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2015 Ford F-150: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader October 2014

The most popular vehicle in America is totally new for the 2015 model year. Yes, that's right: Although you may not notice any major changes from a quick glance, the 2015 Ford F-150 is completely redesigned compared to last year's model. Styling is fairly similar, but there are a lot of updates under the skin, from weight-saving aluminum construction to an all-new, base-level EcoBoost V6 engine. There's a wide range of new features too, from luxury options to a host of safety equipment.

How is the all-new F-150? Although we've covered it in more detail below, we'd have to say that the new pickup is a vast improvement over the old one and a strong challenger to the newly redesigned Chevrolet Chevrolet Silverado. It boasts a better interior than last year's model did, for one thing. It also boasts substantially improved capabilities and better gas mileage. We love the long list of new features and the new EcoBoost V6. Overall, the term we'd use to describe the latest F-150 is simply class-leading.

What's New for 2015?

The Ford F-150 is fully redesigned for the 2015 model year. Changes include revised styling, an overhauled interior, new features, all-aluminum construction that saves weight and improves fuel economy, and a new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6.

What We Like

Substantially improved interior; excellent driving dynamics; impressive capabilities; good gas mileage

What We Don't

Interior still not exactly luxurious; styling too similar to last year's model

How Much?

$26,200-$55,400

Fuel Economy

The 2015 F-150 offers four different powertrain options. A base-level 3.5-liter V6 makes 283 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque, while a newly optional 2.7-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V6 puts out 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. The F-150 also carries over last year's 5.0-liter V8, which makes 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, and a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that produces a muscular 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque.

Unfortunately, fuel economy numbers for the latest F-150 have not yet been announced. Ford is hoping for substantial improvements over last year's models, which returned up to 17 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway with the base-level V6, 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy with the V8, or 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.

Standard Features & Options

The 2015 F-150 comes in a wide variety of configurations, offering a host of engines, bed and cab lengths, and a choice between 2- or 4-wheel drive. There are also five trim levels, down from last year's 10. They are, from least to most expensive, the base-level F-150, followed by the XLT, the Lariat, the King Ranch and the upscale Platinum.

Base-level F-150 models ($26,200) come with only the basics. That means the pickup's 3.5-liter V6, which is mated to a standard 6-speed automatic transmission. There's also an AM/FM stereo with a clock (but no CD player or USB functionality), a 4.2-inch screen in the center stack for audio controls, air conditioning, side-curtain airbags, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel and little else. The base-level F-150 doesn't even include keyless entry or power windows as standard equipment.

Next up is the F-150 XLT, which starts around $31,500 with shipping. This version adds a wider range of typical convenience features, including cruise control, a single CD player and an auxiliary input jack for music, Ford's SYNC voice-recognition system, power door locks, remote keyless entry, power windows and 17-in alloy wheels.

In the middle of the F-150 range is the Lariat ($39,500), which adds the pickup's 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine as standard equipment. The F-150 Lariat also adds leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, power adjustable pedals with memory, keyless access with a push-button starter, Ford's MyFord Touch infotainment system and its accompanying 8-in touchscreen, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and a backup camera.

The King Ranch ($48,200) follows after that, boasting a standard 5.0-liter V8 engine, a remote starter, a remote tailgate release, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a 10-speaker Sony sound system, 18-in alloy wheels and a series of chrome accents.

Topping the range is the high-end F-150 Platinum ($51,800), which includes genuine wood interior trim, a voice-activated navigation system, automatic high-beam detection, a blind spot monitoring system, power running boards, 20-in alloy wheels and a series of exterior upgrades.

The F-150 also offers a wide range of options, which means that you don't have to stick to the basics of each trim level. Base-level F-150 models can be upgraded with many of the XLT's features, for instance, and so on. Some major options include a panoramic sunroof, Ford's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, 4-wheel drive, a 360-degree camera system, adaptive cruise control and a lane-keep assist function.

Safety

The 2015 Ford F-150 offers a wide range of standard and optional safety features. Standard items include side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights, and traction control with stability control. Options range from parking sensors to adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, a blind spot monitoring system and adaptive cruise control.

Because it's so new, the 2015 F-150 has not yet been crash-tested by the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Behind the Wheel

Largely due to its aluminum construction, the 2015 F-150 is far more nimble than its predecessor and rival full-size pickups. It boasts surprisingly good handling, in fact, thanks to a body that feels lighter than rival pickups, and steering is surprisingly direct for a full-size truck.

The F-150 is also more comfortable than last year's model was. One reason is the seemingly unending list of high-end features and options, which includes everything from massaging seats to a segment-exclusive panoramic sunroof. We're also continually impressed with improvements to Ford's MyFord Touch infotainment system, which is now as responsive and intuitive as the best systems from other automakers.

Most impressive, however, is the F-150's new 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine. Available for only $495 over the standard 3.5-liter V6, it offers more power, more torque, better payload and towing capacities, and much better fuel economy. In highway driving with a 2-wheel-drive model, we were able to achieve around 23 mpg, while mixed city and highway driving yielded closer to 19 mpg overall.

When it comes to capacities, the F-150 is undoubtedly the most capable full-size, light-duty pickup on the market. Towing capacity is an impressive 12,200 pounds, which vastly outshines rivals from Chevrolet or RAM; payload capacity gets as high as 3,300 pounds.

In all, the latest F-150 is definitely worth a serious look -- whether you're hauling heavy loads to a construction site or just cruising around town with your cooled seats on, your massage function activated and your panoramic sunroof open.

Other Cars to Consider

Chevrolet Silverado -- Fully redesigned for 2014, Chevrolet's full-size Silverado pickup can't quite match the F-150's driving experience or its gas mileage, but it does offer newer, more muscular styling that sets it apart from last year's truck.

GMC Sierra -- The Sierra is a mechanical twin to Chevrolet's full-size Silverado. If you like the Chevy, you'll like the GMC -- and we suggest shopping them both to see where you can get a better deal.

RAM 1500 -- We still like the interior better in high-end versions of the RAM 1500. We also like the RAM's available air suspension and its optional diesel powertrain. Otherwise, the F-150 outshines the RAM when it comes to capacities, equipment and driving experience.

AutoTrader's Advice

The best F-150 for us would either be a well-equipped XLT or a fairly basic Lariat model. Unfortunately, that can still be a pricey proposition, coming in at around $40,000 with shipping. Trucks are more expensive than they ever have been before, however, and the F-150, more than any of its rivals, justifies that increasingly pricey MSRP with its winning combination of standard and optional equipment, great fuel economy, excellent powertrains and an impressive driving experience.

Find a Ford F-150 for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Ford F-150: New Car Review - Autotrader