Read the 2015 Ford F-150's introduction to our long-term fleet.
See all of the 2015 Ford F-150 long term updates.
What We Got
Ford engineers detoured into uncharted truck territory when they developed the all-new, aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 pickup. It was a big step toward efficiency, but we wanted to know if anything was sacrificed in the process. We were also curious whether the new twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine was as impressive as its numbers suggested.
But that was where our experimental thinking ended. We stuck with the ever-popular crew cab and 5.5-foot bed configuration to keep our experience as relevant as possible. We chose the Lariat 4x4 trim, which for $45,660 got us into a well-equipped truck with leather, dual-zone climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, adjustable pedals, push-button start, heated and ventilated power memory seats, power locking tailgate and an 8-inch touchscreen.
To that we added Lariat equipment group 501A and numerous trucky options including the trailer tow package ($495), 3.73 e-locker rear axle ($570), power-extendable tow mirrors ($165), tailgate step ($375), integrated trailer brake controller ($275) and a huge 36-gallon gas tank ($195). The grand total for our reasonably well-loaded truck came to $51,800, and we paid exactly that because it had been a special order.
As soon as it arrived, we put it into service in a variety of situations. Here's what we learned.
"Drive this engine without looking at the truck's badges and it's a reasonable facsimile of a V8. In fact, the 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque produced by this six-cylinder makes the old three-valve, 5.4-liter Triton V8's output seem laughable, especially at twice the displacement. After a whole lot of miles behind the wheel — towing and otherwise — I've found the 2.7-liter a pleasant engine to drive. It does what I need a truck to do and then some." — Josh Jacquot
"The twin turbochargers of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine spun up enthusiastically to compensate for the lack of atmosphere at this elevation. Unlike the lone surviving normally aspirated [non-turbocharged] 4x4 that followed behind, the F-150 exhibited no loss of power as it climbed the relentlessly steep trail. This motor is equally impressive at altitude." — Dan Edmunds
"Our entire 2,807.7-mile road trip consisted of just five fuel stops, an average of 561.5 miles per tank. Along the way our Ford consumed 139.6 gallons of fuel, which boils down to a trip average of 20.1 mpg. That's an exact match of the EPA combined rating, which isn't much to celebrate since 95 percent of this trip consisted of conservatively driven highway miles." — Dan Edmunds
"In the end it was a virtual tie. But the 5.0-liter V8 is the clear victor if you compare each to its respective EPA ratings. The V8 was not supposed to do as well, and yet it did. ...I know which way I'd go if I was given the chance to order this truck all over again. Why wouldn't I buy the 5.0-liter V8 engine that can tow more if it's essentially as efficient in the real world?" — Dan Edmunds
"Supple seems like an odd word to describe a truck, but that's exactly what comes to mind. It soaks up 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. Is it better than our Ram? I wouldn't say better, but it's close. I would probably still give the Ram a slight edge for overall comfort. That said, you can't go wrong with either for ride quality." — Ed Hellwig
"The Ram's ride quality is much better than the Ford's, and that's what tips the scale in its favor for me. The Ram doesn't shimmy and shake like the Ford does when cruising over rough pavement, and the Ram's seats fit me a little more comfortably." — Cameron Rogers
"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. It's not a bad way go, but sometimes that extra foot of length would be nice to have. If I were buying a truck like this, I would opt for the 6.5-foot bed and deal with the parking issues." — Ed Hellwig
"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." — Josh Jacquot
"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. The shift also eases cargo loading because the entire door is that much wider. It makes it easier to take full advantage of the SuperCrew's sizable cargo capacity, made possible by flip-up seat bottoms, compact seat bottom supports and an ultra-flat floor." — Dan Edmunds
"Our F-150 Lariat rang up with an MSRP of $51,800. It's a lot for a truck, but we got a nice collection of luxury features for the money. Highlights include an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, heated and ventilated front seats, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control and a 10-speaker sound system." — Brent Romans
"Ford says it is leather, and I believe it. Maybe this texture will hold up better over time than smooth leather, which sometimes ends up turning shiny with age and use. Plus, this is a truck, after all. There's a good chance you'll be hauling or doing something dirty with the thing, and I wouldn't be surprised if this material holds up better to filthy hands or works better with gloves." — Mike Monticello
Audio and Technology
"The touchscreen itself is usable too and hasn't had any notable crashes or hiccups. And while there are still some minor annoyances, such as small virtual buttons and annoyingly long waits for music catalog syncing, it's a fairly usable setup that doesn't get in the way. You could argue that's a low bar to clear, and perhaps you'd be right. The Uconnect touchscreen in our Ram 1500 is still superior." — Brent Romans
"The first thing I noticed was its instrument cluster: It's a good one. There is a depth of information available. You navigate through it using a directional pad on the steering wheel; left and right to change pages across the top smart bar, and up and down to view and modify options on a given page. You can also set easily accessible favorites under the MyView page." — Carlos Lago
"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." — Dan Edmunds
"The F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in North America. Has been for years. It's not as if we're trying to repair a Yugo here. It took a week to complete a warranty repair on the most popular vehicle sold on this continent, at a dealer located in the highest-volume region of that market." — Josh Jacquot
"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." — Dan Edmunds
"The auto stop-start system in our 2015 Ford F-150 is the best one I've ever used. This system has the quickest re-engagement out there, meaning as soon as you start to lift your foot off the brake, it fires that turbo V6 back up immediately. On top of that, the truck barely shakes as the engine comes back to life. Some passengers probably won't even realize the engine had shut off then started back up." — Mike Monticello
Maintenance & Repairs
Ford's new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine calls for routine maintenance at 10,000-mile intervals. Our local dealer changed the oil the first time at a cost of $66.47, but we were unsatisfied with the amount, viscosity and type of oil used. We tackled the second and third oil changes ourselves, and the oil and filter cost us $53.16 the first time and $56.56 the next time.
