By on June 22, 2015

2015 Ford F-151

Ford’s F-150 is an important vehicle for Ford and it’s not too much of an exaggeration to say it’s an important vehicle for America. In 2014, the F-150 was not just the most popular truck in America, it was the most popular anything in America, selling more than 740,000 examples. For those that love their numbers, that is more F-150s than everything Hyundai sold in the USA put together.

Redesigning the F-150 isn’t just putting Ford’s profits on the line. Hundreds of suppliers and countless employees are worried about Ford’s aluminum gamble.

First let’s talk aluminum. There seems to be plenty of confusion about the first “all aluminum pickup.” Here’s the deal: the F-150 is aluminum bodied. If you were worried about how an aluminum frame would hold up, fear not, the F-150’s body rides on a high strength steel frame, which is half the reason for the high towing and payload numbers. The other half is the aluminum body. Although, there has been plenty of argument about the supposed 700 pound weight saving, Ford does say that about 450 lbs comes from the aluminum body alone. In a simplistic sense, for every pound you take out of the body, you can put it right back in the form of payload. This is the single largest reason the F-150 has payload figures that are 400-600 lbs higher than comparable GM and RAM models.

The majority of the body is made of 6000-series aluminum, which is about 33% lighter than sheet steel of the same thickness. Ford heat treats most of the F-150’s aluminum panels to improve strength and saves a little bit of money by using less expensive 5000-series aluminum in areas like the cab floor and interior parts. According to an engineer at BAE Systems, aluminum also has better dent, ding and corrosion resistance than steel, which is why it is used in military vehicles where those properties are important. If you’re thinking about how easily an aluminum soda can bends, a steel can of that same thickness would dent easier and, according to the engineers, shatter more easily. This is a huge benefit in the bed of the F-150, where Ford was able to make the panels thicker and still save weight. The bugaboo of course is the cost of repair. Body shops have less experience with aluminum, it’s more expensive to replace and labor costs are higher at the moment.

2015 Ford F-158

Exterior
As you’d expect from a modern American pickup, the F-150 is bigger, bolder and angrier up front than the model it replaces. If you’re willing to pony up the cash, Ford will sell you the segment’s first full-LED headlamps, but I found the headlamp brightness to be somewhat lackinglike all the main players in this segment. Out back we find a new tailgate design that is not only lighter because it’s aluminum but also damped like the Japanese competition so it doesn’t slam down on you. The benefit of an aluminum tailgate is immediately evident as it was much easier to close than the competition even though our model had the integrated tailgate step.

Although I think the RAM is attractive, the growing overbite is a design I’d have left on the cutting room floor, and GM’s square wheel arches have always made me scratch my head. Therefore the pickup aesthetics award goes to Ford since the 2015 model brings just enough “butch” without looking ridiculous.

2015 Ford F-166

Interior
When designing a vehicle that spans from $26,100 to over $62,000 there will invariably be trade offs. If you use the same core interior parts in all models, you have to either be willing to make the base models look and feel more expensive, or be willing to have some hard plastics in the top end trims. Ford, like GM and Chrysler, chose the latter. This means that our nearly fully-equipped Platinum model sported real wood trim and soft leather, but inches away were hard plastic door panels and trim pieces. Note: that’s not a negative, it’s simply a statement of fact. Personally, I don’t have a problem Ford’s use of hard plastics because that’s the norm in the pickup truck segment. It would only be a problem if nobody else was doing it.

While I think the RAM’s interior is better looking, especially in the brown and tan version, the F-150 is the king of the hill in terms of parts quality, especially in the platinum trim where you get acres of aluminum trim and fit and finish beats the competition. While I found the base front seats in the Silverado to be more comfortable than the Ford, the Platinum model gets Ford’s massaging and anti-fatigue system. Basically, it’s the same system we saw in the Lincoln MKS. Ford places several air bags inside the seat bottom and back cushion that are tied to a compressor and computer-controlled valve system. In addition to providing multi-way adjustable lumbar support, the software can inflate and deflate the bags in sequence to “massage” your back and improve leg circulation. At first, it just seemed like the truck was slowly groping my bottom, but after an hour and a half in the seat I was hooked. Most luxury cars with similar systems only run for 15 to 20 minutes, but the Ford system stays on until you turn off the car or the compressor noise gets to you.

 

2015 Ford F-162Infotainment
Ford’s touchscreen infotainment system is slated to be replaced by the highly anticipated SYNC 3 system as soon as next year. Until then, the F-150 soldiers on with the same infotainment systems we’ve seen for some time. Base models get a 4.2-inch color LCD radio with SYNC voice recognition software and 4-speakers. Top end trucks jump to 11 speakers (with a subwoofer) and the screen grows to an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, satellite and HD radio.

Dropping LCDs into the instrument cluster is all the rage, and Ford has three to choose from. Base models get a small 2.3-inch LCD, mainly for trip computer functions; mid-level trucks use a 4.2-inch LCD and top end trims get customizable 8-inch display. Compared to the RAM and Chevy disco dashes, the Ford LCD looks more polished and was more responsive than the system in the Chevy

Drivetrain
The big three have chosen different paths to fuel efficiency nirvana. Chrysler is doubling down on the ZF 8-speed automatic, GM designed a new family of 6 and 8 cylinder engines with aggressive cylinder deactivation and Ford has chosen a two prong strategy with aluminum bodies and small displacement turbo V6 engines.

smart-trailer-moduleThe engine lineup starts with Ford’s familiar 3.5L V6 used in everything from the Explorer to the Taurus. Good for 283 horsepower and 255 lb-ft, the V6 is a little down on power vs the Chrysler 3.6L V6 and certainly less “torquey” than GM’s new pickup-only 4.3L V6. Instead of a V8, the next stop is a 325 horsepower 2.7L V6 with twin turbos. While that sounds down on power vs the GM 5.3L V8, keep in mind the Ford is lighter than the Chevy and the 375 lb-ft of torque comes to the boil sooner and hangs out longer than GM’s V8. Chrysler’s 5.7L HEMI and 8-speed automatic yield better power, torque and 0-60 performance, but fuel economy is drastically lower.

Next up is the only V8 on offer, but it’s not the top-end engine option. Producing 385 horsepower a 387 lb-ft, the 5.0L produces more torque just above idle and over 3,000 RPM, but at certain speeds the 2.7L actually beats the V8. The halo engine is the same 3.5L twin-turbo V6 we have seen for a while. For 2015, it’s tuned to 365 ponies and 420 lb-ft of twist but Ford has implied it will get some significant updates for the upcoming Raptor.

15F150-3.5L-EcoBoost_01_HR

All four engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic and available four-wheel-drive. This puts Ford two speeds behind most RAM models and the 6.2L Chevy which finally gets GM’s heavy-duty 8-speed. The Raptor will receive Ford’s new 10-speed automatic and we should see that filter down to other V6 models, but Ford hasn’t said when. In the mean time, the most efficient F-150 is the RWD 2.7L Ecoboost model at 22 MPG combined while the least efficient, the 5.0L V8 4×4, rings in at 17 MPG combined. Meanwhile the Chevy ranges from 17-20 (despite the cylinder deactivation on the 4.3L V6) and the RAM runs from 15-24 thanks to a thirsty 5.7L V8 and the fuel sipping diesel at the top end.

2015 Ford F-155

Drive
Although the F-150 was put on a diet, the base V6 still feels a bit sluggish compared to the competition. RAM’s heavier 1500 has a hair more torque, a lower first gear and 33% more gears to choose from overall. GM’s 4.3L V6 offers considerably more low-end torque which allows it to feel peppier when towing.

Of course, the naturally-aspirated V6 and V8 engines are arguably less important to the F-150 shopper since a whopping 63% of sales have been twin-turbo equipped. Ford hasn’t broken out sales of the 2.7 and 3.5L Ecoboost engines separately, but I suspect the new 2.7L engine is quiet popular. While our tester was 3.5L equipped, I spent a day in a dealer provided 2.7L model for comparisons.

Although the 3.5L Ecoboost is fun, I think the 2.7 fits my needs better. The turbos largely make up for the slight torque reduction you get compared to the competition’s V8s, and although the 5.7L HEMI and 8-speed auto are faster and nicer to tow with, the 2.7L engine is quite simply the most well-rounded truck engine out there. There’s more than enough torque for towing 7,500 lb trailers with ease, dropping 2,000 lbs into the bed, or piling the kids into your SuperCab. Over 110 miles in the 2.7L RWD tester, I averaged 21 MPG, below the EPA numbers but still above the V8 competition.

2015 Ford F-153

The 3.5L twin-turbo engine allows up to 12,200 lbs of towing in some configurations thanks to the healthy torque figures. 0-60 times came in at 6.45 seconds, among the faster times in this segment, but thanks to GM’s new 8-speed automatic, the 6.2L  Silverado is fastest. Fuel economy in the 3.5L Ecoboost model was lackluster, coming in at 16.4 MPG during our week, nearly 1MPG behind the 2014 6.2L Silverado before GM added the 8-speed to the mix.

Apples to apples comparisons are hard because of the multitude of cab, bed, axle, tire, wheel and drive line choices in all the trucks in this segment, but you can bet if everything were equal, the F-150 would be the handling champ simply because it is lighter. When it comes to the ride, the RAM 1500 wins hands down due to the coil springs in the rear and the available cushy air suspension system.

I hinted about it earlier, but the main benefit to the reduced curb weight of the F-150 is not fuel economy but load capability. It’s most obvious when we compare like model to like model as shown below. All three models are within $1,000 of one another with the F-150 being the most expensive at $43,950 and the RAM the least expensive at $43,010. I chose the 2.7L V6 in the Ford because it is seen as the alternative to an entry-level V8.

F-150 TowingFord advertises a maximum 3,300 lb payload capacity and 12,200 lb towing limit, but like every other truck, most configurations are below the maximum. The take away here is that the payload is consistently higher than the competition. Keeping in mind that the payload is the total of cargo and passengers, it is easy to see how this improves practicality. In the F-150 you and your two 190-pound friends can grab 1,500 lbs of concrete at Home Depot with ease. In the Ram or Chevy you’d have to make two trips. Opt for the 5.0L V8, and the payload jumps to 3,020 pounds and towing increases to 9,200 in the same configuration. If that’s not enough the 3.5L Ecoboost will tow 10,700 in approximately the same configuration. You should note that conventional towing over 10,000 pounds will require a commercial Class-A or non-commercial Class-A license in some states, so depending on where you live, towing over 10,000 may not be material.

If my money were on the line, I suspect I would be torn between the 2.7L F-150 and the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. In that mash-up, the EcoDiesel with the air suspension would be my choice largely because I tow more than I haul and the EcoDiesel not only has a higher tow rating but the way it tows it also superior thanks to the epic torque and the 8-speed automatic. Does that make the RAM the better truck? No, it’s just the one that suits my need better. After a week with the F-150, I have to say the 2.7L engine is a 10-speed automatic away from perfection and the 3.5L Ecoboost would be perfect if the fuel economy was 4 MPG better.

Ford provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested

0-30: 2.4 Seconds

0-60: 6.45 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 15.12 Seconds @ 92.56 MPH

Average Fuel Economy: 16.4 MPG

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115 Comments on “2015 Ford F-150 Platinum 4×4 3.5L Ecoboost Review [With Video]...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Giant family sedan that won’t visibly rust?

    Get in line.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Presenting the 2015 Ford Galaxie sedan with skyvista trunk!

