The Ford F-150 is one of the best selling vehicles on the planet. Considering that, one can imagine that when it comes time for a redesign, there are hardly any half measures. For its lucky thirteenth generation, Ford has gone all-in on the single most important vehicle in its portfolio, redesigning it from the ground up.
The big news is the F-150's new, lightweight, Atlas-inspired body. Ninety-three percent of that new body is made from a sort of aluminum alloy not unlike what the US military uses in its M2 Bradley fighting vehicles and Humvees, and it accounts for up to 70 percent of the F-150's 700-pound weight reduction. As a side benefit, the aluminum body should prove more resistant to dents and dings. Built Ford tough, indeed.
If you're wondering where the other 30 percent of that 700-pound weight loss went, 8.5 percent (60 pounds) came from the increased use of high-strength steel (up from 23 percent to 77 percent) in its ladder-box frame. Ford claims this steel is comparable to some of the heavy duty pickups used by its competitors, with a PSI rating of 70,000.
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"Our objective was to find materials that allowed us to design the truck to be as tough - or tougher - than the current model, yet could help it be hundreds of pounds lighter for better capability and fuel economy," said Pete Friedman, Ford's manager of manufacturing research. We shouldn't need to explain the benefits of a lighter truck (faster, stronger and more efficient).
We shouldn't need to explain the benefits of a lighter truck (faster, stronger and more efficient).
The other big change is the addition of a new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. The new engine features auto start-stop, a first in the F-150. The system will automatically disengage if the truck is towing or set to four-wheel drive, so that it doesn't leave a driver flat-footed when power is really needed. It can also be manually defeated.
"No one's ever built a six-cylinder engine like this," said Raj Nair, group vice president of global product development. "It combines a host of advanced technologies found throughout the industry to create one of the most technically advanced and efficient engines ever designed."
The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 has finally knocked off Ford's bad-boy 6.2-liter V8, which will no longer be offered.
Buyers will have the choice of a new, naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 as standard, while the 2.7 will slot in above it. The 5.0-liter V8 remains, while the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 has finally knocked off Ford's bad-boy 6.2-liter V8, which will no longer be offered on the F-150.
Ford hasn't published performance or fuel economy figures on any of it's new engines, but suffice it to say, the new 2.7-liter should be an adequate match for the mid-level V8s of Ram and General Motors while besting its eight-cylinder competitors on fuel economy. We'd expect a slight drop in power for the 3.5 and an uptick in fuel economy, while we wouldn't be surprised to see the 5.0 and 3.5 EcoBoost carry over their horsepower and torque metrics, while their fuel economy figures will benefit from the lighter body.
Ford pulled a fast one on spectators at this year's Baja 1000, running a truck in the grueling off-road race that featured the current F-150's body, but used the same aluminum-alloy construction and modified ladder-box frame. Underhood sat the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost. So yes, this truck does seem to have been tested rather thoroughly.
Ford pulled a fast one on spectators at this year's Baja 1000.
Ford hasn't limited its improvements to the greasy bits of the new F-150. All LED lighting is available as an optional goodie, including segment-exclusive LED headlights. The cargo box features LED lights, as well as a switch in the bed, which should save the driver from going all the way into the cab for a bit of extra light. There's also an LED on the handle of the tailgate, which should make finding it and hooking up a trailer a bit easier. Other handy features include a segment-exclusive tailgate release that can be operated via the key fob.
In the cabin, Ford has fitted a new, optional eight-inch display in the instrument cluster and added a number of new TruckApps. One of those new apps, Smart Trailer Control can inform the driver if the trailer being towed has a faulty or burnt-out light, or if the trailer's lights are even working in the first place. Ford will also offer a segment-first 360-degree camera, using four cameras mounted under the mirrors and in the front and back, lending owners piece of mind in tight quarters. Not all the upgrades are so functional, though. A panoramic sunroof is available to brighten up the cabin, and while we don't have an exact measurement, we can say that it is very big.
Ford will also offer a segment-first 360-degree camera.
Finally, a new BoxLink system should add a high degree of versatility in the F-150's bed. The new system allows customers to reconfigure the bed as they see fit, and is similar to one of the features on the Atlas Concept from the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. "We are leaving the bed open, and are letting the customer choose how they want to customize the bed," said Ford spokesman Mike Levine.
