After placing second to Ram 1500 for the past two years at the Texas Auto Writers annual Truck Rodeo, the Ford F150 earned the first place trophy again this October. The competition is always fierce and the vehicles are fantastic. Judged on a variety of qualities over on-road and challenging off-road drives, there really are no losers. All the vehicles perform beautifully and each has its own special abilities and features. This year the Ford F150 easily took the lead with all the new and improved equipment, economy and capability.
Most notable is the new aluminum alloy body of the F150. Referred to as ‘military grade’, this material is the same or similar to what is used in defense, aerospace, energy and transportation industries. It is stronger and lighter than common steel and is resistant to rust. The lighter weight allows for thicker gauge panels that have greater resistance to dents. And the 2015 F150 weighs 700 pounds less because of this material. Built on an all-new high-strength steel frame, this F150 is the strongest, most capable ever.
Many people argue that a lighter truck cannot tow or haul as much, but the truth is that the truck is towing and hauling its own weight before you add anything to it. Every 2015 F150 gets between 5% and 16% improvement in power-to-weight ratio, depending on how it is equipped. Better handling, braking and maneuvering are added benefits. I experienced this at an event on the Six Flags Fiesta Texas parking lot in San Antonio, Texas, where I drove my first ever drag race and took the F150 through a course of tight turns marked with orange cones. I’m no racer, but the braking certainly impressed me! I really wasn’t certain I was going to stop in time, but I did not crash into the fence! I couldn’t have been more impressed with the handling through the curvy course. Encouraged to go as fast as I could, I was sure I was leaving behind a graveyard of squashed cones. I didn’t knock over even one!
Towing is one reason many people buy a pick-up. Whether it is for agriculture, construction, manufacturing or recreation, this Ford can get the job done! The F150 with a 2.7L EcoBoost engine tows up to 8500 pounds. The 3.5L EcoBoost engine tows up to 12,000 pounds. A notable feature of the EcoBoost engine is the auto start-stop ability. This shuts off the engine when the truck is stopped and turns it back on automatically when the brake is released and the accelerator is pressed. This results in improved fuel economy. Also available are a 3.5L Tl-VCT V6 and a 5.0L Tl-VCT V8. Features that add to the trailering experience are trailer sway control, hill start assist, integrated trailer brake control, telescoping trailer tow mirrors, smart trailer tow connector and dynamic hitch assist.
So maybe you aren’t towing. The 2015 F150 has many great features that make it a pleasure to drive whatever you are doing, wherever you are going. The new remote tailgate release drops the tailgate at the press of a button. A press of a button also locks the tailgate. The tailgate step has been hidden inside the tailgate and deployable box-side steps are also available. So it is comfortably easy to load up the truck bed with your luggage, sports equipment, camping gear or whatever you want. If it is more wheels, like a lawn mower, motorcycle or four-wheeler, there are available stowable loading ramps. And if you are out for work or play after dark, you might appreciate the side-mirror LED spotlights, which adjust with the mirrors to light up the areas on either side of the truck.
The 2015 Ford F150 comes in five trim levels starting with the XL, which has a base MSRP of about $40,000. Moving up there are an XLT, the Lariat, the King Ranch and the Platinum, which is loaded with luxury and conveniences.
The 2015 Ford F150 has been named Truck of Texas by the Texas Auto Writers Association and will probably continue to received more and more awards over the next few months.