Unquestionably Ford's most important upcoming product, the design of the 2015 F-150 has been a closely guarded secret. However, a fresh batch of spy photos has given us a detailed look inside of two trim levels of the next-generation pickup.
The first prototype our spies nabbed was a high-end model fitted with the Blue Oval's MyFord Touch infotainment system. The setup includes an eight-inch touchscreen but, like the 2015 Mustang, utilizes conventional knobs and buttons for stereo and HVAC functions in place of the (much-maligned) capacitive touch controls on current models.
A mid-level prototype features a much simpler control arrangement and a 4.2-inch display screen surrounded by a sea of plastic.
Both trucks appear to incorporate several cues taken the bold Atlas concept, including vertical air vents and an angular hood mounted over the instrument panel. The layout of the central console, with a left-mounted shifter and two cupholders on the right, is also similar, although the prototypes look to be fitted with a dash-top storage compartment as a concession to real-world practicality.
Whereas General Motors took the conservative, evolutionary route in redesigning its full-size pickups, a recent batch of spy photos revealed that Ford will do the opposite by incorporating styling cues from the Atlas into the upcoming 2015 F-150.
Although largely cloaked in camouflage, the F-150 prototype captured here wears only transparent mesh over its headlights, clearly showing units that bear a striking similarity to those of the Atlas.
Similarly revealing mesh over the grille shows, again, a design that looks to owe much to the Atlas, confirming that the show truck will heavily foreshadow the new F-150's sheetmetal.
Lower Lbs., Higher MPGs
The next F-150, which is expected to hit the market in late 2014 as a 2015 model, could boast an average of 3 mpg better fuel economy across its lineup, an unnamed source revealed to Reuters. The source is identified only as an "industry" member, not necessarily a Ford employee.
"They're shooting for best-in-class fuel economy," the source said.
Ford is remaining mum on the next generation F-150, although spokesman Mike Levine told Reuters that the automaker is "committed to offering our customers leading fuel economy."
Not much is known about the next F-150, which is expected to be the most substantial redesign of the truck since 2004, when the current platform debuted. Although Ford has been far more diligent about updating its half-ton pickup line over the last decade than its rivals, the truck's basic bones are particularly heavy, which dents fuel economy.
Reuters again cites unnamed industry sources who claim that Ford is looking to shave between 700 and 750 lbs. from the 2015 F-150, a move that stands in stark contrast to the Silverado and Sierra unveiled yesterday. GM's new trucks promise class-leading fuel economy when they go on sale next year, but the automaker wasn't able to shave substantial weight from the vehicles overall. Instead, GM says that it added content while keeping curb weights about the same as the outgoing models.
Subsequent reports from sources in the aluminum industry suggest that there's truth to the rumors about the F-150's aluminum-driven weight loss.
Also boosting Ford's fuel economy is a series of new smaller, turbocharged V6 engines, which are being developed under the appropriate code name Nano. But that new powertrain line won't debut until at least a model year or two after the redesigned F-150 hits the market.
It's also expected that a version of the company's new Duratorq 3.2-liter inline five-cylinder will be tested in the next F-150. The 3.2-liter mill will go on sale first in this market in the new Ford Transit commercial vans, which will replace the venerable Ford E-Series line.
Rumors have suggested that the 2015 Ford F-150 will debut in January at the Detroit show.