Ford’s all-new F150 on show in Detroit
Ford created a world first in the Detroit Auto Show by previewing the all-new Ford F150 in the flesh, without following the usual format of sneak pictures and blurred images released by anonymous photographers.
And before you get too excited, Ford Australia has no current plans to introduce the new F150 into our market. But that doesn’t preclude the options available for some of the independent importers that convert the big Fords themselves into right-hand-drive compliance with Australian Design Rules.
In a nutshell, the new F150 is billed as having an all new high-strength steel frame and high-strength aluminium-alloy body and is the result of more than 10 million miles of testing. It’s fitted with the Baja 1000-proven 2.7-litre EcoBoost® engine as one of four engine options.
It’s an all-together smarter vehicle with 11 new class-exclusive features, including 360-degree camera view, integrated loading ramps stowed in the pickup bed, 400-watt power outlets inside the cab, LED headlights and side-view mirror spotlights, and remote tailgate release. It’s also around 300 kg lighter than the model it replaces.
F-150 is part of the Ford F-Series truck line-up, America’s best-selling truck for 37 consecutive years and America’s best-selling vehicle for 32 years.
In designing the backbone of the F-150, Ford engineers improved the truck’s signature fully boxed ladder frame. It is all-new, with more high-strength steel than ever – making it stronger and lighter.
High-strength, military-grade, aluminium alloys – already used in aerospace, commercial transportation, energy and many other rugged industries – are used throughout the F-150 body for the first time, improving dent and ding resistance, and also saving weight.
The gruelling testing simulated the demands Ford’s customers will subject the truck to throughout its average lifetime. The tests include crisscrossing the country pulling heavy trailers and hefty loads through desert valleys and over high-altitude mountain passes – in temperatures from 20 degrees below zero to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
The frame uses high-strength steel rated up to 70,000 psi – stronger than the steel found in some competitors’ heavy-duty pickup truck frames. Eight through-welded crossmembers provide increased stiffness, while staggered rear outboard shocks provide greater stability.
Several groundbreaking new productivity features debut in the all-new F-150, including many class-exclusives. They include a 360-degree camera view, using exterior cameras to create a bird’s-eye view of the truck to help the driver park, manoeuvre in tight spots and navigate down narrow roads and trails.
Integrated loading ramps enable easy loading of ATVs, motorcycles and mowers, and these can be secured in position within the tub by BoxLink™, which is a combination of metal brackets and custom cleats used to secure a variety of accessories in the cargo box, from ramps to storage bins to bed dividers.
LED headlamps and tail lamps are a first for a ute manufacturer and down the back end there’s “Trailer hitch assist”, a new rear-view camera feature that adds a dynamic line based on steering wheel angle in the display to help customers line up truck and trailer without requiring a spotter or having to get out of the vehicle.
Smart trailer tow module uses an all-new smart trailer tow wiring harness that helps identify and inform the driver of potential trailer connectivity issues, burned or unlit trailer marker lamps, and brake light and trailer battery faults.
A remote control function operated by the key fob enables the tailgate to be locked, unlocked and released – eliminating manual locking and increasing convenience and security. The tailgate also is damped, dropping down, hands-free, to a flat position when opened, and LED lighting embedded in the walls of the cargo box illuminates the box interior to help customers quickly find tools or other items.
High-wattage power outlets (400 watts, 110 volts (US Standard)) in the cab, permits the easy charging of corded tools, battery chargers or mobile devices on-site or while driving. LED spotlights on side-view mirrors provide powerful, durable and bright lighting around the truck exterior.
Other smart innovations include a new 8-inch LCD productivity screen in the instrument panel, which includes updated truck apps – from fuel economy to towing tips – and the ability to create a customised home screen for customers to access their most frequently used apps in one place. Rear under-seat storage in F-150 Super and Crew cabs provides hidden storage for valuables. Two storage bins are also located underneath the rear seats.
As with the current Ford car range of inclusions, the F150 will also feature driver aids, including SYNC® with MyFord Touch®, hill start assist, MyKey®, rear-view camera, reverse sensing, trailer brake controller and extendable tailgate step.
Safety has also been well thought through, with second-row inflatable safety belts, which work like a traditional belt but include a tubular airbag that inflates in the event of a crash and distributes the force of the impact across a wider area of the passenger’s chest.
Curve Control, which automatically provides more aggressive four-wheel braking when the truck is going into a corner too fast is also included, together with adaptive cruise control, allowing drivers to set a cruising speed and use radar technology to monitor traffic ahead and maintain a safe distance between vehicles.
Ford’s Lane-Keeping System is similar to what we know as Lane Assist technology and is designed to help avert unintentional drifting of the vehicle outside the intended driving lane. The system automatically detects the left- or right-hand road lane markings using a camera mounted between the windshield and interior rear-view mirror. There’s also a Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert, which uses radar hidden in the tail lamps to detect a vehicle entering a driver’s blind spot while driving or backing up.
Buyers will be able to choose from a range of four engines.
A new 2.7-litre EcoBoost with standard Auto Start-Stop and a 3.5-litre V6 engine with twin independent variable camshaft timing join the proven 3.5-litre EcoBoost and 5.0-litre Ti-VCT V8. The 2.7-litre EcoBoost engine features a lightweight, compact design to deliver the same power as some mid-range V8s.
Auto Start-Stop technology comes in to save fuel when the vehicle is stationary, but, unlike start-stop solutions in other vehicles, this technology – specially tuned for truck customers – shuts off the engine to save fuel when the vehicle is stopped, except when towing or in four-wheel drive. The engine restarts in milliseconds when the brake is released.
Ford F-150 trucks equipped with EcoBoost engines will also benefit from standard Active Grille Shutters. Active Grille Shutters stay open when extra engine cooling is needed, such as during low-speed stop-and-go driving or while working in hot weather. They automatically close to reduce aerodynamic drag at cruising speed.
For the American domestic market the all-new F150 will be available in the broadest selection of trim levels in the full-size pickup segment. Five primary trims are available: XL, XLT, Lariat, Platinum and King Ranch. Chrome appearance packages are available with XL, XLT, Lariat and King Ranch. Monochromatic sport appearance packages are available with XL, XLT and Lariat.
The FX4 off-road package can be added to most four-wheel-drive models, improving trail capability with an electronic locking rear axle, skid plates and off-road-tuned shocks.