Competition at the 2014 Texas Truck Rodeo event put on by the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) was thick. Ram was coming back for a three-peat. Chevrolet had their all-new segment busting mid-size Colorado. But it was the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 who won the coveted Truck of Texas award.
The competition over two days spanned 75 different vehicles from 18 brands. Off-road and on-road courses allowed the journalists of TAWA of which I am one, to score each vehicle based on appeal, technicals and of course real-world driving impressions.
While it’s easy to look at the lineup and think the new 2015 Ford F-150 won the competition based purely on it being the all-new shiny thing, well think again. F-150 earned this distinction because it represents a major shift in how trucks are made, and what they offer.
Obviously, the big new for this new F-150 is the fact its body is constructed entirely out of military grade aluminum. This change in construction nets over 700 lbs weight savings on the high end and an average of 500 lbs in the smaller models.
This change in weight not only allowed, but required Ford to re-engineer every aspect of the truck from power-trains to the now stronger high-strength steel frame. Wiring and construction methods had to be changed. The production plant had to be re-invented.
Because the truck is so much lighter, Ford was able to downsize engines while maintaining if not expanding on capabilities. These engines start with a downsized base 3.5 liter V6 with 283 horsepower which replaces last year’s 3.7 liter mill.
Optional for 2015 is a new ground-breaking 2.7 liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6, an engine you can order for only $500 giving you 325 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of towing torque. Need more? Step up to the 3.5 EcoBoost V6 for 385 horsepower.
Those wanting a V8 can still order up the venerable 5.0 liter engine which has 365 horsepower and range topping 420 lb-ft of torque. All engines come standard with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Add new engines to a host of new driver serving technical features like a 360 degree view camera system which really does make life easier behind the wheel for the majority of full-size truck owners.
The rear-view camera has a hitch guiding tool that will really make those who trailer love it. You just line up the center line to your tongue and steer your way right to it. There are a myriad of other technology features too long to list here, but suffice it to say they really offer up genuine value.
As to how it drives, on the highway it feels newer, fresher and tighter. Despite the massive weight loss the F-150 still feels remarkably solid and stable. With its stronger high-strength steel frame the truck feels tougher and tighter than ever. You can see more test drive videos on our partner site TestDriven.TV.