2015 Ford F-150: Top 10 Innovative Features on Ford’s Best-Selling Truck – Forbes
We’re heading into what could be the most interesting era in the history of the pickup truck. Like SUVs, we’ve watched interest in trucks rise at KBB.com over the past two years, with sales and market share mirroring the growth in shopper traffic. However, like every model segment, these vehicles are facing ever-increasing mpg standards. This has forced truck brands to introduce a variety of fuel-efficiency strategies in an effort to squeeze additional miles from every gallon of gas. And, given the dominant role truck sales play in the overall economic health of domestic automakers, there’s an unavoidable sense of “make or brake” pressure orbiting each truck’s product plan.
Nowhere is that pressure higher than in the executive suites at Ford Motor Ford Motor Company. Having owned the title of “best-selling truck” for 37 years, as well as the title of “best-selling vehicle” for the past 32 years, the F-150′s sales volume, as a model, is higher than most automakers’ total volume. Last year Ford sold 645,000 F-150s, and with 557,000 sold as of September 30th Ford should hit a similar number this year. But the current truck is about to be replaced by an all-new 2015 Ford F-150. And the 2015 redesign is easily the most substantial of any F-series remake in the model’s 67-year history.
Should the executive team at Ford feel confidence or concern over such a radical redesign of the company’s preeminent model? The new truck goes on sale at the start of 2015, with high hopes and a sales-winning streak it’s expected to maintain. Will it? Let’s take a look at the 2015 Ford F-150′s top 10 innovative features, then you tell us.
1. Aluminum Body: The biggest piece of news surrounding the 2015 F-150 centers on its aluminum body. Normally reserved for sports or luxury cars, the new aluminum body allows the F-150 to cut weight without sacrificing strength. Ford’s extensive durability testing has verified its increased strength (and corrosion resistance) while the aluminum body has cut weight by up to 700 pounds. This means less energy is needed to haul the truck, allowing more energy to be to dedicated to max payload (3,180 pounds) and towing (12,200 pounds). It’s worth noting that both figures are now best-in-class.
2. EcoBoost Engines: Three years ago Ford introduced a turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6 engine as an alternative to the traditional V8 found in most trucks. For 2015 the company is doubling down on its EcoBoost technology, adding a new 2.7-liter V6 with 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. The 2.7 features advanced technologies like a compressed graphite iron block (normally reserved for diesel engines) and twin turbocharges integrated into the exhaust manifold. MPG ratings have yet to be released, but the 2.7 provides excellent power and drivability despite its small displacement.
3. Electronic Display: The 2015 Ford F-150′s interior is all-new, with more space, improved climate and touchscreen controls and an updated seating position with superior outward visibility. But the single most impressive feature is the optional 8-inch digital MyView gauge cluster, which Ford describes as a “productivity screen.” It allows the driver to configure the gauges to display a wealth of information related to fuel economy, towing, off-roading, tire pressure and a dozen other vehicle specs, all grouped and prioritized in whatever arrangement the driver wants.
4. Exterior Cameras: Exterior cameras have gone from exotic to commonplace in premium segments, but with the exception of rear cameras they remain rare in the full-size truck segment. Now Ford has introduced birds-eye-view, 360-degree camera technology on the new F-150, making parking and low-speed maneuvers in tight quarters much easier. And while the F-150′s reverse camera option isn’t particularly unique, the camera’s ability to guide drivers toward a trailer hitch with a dynamic display line (thus removing the need for a spotter when hooking up a trailer) certainly is.
5. Driver Assist: The new F-150 has caught up with premium sedans by offering high-tech items like blind-spot detection, lane-keeping assist, curve control, forward collision warning, radar cruise control, hill descent control and Ford’s patented Active Park Assist system. Ford’s is actually the first company to equip a full-size truck with active parking technology, which in the case of Active Park Assist means the F-150 can now identify a street parking space large enough to fit the truck before managing all steering input during the parallel parking process.