2015 F-150 New Car Test Drive
The Ford F-150 offers something for everyone interested in a light-duty pickup, be it for independent business like contractors or landscapers, fleet buyers, or as a second car. Interiors range from wipe-out simple to Lincoln-like luxury. The permutations are seemingly limitless. By trim, driven wheels and cab/bed mix there are 94 versions of F-150 to power and option. Once familiar with its measurements, the F-150 is easy to drive, and this latest version feels smooth and refined.
The 2015 Ford F-150 features a new body structure made of aluminum. Also new for 2015: a new frame with three times the high-strength steel of the old one. The changes result in a truck that weighs notably less and requires less power than the previous-generation but can still carry or tow plenty of weight.
The 2015 F-150 also has a new interior and a more extensive safety and gadget list.
For 2015, three of the available engines carry over from the previous model, accompanied by one new engine. (The previous 6.2-liter V8 has been dropped, and the SVT Raptor and Harley-Davidson specials are in hibernation.)
One V8 and three V6 engines are available for the 2015 Ford F-150 lineup, all with 6-speed automatic transmissions. The base engine is a 3.5-liter normally aspirated V6. Other engines become standard by trim, size and drive wheels, and include a new 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V6 and a 5.0-liter V8. The 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 is optional on all models.
The neatest thing about the aluminum truck is that, for most purposes, it works just like a steel one. You'll find it different only if you try to attach magnetic signs or some aftermarket equipment or perhaps in finding a body shop prepared to fix it following a collision. Your kid who wants truck parts when the body rots out will have to wait much, much longer.
While aluminum has taken weight out, Ford put pounds right back in the form of massaging seats, single- and dual-panel moonroofs, locking differentials, hitches, steps or running boards on three sides, and a variety of sensors, cameras and lights. And it's quiet enough we don't think they skimped on insulation.
Every F-150 has competitive room inside, with seat-counts from three to six. Unlike challengers, except the Nissan Titan King Cab, the mid-size F-150 SuperCab has clamshell doors that swing open to the rear. Positively, these are often the easiest way to load kids into child seats, awkward cargo or pets, and allow a longer-cab pickup with a 6.5-foot bed to fit in a standard 20-foot garage. Negatively, they're not as easy to deal with in confined areas, including crowded parking lots, and front-seat passengers must unbuckle before the doors can be opened.
The F-150 driving experience is affected by the wide latitude in materials, equipment and performance across a broad range of models. A base F-150 XL regular-cab pickup with the standard 3.5-liter V6 XL feels a different truck from a loaded F-150 Platinum SuperCrew with 3.5-liter turbo. You'd notice the $35,000 price gain between them just as easily. The priciest model approaches $63,000 without discounts or dealer accessories.
The Ford F-150 competes against the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 models, which offer three engines, more power and an available 8-speed automatic; the Ram 1500 with three engine choices, one a diesel, an 8-speed automatic and an air-suspension option; the Nissan Titan with an imminent redesign and diesel engine; and the Toyota Tundra revamped for 2014.
The 2015 Ford F-150 offers five wheelbases, three cabs, three boxes, four engines, 14 wheel designs, 19 equipment groups and five trim levels each with two or three subsets, almost all of them in rear or four-wheel drive. Prices below are the base price range for the bed/cab, 2WD/4WD configurations offered in that trim level, without destination charges of $1195. 4WD typically adds $3400-4600 because it often includes a different engine.
F-150 XL ($25,420-$37,205) comes in all six cab/box permutations. A 283-hp 3.5 normally aspirated V6 is standard on 122- to 145-inch wheelbases, a 325-hp 2.7-liter turbo V6 on long-wheelbase (157- to 163-inch)) 2WD, and a 385-hp 5.0-liter V8 on long-wheelbase 4WD. All F-150 come with a 6-speed automatic. Four-wheel drive is electric shift-on-the-fly with a neutral position for flat-towing.
F-150 XL comes with cloth seats, vinyl floor, air conditioning, tilt/telescoping steering column, hill start assist, electronic parking brake (3.5 normally aspirated and 2.7 only), capless fuel fill, black trim, 17-inch steel wheels, folding manual mirrors, 2.3-inch instrument screen and 4.2-inch center screen. SuperCab adds 170-degree swing rear doors with fixed windows. SuperCrew adds conventional rear doors and manual windows. XL Mid-grade adds power windows (four on SuperCab and SuperCrew) locks and tailgate lock, AM/FM/CD audio, 4.2-inch instrument center display, SYNC voice recognition system, cruise control, and Box Link with 4 cleats.
Upgrading the base engine to a 2.7 V6 turbo is $795, to the 5.0 V8 is $1,595, and the 3.5 turbo V6 $1,995. From 2.7 to 5.0 add $800 or $1,200 to 3.5 turbo. From the V8 to a 3.5 turbo is $400.
