Capsule Review: 2015 Ford F150 XLT SuperCrew
The stupid beer can analogies are already tired. Yes, the body of the 2015 Ford F150 is aluminum, but it’s not that important. If they didn’t make a big deal about it, you’d never know. It also fails to make the F150 the lightweight Jesus of pickups.
Ford has been crowing about the weight savings that come from using an aluminum body, but that alone won’t keep the F150 on top. While it’s highly likely the F150 will crack 40 years as the best-selling single model, its competitors have sharpened their daggers lately.
The F150 remains as the F150 has always been – a good truck, sold aggressively, with some weak spots. The areas most in need of improvement have been attended to. That means a better interior, noticeably careful assembly quality, and thoroughly re-imagined powertrain lineup.
The base engine for is the 3.5 liter V6. It’s just as solidly unremarkable here as it was in the Lincoln MKZ. With 282 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque, the 3.5 is completely overshadowed by a pair of optional EcoBoost V6 choices. The 2.7 liter EcoBoost is the short-money option, costing you $795 to bump up to 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. Spend $1,995 and you’ll get the 3.5 liter EcoBoost. Its 365 hp is just 20 hp shy of the 5.0 liter V8’s 385 hp, but its 420 lb-ft of fat turbo torque will be noticeably stronger and more flexible than the V8’s 387 lb-ft. Ford prices the V8 right in between the turbo sixes, at $1,595. Either EcoBoost is a hell of an engine, and if you crack a window, you’ll hear the turbos spool.
With the window up, you won’t hear much at all. It’s quiet inside, but the interior of the F150 is still plagued by the same kind of nonsense that’s afflicted the Mustang for a decade. Rock-hard door panels, tons of greasy-looking, cheap-feeling plastic, and bunch of buttons vomited on the panel. Compared to the MyFordTouch system, though, the HVAC buttons are a paragon of usability. With MFT, there’s a touchscreen with icons that are too tiny, so skip it and be safer on the road. SYNC3 can’t arrive soon enough.
Button-aggro aside, the new F150 is very comfortable to drive. The quiet environment is a pleasant start, the seats are supportive, with enough adjustments to dial in some personalization, and this thing is solid. Even though it’s a pickup, the steering is a tick slow off-center and numb. The EcoBoost 3.5 is ballsy. Very ballsy. Light the tires up like a sports car ballsy. If the underwhelming interior is Bad Mustang, the Truck Nutz are Good Mustang.
It’s an open secret that pickups look more useful than they often turn out to be. That’s especially true with the 5 1/2 foot bed my F150 had. It’s fine for a weekend warrior, and it keeps the total length down so you’re not trying to turn the Nimitz around in the convenience store parking lot, but it’s a compromise. The SuperCrew is standard with a 6 1/2 foot bed, so you save $315 with the shorter bed. It’s best to think of the SuperCrew F150s as an Expedition with a bed in place of the 3rd row, versus a super-utilitarian pickup. The bed does have LED, the new BoxLink system with adjustable locking tie-downs, and handy D-rings. If you’re going to torture your F150 with real work, get a stripped-down XL, not this $50,000 SuperCrew. The pickup truck arms race leads to some absurdity. There’s a staircase built into the tailgate, which is ridiculous and kind of cumbersome to use. There’s cool stuff, too, like the optional ramps and remote tailgate release.
The F150 is the truck that does just about everything well. Rams have better interiors and the GM twins are quiet and refined with somewhat better ergonomics – not to mention the small-block V8. The T’s – Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra – remain non-players, though I’m eager to get my hands on the new Titan. Even with the huge investment to go aluminum for the body, the F150 isn’t a featherweight, but it does wind up strong in every category. The engineering has obviously been obsessed over. The driving experience is tidy and disciplined, and while it doesn’t lead the class in interior quality, there’s been energy put into making it better. Bottom line: The F150 is solid, it has show-stand looks and is comfortable to drive. The interior is a disappointment, and the price can jump into “holy crap!” territory really quickly. The F150 feels light on its feet and is a lot more refined than it used to be. It’s also the most forward-thinking pickup you can buy right now.
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- ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
- ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
- Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
- Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
- ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
I wonder if Ford has fixed the F-150's cabin shudder issue yet. Every single previous gen I have sat in has the famous cabin shudder when you slam the car door shut and I don't mean slam as in yank the crap out of it. The Silverado and Ram do not exhibit this. Doesn't say much about the structural integrity of these.
Well might as well punch the comments to 200...