In designing the backbone of the F-150, Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] engineers improved the truck’s signature fully boxed ladder frame, which now incorporates high-strength steel to make it stronger and lighter. Aluminum, featuring a similar grade to that used in the military and aerospace industry, has been applied to the body, helping to save upwards of 700 pounds from the curb weight.
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Other tech goodies include a 360-degree surround view camera system, integrated loading ramps, LED lights, a trailer hitch assist and smart trailer tow module, and high-wattage power outlets (400 watts, 110 volts) in the cab.
In the engine department, buyers of the 2015 F-150 have four options to choose from. New to the F-150 nameplate is a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine. This engine will also come with a stop-start system to further save fuel and is said to be comparable with “mid-range V-8s” in the power stakes thanks to turbocharging and direct-injection technologies. Fuel economy for the highway is tipped to be as much as 30 mpg.
Separately, a new 3.5-liter naturally aspirated V-6 functions as the base engine for the lineup, and is joined by a 3.5-liter EcoBoost unit as well as a 5.0-liter V-8. The standard transmission across the range is a six-speed automatic.
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The rolling chassis otherwise bears no surprises as great as the materials up above; with its front coil-on-shock and double-wishbone setup, and Hotchkiss-type live setup with leaf springs in back, it’s all conventional. Steering is handled by rack-and-pinion gear, with electric boost, and there are four-wheel vented disc brakes.
You can bet a Baja-inspired SVT Raptor variant is waiting in the wings. In developing the new 2015 F-150, Ford even ran a disguised prototype in the Baja 1000. In the interim, an FX4 Off-Road package will have to suffice, bringing skid plates, off-road-tuned shocks, and an electronic locking rear axle.
Fuel economy, power outputs and pricing for the Ford F-150 will be revealed closer to the vehicle’s launch later in the year, but you can also gather more details from the extensive preview over at the The Car Connection.