In fact, betting that the streak will reach 49 straight years would be considered a venture so safe that even the most risk averse broker would take it.
With no disrespect to our hard working sales associates, we like to say that no vehicle sells itself — except, of course, the F-150.
Aluminum: The Element of Surprise
But with the release of the 2015 Ford F-150, the legendary Detroit automaker has taken its most famous product in a radically new direction. In fact, the eventual need to meet new government imposed efficiency ratings has resulted in what could be considered the most dramatic redesign of any new truck within the past quarter century.
That drama, of course, is caused by the F-150’s new aluminum body frame.
From the hood, the body panels, the bed, and many other places throughout the truck, Ford has replaced the standard steel construction with a more lightweight, high-grade aluminum, maintaining the steel only in necessary parts of its bracing and suspension.
Did Ford need to make these changes in order to keep its place in the light duty truck hierarchy? No. You can consider this bold move as an indication from Ford on where it sees itself within the industry, choosing to lead the way in its segment, rather than letting its competitors define the direction for change.
But sometimes being a leader means having to educate the public…
Getting Past the “Aluminum Barrier”
For most of us, the first words we would associate with aluminum are not rigid and durable. That’s because we default to what we know best, which is usually the aluminum pop can. Not exactly indestructible compared to a steel I-beam, is it?
And now Ford wants to switch out its sturdy steel frame with something flimsier!?
We can call this initial resistance to the new material the “aluminum barrier.”
But we also don’t tend to think of pop cans with walls that are as thick as a baseball. And we forget about all the aluminum alloys out there that make the lightweight elements stronger and more practical than almost every other material.
The aluminum used in several parts throughout the 2015 Ford F-150 classifies as “military grade.” It’s in the same family as the stuff that is used to create NASA space shuttles, passenger airlines, and other vessels that need to remain functional and flexible across extreme heat and icy temperatures. Where steel is both unnecessarily heavy and rigid to the point it can risk fracturing, aluminum offers an alternative that improves the situation on both counts.
The new aluminum frame of the Ford light duty pickup truck provides the F-150 driver with a bunch of new benefits…
Benefits of the Aluminum Body Frame
Fewer scratches and dings
We can’t do much to prevent a vandal from taking their keys to your new paint job, but when it comes to an errant shopping cart or a neighbouring car door blowing open on a gusty day, the aluminum doors on the 2015 F-150 remain much more resistant to dings, divots, and dents than the previous steel construction. Perhaps a bit counterintuitive, but it’s true!
Picture sprinting out of the starting blocks at the 100 meter dash in the Olympics. Now imagine doing the same thing with a 700-lb boat anchor tied around your waist.
That’s pretty much the difference between the 2015 Ford F-150 and the 2014 models. With the 700-lb weight reduction afforded by the new aluminum frame, the F-150 now jumps off the line compared to its predecessors. Not to mention its competition.
Heavier payloads and greater towing
What else happens when you drop 700 pounds from your weight burden but keep the same powerful engine and a body frame just as strong, if not even more so than before? It’s simple physics — it means that you can carry and tow even more with the same amount of force.
In 2014, the heaviest payload the F-150 could haul was 2,810, while the towing capabilities started at around 6,700 lbs and maxed out at 11,300 lbs.
With the new aluminum substitutions, the heaviest payload the 2015 F-150 can haul jumps up to 3,300 lbs, while the towing range jumps up a staggering 900 lbs to 7,600 – 12,200 lbs!
Let’s be honest: If you really planned on towing 12,200 lbs on a regular basis, you’d likely opt for one of the Ford Super Duty trucks, which may undergo an aluminum transformation of their own over the next few years.
But for the great majority of F-150 owners, here’s the real benefit…
Greater fuel efficiency
Yes, chances are your truck bed won’t routinely be occupied with 3,300 lbs of cargo. Most often the back of your pickup will sit vacant while you drive through stop-and-start city traffic.
So what does it mean when you factor in Ford’s efficient EcoBoost engines along with a 700-lb weight reduction? It means it requires a lot less gasoline to get around.
Due to a recent tightening up of the EPA fuel rating standards across the automotive industry this past year, the comparison between the 2015 and 2014 models is less relatable than it is with towing and hauling. Nonetheless, at 9.2L/100km* on the highway and at 10.9 combined,* the 2015 edition is the most fuel-efficient Ford F-150 ever.
Plenty of SUVs, minivans, and luxury cars can only dream of that kind of fuel economy.
*31/27 miles per gallon, respectively.
Stay Tuned for More Driving Updates
New 2015 Ford F-150 trucks are arriving every day at our Driving Change dealerships. You can discover more in-depth detail on any new Ford model by visiting our online Ford showroom.
But for now, have you noticed any chips or cracks forming in your windshield? Better take a quick look.
Check back soon when in our next post we’ll be discussing whether or not you’ll need to replace a cracked or damaged windshield.
Share Your Experience
- How did you react when you first heard that the Ford F-150 would now be constructed out of aluminum?
- Which of the new benefits are you most excited about?
- Which other vehicle do you hope will follow suit next?