Ford Motor Co. says the "military grade" aluminum alloys it will use to build its next-generation F-150 full-size pickup will be tougher than traditional steel yet light enough to give the vehicle a significant boost in fuel economy.
Introduced on Jan. 13 at the Detroit auto show, the 2015 F-150 is the first truck to adopt an all-aluminum body, which helped engineers shed 700 pounds throughout the half-ton truck. It also incorporates a new high-strength frame with 70,000-psi steel. Ford says the new structure will cut down the truck's fuel consumption, which, along with pricing, has not yet been announced.
Available at year's end, the F-150 will come with new power options: A 3.5-liter V-6 replaces today's standard 3.7-liter engine and promises better fuel economy, due to twin independent variable camshaft timing. A new, 2.7-liter V-6 EcoBoost turbocharged engine with auto start-stop will join the fold, while the current truck's 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost and 5.0-liter V-8 engines will return.
Ford has baked in new productivity tools that construction users may find useful, such as a first-ever camera system that provides a 360° view of the truck's exterior, electronic hitch assist and keyless remote tailgate control. Ford will offer—inside the bed, which also will be aluminum—a new BoxLink system of metal brackets and cleats for organizing supplies and integrated loading ramps.
F-150 is known for being tough, says Mark Fields, Ford COO. Now, he adds, "it is both tough and smart."