The new F-150 will be available in five trims when it arrives in the fourth quarter of 2014 - base XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum. We'll have much more information on the new F-150 when it becomes available, including live pictures from its debut at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show later today. Scroll down for the official press blast from Ford.
Tougher: All-new high-strength steel frame, high-strength aluminum-alloy body, more than 10 million miles of testing and Baja 1000-proven 2.7-liter EcoBoost® engine
Smarter: 11 new class-exclusive features, including 360-degree camera view, integrated loading ramps stowed in the pickup bed, 400-watt power outlets inside the cab, LED headlights and sideview mirror spotlights, and remote tailgate release
More capable: Up to 700 pounds less weight plus four engine choices for an impressive combination of power, capability and efficiency
DETROIT, Jan. 13, 2014 - Ford today introduces the all-new Ford F-150, the reinvention of America's favorite truck. It is the toughest, smartest and most capable F-150 ever - setting the standard for the future of trucks.
The all-new F-150 delivers an impressive combination of power, capability and efficiency - from advanced materials that improve durability and inhibit corrosion, to faster processors that enhance driving performance, to breakthrough cargo management and towing solutions.
"F-150 is well-known for being Built Ford Tough. Now, it is both tough and smart," said Mark Fields, Ford Motor Company chief operating officer. "The all-new F-150 redefines the future of trucks, and it is yet another example of our One Ford plan producing vehicles that serve customers with a commitment to the very best quality, fuel efficiency, safety, smart design and value."
F-150 is part of the Ford F-Series truck lineup, America's best-selling truck for 37 consecutive years and America's best-selling vehicle for 32 years.
"We have a unique connection with our customers," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford executive vice president and president of The Americas. "Time and again, F-150 has delivered the tougher, smarter features they want along with the capabilities they need for work or play. We build our trucks to their high standards."
In designing the backbone of the F-150, Ford engineers improved the truck's signature fully boxed ladder frame. It is all-new with more high-strength steel than ever - making it stronger and lighter. High-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloys - already used in aerospace, commercial transportation, energy and many other rugged industries - are used throughout the F-150 body for the first time, improving dent and ding resistance and also saving weight. Overall, up to 700 pounds of weight have been saved, helping the F-150 tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter, and contributing to efficiency.
"More than ever before, customers want a truck that is a dependable partner, mobile office and a go-anywhere workshop," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. "To meet the needs of our truck customers, we created smart new features and a whole new approach to using advanced materials and engines to improve capability and efficiency."
The 2015 Ford F-150 is the strongest and most durable F-150 ever. Before it goes on sale, it will have been torture-tested in labs, at Ford proving grounds and in the hands of some of Ford's most demanding truck customers for more than 10 million miles.
The grueling testing simulated the demands Ford's customers will subject the truck to throughout its average lifetime. The tests include crisscrossing the country pulling heavy trailers and hefty loads through desert valleys and over high-altitude mountain passes - in temperatures from 20 degrees below zero to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Customers using the F-150 for construction, mining and utilities have tested and helped prove out its high-strength aluminum-alloy cargo box.
A disguised new Ford F-150 even raced in the Baja 1000, where it earned the distinction of completing all 883 grueling miles while some other purpose-built race vehicles could not.
To perform in these challenging conditions, the frame uses high-strength steel rated up to 70,000 psi - stronger than the steel found in some competitors' heavy-duty pickup truck frames. Eight through-welded crossmembers provide increased stiffness, while staggered rear outboard shocks provide greater stability.
