Fully redesigned, the new 2015 Ford F-150 features an all-aluminum body, added efficiency technology and a new engine option.
The Ford F-150 is the best-selling pickup truck of all time, and the F-series is also the best-selling vehicle in the United States. For 2015, Ford completely redesigned the F-150 to boost fuel economy. Some of the changes are a gamble on Ford’s part, but they seem likely to pay off.
Highlighting the 2015 Ford F-150’s changes is a new, all-aluminum body, which is made from a special aluminum blend originally engineered for military use. Through economies of scale, however, Ford says that this new body work only costs about $500 per truck. Also added in is another V6 engine option, giving the new F-150 the smallest engine in the full-size truck segment, but with surprising results for the truck from the user’s perspective.
For our testing, we drove mid-level and top trim models, which were equipped with a turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 engine and a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6, respectively. Ford aims to make the F-150 the benchmark for pickup trucks, with fuel efficiency as a primary motivator in the field. However, the full-size truck market has picked up in the past couple of years, and Ford may not have done enough.
Exterior styling changes are subtle with most of the popular Ford look remaining intact. The grille and headlights have changed to create a more sophisticated look to the front of the F-150, but not so much that it would be mistaken for anything other than a truck. Character lines on the doors and wheel wells have changed slightly and the tailgate has a less flattened look that hints at a rear spoiler on its edge.
Without knowing to look for it, most would never know that the new 2015 F-150 sports a completely aluminum alloy body.
Small hints such as the lack of a metal fold in the door edges, a thin (but not flimsy) fuel port cover and a very light and easy to close tailgate attest to the presence of aluminum, but otherwise, there is little indication.
The interior of the new Ford is not markedly different from before in terms of what’s offered for the trim levels. The F-150 remains highly configurable with options and trim packages aplenty. Advanced technology festoons the truck, if it’s opted for, and base-level packages are simple, but effective. Some items in the interior change dramatically depending on trim. For example, the shift lever is on the column or on the console depending on the seating arrangement up front.
Seating is comfortable and well-proportioned for any size driver. Higher trim levels offer more adjustability, of course, but even on lower trims the F-150 is a solid, comfortable ride.
A bench seat with room for three or a pair of bucket seats is available up front. In the case of the former, the center position is comfortable, but not for long rides.
The rear seats in the four-door crew cab (Supercrew) model are spacious and accommodating, though not as comfortable as those found in some rivals. The center position is better than expected with excellent legroom.
A few options add to the niceties inside. The “borderless” power-sliding rear window is an excellent update, giving the driver a better view out of the rearview mirror by reducing the edges of the window and its track significantly. An optional panoramic sunroof package opens up the top of the F-150 for a more airy, open feel as well.
The F-150 now hosts more powertrain options than any other pickup on the market. The base engine remains the 3.5-liter V6 with 283 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. This is a tried-and-true engine, which helps the base 2015 Ford F-150 earn an EPA-estimated 18/25 mpg city/highway.
A new turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 engine is now being offered, which produces 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. F-150 models with this engine earn up to 19/26 mpg city/highway. This engine creates a more car-like drive experience, with punchy acceleration and more power at low rpm when compared with other engines in the lineup.
The available turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 carries over with EPA ratings of up to 17/24 mpg city/highway. This engine produces 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, which improves the F-150’s towing capacity significantly.
Finally, the 5.0-liter V8 remains the work-master option with 385 horsepower and 387 pound-feet of torque. Equipped with this engine, the F-150 gets up to an EPA-estimated 15/22 mpg city/highway.
All four engines use the same six-speed automatic transmission, which is tuned to the engine’s performance level, with both a Sport and Tow/Haul mode to manage shift patterns. Towing capacity ranges from 7,600 pounds in the base V6, to 12,200 pounds with the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine.
Many options in various trim suites add to the tech that fills the 2015 F-150. Camera options for backing up and parking range from a single rearview camera to a specialized trailer backing and hitch guidance system. A 360-degree, surround-view camera system is also available.
The gauge cluster in higher trims has an attractive 8-inch screen that allows for many configurable displays of information. It can be used for a host of things like monitoring fuel economy, tire pressure and navigation.
The center console in upper trims features a MyFord Touch infotainment screen. It’s an improvement over past versions of this user interface, but still lags behind the competition. It is slow to respond and often clunky to use, especially when on the road, and steering-mounted controls are of little help.
The 2015 Ford F-150 comes standard with antilock brakes, electronic stability control and six air bags. Available driver assistance features include lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and forward collision warning.
Pricing for the new F-150 is slightly more expensive than the outgoing generation, but still in line with the expectations of the market as a whole. Traditionally, the Ford F-150 holds its resale value well. Our assessment here is based on price of entry and package values for the buyer.
Fans of the F-150 will definitely feel the lighter weight when driving without a loaded bed. It feels more nimble and less truck-like on the road, and the power steering and updated chassis help with this feel. The smaller turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 engine gives the truck a punchy, almost car-like effect on the road while the big, turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 and V8 retain the heavy truck feel many will be used to. It’s a solid truck to drive in any configuration. The 2015 F-150 remains a mainstay in the pickup truck market.