Until just a few days ago, the only people to have driven the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 were employees and select dealers of the storied American automaker. In fact, few outside of Detroit had even laid eyes on the truck. This fact helped make sense of the countless curious stares and enthusiastic hoots we encountered on our way through the Texas countryside. The attention meant one thing: an unofficial stamp of approval from the brand’s biggest market, even before we had the opportunity to really test the truck for ourselves. As the day of driving progressed, we too had the chance to be convinced. Over highways and along country roads, through shallow rivers and deep mud pits, it became clear the 2015 model is in fact “the toughest, smartest and most capable F-150 ever,” as Ford excitedly claims.
In the past year we’ve covered hundreds of miles off road on some of America’s most demanding trails with Land Rover and hit the track with a range of this year’s top sports cars. Such experiences came in handy as we easily propelled the massive aluminum-bodied vehiclewhich weighs in up to 700 pounds less than 2014’s modelto over 90mph on the highway and rallied over rocks and through the mud with care-free control. Throughout each test, the cabin remained exceptionally quiet, and maintaining control was never in question.
As an entirely re-designed automobile, the car’s every nook and cranny has been newly considered. Compared to today’s truck, the 2015 F-150 can tow up to 1,100 more pounds, haul up to 530 more pounds and is projected to get between five and 20% better gas mileage (official EPA ratings will be released in November 2014). And while there’s a range of optional, specialized packages that emphasize towing, fuel economy or payload, we’re most excited about the FX-4 off-road package, which is a must if you live anywhere that nasty weather strikes. Hill descent, 360 cameras and comprehensive undercarriage coverage by way of metal skid plates made easy work of the off-road course.
The redesign encompasses everything from a sophisticated new interior to multiple new engine designs and the advent of multiple exterior add-ons, including exterior LEDs to assist in tire changes and a stock step that hides away nicely in the tailgate. Visit Ford for more specs and a comprehensive list of design tweaks in the new, American-made F-150. And for a closer look at the range of models we experienced on our drive, see the slideshow.
Images by Graham Hiemstra