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        Oh, God yes! Bring that name BACK!

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          What I’m saying is that the crew cab 1/2 ton has become the all American family sedan. The Silverado for example is the best Impala/Caprice since the 1977 B-body

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Yeah, I agree. I just like the name Galaxie; old guy fondness.

            There’s no question in my mind that the go-to family hauler today for thems as can afford one new is something on a truck chassis.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Galaxie still exists in Australia, where it’s a minivan! I think it’s the size up from the C-Max they get in the UK.

            I recall one time (maybe age 16) I saw this cool red looking car from the 60’s, and said to my dad “Hey that looks cool!”

            He replied, “That? It’s JUST a Galaxie!”

            So apparently he was not too impressed with that model.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            There is still a Ford Galaxy, not Galaxie, in other parts of the world. It is basically a Mondeo minivan. Ford’s weird MPV things go from smallest to largest like so:

            B-Max
            C-Max
            Grand C-Max
            S-Max
            Galaxy

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ahh, I thought S-Max was Galaxy just for the AUS market. Confusing on the names there. I’ve never actually seen or looked up a Galaxy – so I’m not surprised I was spelling it wrong in my head all these years.

            https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f0/Ford_Galaxy_2.0_TDCi_Titanium_(II,_Facelift)_%E2%80%93_Frontansicht,_12._M%C3%A4rz_2011,_Mettmann.jpg

            I kinda like it. And our friend RideHeight would like the large glasses and high entry position for his old creaky chassis.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The S-Max is kinda like a more driver focused version of the Galaxy. The Edge will eventually launch a two pronged attack from the US (SWB) and China (LWB) and choke the S-Max and Galaxy out.

            As much as I like to think that I would buy an S-Max, the Edge has a better engine and AWD for less money.

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            @Corey DL,
            Galaxies Mini Van NEVER sold in Australia. The Ford Galaxies large car YES

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Wow, right now Ford AUS really gets no passenger vans at all, just large Transit cargo options. Can’t believe that.

            But boy you have plenty of old gen/new gen SUV options, lol.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Looks very Korean to us, prefer the Ranger to this. Bit of the Empire in the new F150, BAE doing the Aluminium parts a company owned by the British Government
      That poor payload of US Pickups, comes up in the Authors example, two trips too a Big Box store to transport 1500lb, is crazy

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @Corey DL
        Correct there is the Territory SUV, the Last Ford Falcons and the Ranger. Others in the Ford lineup barely make a blip on the sales charts, that includes the Mondeo, Kuga etc
        No large passenger Vans very few like these people movers here. The Transit and the imported Ford products except the Ranger(which was designed here) do not sell very well at all.
        Not good news for Ford after 2017

  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    Are squared-off wheel openings that bad? I’d take them any day over Ford’s clunky Tonka Truck styling.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      You like that Soviet “no got round stampings!” look?

      I’ve always been Chevy-loyal with trucks but, damn, that square-holes-for-round-objects crudeness kinda sucks.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The GM square wheel arches wouldn’t look so bad if they didn’t have a ton of air space above the tire. GM has used variations on the square arch since 1973.

      Looks nice: http://photos4.automanager.com/021781/5f9c35b881a3084ea8e7a71f6697cb5d/5ae267689c_640.jpg

      Looks silly: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/57/51/4b/57514bb836d4a1b1a75c50a74f6bea57.jpg

  • avatar
    RangerM

    Mechanically, all the big 3 make decent trucks, but two issues that keep me from Chevy and RAM.

    The Ram’s interior, while nice initially, seems to wear much quicker than the Ford. I’m basing this on my own experience with my F150, and observing others’ Ram pickups. Next time you see a 1-2 model year old Dodge/Ram, take a look at the wear on the driver’s seat as an example. Maybe the 2014+ models are better?

    The Chevy is pretty much equivalent, but always seems to have small things that–while inconsequential to the operation of the truck–seem to remind you they’re broke: the single DRL burnt out (seems like half of all Chevy trucks suffer this), the interior buttons with burnt out backlights, the switch labels that rubbed off, etc. It may be small, but when you see it every time you drive, it’s really annoying.

    • 0 avatar
      Gardiner Westbound

      My beef with Chrysler is its use of chrome-like plastic badging. The chrome peels off within a couple of years. What remains looks terrible.

    • 0 avatar
      Firestorm 500

      RangerM: My wife’s ’01 Cadillac Seville did the same thing. You have to replace the whole button, you can’t access the light within. $100+, not including labor to get to it. The printing wore off the switches too.

    • 0 avatar
      Carilloskis

      Having owned an 05 Suburban with all the same issues you mentioned. I sold it when I got my 2010 Raptor which had none of those issues now that its at the same milage as the Chevy was when I sold it. I also had fuel pumps burn out and the gauge cluster die on my Chevy. Having a vehicle that nickel and dimes you with constant things going wrong sucks. When you walk into Auto zone and say you need a DRL bulb and the pepsin at the counter tells you the product number for the GM trucks without even looking up or asking you what you drive, they just know that you drive a GM truck lol.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Mechanically, the problems with small displacement, FI motors to try and game EPA loop fuel efficiency standards have already come on HOT & heavy, and will only increase in volume, severity and cost of maintenance and repair in the future.

      This is why Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and nearly every other Japanese Manufacturer has stayed far away from turbocharging their motors (with very select, few, specialized exceptions).

      If anyone believes that is some random coincidence, they don’t understand how methodical and strategic the Japanese Manufacturers are, nor are exhaustively they test major components before public release.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Ford’s turbos do underperform:
        http://www.autonews.com/article/20150617/OEM05/150619866/aaa-finds-8-in-10-drivers-report-their-mpg-tops-epa-ratings

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      I’ve noticed the single burnt-out DRL on every generation of Silverado/Suburban/Escalade for several generations. You know this isn’t a technological problem, just a visible manifestation of GM’s squeezing of its suppliers.