XL options include but are not limited to a trailer hitch, two tow packages ($695-$795), payload packages ($750-$1,695), axle ratios ($50), locking differential ($420-$570), larger wheels/tires, steps (side, box, tailgate), three types of mirrors ($90-$395), power sliding rear window, rear camera, three types of seats, 110VAC outlets ($200-$250), fog lamps, carpeting, 33-gallon fuel tank ($195), Crew Chief telematics and two bed-protection items.
F-150 XLT ($30,695-$41,215) offers the same engines and configurations as XL. From an XL Mid, the XLT Base adds chrome exterior trim, fog lamps, keyless entry number pad, aluminum wheels, auto on/off headlamps, daytime running lights, MyKey and an upgraded front seat. Mid-grade XLT adds 8-way power driver seat, power heated mirrors with turn signals, auto-dimming inside and driver side mirrors, rear camera, power adjustable pedals, leather wrapped steering wheel, under-rear-seat storage, class IV hitch, 7-speaker SiriusXM radio. XLT Luxury adds remote start, heated 10-way power front seats, reverse park sensors, SYNC with MyFord Touch, 110V/400w outlet, LED box lighting, power sliding rear window with defroster. Available XLT equipment includes an FX4 off-road package, SFE (super-fuel-economy) package, 20-inch wheels, inflatable rear SuperCrew seatbelts, mirror spotlights, moonroof (dual-panel on SuperCrew), snow-plow prep (5-liter V8 only) and mechanical equipment upgrades and additions like XL.
F-150 Lariat ($38,685-$45,515) comes in SuperCab (6.5- and 8-foot boxes) and SuperCrew (5.5- and 6.5-foot boxes) with a 2.7 turbo V6 on shorter 4WD and most 2WD, and the 5.0 V8 on Lariat Luxury and long-wheelbase 4WD Base and Mid. 4WD adds an automatic position for on-highway all-season use. Lariat trucks get leather upholstery, heated/cooled 40/20/40 front seats, dual-zone climate control, 8-inch center display, 8-inch instrument display, aux-in and 2 USB ports, SD card slot, alarm with intrusion/inclination sensing, black mesh-in-chrome grille, painted body hardware, power folding mirrors, driver memory system, 18-inch wheels, steering wheel controls, ambient lighting, push-button start, illuminated visor mirrors and SuperCrew a rear seat armrest. Lariat Mid-grade trim adds blind-spot warning with cross-path alert, remote start and tailgate release, mirror spotlights and puddle lamps, and universal garage door opener. Lariat Luxury trim adds bucket seats, HD and satellite radio, voice-activated navigation with SiriusXM Traffic and TravelLink, heated steering wheel and rear seats, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel memory linked, LED headlamps and taillamps, auto high-beams and rain-sensing wipers. Lariat options include a Technology pack (lane keeping assist, 360-degree camera and hitching assist), power-deploy running boards, active park assist, adaptive cruise control/forward collision warning/braking, 10-speaker sound system, single (SuperCab) or twin-panel (SuperCrew) moonroof, and most mechanical upgrades of lesser trims.
F-150 King Ranch ($48,495-$52,220) is SuperCrew only with 5-liter V8, 3.5 turbo optional. With unique badges, leather, wood trim and mats, it includes two-tone paint (monotone available), LED headlamps and side mirror spotlamps, power-folding heated dual-element mirrors with auto-dimming driver side, remote start and tailgate release, reverse park sensing, 18-inch painted-pocket aluminum wheels, two 110VAC/400W outlets, trailer brake controller, heated power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, driver memory system, heated seats front and rear, 10-speaker Sony single-CD HD radio sound system and navigation with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link. King Ranch Luxury adds multi-contour front seats, tailgate step/lift assist, blind-spot warning, power running boards, 20-inch wheels, auto high beams and rain-sensing wipers. Options echo those of Lariat Luxury not already included.
F-150 Platinum SuperCrew ($50,960-$54,680) comes with a V8, 3.5 turbo optional. It includes most King Ranch Luxury amenities in unique leathers and colors with satin-chrome grille and tailgate, chrome tow hooks and body-color bumpers and wheel lip moldings, power running boards, inflatable rear seat belts, and unique instrument cluster. The Luxury grade Platinum also includes a tailgate step and the Technology package.
Safety features on all F-150 models includes dual front airbags, front side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, electronic stability/trailer sway control, hill start assist, hill descent control, ABS and SOS post-crash alert. Available on some trims or optional are reverse parking sensors, rearview camera, MyKey, 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning and braking, blind-spot warning with cross-path detection, inflatable rear seatbelts, and self-parking assist.
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