unflappable highway shuttle.
The winds picked up around 3:00 p.m. and when we left mom and dad's house for the two-hour drive back home, winds were blowing a steady 20 mph, punctuated with 35 mph gusts across the desert floor.
Mom was worried, fretted that we should've left sooner. Wondered if we shouldn't stay a few extra hours until the winds tapered off as the forecast predicted. "Relax, Mom," I said. "I've got a truck. A big one."
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on March 29, 2016
Immediately after taking our long-term 2015 Ford F-150 to the car wash, I noticed a little something fluttering in the breeze near the base of the windshield. It would pop up at about 20 mph and twerk vigorously like one of those inflatable noodle dudes you see at car dealerships. At the time I couldn't tell what it was since it would fall out of view behind the wiper every time I came to a stop signal.
Once parked, I clambered out to identify and remove said offending detritus. Because the hood of the truck is so tall, I couldn't get a good look at it. So I simply reached over the cowl and plucked out what I thought was a piece of debris.
Turns out it was part of the truck.
by Travis Langness, Automotive Editor on March 23, 2016
It's been a few months since I drove our long-term 2015 Ford F-150 but the last time I was in it, it seemed much more comfortable. Maybe it was a relative comparison to some hardcore sports car I'd been driving or maybe my butt-dyno needed to be recalibrated, but this truck is much less cushy than I remember it.
by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on March 16, 2016
Last week required a few hundred miles of highway driving through boring desert. While any number of vehicles in our fleet would do, I opted for our long-term 2015 Ford F-150 because I hadn't spent much time with it. What better way to get acclimated to a vehicle than by spending hours in it? Here's a collection of notes on what I learned.
by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on March 14, 2016
I realized last week that, somehow, I've never driven our 2015 Ford F-150. So I took it for a weekend, and I'm glad I did. The first thing I noticed was its instrument cluster: It's a good one.
Chiefly, it's large and easy to read at a glance. Odd as it may sound, these two traits often clash. When you have a bunch of real estate, you want to fill it with information and graphics. Get too excited and you wind up with a pretty but indecipherable wall of graphics.
The F-150 handles this by showing one thing at a time. While I'd like the ability to add multiple displays to a page, I realize the slippery slope that line of thinking entails.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on March 9, 2016
Yes, it's that time again. The oil change reminder flicked on while I was driving our 2015 Ford F-150 and a quick check of the Engine Information screen showed the oil life down to five percent. I was near an auto parts store and a Ford dealership, so I bought the oil at one and a filter at the other and got to work.
I didn't have to do this myself, but I was gun-shy after I did oil change number two myself and discovered that the dealer technician had mistakenly added 10 quarts of oil during oil change number one.
Besides, Josh had taken it in for turbo feed line oil leak some weeks back. That dealer technician topped up the oil after he completed the fix. But did he overfill it like the first guy had?
Nope. Everything was A-OK on that front. Six quarts came out like they should.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on March 7, 2016
Like a late season batting average, it takes a lot to make a long-term test vehicle's average fuel economy budge when it's in its final months with us. But there was reason to think our 2015 Ford F-150 might be different, and that reason was this: 10,498 miles with ten quarts of oil in the pan instead of the specified six quarts.
Conventional wisdom suggested our truck's legendary poor fuel economy simply had to be the result of the crankshaft churning and stirring all of that extra oil. "It all makes sense now. Chalk it up to windage losses," they said.
Nearly 10,000 miles have passed since I changed the oil and restored things to normal. I can now parse the data into approximate thirds: The first 11,700 miles with the correct six quarts of oil, the next 10,498 miles with 10 quarts of oil, and the most recent 9,500 miles with the required six quarts of oil.
I'm sorry to burst your balloon, but that middle third, the one with all of that extra oil, did not represent a period of depressed fuel economy. And MPG did not rebound after I corrected the problem.
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on March 2, 2016
In most situations, the short bed on our 2015 Ford F-150 isn't an issue. For this particular home improvement run, however, it was just a little too short.
by Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief on February 26, 2016
Saturday morning. Coffee consumed. Dog walked. Teeth brushed. We had about two hours before one kid had to be at club volleyball practice and the other needed to be dropped off at a birthday party.
Two hours to kill.
The kids of course wanted to stick their heads in their iPads. My wife began to eyeball the YogaWorks schedule. Me? I wanted to go off-roading in Edmunds' long-term 2015 Ford F-150 sitting in my driveway.
"Everyone in the truck," I yelled up the stairs. "We're going for a ride."
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on February 23, 2016
As I attempted to make a U-turn in our 2015 Ford F-150, I was struck by how close it came to not making it in one shot. And this was from a center turn lane onto a two-lane wide street. Was I not remembering how tight full-size trucks turn?
by Joe Martinez, Videographer/Editor on February 12, 2016
My two friends and I loaded up the bed of the 2015 Ford F-150 and headed 308 miles north from Santa Monica to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. We started our journey with the gas tank three-quarters full on a sunny Friday morning.
My friends argued for shotgun but when they opened the rear door there was no more fighting. Our backseat passenger had more than enough room to sit behind me, and he and I are both six-feet two inches. There were no complaints during the four-and-a-half-hour drive into the cold.
We got lucky on our drive up.
by Joe Martinez, Videographer/Editor on February 10, 2016
We were on our way up to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in our long-term 2015 Ford F-150 when we hit the 30,000-mile mark. What better time to revisit some of the moments on the road so far?
by Rich Kuras, Video Producer on February 5, 2016
After moving my girlfriend to the Rose City the weekend prior, I was slated to return our 2015 Ford F-150 back to headquarters by Friday. I started my return leg around 7:30 a.m. on a Thursday morning and about an hour into my journey met with some early morning fog.
That subsided a little after 11:00 a.m. and it was smooth sailing through the rest of the state. Little did I know, Mother Nature would make a return appearance a bit later in the trip.
After seven hours of uneventful driving, the skies started looking ominous near the cattle feedlots around Coalinga, California. The stench from the cattle is pretty bad and you can smell it for miles even before reaching it. I was wishing rain would wash the smell away. As the rain and lightning started, it was a reminder to be careful what you wished for.
by Rich Kuras, Video Producer on February 3, 2016
My mission in October was moving my girlfriend from Los Angeles to Portland. Fresh out of school, she got a job in the Rose City. My 2008 Ford Escape could've done the job, but it would've been packed to the gills with books, kitchen supplies and clothes, like the opening to a modern-day Beverly Hillbillies.
With such a long journey, I'd hoped for something a bit more suited for the move and was fortunate enough to score the 2015 Ford F-150. Long-distance driving is never fun, but sometimes necessary. My girl was starting a new job on a Monday, so we decided to drive straight from Santa Monica to Portland starting at 7:30 on a Friday morning.
That's one day of driving, 964 miles and about 14-plus hours of actual driving (not including pee breaks, leg stretches, coffee, food and a stop in Ashland for a nice Italian dinner).
by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on January 20, 2016
Several weeks ago I hauled this load of mulch and top soil in our 2015 Ford F-150. Couldn't even tell it was back there. Any difference it created in the truck's ride quality was so insignificant that I couldn't discern any meaningful difference.
by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on January 7, 2016
This is simple. The key fob in our 2015 Ford F-150 isn't designed very well.
On a daily basis, when the fob is in my pocket, I accidentally activate the truck's panic alarm. Lean again something? It activates the alarm. Pick up a kid? There goes the alarm. Bend over? Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep.
by Cameron Rogers on January 5, 2016
My home renovation saga last left off when I loaded a bunch of bricks, backing board and a shower door into the bed of our 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and dropped the payload at the landfill in nearby Brea. I'd hoped to get a chance to do the same in the 2015 Ford F-150 to see how it handled a bed full of junk. A couple of weeks later, my patio was full of decades-old green shag carpeting and the F-150 became available.
Time for another run to the dump.
by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on December 17, 2015
The text was to the point: "Your truck is leaking oil."
And by "your truck" my wife meant the Edmunds' 2015 Ford F-150. She had discovered a puddle in the driveway after I left. So I checked underneath and, sure enough, the bottom of the truck was covered in the undeniable, messy truth.
This is where it began.
by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on December 14, 2015
We drove our 2015 Ford F-150 more than 2,300 miles in November, hauling engines and appreciating its easygoing nature on the highway. Average lifetime fuel economy continues to climb, ticking up another .1 mpg this month to 17.0 mpg.
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on December 7, 2015
There aren't too many things I won't do for s'mores. Driving a few hours to explore the outdoors is nice and all, but the real reason I tolerate sleeping on the ground for three days is the perfect combination of graham crackers, chocolate and expertly-browned marshmallows. Enter our long-term 2015 Ford F-150.
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on December 3, 2015
The last thing you expect when you press the button for a ventilated seat is that the seat will heat up. But that's exactly what happened to me in our long-term 2015 Ford F-150. Sure, the fans kick in at first and your butt gets a lovely little flow of fresh air, but after a while, things take a turn for the worse.
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on December 2, 2015
We're almost at the 30,000-mile mark with our long-term 2015 Ford F-150 and we've learned a lot about the all-aluminum pickup truck. But every time I drive the F-150, I still discover something new.
Maybe I forgot about this little quirk or maybe I never noticed it before (hard to believe after having driven the F-150 for several thousand miles myself), but on a recent windows-down drive in the F-150, I noticed a really loud whistle coming from the passenger-side mirror.
by Travis Langness, Social Media Editor on November 30, 2015
I'm estimating here, but I've probably used the remote start on our long-term 2015 Ford F-150 at least 100 times. When it's cold outside, I like to warm up the truck before I get in. When the weather's hot, I like the A/C going before I get in. Many of these systems require holding a button for five or 10 seconds. Some of the systems even make you start the car twice, but the remote start in the Ford has never failed me, gone haywire or left me hanging.
by Mike Magrath, Features Editor on November 25, 2015
Despite the fact that most of them live the same life as the average Camry, but with a worse ride, trucks like our 2015 Ford F-150 like to cast themselves as rugged, go-anywhere beasts that can turn the average cubicle-dweller into the Marlboro Man just by signing on the dotted line.
Only, there's a problem with our F-150 that doesn't have anything to do with what the truck can do, but what you can do once you're back in the truck.
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on November 19, 2015
Right away, I knew it wasn't going to go as smoothly this time.
by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on November 17, 2015
It's always fun to find a hidden Easter egg in a new vehicle's styling.
Our 2015 Ford F-150 has a few fairly obvious gems. The F-150 logo tucked into the end of the dash is an easy find. The headlight reflector is less so, but still a fun discovery.
I'm sure there are more. Can't wait to find them.
by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on November 13, 2015
During the last six or eight months of using our aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 I've had to close its doors a lot. More than usual, in fact. I often toss one closed only to realize that it's not fully sealed, like shown in this photo. The latch will catch, but the door needs either a shove or another slam to close completely.
It happens more frequently with the smaller, lighter rear doors. Here's the deal: Like the rest of the truck's body, the doors are aluminum. And like the rest of truck's body, they're light. And when it comes to doors, being light is both a blessing and a curse.
by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on November 4, 2015
by Mike Monticello, Senior Road Test Editor on October 30, 2015
I was chatting with Engineering Editor Jason Kavanagh during dinner the night before our annual Edmunds Driving School, and he asked me what vehicle I was driving from our long-term fleet.
