A couple of weeks back, I was able to be one of the first people to drive the aluminum body 2015 Ford F-150 in San Antonio, and it is a considerable upgrade from the previous truck. The 2015, aside from the aluminum, has options that have never before been seen on a pickup truck from any manufacturer. Active lane keep assistance, radar cruise control, a 360 degree camera system; these all are available on various trim levels of the new F-150. If you like tech toys, you’ll obviously want to wait to get the new one.
But what if you don’t care about the tech toys? Should you grab a 2014 F-150 on a discount and be happy? Well, you could, but I’m here to tell you that you still should wait. The aluminum really is worth waiting for.
On the face of it, you wouldn’t be able to tell that the 2015 Ford F-150 uses aluminum for anything. It looks like a truck. The doors open and close with the thud you’d expect from steel doors. It doesn’t crumple like a pop can if you press a body panel. Only if you try to put a magnet on the truck could you tell that something was amiss.
That’s high praise for the engineers who were responsible for the body. The beauty of the aluminum on the 2015 F-150 is that you can’t tell it’s there just looking at it. It’s almost a buzz kill for someone who has heard about all of these big changes and then looks at the truck and can’t tell, but to win over the general public, people need to be convinced that aluminum is no different than steel in strength and durability.
Driving the 2015 F-150 it becomes immediately noticeable that weight is missing from the truck. I’ve heard more than one Ford engineer refer to it as the “50 foot test.” Within 50 feet of driving, it should be obvious that this truck is different. I’m not sure if it was as night and day to me, but the truck does corner flatter and the truck feels lighter. The aluminum makes that possible, as well as better fuel economy and more towing capability. A truck can only pull so much weight with a particular engine, but if the engine has to pull less truck mass, it can pull more trailer mass.
But that’s still not the reason why you should wait for the 2015 F-150. The real reason is overall truck durability and strength. Aluminum has to be bonded and riveted. There’s a reason why sports cars have gone almost all aluminum (and some going carbon fiber), and it’s not just lightness. It’s strength. The 2015 Ford F-150 will have less body flex than any F-150 that came before it, and potentially less than any of the competition. When engineers don’t have to worry about body flex, they can focus on setting the suspension up for better ride quality or load-carrying capability. They can focus on NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness) to give the truck a quieter ride. Once they solve the initial aluminum challenge (and believe me, it was a challenger), they are free to focus all their attention elsewhere. This means the 2015 Ford F-150 is the best engineered truck that Ford has ever sold.
It also won’t rust. Yes, aluminum corrodes. Ford has gone to great lengths to ensure that the aluminum has the best anti-corrosion technology, but it remains to be seen in 15 to 20 years how the bodies will look. But the red rust is definitely a thing of the past with these trucks.
If I were looking to purchase a new Ford F-150, I would wait. I want the toughness that comes from aluminum, and I want the tech options that are available. The 2014 truck performs well, but the 2015 is a significant enough difference that I would order and wait than pick one up today. Unless, of course, the deal was just too good to pass up.
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