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Heels On Wheels: 2015 Ford F-150 Review +VIDEO


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HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel


INTRO TO THE F-150 VEHICLE
Redesigned for 2015, the Ford F-150 now features a new grille and headlights, a new eight-inch instrument panel screen and the shedding of up to 700 lbs which comes from the combination of two changes in material;

-- High-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy body construction
-- Lighter frame and more high-strength steel

This four-door six-passenger full-size truck is spacious, easy to maneuver, and holds possibly some of the best safety and infotainment technology on the market.

I drove a 2015 Ford F-150 with the bigger 365-horsepower turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission with four-wheel drive (4WD). The F-150 comes in five trims – XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum – as well as various engine sizes, cab and bed configurations. My fully loaded Platinum trim was outfitted with the roomiest cab, the SuperCrew, along with the shorter five-and-a-half pickup box. Standard feature highlights included: second row heated seats; the new eight-inch touchscreen display; wood interior trim; heated and cooled front seats; leather wrapped steering wheel; multi-contour leather upholstery; Sony premier audio system; Class IV trailer hitch; rearview camera; power tailgate with lock; navigation; remote start; remote tailgate release; reverse sensing system; push-button start; MyKey; USB and auxiliary input jacks; quad beam headlamps; running board with power deploy; fog lamps; and side mirror sport lights. Price as described without options is $54,385.

If you’re looking to strike a balance with your next family car – and someone is pushing for a truck – the Ford F-150 does have the air of a workhorse but it also certainly has the attitude of a refined vehicle. Competitors include the Chevrolet Silverado and Toyota Tundra.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: .Although Ford does put a price tag on just about every interior convenience option, unlike many competitors you get what you pay for – in other words, the best materials, technology and design layout. Ford’s SYNC with MyFord Touch puts voice commands to calls, navigation and climate controls, or the tap of a finger on a vivid touchscreen.

Optional packages for my test drive included $2,540 extras in Platinum features and technology (including a tailgate step), a $400 engine upgrade to the turbo V6, a $1,295 twin panel moonroof, a $495 trailer package, a $250 bed extender, a $475 spray-in bed liner, and $250 box side steps (very handy). A baby seat fits very nicely back here with room for another child and an adult without any complaints for leg or elbow space. Ford’s LATCH hooks are usually embedded pretty deep in their seats and a little hard to locate. I loved the lowered design of the side windows that gave me better visibility.




Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2015 Ford F-150 fairs well with The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), earning ratings of “Good” in all areas except Child Seta Anchors (LATCH) ease of use which earned a “marginal” – I for one am especially happy the IIHS has started reviewing this feature on cars for moms. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2015 model an overall 5-star rating.

Cost Issues: A starting base price of $24,790 sounds nice, but keep in mind this just buys you the Regular Cab (three front passengers total), the smaller pickup bed, and very few interior amenities. My $54,385 Platinum trim featured an extra $6,570 in optional for a total cost of $60,955.

Activity & Performance Ability: I’ve always felt there is a lot of love about the performance of an F-150 truck. From the gage cluster digital graphics to the power tailgate, you’ll feel like this is a truck that works to keep you feeling taken care of and in control of your driving experience. Ford is building some outstanding engines and the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 delivers instant pickup, cushiony suspension, and feels incredibly light on its wheels. The extent of the visibility over the hood is practically surreal for a truck this size, as is the turning radius that made parking in small spaces far more enjoyable than the trouble a lot of mid-size crossovers and SUVs (and some small ones, too) deliver. The 360-degree camera delivers a bird’s-eye view of the truck.

The Green Concern: The pitch with the EcoBoost is that the driver gets V8 engine power with V6 engine fuel economy. Estimations are 17 miles-per-gallon city and 23 highway for an average of 20 combined, which isn’t bad.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
The 2015 Ford F-150 gets the job done using muscle and smarts, fully functional in ways you never dreamed a truck could be. Just be prepared that many must-have optional packages will significantly bump the price tag.

©2015 Katrina Ramser