By Frank S. Washington
DETROIT (NNPA) – It is the best-selling pickup truck, make that vehicle in America. So whenever Ford redesigns the F-150, it is news.
The spotlight on the remodel of the truck this time was even more intense. Ford changed the F-150s sheet metal from steel to aluminum to secure huge weight savings, up to 700 pounds, depending on the model, and get a sizable increase in fuel economy. But it wasn’t a matter of just changing body material; the presses, dies, paint shop, tooling all had to be changed to handle the aluminum. And this aluminum is not the sort of stuff you get out of a box of aluminum foil.
In addition to the two assembly plants that make the F-150, Ford invested heavily in an advertising marketing campaign to say that the new 2015 Ford F-150 was made from military grade aluminum alloy. Unless you really know your metal, there was no way to tell that the body panels of our test vehicle were made of aluminum.
There are four engine choices: a 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 that makes 365 horsepower and 420 foot-pounds of torque, a 283 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that makes 255 pound-feet of torque, a 5.0-liter V8 rated at 385 horsepower and 387 pound-feet of torque and a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 that makes 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque.
The 2.7-liter V6 was the engine that our test vehicle had and it was mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. On, paper Ford said the truck could tote 2,160 pounds and tow 8,400 pounds. On pavement, this engine was very impressive. Its low-end torque belied the fact that the engine was less than three liters in size. Our test vehicle reacted to driver input promptly, acceleration was good and handling wasn’t bad, either.
To be specific, we had the 2015 Ford F-150 4X4 Supercab XLT. There are four other trim levels: the XL, the Lariat, the Platinum and the King Ranch. We never checked out the second row seats but they did look spacious. Our XLT came after the XL, thus it was close to a base model.
We had cloth seats, no navigation screen and still we thought our Ford F-150 was a capable pickup truck. It had automatic start and stop, remote start and a backup camera that made backing up a non-pressured affair. Our test truck was equipped with the XLT Chrome Appearance Package: It had all terrain step bars (read running board), and 18-inch chrome wheels for $1,695. Of course, there was a spray in bed liner, LED lighting as well as LED side mirror spotlights. We never felt like we were in a bare bones truck.
Our 2015 Ford F-150 pickup was a nice. Add the base price, the options, and the freight charge, subtract the discounts and the total came to $43,085. We did not think that price for this quality of truck was bad. And for the week, we drove almost 150 miles, used eight gallons of gasoline and got about 19 mpg. We didn’t think that was bad, either.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.