Several groundbreaking new productivity features debut in the all-new F-150, including many class-exclusives. They include:
- 360-degree camera view, using exterior cameras to create a bird's-eye view of the truck to help the driver park, maneuver in tight spots and navigate down narrow roads and trails
- Integrated loading ramps, which enable easy loading of ATVs, motorcycles and mowers
- BoxLink™, which is a combination of metal brackets and custom cleats used to secure a variety of accessories in the cargo box, from ramps to storage bins to bed dividers
- LED headlamps and taillamps, which provide excellent nighttime visibility
- Trailer hitch assist, a new rear view camera feature that adds a dynamic line based on steering wheel angle in the display to help customers line up truck and trailer without requiring a spotter or having to get out of the vehicle
- Smart trailer tow module, using an all-new smart trailer tow wiring harness that helps identify and inform the driver of potential trailer connectivity issues, burned or unlit trailer marker lamps, and brake light and trailer battery faults
- Remote tailgate, allowing for the tailgate to be locked, unlocked and released with the key fob - eliminating manual locking and increasing convenience and security. The tailgate also is damped, dropping down, hands-free, to a flat position when opened
- High-wattage power outlets (400 watts, 110 volts) in the cab, allowing drivers to easily charge corded tools, battery chargers or mobile devices on-site or while driving
- LED spotlights on sideview mirrors, which provide powerful, durable and bright lighting around the truck exterior
- Latest EcoBoost® technology in an all-new, even more efficient 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine that features extremely high output and lightweight design
- Next-generation tailgate step, which is now fully integrated inside the tailgate and virtually invisible when not in use
Other smart innovations include:
- New 8-inch LCD productivity screen in the instrument panel, which includes updated truck apps - from fuel economy to towing tips - and the ability to create a customized home screen for customers to access their most frequently used apps in one place
- LED lighting embedded in the walls of the cargo box, which brightly illuminates the box interior to help customers quickly find tools or other items
- Rear under-seat storage in F-150 Super and Crew cabs, providing hidden storage for valuables. Two storage bins also are located underneath the rear seats
- Boxside step, now available for the short 5.5-foot box
They join available driver aids, including SYNC® with MyFord Touch®, hill start assist, MyKey®, rear view camera, reverse sensing, trailer brake controller and extendable tailgate step.
In addition to helping customers work smarter, F-150 features segment-first technologies that automatically assist drivers. They include:
- Second-row inflatable safety belts, which work like a traditional belt but include a tubular airbag that inflates in the event of a crash and distributes the force of the impact across a wider area of the passenger's chest
- Curve Control, which automatically provides more aggressive four-wheel braking when the truck is going into a corner too fast
- Adaptive cruise control, allowing drivers to set a cruising speed and use radar technology to monitor traffic ahead and maintain a safe distance between vehicles
- Lane-Keeping System, which is designed to help avert unintentional drifting of the vehicle outside the intended driving lane by automatically detecting the left- or right-hand road lane markings using a camera mounted between the windshield and interior rearview mirror
- Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert, which uses radar hidden in the taillamps to detect a vehicle entering a driver's blind spot while driving or backing up
A range of four engines provides more power to meet almost any customer need.
A new 2.7-liter EcoBoost with standard Auto Start-Stop and a 3.5-liter V6 engine with twin independent variable camshaft timing join the proven 3.5-liter EcoBoost and 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine features a lightweight, compact design to deliver the same power as some mid-range V8s.
Auto Start-Stop technology helps save fuel. Unlike start-stop solutions in other vehicles, this technology - specially tuned for truck customers - shuts off the engine to save fuel when the vehicle is stopped, except when towing or in four-wheel drive. The engine restarts in milliseconds when the brake is released.
Ford F-150 trucks equipped with EcoBoost engines also will benefit from standard Active Grille Shutters. Active Grille Shutters stay open when extra engine cooling is needed, such as during low-speed stop-and-go driving or while working in hot weather. They automatically close to reduce aerodynamic drag at cruising speed.
On sale late this year
When it goes on sale late this year, the all-new Ford F-150 will continue the tradition of offering the broadest selection of trim levels in the full-size pickup segment. Five primary trims are available: XL, XLT, Lariat, Platinum and King Ranch. Chrome appearance packages are available with XL, XLT, Lariat and King Ranch. Monochromatic sport appearance packages are available with XL, XLT and Lariat.
The FX4 off-road package can be added to most four-wheel-drive models, improving trail capability with an electronic locking rear axle, skid plates and off-road-tuned shocks.
Both the exterior and interior design of Ford F-150 reflect decades of listening to customers and understanding their occupational and recreational needs. The exterior is characterized by a new shape that suggests capability, with a wider Built Ford Tough stance, prominent wheel arches and chiseled grille.
Comfort, utility and refinement define the truck's interior. Ergonomically optimized seating for the front row positions enhances comfort, while extending legroom for rear passengers. Buttons and controls are optimized so they can be operated while wearing work gloves.
Storage options include laptop stowage in the center console, as well as quick storage solutions for cellphones, drinks, pens and business cards.
"Once again, the Ford F-150 establishes new standards in durability, capability, technology and efficiency to help F-150 owners be more productive 24/7 - whether for work or weekend fun," said Nair.
The F-150 will continue to be manufactured at Ford's Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich., and Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo.