2015 Ford F-150 King Ranch
When a company becomes the sales king of a product we often see this sense of stagnation over time. In recent times this has become the norm in the cell phone market, consumer products and of course vehicles. There seems to be concern over rocking the boat.
In the case of the F-150, Ford has been guilty of the same, constantly evolving but never quite revolutionizing. For 2015 that ends along with their 5+ year development of this new platform. And to reach this level it was not about just adding more tech and gimmicks. (also included) Ford took the leap to do something so many of us have been talking about for years, weight reduction. Not just half measures but actual weight reduction. With the advent of an all-aluminum body ranging from pillars, headers, box and panels the F150 drops as much as 700lbs and weighs almost 1000lbs less than some competitors.
The benefits of adding lightness take stress off everything else, chassis, suspension, engine and drivetrain. During design it's no longer necessary to push for bleeding edge mechanical design in order to gain 2MPG and risk issues with longevity. Decreasing weight is and has always been the most proven way to increase vehicle performance. And Ford has done it on their highest volume vehicle, which says something about their leadership.
The exterior has the ladders, the steps and the proper sized bed to match the large cab. Super usable but also super large. The 360 camera became a pre-requesite during parking. The fuel filler does not have a gas cap which means this system is not compatible with all nozzles, so Ford includes a funnel just in case. Was the fuel cap concept so horrible? Overall the truck was about as refined as one could ask for and most importantly functional for towing and hauling.
The 3.5L Twin Turbo packs enough power, torque including better combined fuel economy. In our tester it mostly felt smooth, however we never felt the thrust we get with the NA V8s. While there is plenty of power and torque for towing, hauling and of course melting tires it always lacked this raw sense of urgency. Combined with the muted/refined feel and digital sound track pumped into the speakers the overall experience lacks a visceral feel that likely could be remedied by true induction or exhaust modification.
The 6SPD auto was smooth and refined, however shifts were average in speed. Sport mode switches dynamics but mostly because it holds revs more aggressively. Odd behavior in manual mode when shifting near redline caused delays in power delivery which was not noticed in full auto mode.
Sound System - Sony
For a "luxury truck" the sound system rivaled that of most compact cars. It lacks brightness and clarity on everything from CD, USB and Bluetooth, the EQ just can't compensate for the flatness.
Large, comfortable and exceedingly ergonomic in design. Switches, dials and controls are mostly at arm’s reach along with some of the best door handles in a large truck we have seen. The massaging seats made long trips entertaining and "livingroomesque." However the cooling function was either faulty or just plain inconsistent. The seat back was never cooled on our tester and the seat bottom seemed to take forever. Possibly why the dealer we spoke with for prices laughed when we called. Overall there are some hard plastics that looked generic and some of the “wanna be” aluminum plastic trim made little sense in a car that was mostly aluminum. The interior was a highlight of the driving experience.
We saw 17-19MPG normal mixed driving.
The Ford Sync in this model is lag city, one word can sum it up, bad and HVAC is tied to it. Too much dependance on the touch screen makes for a disaster to control while driving. Ford has the new version on the way hope for an upgrade on existing models.
The ride quality on and off road is excellent. Never was there a time of discomfort or distraction. To be able to strike a balance between ride quality on and off road is difficult to achieve. Road holding and overall grip is not there due to the size and class of truck but steering feel was as good as it gets for a full size.
What We Liked:
What We Disliked: