Are you thinking of buying a light-duty truck this year and considering the 2015 Ford F-150? Maybe you need to haul a trailer; maybe you live on a farm; or maybe you just like the go-anywhere, do-anything versatility of a big pickup truck.
You might already know that Ford has made a radical change to its top seller for 2015: The F-150 is now the first light-duty truck with an all-aluminum body.
The Ford F-150 has been a sales star for decades and the top-selling vehicle of any kind for 37 years. It competes against the GMC’s Sierra, GM’s Chevrolet Silverado, Chrysler’s RAM 1500 and Toyota’s Tundra. All of those trucks have the traditional steel body — at least for now.
Here are five things to consider when looking at the new and improved 2015 Ford F-150.
The Ford F-150 loses 700 lbs by switching to aluminum, which helps it save on fuel. At its best, the new F-150 gets 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Those are passenger-car-style numbers, and they represent a 5 to 29 percent improvement over the 2014 model. Those numbers are for the 4×2 F-150 with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6 (325 horsepower). To give you a comparison, the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 4×2 with 5.3-liter V8 (355 hp) is rated at 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy, and the 2015 Toyota Tundra 4×2 with a 4.6-liter V8 (310 hp) gets 15 mpg city/19 mpg hwy.
Ford is using high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy for the cab and box. The F-150’s frame is fully boxed with eight crossmembers, made of more than three-quarters high-strength steel. That’s over 50 percent more steel in the frame than the 2014 model.
Are you concerned whether the F-150’s aluminum body will hold up to road salt and years of weather? Ford claims that they completed more than 10 million miles of testing before the new model rolled out. They tested the truck in salt and acidified sprays to test for corrosion, and they even secretly entered the 2015 F-150 in the Baja 1000 endurance race, which sent it out over 883 miles of rough terrain. Starting in 2011, prototypes were also tested by selected fleet customers to see how well the aluminum body held up.
Payload and towing
The 2015 F-150 can tow up to 1,100 more pounds and haul up to 530 more pounds than last year’s model. The top towing capacity is 12,200 pounds, and the top payload is 3,300 pounds. The best numbers come from the 2-wheel-drive F-150 with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, and numbers go down for 4-wheel-drive models and those without the turbo EcoBoost engine.
Equipment and price
The 2015 Ford F-150 starts at $25,420, but depending on configuration, it can get up to over $50,000. As with all pickups in this category, there’s a bewildering array of choices: bed size, body type and the choice between rear- or all-wheel drive. You can also decide what is going to power your truck: two turbocharged V6 engines, a regular V6 or a V8. One option that is unavailable is a diesel engine.
The amenities on board are updated, including a remote tailgate release and a 360-degree camera. On a practical note, the bed has a 4-anchor BoxLink system that makes it easier to tie down cargo in the back. Trim levels are XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and the top-end Platinum, which has wood interior trim and voice-activated navigation, among other luxuries.
It’s too soon to know whether the aluminum body will catch on with other auto manufacturers, but in these fuel-conscious times, it’s an innovative and even daring move that makes the Ford F-150 even more worth considering.