"Oh, I've got the 2015 Ford F-150," I said.
JayKav said he had the 2015 BMW M235i Convertible, but he commended me on my choice.
"That thing is great for just cruising up the highway, isn't it?"
I agreed, but I also didn't admit my real reason for choosing the new Ford F-150. It wasn't because of its cushy, easy-going nature. Rather it was that I planned to do lots of cycling over the weekend and wanted to make use of its bed.
by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on October 28, 2015
I don't really know what to say about this headline except to tell you that it is true. I know. I have little girls — little girls who can't climb into truck beds without man steps.
by Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief on October 26, 2015
My old pal Dean has more money than he knows what to do with. And he knows how to push my buttons.
That's why there's a perfectly good small-block Chevy and Muncie four-speed sitting in the bed of our long-term 2015 Ford F-150.
by Scott Oldham, Editor-in-Chief on October 21, 2015
Our 2015 Ford F-150 doesn't sit around much. The truck's odometer showed 21,156 miles at the end of September. Three weeks later we popped it past the 25,000-mile mark.
We've only owned the Ford for 10 months.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on October 19, 2015
Last time I stressed the importance of waiting 15 minutes before checking the oil in a 2015 Ford F-150 with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine, which just happens to be the truck we've got. Ford sent out a Special Service Memo (SSM #45195) to their dealers to highlight the issue, but owners like us didn't get notified.
I found out the hard way when I decided to change the oil in the F-150 myself. After I'd finished with the draining and the filter change, I poured in the required six quarts, checked the dipstick and found it to be 100 percent bone dry. I couldn't believe it. I checked again and got the same result.
Dumbfounded, I looked at my 12-quart drain pan. It should have been half full, but it was brimming with what turned out to be 10 quarts of used oil. Ten!
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on October 14, 2015
I just finished changing the oil in our 2015 Ford F-150. In the process I discovered something highly unusual that every owner of an F-150, Ford Edge or Lincoln MKX powered by the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine must know.
You must wait 15 minutes after shutting down any 2.7-liter EcoBoost mill before you check the oil. If not, you'll get a false reading that will almost certainly lead you to add more oil than the engine needs. Why? Something about the design of this engine's internal oil passages makes it take a long time for the oil to work its way down to the pan and the waiting dipstick.
This is real. The false reading and overfilling potential is significant, as I discovered during the oil change.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on October 9, 2015
Compared to the 4,307-mile extravaganza of August, September's mere total of 1,891 miles seems like slacking off. But that's a good haul nonetheless, a monthly average that would comfortably push any long-term test vehicle over our 20,000-mile annual target.
Our 2015 Ford F-150 was so far ahead on miles at the end of August that this somewhat average month was more than sufficient to push it past its annual goal just eight months after it entered service. We closed the book on September with the truck's odometer showing 21,156 miles.
The F-150 4x4 has proven itself to be a very popular truck around these parts. But it's also proven quite thirsty compared to its official EPA rating.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on October 6, 2015
When I first started driving our 2015 Ford F-150, I assumed that it would be quite unwieldly in urban settings. There's some truth to that, given the truck's overall size, but I didn't expect how easy it would be to know what's going on around the F-150 while driving.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on September 29, 2015
At a recent automotive event I attended, an automaker rep told me that approximately half of his brand's heavy-duty truck sales come from the luxury trim levels. It would seem the humble pickup truck has gotten pretty ritzy this past decade. This got me to wondering: given the rise of the luxury truck, would you consider buying a fully-loaded pickup truck instead of a luxury sedan?
Let's use our long-term 2015 Ford F-150 as an example.
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on September 24, 2015
Here's something I wouldn't have expected: We've had our 2015 Ford F-150 for about 10 months now and nobody has complained about the truck's MyFord Touch touchscreen interface. In actuality, the towing mirrors have raised more ire than this newfangled gadgetry. It's a similar story over on Channel 2015 Mustang GT. Its MyFord Touch has also stayed under the radar.
That said, nobody has praised the F-150's interface, either.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on September 22, 2015
A couple of weeks ago our 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4 pickup joined up with our 2015 Chevrolet Colorado at the Hungry Valley State Vehicle Recreation Area (SVRA) to support Josh's efforts in the Gorman Ridge Rally.
As we saw before, the Colorado was a spare that mostly sat idle in case we needed to dash off and deal with unforeseen problems. Meanwhile, the F-150 did that bulk of the heavy lifting. It towed the car, hauled the extra tires and spare parts, and brought the fuel. And when darkness fell, its 400-watt, 120-volt outlet provided power for the area lights that we needed to perform the final service and refueling stop of the event, which was scheduled to run into the night.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on September 16, 2015
My massive Pacific Northwest road trip added 2,808 of the 4,307 miles added to our 2015 Ford F-150 this month. August disappears in the Ford's rear-view mirror with its odometer reading 19,265 miles. It's just a week or two from meeting its 20,000-mile annual mileage target with four more months left in our test.
Records fell this month. The existing best range (557.3 miles) was eclipsed by three of the five tanks that made up my road trip, the best of them being 706.6 miles. That bladder-busting number isn't a breathtaking as it seems, however. Our truck is fitted with the optional 36-gallon tank.
by Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor on September 14, 2015
It's not obvious at first sight, but the shifter in our 2015 Ford F-150 is huge. Even with my large-ish size hands, I can barely get my fingers around it. Good design? Or a poor attempt to make it feel like a burly truck?
by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on September 9, 2015
These built-in bed lamps in our 2015 Ford F-150 are nice additions to the usual cab-mounted bed lamp found on every truck. I needed to haul this transmission, differential and other parts home a few nights ago and when I flipped on the bed lamp to unload, I was impressed with the sheer volume of light in the bed.