Unexpected Dealer Visit:
We brought our F-150 in for an unplanned visit at 28,205 miles after a puddle of oil appeared on a staffer's driveway. The truck sat for three days before it was examined, at which point the culprit was identified as a leaking turbocharger oil supply line. But the needed part was backordered, and three more days elapsed before it arrived. Our truck was sidelined an entire week, during which time we were offered the use of a loaner. The repair was free under warranty.
Auto Body Repair, Voluntary:
The F-150's switch to an all-aluminum body raised a lot of questions about the costs associated with repairing crash damage. So we hit ours with a sledgehammer. Twice. We aimed for the truck bed to minimize the chance of side effects in critical areas including the doors and windows, but also because the bed side would have to be straightened, not merely unbolted and replaced.
It cost $2,938.44 to repair and repaint the damaged right rear fender, and along the way we learned that though the cost of replacement panels is on par with steel, the hourly labor rate for aluminum work is typically double that of steel. Also, the damage included a cracked taillight that cost $887.25 to replace because our Lariat had LED taillights with built-in blind-spot monitors. A new taillight would have cost only $106.28 if our 2015 F-150 had been a lesser-equipped truck without those features.
No recalls and only one Technical Service Bulletin applied to our F-150 during its time with us. TSB 15-0102 had to do with the intermittent parking brake warning light we occasionally observed when the brake was not set. The condition was quickly remedied at no cost to us.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
EPA-rated fuel economy for our 2015 Ford F-150 4x4 was 20 mpg combined (18 city/23 highway). Our truck averaged just 16.9 mpg after 35,105 miles of mixed driving. The figure rises to 17.1 mpg if we ignore the miles it spent towing a trailer, but that's still 15 percent worse than the combined rating.
A strong tailwind helped us earn a best tank of 23.1 mpg, but that was the only time we earned 23 mpg and one of only four tanks the truck achieved 20 mpg or better. Our best range on one fill-up of its optional 36-gallon tank was 707 miles.
Resale and Depreciation:
Our custom-order 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCrew Laramie 4x4 short-bed pickup cost us $51,800. After 16 months and 35,105 miles, Edmunds' TMV Calculator assigned it a value of $35,249 for a private-party sale. But our local Carmax dealer felt it was worth more, so it paid us $37,000 for the truck. That works out to a depreciation of 29 percent, which is better than expected considering we drove this truck for 16 months and 35,000 miles instead of our usual 12 months and 20,000 miles.
Plenty of power for light towing and hauling from the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6; six-speed transmission shifts smoothly and performs well in mountainous terrain; spacious crew cab has a very accommodating backseat; very precise steering for a full-size truck; cabin is well-isolated from wind and road noise; unobtrusive start-stop system.
Observed fuel economy fell well short of EPA ratings; 2.7-liter EcoBoost tow rating won't be enough for many buyers; Sync 2 touchscreen interface can be frustrating to use; ride quality when not loaded could be better.
Our 2015 Ford F-150 was a popular choice thanks to its surprisingly potent 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, quiet ride and accommodating cabin. Our biggest regret was opting for the EcoBoost engine — the 5.0-liter V8 has a higher tow rating and would have likely delivered similar mileage numbers.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||$2,938.44 (aluminum repair after test)|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||$176.19 (over 35,105 miles)|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||$496.50 for windshield
$208.12 for mirror turn-signal lens (#1)
$278.12 for mirror turn-signal lens (#2)
|Warranty Repairs:||Leak in turbo oil feed line; faulty status lamp for electronic parking brake; jammed release handle in rear seat base|
|Non-Warranty Repairs:||Replace broken windshield|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||3|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||3|
|Days Out of Service:||7 (aluminum repair after test)
7 (turbo oil leak repair)
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||None|
|Best Fuel Economy:||23.1 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||13.3 mpg (14.0 with towing excluded)|
|Average Fuel Economy:||16.9 mpg (17.1 with towing excluded)|
|True Market Value at service end:||$35,249 (private-party sale)|
|What it Sold for:||$37,000|
|Depreciation:||29% (after 16 months)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||35,105 miles|
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.