      I find it a useful reminder that the same managerial approach has been taken with everything underneath in the truck that you can’t see.

      The other thing I’ve noticed: All previous generations of Ram rust out really, really fast.

      As long as we’re on topics related to reliability and durability, the exotic technologies being used now on mainstream pickups will inevitably shorten ther life. I’m not talking about the aluminum, but rather about stuff like air suspension, cylinder deactivation and the turbos. I suspect the days of getting slow, lurching, smog-belching but usable service out of a 40-year-old pickup are over.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> I’ve noticed the single burnt-out DRL on every generation of Silverado/Suburban/Escalade for several generations.

        I saw an new XTS with a burned out LED DRL strip. I thought LEDs would solve that problem, but I was wrong. Just one car doesn’t make a trend, but given the track record…

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          “I saw an new XTS with a burned out LED DRL strip.”

          That’s not the LEDs if it’s all of them; it’s probably the little electric box they’re all connected to. Maybe a fluke on that one car (or maybe a quality thing if it happens to a lot of cars).

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        General Motors (un)quality.

    • 0 avatar
      kkop

      We own two Rams, with 18K and 26K miles on them. No wear on seats that I can see (or anywhere else). We love them; I wouldn’t have bought the second one if we didn’t like the initial purchase.

      Also, squeezing 20mpg from a Hemi is pretty great. We owned Titans before, and while they were good trucks, the mileage in the same use was only abt 13mpg.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I’ve read other reviews where the new 2.7 sucked down fuel closer to that 16mpg number you saw with the 3.5L Ecoboost Alex. The numbers on paper sure look fetching (both economy and the smooth low end torque) but how these things work on in the real world is still a bit unsettling. I hope Ford figured out the air-to-air intercooler water contamination issue that’s been blowing up some of the 3.5EB trucks, as well as problems with cleaning off gunked up intake valves. You can’t just do an induction cleaning service, Ford’s approach so far for trucks with the issue has been to replace the heads entirely(!). Better still be under warranty if that happens!

    If I was in the market right now, I think a basic crew cab 4×4 Chevy with the 4.3L V6 would be the truck for me.

    • 0 avatar
      RangerM

      As I recall, the intercooler issue required some pretty specific circumstances, and was addressed in the 2013 model year. Can’t speak for the intake valves, because I’ve never heard of it, unless it’s a reference to direct-injection in general.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The charge air cooler was drawing in water/condensation. It was more prevalent in humid states. There is a fix, and yes, any 2014 or newer trucks have it.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Ain’t nobody replacing heads. Worst case scenario is manual cleaning.

      I’ve Had good experiences with BG induction cleaning on DI engines. Ford isn’t going to support it because it isn’t part of schedule maintenance.

      Also, the next 3.5EB will have secondary injectors like the new Toyota and VW engines.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Anecdotal evidence, I know, but something to consider:

        http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2014/12/induction-service-cleaners-can-damage-ford-ecoboost-engines.html

        Seems the the issue stems from the turbochargers downstream not liking standard “non-invasive” induction cleaning procedures. At the time of that tech’s video, Ford didn’t have a standardized “head-off” cleaning procedure in place for the dealers so they defaulted to just swapping out heads. Perhaps Ford Engineering wanted to get their hands on the dirty heads to better understand the problem.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Yeah I know. I hate that post because it’s just some random tech. I’m not saying the coking isn’t a problem with DI engines, I don’t like the source.

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Great review. I found it interesting that the Audi A8, which uses aluminum in its frame, has less torsional rigidity than the Volkswagen Phaeton, which uses a similar platform in steel. I think Ford made a great choice taking the risk with the aluminum body. Mentioning that it’s military grade will definitely speak to the F-150’s target market, too. Unfortunately, this thing is so expensive at high trims. All of those rich oil field workers in their 20s will be snapping these up without a problem, though. Lots of money in a lot of these fields.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “rich oil field workers in their 20s will be snapping these up without a problem, though. Lots of money in a lot of these fields.”

      Can confirm. My buddy just happened to be in the right place at the right time with his CDL in hand, made a cool 100k+ right off the bat with a fat signing bonus. He bought one of the first 2011 5.0L F150s. However things have slowed since the big drop off in oil prices, and the working hours are brutal.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    “Although I think the RAM is attractive, the growing overbite is a design I’d have left on the cutting room floor”

    You want to run that by me again? The new F-150 Grill is almost a clone of the Dodge Ram.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      By “overbite,” he means the way the Ram grille leans forward.

      And except for their being made of the same materials, I can’t find any similarities between any of the Big THree’s grilles.

      • 0 avatar
        Polishdon

        Look at the Ram grill and the Ford grill. Both are oversized “big rig” style grill.

        Chevy has it’s own style (full chrome grill across the front). GMC is kinda a big rig style as well, but Ford and Dodge both have the grill protruding out of the front of the vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Polishdon – really?
      The Ford grill shape and style looks a lot like the new 4Runner grill.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “In 2014, the F-150 was not just the most popular truck in America, it was the most popular anything in America, selling more than 740,000 examples.”

    This figure would include the entire F-Series of trucks, not just the 150.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    Did you verify that the HEMI Ram was faster than the 2.7L Ford or was that just a “seat of pants” comparison? Every comparo I’ve seen the 5.3L/3.42 Chevy outruns the 5.7L Ram because the Ram is f#$%*@g heavy. The 2.7L Ford has a power to weight ratio much closer to the Chevy than the Ram.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The 3.5L turbo Ford and 5.7L Ram are about equal in acceleration with similar axle ratios. They can both run mid-to high 14’s. Source: local drag strip.

      The 2.7L Ford feels about as fast as a 4.6L 3v F150 did, but with a vacuum cleaner engine note. Source: Seat time in both.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      That’s because Ram’s press fleet is $60,000 trucks loaded with 500 lbs of heavy options – air suspension, bedside boxes, huge running boards, sunroof, fat 32″ tires, etc – yet they inexplicably put in the 3.21 economy axle. Most 5.3 Chevys don’t have any of those things.

      Ford’s 2.7 is very significantly underrated and I doubt the Hemi would keep up, even reasonably set up. But the 5.3 isn’t even in the same ballpark.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        The 5.3 is definitely in the ballpark. A 5.3L LTZ is pretty similarly equipped to a 5.7L Laramie. If you look at car and driver’s various comparison tests the trucks are all pretty evenly equipped. The 5.7L/3.21/89 octane Ram is around half a second behind the 5.3L/3.42/87 octane. Sure you can choose the 3.55 or 3.92 on the Ram, but you can also feed E-85 to the 5.3L and gain 5 tenths to 60 and in the quarter (according to lingenfelter). I feel that the engines are pretty well matched. The Ram is a great truck and it was my second choice when purchasing. I liked the K2XX interior better. I found the performance between the two to feel extremely similar; though I prefer the Ram’s “yeah it’s got a HEMI” exhaust note to the Silverado’s out-of-place (IMO) quiet exhaust.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          “A 5.3L LTZ is pretty similarly equipped to a 5.7L Laramie. ”

          In interior trim that, other than the sunroof, doesn’t weigh anything, yeah, You can’t get a LTZ with a 32 gallon tank, air suspension, bedside boxes, 32″ tires. Leave those off the Ram and you’ve dropped upwards of 400 pounds.

          “Sure you can choose the 3.55 or 3.92 on the Ram, but you can also feed E-85 to the 5.3L and gain 5 tenths to 60 and in the quarter (according to lingenfelter). ”

          Yeah but you actually would choose 3.92 on the Ram, it’s a $50 option and dealers stock lots of them. You can’t even buy E85 outside of the corn states.

          I don’t think half a second on paper is a big deal one way or the other but in the delivery there’s no contest. GM’s 5.3 feels like there’s an eco button that you can’t turn off. The Ram, at least with the 3.92s, feels like it’s already tuned.

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            I agree with you there, the throttle mapping on the Ram is much more aggressive and it does feel more lively. Combined with the exhaust note it made the Ram more fun. Maybe GM will offer a factory remapping of the throttle. If the K2XX didn’t launch when I was in the market I’d be driving a Ram Laramie.

            My point was simply that the real world performance is very similar. Put 4×4 on and plant your foot and the Chevy feels just as quick as the Ram because it is. You can feed the GM 87 octane and get the rated power; feed the Ram anything less than 89 and it pulls timing. Both trucks are way quicker than they need to be.

            It isn’t just extra equipment that adds weight; Compare similar more basic trim levels; the GM is consistently lighter. I expect this the K2XX platform is newer, it SHOULD be lighter.

            I’m fortunate to live in a corn state and I buy the E-85 exclusively as its ~$1.20 cheaper than 87 octane.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Dan – Ram has only one chassis and axle combo in the 1500. I don’t know about the new F150 but Ford used to have 3 different frame strengths for the F150 and 2 different axles. They may be down to 1 frame but do run different rear axles. GM now has one frame but has 2 different axles based on tow/haul specs.

        A full bling GM or Ford with the appropriate options can haul over 1800 or tow 12k. You need a base model Ram crew to get near that. With Ram as you have pointed out, any extra accessory weight kills haul or tow ratings.

        When the Ecodiesel first came out Pickuptrucks dot com put it on the weigh scale and minus’d tare weight from GVW and got an astonishing 660 lb of cargo left over (includes passengers).

        Even my wife’s minivan on P metric car tires is rated for double that.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Most any comparison I have seen with a Hemi Ram put it last in performance figures. The 8 speed improves power some but not enough to out drag the 3.5 EB or Chevy 6.2/8 speed setup in the 1500. The Ram is clearly the heaviest of the bunch and despite the fancy aluminum the Silverado/Siera are not much heavier than the new F-150.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        Regardless of drag strip results these trucks are all downright FAST in my book. I must be getting old because when my turbo Eclipse did 0-60 in 6.5 back in ’96 it was amazingly quick to me. And that was a tiny hatchback that would most likely fit in the bed of one these huge trucks.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          My in-laws live next to a guy with an 1993 F150 Lightning. Most of the current crop of trucks would certainly cream that truck.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Id bet a V-6 GM or 2.7L F-150 certainly would. You have to keep things in prespective, though.

            For example, my Taurus has around 140 hp. If a new midsize V-6 sedan only had 140 hp, critics would call it “dangerously underpowered”, yet I dont get run over when merging on the highway, my car gets up to speed nicely and never struggles on hills, etc. Its simply amazing how people have been spoiled by the power in even the most sedate cars now-a-days.

            Ive heard people complain that the 3.5L Taurus (non-EcoBoost) is underpowered. I have found nothing of the sort when driving my parent’s 2012. Its quite responsive, and seems to have all it needs and then some. Is it a Mustang GT sedan? No. SRT compeditor? No. Does it need to be? As a mid-level, non-sporty (as in, not an SHO) full size sedan, absolutely not.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Yeah, I’m with John.

            I drove a 1976 Mercedes 300D.

            It weighed 3,500 pounds and had *77* horsepower.

            Even it wasn’t “dangerously” slow, though an extra 50hp would have made some merges more pleasant.

            (The trick is to put the pedal *all the way down*, by the way.)

            I’m amused by any of the trucks under discussion here being called “underpowered” – the 2.7TT has more power than the 300/365 in my F250 with a 3V 5.4, in a far lighter vehicle [under 5k for even the heaviest; my F250 [a 2007] is 7,500 pounds after the canopy and rack and my equipment, with me in it. And it’s *not super slow* if I decide I want to go.

            The base V6 in the F150 is probably closer to comparable with the weigh difference.

            [Not a fair comparison to an empty truck, but it’s not meant to be – it’s meant to point out that at 2,000 pounds heavier and with less power, it’s still fast enough.]

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am really suspect of the mpg figures on the 3.5. I have been in two of them now as a passenger. Both were platinum or almost equivalent editions; leather heated and cooled seats with a large LCD display. Both times I asked the owner to flip through the settings so I could see the internal mpg counter. In both instances the number was sub 15 per the onboard computer.

    This leads me to believe one of two things. Fords onboard computer does not do the math correct in calculating MPG or more likely (as calculating mpg should be the easiest function the onboard computer has to do) the real world mpg of the Eco boost is nowhere near what is claimed.

    Incidentally, I asked both individuaLs how they like their truck. The two people in question are typical mid western 1%, they can afford to drive anything they want and both go with the F150, neither knows the other. Again both indicated the same thing, great truck, guzzle gas with abandon, more so than the previous generation. Neither cares.

    Incidently, I have spoken with a couple of eco diesel ram owners who all have reported real world mpg in the late 20’s. I have no dog in the hunt as I own neither, but if I were to buy one and mpg was the deciding factor, in my mind it is safe to figure the Ram gets DOUBLE the mpg real world. Factor in the diesel premium and it still pencils.

    Side note, here in CO diesel prices are now the same as pump gas and I have even seen it less, albeit marginally. Anyone care to enlighten me as to why?

    • 0 avatar
      VCplayer

      There’s also the fact that the EcoBoost encourages a style of driving that hurts fuel economy; it’s hard to resist letting the engine go when it can accelerate so well. Not saying that’s the only issue, but driving style variance is going to be much more pronounced when a turbo is involved.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      I have spoken to many ecoboost owners and they mostly all say the same thing. A few have actually needed engine replacements and many have suffered drive-ability and or oil related issues. This has to be the first time I have seen diesel and 87 octane nearly even in price but as we know the price at the pump for regular gas is being artificially propped up about .40 cents higher per gallon that it should be with insert here bull crap reasons.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      87 Morgan – buy the Ram ecodiesel only if a BOF 4 door diesel sedan is on your shopping list.
      It’s haul ratings are poor if you want anything other than a job site spec trim level.

      Guys I know with Ecoboost either love the mpg or say it is the same as V8’s. It all depends on how you drive them.

      I had one as a loaner and to be fair it was post blizzard -35C for the 8 days I had it. MPG was similar under those conditions to my 2010 5.4 F150. I did drive the Ecoboost F150 harder and faster than my own truck (who wouldn’t??).

      It did not have the same compression braking abilities as my 5.4 but felt like a much more powerful version of the 5.4. Both engines do not like a “foot meets floor” driving style. You get much better “get up and go” if you apply the gas pedal hard enough to accelerate but not so hard to get a downshift. The EB3.5 behaves more like a diesel than a V6 gasser.

      The only thing I hated about the loaner was the E-locker rear end. It would auto disengage at too low a speed and re-engage at an even lower speed. IIRC 35 mph disengage and re-engage under 15 mph.That is fine for most truck buyers who don’t really need a truck but it sucks for any real extreme condition use. Those are the same reasons why I hate traction/stability control for anything other than street driving. (GM’s E-locker has similar actions as the Ford – Government intervention i.e. rules??)

      I’ve run into trouble more times than not due to the “computer” deciding that I needed to be saved and killing power or applying brakes. There should be a Raptor” offroad “no nanny” setting as an option.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “buy the Ram ecodiesel only if a BOF 4 door diesel sedan is on your shopping list.
        It’s haul ratings are poor if you want anything other than a job site spec trim level.”

        Right, because someone who buys a light duty truck will certainly need no less than 9,000 lbs of towing capacity. 9,000lbs! How can anyone make due with such poor ratings? The majority of people who buy these things to haul won’t touch that figure.

        What is it with Ford guys trying to pull the world in their 150s? You’d think they forgot they also make the 250 and 350s. I hated dealing with those types. Muh driveline shudder!

        This is coming from an F150 owner.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Comparing the 3.5L EcoBoost to the EcoDiesel is like comparing MPG from a Fiesta ST to a Mirage. Theyre not even close on power figures, the comparison is invalid.

      My cousin has an EcoBoost F-150 4wd SuperCrew XLT. It replaced a 5.4L 2wd Expedition and they are very pleased with the MPG. When pulling their travel trailer, the MPG waa similar to when the 5.4L Expy was pulling it, albeit with more power and a flatter torque curve (as well as more torque overall). However, in normal driving, not towing or hauling, the EcoBoost’s MPG is much higher.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      “Side note, here in CO diesel prices are now the same as pump gas and I have even seen it less, albeit marginally”

      ’cause it’s summer and the northeast isn’t burning all the diesel stock to keep their houses warm?

      And also because it’s summer, more people are driving more in general, and most of the US rolling stock is gasoline powered, so there’s more relative demand for gasoline.

  • avatar
    Dan

    “The majority of the body is made of 6000-series aluminum, which is about 33% lighter than sheet steel of the same thickness.” Aluminum is 65-67% lighter than steel of the same thickness.

    “In 2014, the F-150 was not just the most popular truck in America, it was the most popular anything in America, selling more than 740,000 examples.” 260,000 of those weren’t F-150s.

    “For 2015, [the 3.5 turbo is] tuned to 425 ponies and 420 lb-ft of twist” Just no. A turbo truck motor with more ponies than twists would take some real doing.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    So hard to find these kind of direct, unflinching comparisons between vehicles. Thanks, Alex!

    But……….anything on how they drive. I know none are sports cars, but one of the buff books noted that the Chevy drives significantly better, and this is predominantly a site of “car guys”.

    I’ve heard that if GM added Chevy and GMC truck sales together, they would outsell the F-150. Could you comment on that?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      “I’ve heard that if GM added Chevy and GMC truck sales together, they would outsell the F-150. Could you comment on that?”

      So far this year, yes. The F-Series has outsold the Silverado/Sierra combo seven out of the last fifteen years. The F-Series has also outsold the GM trucks ever year for the last five years. So from 2000-2009, GM’s twins outsold the F-series eight out of ten years.

    • 0 avatar
      alexndr333

      “Direct, unflinching comparisons”? Not with a statement like, “…you can bet if everything were equal, the F-150 would be the handling champ simply because it is lighter…” What simplistic nonsense. Suspension design, steering racks, tire choices, braking systems all contribute to handling and this author has no business setting all those aside to call the Ford the “handling champ” because it’s lighter. Drive the three trucks on the same track on the same day, and then tell us.

    • 0 avatar
      pbr

      +1 on wanting to hear how it drives

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    The Regular cab F-150 has the same width as a Super Duty although the RC length is 18.6in shorter than the shortest Super Duty (6.5ft box). Why has the F-150 become a near Super Duty in both appearance and footprint?

    http://www.ford.com/trucks/f150/specifications/exterior/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Super_Duty

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      What is your specific concern?

      The F-series has been a 79 inch wide truck (give or take) since at least 1980. The current F150 is under an inch wider than the 1980 F-Series.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Perhaps it is what is the point of the Super Duty at this point, selling diesel models?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Super Duty models have significant differences under the wrapper. They have beefed up everything for HD use. Sometimes HD use is showing off at the mall. Other people actually need the extra capability from heavier trucks with the 6.2L gas or 6.7L diesel engines.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            bball40dtw – agreed. Everyone now makes a HD that is considerably different than the 1/2 ton under the body work.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          Because width is the only reason people would choose a 3/4 ton or higher model over a half ton? What the hell kind of sense does that make?

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          http://www.ford.com/trucks/superduty/specifications/payload/

          That’s the point.

          (3,300 and 12,200 max for the F150 vs. 7,000 or so and 19,000 for the F350 diesel DRW. More with a gooseneck trailer, but those people never look at an F150.

          F-150-comparable towing but same as diesel payload for the F350 gas DRW.

          Same as F150 towing and slightly increased payload in the F250 SRW – though I suspect the 6.2 takes high-load strain better than the 3.5TT, probably.)

          )

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Interesting ad on TV and on the Ford F-150 website.

    $299 lease on 2015 XLT including $800 in cash back – down payment is significant $4800ish and it is low miles.

    However they are also offering $5,050 in “savings” between discounts and rebates on the 2015 F-150.

    With volume constrained, and sales volume not where they want, the incentive creep and advertising on price is a canary in the coal mine indicating something isn’t going to plan.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      There are some huge equipment group discounts. So that is probably part of it. The leased trucks around here are typically XLTs with the Sport Package 302A equipment level. Between the 302a and Sport package, there is $2750 in discounts. Those have been the discounts since day one. Ford overpriced those options.

  • avatar
    turf3

    At least we didn’t have to read more comments about “light weight steel”. Unfortunately the term “military grade” got into a comment. I hate to tell you, but probably every common metal alloy on earth is specified or allowed in one military product or another. Mild steel “military grade”? Check. Plate glass? Check. Wood? Check. “Military grade” has ZERO meaning.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      It has almost zero meaning in the military too. MILSPEC toilet paper is not superior to Charmin.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      It’s this generation’s “space-age” moniker from the ’50s-’70s. “Now with a space-age polymer…”

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        I don’t know about that. Middle aged white guys who buy trucks, like me, sure. But military is a dirty word to the special snowflake generation.

        You need to spin that Chinese slave labor polymer as sustainable, artisanal, natural, and inclusive. Make sure to “design” it in an American “studio” while you’re at it.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Ooooo, I like that.

          “Artisanal grade organic steel!”

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >> Ooooo, I like that.
            “Artisanal grade organic steel!”

            Don’t forget conflict free fair trade.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            Kind of like the “Artisanal” Chicken Sandwich I had at Mcdonald’s last week.

            Question: What makes this Chicken Sandwich Artisanal?

            Answer: It was made by someone with an Art History degree.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      People who cannot figure out that aluminum is strong enough for commercial truck cabs, not to mention airplanes, will probably be impressed by the phrase “military grade.”

  • avatar
    dal20402

    “If you use the same core interior parts in all models, you have to either be willing to make the base models look and feel more expensive, or be willing to have some hard plastics in the top end trims. Ford, like GM and Chrysler, chose the latter.”

    For $60k+ for the Platinums, you’d think Ford could take a bit of its well-into-five-figures profit margin and design a nicer set of interior parts to suit. If I got a Platinum, I’d feel like a chump every time I touched the door panel. High-dollar pickups are such a cynical exercise.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      dal20402 – I don’t get the whole “soft touch plastic” issue. I remember when trucks were mostly painted metal in the cab.

      I see an incredible number of high end trim pickups. Surprisingly, a large number of those are used in heavy industry. Full bling HD pickups in Canada top out around 84k and are more common than fleet spec trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “I don’t get the whole “soft touch plastic” issue.”

        Seriously. I started driving VW Beetles and ’50s pickups. Painted metal interior surfaces and I kind of liked it. Any plastic is also fine by me so long as its not so textured that wiping it down gets frustrating, especially with the stretching deep dashes now require.

        Talk about first world problems! I mean, all the damn stuff does is sit there, must it be unicorn hide?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        When trucks were mostly painted metal in the cab, they were also cheap.

