One-word takeway from a drive of the new 2015 F-150 Lariat 3.5-liter EcoBoost?
The new F-150 is perhaps the most-anticipated new pickup truck of all time, and as such it is hyped almost beyond belief at the moment. Trucks are arriving now to Ford stores nationwide after shipments started in early December, but before driving it — we had a hefty, hardy amount of skepticism.
Would its all-new alloy bodywork over a steel frame be that much of a revolution? Are its LED lights just icing for the top $50,000-plus models?
Let’s dive into this review drive with the headings Exterior, Interior, Drive Impressions and Summary. Along with those impressions, we have pricing by trims, trim descriptions, a colors guide and 170 photos of the XLT and Lariat trims throughout.
So, as pickup trucks go, the F-150 was revealed to absolute silence in Detroit just a year ago. People were speechless at how cool and concept-like the Platinum launch trucks seemed. All-LED exterior is eye-catching, especially versus the no-LEDs available on the exterior of any F-150 beforehand. Crisp and muscular lines like the Atlas concept?!
The most silent were the competing truck executives. They were silently terrified. The new F-150 looked amazing.
In the flesh of the Florida parking lot a few weeks ago — we loved what we saw, especially with the Lariat trucks in motion on the roads near other existing trucks. It feels as brand new as any truck in memory, and its white blocks of LED low beams, LED block highbeams, LED front blinkers, LED brake lights and even LED backup lights cut an ultra-modern flash even in daytime sunlight.
From afar, the new F-150 looks both more modern and harder and tougher than the previous trucks. The lines are more butch with less rounding and beveling of all surfaces. Just pure lines and crisp stamps in the new alloy shell.
It looks lower up front with the new aerodynamic chin spoilers on all trims, plus huge and 18-inch-plus wheels on both test trucks. This is good. Anyone can put 22-inchers on a flagship, but these are the volume players as Lariat and XLT models.
The style, colors and painted bumpers of the Lariat here are butch and country/western in feel, as are the giant chrome bars of the Lariat grille. (Body-color is also available on the Lariat Sport.) This truck has the LED lighting — and it is a must-have selection when choosing.
The XLT has perhaps a more attractive and fresh multi-slat horizontal chrome grille. The grille is huge and cool, while the chrome bumpers feel like a real work truck. The body-color elements cutting up the tall stack of halogen lamps on this XL helps feel new and cool even sans LEDs, but not as good with them on. Old-fashioned and yellow vs superlux white 6000k of the LEDs. Not blue like xenons. White white.
The shape of the lamps helps all the trucks cut a new silhouette out back too, with the edge in glowing LED a very cool and distinctive feature. LED backup lights!? Yes. In the lower taillamps and also in the cab-mounted CHMSL element. Fantastic.
The F-150’s here without any weight in back ride a bit tall in the rear like any unloaded pickup, but overall the F-150 tested felt low and cool versus the gigantic profile of the F-150 Platinum 4×4 seen in sprintime. (At bottom of article.)
Is it really that low?!
When the doors open wide, you notice right away that they are super lightweight. The actual doors are featherweights! The floor feels low and the seat height is just right. No running boards needed.
From the moment you grab the door to close it, you will be amazing — simply astounded — by the cabin luxury and materials. This is unlike any pickup truck this driver has ever sat in. Luxurious and premium multi-color and multi-layer elements feel extremely cool and classy. Still strong in construction, but luxurious in a way that no other current Ford (or Lincoln) is. True story.
The seats are comfy and leathers breathe well, while the steering column is still not sportscar-like in its range of movement. You sit up in the truck, but the dash and all controls feel low and discreet but close at hand.
A console-mounted pistol-grip shifter feels far cooler than the column-mounted slap-n-go of most pickup trucks, while the truck fires up silently and with eery smoothness. This EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6 is a Tesla versus other pickup truck V8s of all kinds and all brands. There is no driveline grumble or shunt as you step off from park, and the machine seems absolutely pillow-soft versus a Z71 Chevrolet or Tundra CrewMax 5.7-liter.
Those trucks feel like giant rigs. Giant Earth-movers by comparison.
The F-150 is a sweetheart at low speeds, and you notice the fantastic dash design and multi-materials, cool new tech, and giant dual-pane moonroof option. Wow is a word you will be saying and hearing alot in the F-150 Lariat.
Sport mode for the transmission, and throttle down.
The F-150 3.5-liter EcoBoost has zero throttle or turbo lag, and shoots ahead with big pace and big torque. Remapped and reprogrammed turbo’s give lower and smoother torque that is more than amble. It is quick. We’d say 6.8-seconds to 60-mph. Quick and smooth, with almost no vibration or body heave as you come on and off throttle.
The really stunning part? Not just the exterior, or the cabin — but the ride comfort. It is hard to believe this F-150 Lariat SuperCrew has huge and competitive tow and haul ratings. It just rides like creamy bliss. A bit more low-speed pitter than the Ram with air springs, but more body control.
Next shock? Steering is finger-tip light. Light and feelsome and accurate. A rapid and responsive rack. Total opposite of most off-road 4×4 pickups. This lightness firms at speed and will be less nice with chunky tire options, but still surprising.
Throttle is smooth but a bit jumpy for first-timers, as are the brakes, which seemed a bit grabby at first in traffic. You acclimate and begin to enjoy the road.
The F-150 Lariat feels every single pound of its 800-pounds-lighter boasts. It feels 2,000-pounds lighter than the Tundra and Silverado Z71. You have to look around to make sure this is a pickup.
So, did we like it?
This is the best truck ever. We rode down to the first drive in the 2015 Chevy Silverado Z71, and really like the GM truck’s highway calmness and V8 torque and new tech.
But hauling my can back up into the Silverado after driving the F-150 felt like a step back in time.
Turbo engines are traditionally not as solid for 150,000-plus miles as a big V8.
And pricing is steep with options in the new Ford.
It may be more expensive to insure, and take longer to repair, than steel-bodied pickup trucks after any serious crash.
The F-150 is simply a far better truck for a sports-car fan like me. We wish it were a closer fight, but the F-150 is absolutely 5X better than any other pickup truck we’ve ever driven.
Save up, and go for the LED lighting. Prices will be steep and firm for at least 12 months, so do not expect many incentives. But one quick spin and you will be singing its praises and justifying the upgrade all the way til it is in your driveway.
2015 Ford F-150 Review
F-150 King Ranch
2015 FORD F-150 – Trim levels
The workhorse of the Ford F-150 lineup, the F-150 XL still provides style, technology and comfort. The XL is available in 12 cab/box/drive configurations from a 4×2 Regular Cab with an eight-foot box to the SuperCrew 4×4 with a six-and-a-half-foot box. New engines for the XL are the 2.7-liter EcoBoost® with Auto Start-Stop and 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6 with flex-fuel capability.
The 3.5-liter EcoBoost and 5.0-liter V8 engines are available as well. New interior features include a 2.3-inch message center in the instrument panel and a 4.2-inch audio and climate control screen in the center stack.
A cloth 40/20/40 split-bench front seat is standard. Customers can choose between chrome, sport and FX4 off-road packages. A variety of trailer tow packages are available as well.
Ford F-150 XLT shares available configurations and powertrains with XL while adding chrome bumpers and grille, and 17-inch machined aluminum wheels. XLT customers also receive SYNC® AppLink™, which provides voice-activated communication and entertainment including control of some smartphone applications. Available features include trailer hitch assist, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with cross-traffic alert and inflatable rear safety belts.
Lariat offers upscale features with outstanding capability – ideal for getaway trips with a boat or travel trailer in tow. Depending on cab/box/drive configuration, either the all-new 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine or 5.0-liter V8 is standard along with 18-inch machined-aluminum wheels.
Pickup box LED lighting and rear backup camera with trailer hitch assist add to the list of convenience features. SYNC with MyFord Touch® and an all-new 8-inch customizable productivity screen are part of the many available technologies.
— King Ranch:
The updated Ford F-150 King Ranch edition reflects the feel of southwestern luxury. The exterior features front and rear chrome bumpers, a unique chrome grille with accent-color mesh insert, running boards and two-tone paint.
High-intensity LED puddle lamps and exterior LED spotlights are integrated into the outside mirrors while the all-new remote tailgate release is another industry first. King Ranch-specific leather trims the front and rear seats; the front seats are heated and cooled, the rear seats are heated.
King Ranch also features a heated steering wheel. The entertainment system includes a Sony® 10-speaker system with HD Radio™. The 5.0-liter V8 with flex-fuel capability is the standard engine.
The Platinum edition is for customers looking for the ultra-premium truck that isn’t afraid to do work. Offered only in a SuperCrew cab, Platinum is powered by a 5.0-liter V8 with flex-fuel capability. Bright body-side moldings and a satin finish grille complement chrome front and rear bumpers.
The Platinum rolls on 20-inch polished aluminum wheels and features power-deployable running boards, high-intensity LED headlamps and taillamps. Genuine wood accents highlight the interior along with leather seating, unique multi-contour front bucket seats, a unique instrument cluster face and Sony sound system with subwoofer.
2015 Ford F-150 XLT Colors Gallery
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.