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Ford F-150 review: Truck has lighter weight for heavy-duty work

The 2015 F-150 rides and drives smoothly, but consider your needs when deciding what engine to put under the hood

The body of the 2015 Ford F-150 is formed entirely of aluminum, which offers some advantages.

Jil McIntosh/For Metro

The body of the 2015 Ford F-150 is formed entirely of aluminum, which offers some advantages.

After having Canada’s best-selling truck for several decades, Ford took a bit of a risk with its all-new 2015 F-150. While the frame is made of high-strength steel, the body is entirely formed of aluminum.

The reason was primarily to save weight, which comes with a few advantages. One is fuel consumption, since the heavier something is, the more it takes to move it around, while another is capability. Towing and payload numbers are a combination of the weight of the truck, the trailer, and whatever’s being carried. Make the truck lighter, and the load can be heavier. To that end, the F-150 has a top towing capacity of 12,200 lbs.

That lighter weight also allows for the all-new engine that was in my tester, a 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 engine. The EcoBoost name indicates that it’s turbocharged, which gives it smaller-engine fuel economy under light load, but bigger-engine power when it’s needed. You can also get a 3.5-litre V6 EcoBoost, or choice of non-turbo 3.5-litre V6 or 5.0-litre V8.

It’s a smooth performer and it hauled around my SuperCrew tester with ease, but consider your needs before you decide to put one under the hood. Under everyday driving, it returned an impressive 13.0 L/100 km for me, but the EcoBoost engines get thirsty when they’re working hard. That extra fuel could easily balance out if you only tow or haul occasionally, but if you’re constantly pulling, I’d suggest looking at the non-turbo engines.

Overall, Ford has done a good job on this truck: It rides and drives smoothly, and responds quickly enough to wheel input that it feels smaller than it actually is. The redesigned interior is handsome, but not quite as impressive as some of its competitors.

Trim lines run from a basic work truck with a bench seat, to seriously luxurious models like the King Ranch and Platinum. Everybody makes a very good truck these days, and Ford has a lot of competition, but it’s still likely that this all-new model will remain at the top of the pack for a while.

The checklist: 2015 Ford F-150

THE BASICS
Type. Two- or four-door full-size pickup truck
Engine (hp/torque). 2.7-litre EcoBoost V6 (325/375); 3.5-litre V6 (282/253); 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 (365/420); 5.0-litre V8 (385/387)
Transmission. Six-speed automatic
Price. Base $24,899, as-tested $55,099 (plus destination)

COOL FEATURES
• Locking box cleat storage system
• Twin-panel sunroof
• Capless fuel filler
• Trailer sway control
• Trailer mileage tracker
• Crash-inflatable rear seatbelts
• Mirror-mounted spotlights

POINTS
• The F-150’s available LED headlights are an industry first on a pickup truck.
• With its aluminum body and more high-strength steel, the 2015 F-150 weighs up to 317 kg less than last year’s model.
• The redesigned tailgate step makes it easier to slide cargo across the lowered tailgate.
• Higher gears can be “locked out” when towing, to improve driving performance on steep grades.

MARKET POSITION
It’s yet to be seen how repair costs or long-term maintenance are going to affect Ford’s new all-aluminum body, but expect to see more lightweight materials throughout the segment as automakers scramble to meet fuel standards.

THE COMPETITION
Chevrolet Silverado — Base price: $27,950
Ram 1500 — Base price: $28,595
Toyota Tundra — Base price: $27,820

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