        I wouldn’t care one bit about hard plastic in a F-150 XL. But if I’m going to pay over $20k more for no additional truckiness (compared to an XL with all the mechanical goodies), I better get some luxury for that. If all I get for $20k is a few power gizmos and the same Fisher-Price materials, I got took.

        Edit: To clarify, I’m not talking about the front top of the dash or other places I have to be a contortionist to touch. I’m talking about the door panels and the sides of the console — stuff you touch every day. For $62k that better be better than a $38k XL EcoBoost.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          dal20402 – even the 80K pickups I mentioned end up on job sites. No one I know that uses a truck for work complains about plastic in spots where they often come into contact.

          I do see your point though – if one is paying luxury car prices then the interior should be up to that standard.

          RideHeight – I miss that level of simplicity. I blew the dust out of my truck last weekend with an air hose. I’d be reluctant to do that with soft touch plastics.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            “I do see your point though – if one is paying luxury car prices then the interior should be up to that standard.”

            If the buyers don’t expect it, then they won’t do it. Nor should they.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    1100 RPM while accelerating uphill. Harleyness.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    For the longest time I was of the pickup truck=V8 crowd. However, these Ecoboosts are starting to grow on me.

    As a lifelong skier I can say that this is the PERFECT ski vehicle and great for anyone who frequently does mountain driving. Just as powerful as a V8 but doesn’t loose HP at elevation.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    It seemed like for a while Ford wasn’t producing any regular cab ’15s, but I just saw a few days ago some RCSBs for sale at various dealers. and Googling around just now revealed a RCLB ’15 XL for sale in Oklahoma City. It’s only a matter of time before I see them in the wild…

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Fleet orders were restricted, so that was part of it. They tend to be the biggest consumers of the regular cab trucks.

      I drove a SuperCab last weekend, and I have much want.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I want a standard cab with the lowest possible equipment levels 4×4 3.5 ecobost and long bed that Ford will sell me.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          That’ll be $33K before discounts please. Would you like it in brown? We call brown Caribou here at Ford.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Damn. I’ll put those new tires on my 2004 Heritage and keep driving thanks.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The SuperCab really tempts me. However, for $35K, I’ll just wait for the 2015 Navigator to depreciate once the all new model is announced and gas prices creep up.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            @Dan, the significant upgrade in the crash stucture between the “new” (as in new body style) 2004 F-150 and the older design may be enough to change your mind. Even if you dont buy a new one, upgrading to a newER truck is worth considering for that fact alone.

            Also, the interior was much improved over the 97-your style trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            @Bball I saw a new Navi in person the other day. The pictures Ive seen dont do it justice. I much prefer the front to the out-going style, which Ive never found appealing in the slightest. It was just too complicated, like a jumbled mash-up of grille and headlamps without any consideration as to where one should end and the other begin.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    How much is collision insurance for a new F150 relative to the competition?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      For me it’s $8 more than the Silverado and $150 less than the RAM every six months.

      The RAM is also much more expensive for comp insurance.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Thanks. I was wondering if insurance companies were applying what they learned from other aluminum vehicles, where $30k fender-benders are the norm and no repairs are justifiable on cars that are over 4 years old. Ford parts shouldn’t be as expensive as Audi or Acura parts, but the procedures for repairing aluminum assemblies are just as involved, especially on a vehicle with a frame made of a dissimilar metal. Shortages of qualified repair facilities could also lead to prolonged car rentals.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          It may be more expensive in other area. I think it may be more expensive than the competition once the F150 is a few years old. If insurance companies get higher than normal claim expenses for F150s, they’ll adjust premiums accordingly.

          I was surprised how much more expensive the RAM was to insure. I guess they are the most stolen vehicle around here, and involved in more collisions. When I used to do claims processing, I can tell you that is pretty accurate.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “In the F-150 you and your two 190-pound friends can grab 1,500 lbs of concrete at Home Depot with ease. In the Ram or Chevy you’d have to make two trips. ”

    Well, realistically in the Ram or Chevy you’d do it anyway and probably never notice you’d “overloaded” your truck.

    Everyone with a pickup (who actually uses it for hauling stuff) exceeds their payload capacity now and then, if not constantly.

    It’s rarely a problem with a minor overage – and honestly I’m not sure it’s commonly a real problem even with a fairly significant one for short times.

    (Unless you actually manage to stress the frame, IIRC what you’re normally doing is putting extra load on your transmission…)

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Sigivald-
      Pickup trucks dot com said this about the Ram in their shootout:”but where the Ram lost most of its points was in its limited payload, braking numbers and the ride quality of the air suspension when towing or loaded.”
      Even the coil spring Ram truck has limited payload. IIRC 1700lbs is around max for a Ram plain jane crew 4×4. Ford’s max crew 4×4 is around 2300 lbs and GM’s crew 4×4 siblings are around 1800-2000 lbs. Both the Ford and GM pair come with a heavier duty rear end for max cargo or max tow.
      Even a full bling Ford or GM have higher cargo ratings than a plain Ram. You add bling to a Ram and ratings drop to 1000-1300 lbs. Ford and GM are still around 1800 with proper cargo/tow options.

      You may get away with overloading your truck from time to time but do you really want to?
      The tires on 1/2 ton pickups (other than max cargo ones) are glorified car tires. An MVC with an overloaded truck could mean zero insurance.

      I suspect that most pickup owners (other than guys who work them) actually know that the cargo rating is on the door tag.

  • avatar
    Numbers_Matching

    Buying a Pick-up truck is like buying an appliance. They are incredibly boring – I can’t see the attraction to them if you don’t really need one.

    On that note – why is it so hard to keep the rear wheel well arch from rusting out? I’ve seen many MY 2007 and up (GMT 900) with rotted out wheel arches in the midwest. Seems like you only get about 6-7 years of a rust free bed if you live in salty winters.

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