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2015 Ford F-150 Debuts At 2014 Detroit Auto Show

Yes, there's an all-new 2015 Ford Mustang at the 2014 Detroit auto show, but the big news from the Ford stand is a production-ready 2015 Ford F-150 pickup truck. The new truck comes exactly one year after Ford's surprise introduction of the Atlas concept at the 2013 Detroit auto show. As was promised 12 months ago, the 2015 Ford F-150 hews closely to that concept car.

For starters, Ford made good on its promise that the 2015 Ford F-150 would go on a 700-pound diet. By using more high-strength steels, as well as a greater mix of aluminum, the new truck sheds an impressive amount of weight compared to its predecessor. Even so, Ford says the new F-150 will be just as tough and durable as before.

Another change that was widely expected is a smaller EcoBoost V-6 engine. Last year, Ford's Raj Nair told us that a lighter F-150 could manage with a smaller, less-powerful engine. As a result, a new 2.7-liter turbocharged V-6 slots beneath the carryover 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost mill. Auto stop-start is standard, which will further help save fuel. (Stop-start is disabled if four-wheel drive is engaged or the vehicle is in tow/haul mode.) The EcoBoost engines also receive Ford's Active Grille Shutters, which can close off the engine bay under certain conditions to improve aerodynamic performance. A 3.5-liter non-turbo V-6 engine replaces the previous truck's 3.7-liter engine, and the F-150's 5.0-liter V-8 engines will also carry over to the new model.

Other updates that were previewed on the Ford Atlas concept include LED headlights, mirror lights, and box lights; and slide-out loading ramps for the bed. The tailgate can be opened remotely from the key fob, and an updated tailgate step is said to be "virtually invisible when not in use." A new 360-degree camera system, like the Nissan AroundView monitor, makes maneuvering easier, while the backup camera adds a Trailer Hitch Assist function that helps guide drivers to more quickly line up with a trailer. And for charging devices or powering tools on the go or on the job site, the bed features two 110-volt, 400-watt power outlets.

Updated Design

The 2015 Ford F-150 also looks a lot like the Atlas concept, and much of the styling seen here was visible in our many spy photos. A wide, tall front grille features three fat horizontal bars and a giant Blue Oval badge. The truck's headlights, just as on the concept, wrap onto the front fenders and have a cutout section on the inner edges. Overall, the design of the 2015 Ford F-150 isn't a huge leap forward, as the basic ruler-straight lines and angled windshield remain, but it is a smarter and more modern take the current F-150 look

The interior, too, is an update instead of a revolution, but that's no bad thing. It is a smart and utilitarian design, and Ford stresses that all the knobs and switches can be used while wearing gloves, an important test for serious truck buyers. The air vents are now vertical and bookend the large touchscreen infotainment system, and they protrude from the dashboard with sharp angles. Tech toys include the latest versions of Sync and MyFord Touch, a new eight-inch LCD screen in the instrument cluster, adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot warning system, and a lane-departure prevention function. Also included are two safety features available on most other new Ford products, second-row inflatable seatbelts, designed to cushion back-seat passengers in a crash; as well as Curve Control, which automatically applies the brakes if the driver enters a turn too quickly.

Many Configurations, Many Engines

As before, Ford will offer countless configurations of the new F-150. There will be the familiar XL, XLT, Lariat, Platinum, and King Ranch trim levels; rear- or four-wheel drive; the aforementioned quartet of engines; an FX4 off-road package; and both monochrome and chrome visual treatments. And that's before factoring in the various cab types, bed lengths, and other options that will ensure the Ford's ordering guide remains a lengthy tome.

The Ford F-Series has been the best-selling truck in the U.S. for 37 straight years, and when the 2015 Ford F-150 goes on sale later this year, the company's engineers hopes the model will continue to carry that torch.