Capsule Review: 2015 Ford F150 XLT SuperCrew

Winston Braithwaite
by Winston Braithwaite

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.

Winston Braithwaite
Winston Braithwaite

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  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Feb 04, 2015

    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.

    • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Feb 05, 2015

      I know what you mean about the shudder, but I don't think the F-150's the only one -- it's common to BOF vehicles. The last Ram 1500 I rented did it too, as has every Panther I've ever ridden in.

  • Chocolatedeath Chocolatedeath on Feb 25, 2015

    Well might as well punch the comments to 200...

  • 28-Cars-Later I guess Santa showed up with bales of cash for Mitsu this past Christmas.
  • Lou_BC I was looking at an extended warranty for my truck. The F&I guy was trying to sell me on the idea by telling me how his wife's Cadillac had 2 infotainment failures costing $4,600 dollars each and how it was very common in all of their products. These idiots can't build a reliable vehicle and they want me to trust them with the vehicle "taking over" for me.
  • Sobhuza Trooper Like fusion power, the I.D. Buzz is only 30 years away.
  • Lou_BC "respondents between 18 and 80 years old" Basically anyone deemed an adult who might be allowed to drive.
  • Lou_BC They will do fine if they come up with some cool sedans ;)