2016 Ford F-150

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All-Aluminum pickup

Date Posted: January 28, 2015
By Zack Spencer

Ford has dominated full-size truck sales in Canada for almost fifty years. To help make the F-150 more efficient, Ford has moved to all-aluminum construction.

To say that the latest all-new all-aluminum Ford F-150 pickup is a big deal for Ford would be the understatement of the last half-century. The F-150 has been the best selling pickup in Canada for almost fifty years (48) and the best selling vehicle overall for the past four. That’s right, the best selling vehicle period.

Ford has invested a huge amount of money into the research and development of the very first aluminum-alloy truck. The body panels and the box are made from a military grade alloy and that body is bolted onto a lighter weight steel frame. The entire goal of this exercise was to reduce weight and improve fuel economy, something all auto manufactures are struggling to achieve. The total weight savings is a whopping 318kg, which allowed Ford to introduce a smaller 2.7L V6 EcoBoost engine into the product mix, reducing fuel consumption and also making a better vehicle to drive.

The exterior is all Ford, in fact I even have to look at subtle differences to know that this is the all-new model. The most striking new feature is the front and rear lights that have an “F” design cues, so Next time you see one you will be able to spot the difference. What hasn’t changed are a few Ford firsts that really make this a usable work vehicle. One is the optional side step that pops out from the side, just in front of the rear wheel arch, allowing the owner to access the truck bed with one easy step. In addition, the rear tailgate ladder has been improved, it still slips out from the tailgate with a grab handle but now the tailgate can lock, this will help to secure this often stolen feature. Inside the bed are new LED lighting system at and a soft open tailgate for easier use.

The cabin of the new F-150 is also similar. The same MyFordTouch screen and Sync system is at play, it all looks and feels very familiar. Ford must have had to walk the line of keeping things familiar but also fresh. The good news is that the driver does not have to fiddle with the touch screen to change things like the heat and radio controls, there are redundant, large buttons and dials that make interacting easy with work gloves or winter groves. The centre console is massive, easily able to gobble up a laptop of tablet and there are USB jacks, regular cigarette lighter style plugs and even a 110V power outlet on the dash and another in the back of the Super Crew versions. Speaking of cabs, there are three main versions, the regular cab, Super Cab and the 4-door version is the Super Crew. These three options along with different bed lengths and four different engine choices can make the decision process mind spinning. The up side is choice, the down side is choosing.

The base engine is still a V6 but now it is a 3.5L version. Most base model buyers will opt for the all-new 2.7L turbocharger EcoBoost V6 with impressive power, rated at 325hp and 375 lb-ft. of torque. This makes this lighter F-150 perform surprisingly well. Off the line it does and admirable job and cruises with ease. The upside is improved fuel economy, rated at 12.2L/100km in the city and just 9.2L on the highway; a massive improvement and almost as good as the latest Ram equipped with a V6 diesel. The 3.5L Ecoboost engine returns for 2015 as does the 5.0L V8. In my experience these powerful EcoBoost engines provide fantastic power and torque but when under load or towing, the fuel economy really suffers. This is one reason that some in the on-line community are suggesting the 5.0L V8 is a better choice for people who tow regularly because this engine delivers more consistent fuel performance.

Right now the F-150 is a step behind the main rivals, Ram and GM with a 6-speed automatic compared to their 8-speed boxes, but Ford is set to introduce a new 10speed automatic in the F-150, now that will be something to try.

The all-new structure of this truck has also benefited the ride and handling. The cabin is much quieter, but not as quiet as the class-leading GM trucks. The handling is more precise and I found the huge windows helped make this big truck feel much smaller to maneuver.

As part of my week long road test I drove a Crew Cab 4X4 version equipped with the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 to Kelowna and back and was really impressed with the almost sport car like power but not so much with the fuel economy. Granted, I took full advantage of the new, higher speed limits, but over 1200km, the average fuel rating was 14.5L/100km. Not fantastic, but not horrible for a full-size truck. I’d love to try it again with the 5.0L version to see the difference.

This latest F-150 is a big technical jump for Ford and a big jump in refinement for Ford buyers and I’m certain that these improvement will keep it in first place for many more years to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This latest F-150 is a big technical jump for Ford and a big jump in refinement for Ford buyers
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