2015 Ford F-150 4X4 Lariat Review
Meet the new King of the Road.
Web2Carz Contributing Writer
Published: March 20th, 2015
There was a tremendous amount of anticipation surrounding the arrival of the 2015 Ford F-150, even more than you'd expect from the newest version of America's most popular vehicle. The reason for this was Ford's controversial decision to use aluminum alloy in the F-150's construction.
Whether the relative tensile strength of this material is superior or inferior to that of steel, and to what extent that affects the overall ruggedness of this pickup, is for nerdier minds to debate.
What's incontrovertible is that in every single aspect that the vast majority of truck buyers consider important, the 2015 F-150 is not only superior to previous models, it's superior to every other truck on the road.
This truck has not only won every automotive award under the sun, it has actually deserved each one of them.
The F-150 is so deeply ingrained in the American psyche, it's difficult to understand just how brilliantly understated it's always been. There's a reason the F-150 is the truck you picture when you close your eyes and think "truck" - its elemental simplicity has always embodied the ethos "form follows function."
For 2015, the face has changed, and a few lines have been sharpened to keep the truck suitably contemporary-looking, but it remains instantly recognizable, even from a distance.
Even though our short-bed crew cab tester is far from the biggest F-150 available, it still strikes a commanding presence on the road. The new grille design both beefs up and simplifies the basic Ford truck grille. It's stylish enough to befit a member of the executive class, but the sheer mass of the F-150's front end makes it clear that this truck is no tycoon in plebe's clothing. It's clear from the exterior that if this truck can't haul it or tow it, it can at least run it over.
With the exterior so purpose-driven, one would almost expect the opposite from the interior; since modern truck buyers are not necessarily journeymen or builders. And here again, F-150 owners get to have it both ways; the crew cab is big enough for the whole family (and possibly even the dog), but also capable of carrying a trailerload of stuff with the second-row seats folded up.
Combine that with center console storage that doubles as a bench seat conversion, and you have perhaps the most ingenious car interior this side of the fanciful world of concept cars.
There's a conspicuous amount of hard plastic throughout the cabin, and that can either carry with it the musky tang of the working class or feel like a bit of a ripoff, considering how much this costs suitably optioned. Once you're paying luxury-level prices, you have a right to expect luxury-level materials.
That's not to say you'll suffer from lack of comfort in the F-150; it's a truck you'll have a hard time getting yourself out of, both because it's a two-foot drop from the floorboard to the ground and because on certain days you'll feel like you'd rather take the extremely long way home.
Also, the relative suppleness of the interior materials does nothing to distract from the regal experience one gets from piloting this land vessel. Nautical metaphors are apt for this vehicle, which affords you a position relative to the ground comparable to that of a ship's captain and the skin of the ocean.
Other vehicles, no doubt sensing some disturbance in the subterranean vibrations, afford you a wide berth - whether out of fear or respect it's impossible to say, and equally pointless to question. Occasionally lesser vehicles will behave in their usual manner, somehow not seeing just how big and unstoppable a force you are, and will attempt to thwart your progress. At least that's what you'll suspect. From this vantage point, they really do all look like ants. And shockingly, they behave like them too.
On the Road
This is the part of the review where we usually say something like "this truck overcomes the limitations of its class to provide a surprisingly car-like experience," or other such straw-grasping gobbledygook, in an attempt to give the carmaker bonus points for trying ("after over a half-hour in the captain's chair, my ass was only cramping in four places, and it only hurt a tremendous amount, and anyway it went away in a few short months").
But this is the really remarkable thing about the 2015 F-150: No such excuse making is necessary. Unlike every single other non-car vehicle on the road (we're looking at you, SUVs, crossovers, and Jeeps), the F-150 isn't trying to trick you into thinking you're in a car.
Admittedly, part of that is because to do so would mean altering your sense of visual and special perception; nothing this big can drive like anything other than something this big. But the thing that Ford did extra well, the thing they deserve not bullshit so-you-don't-cry bonus points, but genuine grade-hoisting extra credit for, is letting this truck drive like a truck.
That's not to meant to imply any degree of discomfort (this truck will bounce you and jostle you only to the degree that you want it to). In fact, if anything this truck accentuates the positive aspects of that certain "Yee Haw!" factor that only a big-ass truck can provide. Ford even took it to the morally questionable extent of artificially sweetening the exhaust note on the throatless (but not toothless) V-6.
That really seems like an unnecessary step, however, because our experience with the V-6 did not leave us craving additional horsepower. If anything we often found ourselves thinking, "How can they allow something this freaking big to go this fast?" and other thoughts of that nature.
Also, we had the stereo cranked rather high during our time in the F-150. The audio system is another thing that could be improved upon. It's not necessarily bad, it's just not $50,000-vehicle good. It's good enough to turn to 11, however, which we did with regularity.
Another gripe with the F-150 is the column-mounted shifter. It's a nice retro-seeming touch, but it lacks the heft and resistance that a rugged truck ought to have (even if it doesn't need it). We found it too easy to over-shoot Drive and land in Manual - something one could certainly get accustomed to quickly.
Gas mileage is quite respectable for a vehicle of this size (some might say its 18 city, 23 highway rating was damn near miraculous), but we can't help but think how much more amazing this truck would be with a diesel motor.
A few minor gripes aside, it's difficult to accurately sum up just how many things Ford got right on this truck. The place this truck occupies, not only in the Ford truck fleet, but in the American mythos, is immense. The challenge for Ford to get it right was monumental. The degree to which Ford succeeded makes you wonder what every other truck maker in the world is doing with its time.
Specs & Prices
Engine: 2.7-liter turbocharged V-6
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, part-time four-wheel drive
Power Output: 325 hp / 375 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 18 city / 23 highway
Base Price: $44,465
As Tested: $51,175 (incl. $1,195 destination)
501A Equipment Package: Blind-spot info system, remote start, reverse sensing system, LED side-mirror spotlights, 110V/400W outlet
2.7-Liter V-6 Ecoboost Payload Package: 3.73 electronically-locking rear axle, 9.75-inch gearset, mechanical parking brake
FX4 Off-Road Package: 3.55 electronic-locking rear differential, Hill Descent Control, off-road tuned shocks, skid plates, decals
Trailer Tow Package: 4-pin/7-pin wiring harness, transmission oil cooler, Class IV trailer hitch receiver, Smart Trailer Tow Connector, upgraded front sway bar
Individual Options: Blind spot monitoring, box side steps, 23-gallon fuel tank, LED side-mirror sportlights, fixed rear window, remote start, single-panel moonroof, skid plates, power trailer tow mirrors, 3.55 electronic-locking rear axle, 3.73 electronic-locking rear axle, 110-volt, 400-Watt inverter outlet, integrated trailer brake controller, navigation, Sony premium audio system, leather-trimmed heated and cooled front bucket seats (removes bench)
• For more information such as specs, prices, and photos of the 2015 Ford F-150, click here: 2015 Ford F-150.