Details like this make a difference in usability and give the F-150 a win for function. And for me, a truck is all about utility and function.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on September 4, 2015
Finally. I thought it'd never happen. Our 2015 Ford F-150 managed to complete the last 337-mile leg of our trip from Modesto, California to Santa Ana at 23.1 mpg, the first and only time our 2.7-liter EcoBoost-powered 4x4 has matched its EPA highway rating in nearly 18,000 miles of ownership.
But there is huge asterisk. A tailwind persisted for at least two-thirds of the distance — a strong one that had the flags standing straight out. On top of that, I was really trying, never exceeding 65 mph even when the limit went up to 70 mph. I was well aware that this particular leg has historically been the most mpg-favorable of our entire Oregon-and-back route. I was determined to make the best of it.
"Are you on a fuel economy run?" asked my wife at one point in an accusatory tone. It was obvious she wanted to get home as soon as possible.
"No, no," I said. "The speed limit is 65 mph here." This was technically no fib because we weren't in a 70-mph zone at the time.
"Uh-huh," she said, rolling her eyes.
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on September 2, 2015
We rejoin our story after I wheeled our 2015 Ford F-150 back onto the interstate after the third refueling stop of my Pacific Northwest journey through Oregon and Washington. My hand clutched a McDonalds cheeseburger and a lukewarm cup of black coffee.
Mickey D's had been the only place open, but I didn't much care. And if I'm not mistaken, they've really cleaned up their act in the 10 years since my last non-breakfast visit. Or maybe my growling stomach made it impossible to be discerning.
No matter. The calories and caffeine were all I really wanted. I was about to turn off the freeway and head east toward the coast where I'd then bend left and begin following Oregon 101 south. It was going to be a dark night on deserted two-lane roads through occasional one-stoplight towns that were fast asleep.
It was that weird time of night that made you wonder if the car headlights trailing a half-mile behind belonged to a patrolman or just some local running a bit faster. I didn't push my luck, even though my brain told me the law was probably sawing logs at home.
by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on August 28, 2015
That's a standard-size flip-top crate (12 gallons, to be precise). I've loaded six of them at once into the rear cargo area in the F-150, still had ample room left over for other bulky cargo, and could still see out the rear window.
2015 Ford F-150: Oregon Road Trip Leg 3 — From Star Wars to Animal House and a 20-MPG Tank In Between
August 26, 2015
At the conclusion of our last episode, our 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4 pickup was being refueled with more premium gasoline in the tiny burg of Naselle, Washington. From there I headed east along the north bank of the mighty Columbia River and rejoined Interstate 5 near Longview.
I can say now that I was on my way to the Tacoma area to drive the 2016 Toyota Tacoma. That was the point of this entire massive side trip.
Days earlier, when I studied my route, a town with an intriguing name caught my attention. I resolved to take a three- or four-mile side-trip within my side-trip to see tiny Vader, Washington, population 621. Did they have a sense of humor about their name?
They don't, apparently.
I saw nothing like a Death Star café, no roads named Sith Street, Droid Drive or Anakin Alley. It's basically a railroad siding and a handful of houses. They seem to like trains. I saw a juggler.
That's not very dark. They need to get their Sith together.
August 18, 2015
This particular Oregon road trip covered a lot of miles because I had to make a business-trip detour north to Tacoma in our 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4 pickup. So I'm breaking the trip into tanks of gas to make things easier.
We arrived at my parents place near the long-deserted (but still on the map) town of Carpenterville, Oregon about 90 minutes after I refilled the tank in Klamath, California. Their place is six miles up Carpenterville road at an elevation of 1,600 feet. It's a slow winding road with a crazy driveway at the end, and every time we made the trek into town we dropped to sea level on the way out and climbed back up on the way home.
One of those trips into town included a side trip to a World War II bombsite memorial in a remote corner of the Siskiyou National Forest. No one was injured, but this site is interesting because it's the only place on the American mainland that was bombed by Japan.
August 12, 2015
My family is making our annual summer pilgrimage to the Oregon coast to visit my parents, and this time we're taking the long-term 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4 pickup. As ever, there are four of us. But my daughters are now adult-sized, so the cab is full-up with people, snacks and pillows. Our luggage must ride in the bed.
But it rains on the Oregon coast (in theory, at least) and we really don't want to move our suitcases in and out of the cab every time we go inside a restaurant or visit a roadside attraction. This is a job for a lockable tonneau cover, but our truck doesn't have one.
And then I remembered our crossover-sized roof pod, a leftover from our departed 2012 Honda CR-V long-term test car. It can easily swallow four suitcases, and it's short enough to neatly drop inside our crew cab's 5.5-foot bed.
August 11, 2015
This is getting exasperating. Our 2015 Ford F-150 is on the doorstep of 15,000 miles and its 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine is showing zero signs of Eco. Sure, our truck's lifetime average ticked up from 15.9 to 16.2 mpg this month, but its EPA combined rating is 20 mpg.
The picture doesn't get much better when I ignore the miles it has spent towing. Its lifetime average rises to 16.6 mpg, but EPA combined still seems impossibly far off.
August 6, 2015
I mean that literally. As in, our 2015 Ford F-150 feels so?expansive?from the driver seat that I find the common practice of reversing the big truck turns into one big scanning exercise.
And that's not necessarily because of the truck's proportions, which are generous and Americanly full-size, but because of the surfaces that draw your eyes while backing up. The photo below gives you an idea.
July 31, 2015
In between the 2015 Ford F-150's return from Boise and my own trip to retrieve our 2015 Audi A3, I brought the truck to Santa Monica Ford for its first service. The first service calls for a tire change and oil rotation at 10,000 miles. We also needed to fix the rear seat release and order a new lens cover for the side mirror.
A few times in the last month, we've also seen the parking brake light in the instrument panel trigger while the truck was in motion. That was on our fix-it list, too. I pulled into the dealer at noon on a Thursday to drop it off.
July 28, 2015
In the first part of this road trip, my friend and I drove the 2015 Ford F-150 470 miles north for a wedding and some mountain biking. We went mountain biking the first day we were in Lake Tahoe, and now the wedding day dawned. But first, a pre-wedding morning hike.
We headed to Van Sickle Bi-State Park, and did an out-and-back on the Tahoe Rim trail. It was a beautiful day, but the trail was strangely near-empty of people. We weren't complaining. Maybe folks were hung over from the Fourth of July. Or maybe people don't go to Lake Tahoe for hiking. Unlike pretty much any park in southern California, this marked the second time in two days we didn't have to pay a parking fee. Score!
July 27, 2015
In a strange twist of fate, a girl I mountain-bike with in Orange County got engaged to a guy I went to high school with in Connecticut. He lives in Lake Tahoe these days and they decided to get married there. How does this affect us? Road trip in the 2015 Ford F-150!
Shockingly, I'd never been to Lake Tahoe, whether for skiing or mountain biking. But I heard that in addition to the obvious lake activities, the hiking and mountain biking are pretty good there. So a lady friend (also buds with the girl getting married) and I loaded up our mountain bikes and hit the road for Tahoe.
July 22, 2015
Recap: I bought a very used KT100 Tony Kart on a whim back in December and hauled it to the track for the first time in our long-term Chevy Colorado. The Chevy did the job, but the kart was much too wide for its bed. I had to leave the tailgate down and pile on the ratchet straps.
I remember getting to the track and thinking I should have taken our larger long-term 2015 Ford F-150.
July 21, 2015
You're probably aware that we bought a 1989 Yugo GVL. We drove to Boise, Idaho to buy the Balkan Bullet, bringing along with our Audi A3 and our 2015 Ford F-150. Why not one of our more long-legged cruisers? Well, if the Yugo had some sort of catastrophic failure, we probably wouldn't be towing it home with the Kia K900.
July 16, 2015
Since our 2015 Ford F-150 was used in the Great Yugoslav Expedition of 2015, the majority of the 3,200 miles we added in June came from driving round-trip from Los Angeles to Boise. And whaddya know? That number of miles driven on rural highways at a steady speed increased its lifetime fuel economy. Was it enough to get the F-150 up to its EPA estimated 20 mpg combined?
July 14, 2015
The 2015 Ford F-150 is big. That goes without saying, but there are a great many elements that are commensurately big as well. Take the clothes hooks in the back seat, which are positively enormous. I managed to easily secure 10 wire hangers on one (apologies Joan Crawford) and could probably fit a few more.
July 9, 2015
If I was from Boston, which I most certainly am not, I would describe our 2015 Ford F-150 as having some wicked lumbar. Of course, I'd neglect to pronounce the "r" and throw in an extra "a" or two. I say this because it's generally how I describe cars that have very aggressive lumbar support. It's weird, I know.
No matter how much I press the lumbar button, the seat back just doesn't deflate enough. As in the last-generation Honda Accord, I feel like I'm sitting in some sort of corrective posture chair.
July 3, 2015
When you opt for the popular crew cab version of the 2015 Ford F-150 there are two available bed sizes: 5.5 feet and 6.5 feet. We got the shorter of the two to keep overall length down to a more manageable size. Most buyers do the same, as these "shorty" beds have become the defacto standard for crew cab trucks.
July 1, 2015
He's always asking me tough questions.
Here's the problem: I love 'em both. The trucks, I mean. My neighbor is only okay.
Choosing a favorite is difficult, especially since the drivetrains are so different. The Ram is all about easy pulling power and impressive fuel economy. The F-150 with the EcoBoost V6? It's a hot-rod.
Sure, it can tow and haul and stuff. But deep down, in places where Prius drivers and the EPA don't ever go, this thing is a hot-rod.
June 26, 2015
We were on the road to Boise, Idaho, to pick up the Edmunds Yugo when our long-term 2015 Ford F-150 ticked over the 10,000-mile mark. About 300 miles earlier, the Ford chimed in to say that it required an oil change. We didn't have time to schedule a service visit in Idaho, so I checked the oil and kept on motoring. The warning seemed strange, though. Ninety-seven thousand miles isn't the kind of round number we're used to seeing in service intervals, so I checked with the manual.
June 23, 2015
Let me clarify: The Auto Start/Stop system in our 2015 Ford F-150 is the best one I've ever used.
It's entirely possible someone makes a better one, but it sure couldn't be by much. The one in the F-150 EcoBoost 2.7 is so good, it's actually the first such system that doesn't make me constantly want to switch the whole damn thing off.
Most of these Auto Start/Stop systems are disruptive to the point they end up being annoying. The whole waiting for the engine to fire back up as you're trying to take off from a light, or the constant shutting down/starting up in stop-and-go traffic gets old.
Maybe we're just impatient.
June 17, 2015
Before we could repair a harmless chip in the windshield of our 2015 Ford F-150, it grew into a large crack. The windshield needed replacement. We've had positive experiences using Safelite AutoGlass so we tried them again, although this time we opted to visit one of their outlets rather than have the glass installed at our doorstep.
Did we go with a factory replacement or aftermarket? Read on.
June 14, 2015
Mono Lake is a little-known landmark to those who live outside of California. Perhaps you've heard of its neighbor: Yosemite National Park. I recently drove our 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4 pickup up there with a group of friends for some hiking and abandoned-mine exploring.
Our weekend base of operations was the tiny town of Lee Vining, California, elevation 6,731 feet. The route north from our Orange County starting point is pretty much a straight shot up U.S. Route 395, a long desert highway if ever there was one.
If this sounds the least bit familiar, this was the end-of-May road trip that was alluded to in our recent May fuel economy update.
June 12, 2015
I don't expect a full-size truck like our 2015 Ford F-150 to ride like a sedan. It's a truck. It's built to work first and do everything else second. That's probably why I'm so impressed by our F-150. It's shockingly supple over rough roads and almost luxury-car like on smooth surfaces.
Supple seems like an odd word to describe a truck, but that's exactly what comes to mind. It soaks cracks and ruts with a faint rumble that barely intrudes into the cabin. There's a little bit of body shake over big potholes, but nothing objectionable.
June 10, 2015
There's been some grumbling about our 2015 Ford F-150 not meeting its EPA fuel economy estimates. Less apparent are this powertrain's benefits, namely abundant power and good response. When put in proper perspective, its fuel economy is downright impressive, too.
June 8, 2015
Some people will tell you there's no such thing as luck, good or bad. But I don't know what else to call it when the car ahead kicks up a rock and hurls it at your windshield.
That's exactly what happened to our 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4x4 pickup.
June 5, 2015
Our 2015 Ford F-150 nudged past 9,000 total miles this month. We tend to see a vehicle's observed fuel economy begin to level off once it acquires this many miles. It's not locked-in by any means, but like a late-season batting average, it's hard to make big changes as the odometer accumulates mileage.
That's not good news for our 2.7-liter EcoBoost 4x4. To this point its lifetime average is just 15.7 mpg.
The EPA combined rating for this rig is 20 mpg, more than 4 mpg higher than what we're achieving. Our truck is even falling short of its EPA city rating of 18 mpg.
June 4, 2015
Before I even pressed the start button on our 2015 Ford F-150, the thing that struck me was the scratchy-feeling steering wheel. An odd thing to notice, yes, but it was also the first thing I grabbed when I hopped up in the truck.
It's not that the leather feels all that bad, but the rough finish is different than the predominantly smooth, almost supple leather-wrapped steering wheels we're used to these days. The leather on our long-term 2015 Ford Mustang GT's steering wheel looks similar, but doesn't feel as scratchy, at least not to my apparently sensitive fingers.
June 1, 2015
Automotive Editor Dan Frio and I swapped cars over the weekend. He needed to get into the short-term 2016 Acura ILX I was driving, and I didn't mind taking the 2015 Ford F-150 off his hands, since I hadn't driven our long-termer yet.
As he pulled to a stop in my complex, Frio yelled out the window, "Hey Mikey, check this out."
As I walked closer to the driver-side door, he proceeded to beam the F-150's side mirror spotlights into my retinas. Didn't know the F-150 had spotlights? Me neither, until then. Thanks, Frio.
May 27, 2015
In this final installment, we'll consider some of the towing-specific features provided by each.
May 22, 2015
I recently carried a 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood in the bed of our 2015 Ford F-150. That's a standard size for construction materials so we wanted to see how cleanly it fit, even in a 5.5-foot short bed.
May 20, 2015
With all the towing I've done lately, I've had ample opportunity to hear the engine in our 2015 Ford F-150. Or rather hear what Ford wants me to think is the engine, because this V6-powered truck rumbles with the unmistakable sound of a V8 when its throttle is open.
May 18, 2015
When I needed a truck, I didn't have one. When I had a truck, I didn't need one. That was my story before I bought a Ford F-150 years ago and remains my story now that I've sold it. Lucky for me, I had access to our long-term 2015 Ford F-150 last weekend, because I needed a truck.
May 15, 2015
This is an instance of things that look good, but don't feel good. I'm referring to those lovely "metallic" radio knobs with the beautifully ridged edges.
At first glance they look great, like adjustment knobs on a lathe in a machine shop or dials on a safe. But then you give one a twist to bump the volume or change the station and all that admiration disappears.
May 14, 2015
In part one of our towing comparison between the 2015 Ford F-150 and 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, we talked towing stability. Here in part two, we compare power and fuel consumption. Which engine makes the most sense for pulling a roughly three-ton load: the Ram's 3.0-liter diesel V6 or the Ford's 2.7-liter gasoline V6? Dive in.
May 12, 2015
Since the Ram and F-150 are direct competitors, it seems appropriate to draw some comparisons. I've divided up the critical components of the job into categories. Today we'll talk Towing Stability.
May 11, 2015
There's no real way around this. We broke the rear seat release on our 2015 Ford F-150. More specifically, I broke it. But it does come with some explanation.
May 7, 2015
April was a relatively slow month for our 2015 Ford F-150. It spent most of its time locally and accumulated only a modest 530 miles. Accordingly, our best and worst fills remain the same as they did in March at 14.0 and 17.3, respectively. Best range also remains unchanged at 557.3 miles. After almost 7,000 miles, we're still falling short of the EPA combined estimate.
May 6, 2015
It's seemingly a feast of recalls around here. First our A3 and Golf GTI, now our F-150. But in the best fashion of an inexplicable traffic jam, there's nothing to see here. We didn't expect our 2015 Ford F-150 to be one of the 91 trucks affected by Ford's recall for improperly installed or missing underbody heat shields. But our luck with trucks has been suspect lately, so we followed up just to be sure.
April 30, 2015
We've already noted that the 2015 Ford F-150's tow mirrors are excellent at providing not one, but two excellent views of the cars around you. There's also the added benefit of a blind-spot warning system, admittedly made redundant by those two aforementioned mirrors.
We've also already noted that when fully extended, the mirrors can be easily damaged. However, I think there's a very good chance of that happening even in their most inward position.
April 29, 2015
Can't say that I was surprised when I popped the hood on our 2015 Ford F-150. It's ugly under there, all plastic pipes and flimsy covers. Pretty standard stuff on modern engines of any type.
April 22, 2015
When I towed nearly 5,000 pounds with our long-term 2015 Ford F-150 a few weeks ago, I was impressed by the various tech features in the cabin and the towing power of the 2.7-liter engine. One thing I neglected to mention though was the optional towing mirrors. We've already discovered that when fully extended, the mirrors can tag the exit of a parking garage.
But how do they perform when there's a trailer to watch?
April 20, 2015
I know what you're thinking. Of course it will fit. The 2015 Ford F-150 is a pickup with a bed hanging off the back, for crying out loud.
Yes, but then I'd need some sort of rack, a lock and a wary eye in certain parking lots. I can avoid all this because ours has a crew cab or, as Ford fondly calls it, a SuperCrew cab.
Aluminum wasn't the only big change for 2015. Ford also shifted the central door post of the crew cab forward a couple of inches to improve access to the back half of the cab.
April 17, 2015
The crash-test results are in and our 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCrew has been awarded a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association. The aluminum-intensive pickup received five stars in front and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover crash test.
April 16, 2015
In the ever escalating power wars, the 2015 Ford F-150 has the Ram 1500 beat. Well, at least in terms of wattage.
As you can see, our F-150 features an AC outlet that delivers up to 400 watts of total power at 110 volts. Not bad for a pickup.
April 9, 2015
I thought I was going to be the first person in the office to tow something with our long-term 2015 Ford F-150, but Jay Kavanagh beat me to the punch. Our trips were two weeks apart but nearly identical, as Jay and I both took the F-150 from Los Angeles to Sonoma, California. Our cargo was similar too, although mine was more than 1000 pounds heavier than Jay's haul. Even with the extra weight, the big blue Ford pulled like a champ.
April 3, 2015
March was a busy month for our long-term 2015 Ford F-150. We racked up 2,700 miles over the last four weeks, 2,000 of which were spent towing various trailers. Engineering Editor Jay Kavanagh towed something that vaguely resembles a Miata to and from Sonoma Raceway. I took a similar 2,000-mile trip to purchase a car and lug it home (more on that soon).
April 2, 2015
I was packed up and ready for a 1,000-mile road trip when I saw it: a chip/crack in the windshield of our long-term 2015 Ford F-150.
March 30, 2015
Up until last weekend I'd spent very little time driving our long-term 2015 Ford F-150. My first real drive in it would be towing a craptacular race car from Los Angeles to Sonoma Raceway and back, an 850-mile round trip.
So, how'd it go?
March 19, 2015
The photo above would not have been possible with the previous-generation Ford F-150. You see, there were only two door detents, meaning you either had to squeeze through a narrow opening or prevent the door from flying into your parking-lot neighbor while climbing aboard.
March 18, 2015
This is what can happen when you're not paying close attention while exiting a parking garage in our 2015 Ford F-150. It wasn't that I wasn't paying attention at all, I just didn't realize that our extendable trailer tow mirrors were in their most extended position. That only leaves a few inches of clearance on either side when exiting a certain section of our office garage.
March 12, 2015
You know that guy driving the pickup truck packed full of his kid's bedroom furniture down the highway. He's got the tailgate down and the precarious load looks as if it's going to topple at any moment, spilling pink chairs and other assorted IKEA items all over the road.
Yeah, that was me. That was me in our long-term 2015 Ford F-150.
March 11, 2015
There are many clever design elements in our 2015 Ford F-150. The interior door handles are not one of them.
I say this as a current owner of a 1975 F-250 (equally crappy interior door handles) and the previous owner of a 1986 Ford F-250 (great door handles).
March 5, 2015
The average fuel economy of our 2015 Ford F-150 is improving, but still not enough for us to be impressed.
In February, the aluminum-bodied pickup, which is powered by a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, averaged 16.3 mpg over about 1,700 miles of mixed driving. And our best single tank average is now up to 17.3 mpg.
February 25, 2015
You want a decent amount of suspension articulation if you're going to venture off the pavement very far, especially if you see yourself getting into the kind of frame-twist situations where one tire could hike up off the ground. It turns out this is fairly easy to measure and quantify in terms of Ramp Travel Index (RTI), so named because the frame twist maneuver is artificially created by driving up a ramp.
February 24, 2015
Last weekend I found myself approaching the same long downgrade that had earlier goaded our 2015 Kia K900 into doing wrong things in an effort to keep its speed in check. But this time I was in our new 2015 Ford F-150 Lariat 4x4 pickup, which presented a perfect opportunity to set the cruise control at the same speed and see if the F-150 could do any better.
Before I reveal how it went, allow me to first set the table. I was alone. I wasn't towing or hauling anything, so there was no need for Tow/Haul mode. And this simple interstate cruise wasn't the appropriate time or place for so the newly added Sport mode, either. This was routine stuff, everyday driving in "D" with the transmission in its normal default mode.
With cruise engaged, the truck approached the grade at the desired 65 mph in sixth gear at about 1,750 rpm. Nothing changed in the first moments of the descent, but as the slope got steeper the truck's speed crept up to 66 mph, then 67 mph.
February 19, 2015
Even though our 2015 Ford F-150 was at the repair shop for a few weeks thanks to a sledgehammer-related incident, our truck passed the 1,000-mile mark within its first month in our long-term fleet. The engine was fully broken in according to the manual, so it was ready to go to our test track. Read on to find out how well the new turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 moved our full-size pickup.
February 18, 2015
For some time we've toyed with the idea of equipping our test trucks with spray-on bedliners. Without any sort of protection they get scratched up, which comes across (to some) as unsightly. Truck bed scuffs can also diminish resale value and increase the risk of future corrosion.
We could have equipped our 2015 Ford F-150 Lariat 4x4 pickup with a factory spray-on bedliner for $475, but we'd never spent any time with the factory offering in real life. Besides, Ford's bedliner department still follows old Henry Ford's famous line: any color you want, so long as it is black.
The brilliant "Blue Flame" paint on our truck is not a particularly dark color, and the Lariat Sport package adds enough black accents of its own. We figured a color-matched bedliner would look much better, so we turned to Line-X, a stalwart in the spray-on truck bedliner business.
Line-X is a franchise business, so prices vary a little across the country. Our local shop in Orange, California sells the basic black one for about the same price as Ford: $485. A UV-resistant topcoat that prevents the black from fading costs $150 more, but the color-matched UV-resistant topcoat we had in mind is a $300 upgrade. Do the math and you'll see that our total came to $785. More money, for sure, but better-looking.
They said it'd take about three hours to prep and spray our truck. After that I could take it home so long as I didn't load anything into it and kept it dry for the next 24 hours. So I showed up at their front door at 8:30 a.m. and texted my wife to say I'd be back in time to take her to lunch.
February 5, 2015
New year. New truck.
It was at the body shop for seven days.
When it wasn't we managed to drive the aluminum-bodied pickup, which is powered by a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, about 1,000 miles before the calendar clicked over to February.
January 28, 2015
So the Sport 4x4 sticker on the side of our long-term 2015 Ford F-150 was now wonky, which was gonna bug me forever if we didn't get it properly placed on the quarter panel. We needed to have it rereplaced.
In case you missed it, we hit our aluminum-bodied F-150 with a sledgehammer, took it to a Ford dealer to fix it and ultimately concluded that the fix cost more than equivalent steel body panel repairs.
The repair, done by Santa Monica Ford, was beautiful, with one exception. The new Sport 4x4 sticker was now wonky. It just wasn't where it should be. Basically, the placement didn't match the other unrepaired side of the truck.
The deviation was so minor we didn't even notice it until the repair was paid for and the truck was back at our office. But the corner of the "S" now overlapped the panel crease, which it shouldn't. It wasn't way off, just an inch or so too close to the taillight. We wanted it fixed.
January 27, 2015
"The normal aluminum labor rate is $120 an hour, but since you're paying out of pocket I'm going to cut you a deal," the service advisor said, holding back the computer print-out. "I'm only going to charge you our normal rate of $60 an hour but it's over 20 hours of labor."
When I dropped off our long-term 2015 Ford F-150 a week ago, I couldn't tell if the advisor was trying to soften the blow of a costly repair or if he was really taking pity on me. There was no "Aluminum Body Rate" on their posted list of prices in the waiting room, just the "Body Rate per Hour" of $60. Whether this was an exaggeration or not, it was a nice sentiment. I lied to the service advisor, so in his mind, I was the victim of a hit-and-run accident and I deserved a bit of leeway.
The damage was actually a result of two blows from a sledgehammer. We were testing the theory that aluminum is more expensive to repair than steel and I had lied about the damage to get the most realistic customer experience possible. So far, it seemed to be working. The repair would take "twice as long as steel" but I'd be paying half the standard rate. It was time to break out the calculator and do some funky math.
January 26, 2015
After bouncing an 8-pound sledgehammer off the side of our new long-term 2015 Ford F-150, twice, I went undercover and drove it to our local Ford dealer, Santa Monica Ford, for repair.
As explained in Part 1 of our adventure, the idea was to test the hypothesis that when the aluminum body of our 2015 F-150 is damaged, it takes longer and is more expensive to repair than a more traditional steel-body pickup truck.
Ford claims the 2015 Ford F-150 is up to 700 pounds lighter thanks to its aluminum panels, which increases overall fuel economy and payload. But what happens when Thor decides to use your truck for target practice?
January 26, 2015
I hit our brand-new long-term 2015 Ford F-150 4X4 SuperCrew with a sledgehammer. On purpose.
We bought the $52,000 F-150 from Galpin Ford in Van Nuys, California. The day after the truck was delivered to our Edmunds office in Santa Monica, I went to work with the BFH, intentionally denting the Ford's right quarter panel.
Crazy? Maybe. But we wanted to find out if repairing the aluminum-bodied Ford is more expensive and time-intensive than repairing traditional steel-bodied trucks. Remember, the F-150 is the first pickup truck with a lightweight aluminum body and bed. After much thought we chose to smash the bed side because it would need to be repaired, as opposed to a dented door, fender or hood, which could simply be replaced.
So in the name of consumer awareness we dented our truck with two big blows from a sledgehammer (the impact also cracked the taillight) and drove it straight from the Edmunds garage to our local Ford dealer, Santa Monica Ford, and asked for an estimate. Take the jump to check out the sledgehammer video.
January 26, 2015
Making the switch to an aluminum body for its top-selling pickup was the biggest gamble Ford has made in decades. It cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars in development work, plant upgrades and dealer training, all in the hope that it will make the F-150 superior in terms of capability and efficiency.
Will the weight savings be noticeable from behind the wheel? How will the small turbocharged V6 deliver on its rated 8,100-pound towing capacity? Can the combination of lightweight panels and a small engine meet the truck's EPA-estimated 20 mpg combined in the real world?
We have 12 months and 20,000 miles to find out whether the aluminum body panels are revolutionary.