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2015 Ford F-150 First Impression

San Antonio, TX -- Very few car manufacturers can boast what Ford has and will have done for the 2015 model year. Only a few weeks ago, the Blue Oval unleashed the all-new 6th generation Mustang on a highly anticipatory crowd of RWD Pony-car hungry journalists. They ate everything up, right down to the last shred of cobbled rubber from burnouts.

As though it were nothing, on the heels of unbridling the legendary performance coupe, Ford drops another bomb with what is without a doubt their most important product, their heaviest hitter, the king, the man: the 2015 Ford F-150.

The F-150 has set the bar for the better part of four decades, and that standing ain't about to change. The 2015 Ford full-size pickup is just as good as I'd expected and better, not only because of its ridiculous abilities as a truck but because Ford continues to push the envelope with the introduction of their latest powertrain, a 2.7L EcoBoost V6.
 

Truly all new
The 2015 F-150 is one of very few revised vehicles that actually deserves the "all-new" line that so many OEMs attach to their products. The pickup, as you may have heard, is now made up almost entirely of aluminum, high-strength steel, and other goodies. The use of these not-so-exotic materials is how Ford managed to drop those 700lbs they keep boasting about.

I've managed to loose 35lb. in the last 18 months and let me tell you, I feel better about everything, especially brownies... The 2015 Ford F-150 also feels better, drives better, and is now better suited to a truck buyer's needs.

The weight loss increased all capabilities and ratings without meddling with GVW ratings, which means payloads are now greater, with room to spare. The F-150's 2,000lbs payload will take a 1,000lbs load and your four-man crew, with a few hundred pounds to spare. A RAM's 1,500lbs payload won't, as the GVWR is identical.



Capable and powerful
What it all means is that the 2015 F-150 is the most capable F-Series ever and, well, it's also the best driving. Tied into the scaling back of weight is the advent of the all-new hi-tech turbocharged EcoBoost 2.7L V6. This seemingly little mill packs 325 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque.

This engine joins the ranks of the existing 3.5L V6, the turbocharged EcoBoost 3.5L V6 and the 5.0L V8. As with all engines, the 2.7L is matted to a 6-speed automatic. 4X2 and 4X4 can be spec'd as can a list of options and accessories that spans the country from sea to shining sea.

As the 2.7L was part of the big news, I opted to start my day off in an XLT Super Crew 145" Wheelbase 4x4 EcoBoost. At $41,549 (base is $21,399), this trim and engine combo should prove to be very popular.

Capable and handsome
The new 2015 F-150 remains subtle styling-wise as a clear and mature evolution over the previous '09 truck. Physically, other than the aluminum alloy, the big news are the plethora of LED lights, the available surround-view cameras and the fully boxed, no-longer-hydroformed 70lb lighter frame that now features an extra cross-member for extra torsional rigidity.

The EcoBoost 2.7L is designed for the occasional tow-er still looking for hauling power. It will tow up to 8,400lbs, more than enough for a side-by-side, a few dirt bikes or a racecar and tires.

Capable and a great drive
The 2.7L also hauls plenty of ass as 90% of its torque is delivered well below 2,000 rpm. It's also astonishingly smooth and refined. Turbo-lag in non-existent, throttle response is almost immediate, and when the tranny's in Sport mode, this powertrain is downright fun.

And I'm not kidding around. The roads we tackled north west of San Antonio were plenty twisty and the F-150 stuck to its guns. Steering is well weighted and precise -- far better than any truck needs to be. The brakes are great, and then there's the way this thing handles. In a word: remarkable.

So true was the F-150's tracking that I mused with my codriver and onboard Ford dude that a set of semi-slicks would have allowed us to exploit the truck's uber-stiff chassis and great all around no-compromise suspension.

As you may imagine, the 2015 F-150 will lug lots of stuff, up to 12,200lbs depending on specs. I did put the 3.5L EcoBoost to the test with a 9,000lb trailer and it performed admirably well; the task felt easy and stress-free enough that I'd be inclined to cross this country and explore the depth of that accessory list. We also did some off-roading, which the F-150 crushed in its sleep.

For the everyday and every job
The F-150's cabin -- ergonomics and all -- are spot on, as are fit and finish. The seats are large and comfortable and the revised steering wheel falls perfectly in hand. There are a few more buttons, and the MyFordTouch has been updated.

Controls are large, as are storage bins and the level of available onboard technology easily rivals that of a luxury car. It's even quiet in the cabin at speeds exceeding 70mph!

The 2015 Ford F-150 is, not surprisingly, an excellent product. It was the best and continues to be the best. Here's to another few decades of leading the truck pack!