January 26, 2015
What Did We Get?
If there is one vehicle that requires no introduction, it's Ford's line of full-size pickup trucks, the F-Series. The ubiquitous trucks have led vehicle sales in the U.S. for a mind-numbing 32 years, longer than some of our editors have been alive. For 2015 Ford completely overhauled the truck. Our road test of the new pickup has all the details, but here's a quick refresher.
The big news for 2015 is the significant weight savings created by using aluminum for the hood, body panels and cargo box. The frame, too, is upgraded. It is now made mostly of high-strength steel, which gives it more rigidity and sheds another 60 pounds in the process.
This provides two advantages: First, if the overall vehicle weight rating stays the same, a lighter truck can handle a heavier payload. What's more, a lighter truck should also achieve better fuel economy.
Also new for this year is a turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 engine. With 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque on tap, it slots between the base 3.5-liter V6 and the larger 3.5-liter turbocharged engine. In 4WD guise, the truck earns an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in combined driving. Seemed like a good compromise of power and efficiency to us, so we went for the 2.7-liter V6.
Still, because trucks are offered in so many configurations, it took some digging for us to figure out our exact configuration. But after doing our homework, we called nearby Galpin Ford and put in our order.
What Options Does It Have?
The price of a 2015 Ford F-150 in base XL trim is $26,615. That gets you a regular cab, the 3.5-liter V6, a 6.5-foot box and not much else. We need more room if we are going to carry passengers, so we started with a SuperCrew cab and the 5.5-foot box.
We chose the Lariat trim because it was the most feature-rich trim you can get with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine, which is exclusively paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Features that are optional or not available on lesser trims include 18-inch aluminum wheels, leather-trimmed seats, 10-way power heated and ventilated front seats, dual-zone climate control, satellite radio, ambient lighting, power-adjustable pedals and a power-sliding rear glass window. This raised the bottom line to $42,240. We also ponied up an extra $3,420 to make ours four-wheel drive.
That was before we examined the options list. We began by selecting the seductively named Equipment Group 501A ($1,500), which includes a blind-spot monitor, remote start, power tailgate release, reverse parking sensors, side mirror LED lights, interior power outlets and a garage door opener.
We also ordered the Sport Appearance package ($1,995). It adds front bucket seats, sport decals, silver/dark gray aluminum wheels and a dark gray grille, step bars and bumpers. The F-150 is guaranteed to see its share of towing, so opting for the Trailer Tow package was a given. For $495, it combines four- and seven-pin trailer-wiring plugs, an auxiliary transmission oil cooler, upgraded front stabilizer bar, a Class IV hitch receiver and a module that alerts drivers to trailer connection problems.
Other options include the 36-gallon fuel tank ($195), tailgate step ($375), trailer tow mirrors ($165), trailer brake controller ($275), 3.73 rear axle ($570), a 700-watt audio system ($525) and a navigation system ($795).
There was a $750 discount for the Sport package at the time we ordered our truck. The MSRP after the discount totaled $51,800. This was a custom order, so we paid the sticker price.
Why We Bought It
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. Follow along on the Long-Term Updates page for impressions of our new 2015 Ford F-150.
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.