The new Ford F-150 grabbed headlines when it was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show last winter thanks to its all-aluminum body construction. Ford is taking a huge gamble with such a radical overhaul to America’s best-selling vehicle of the past three decades, but the automaker insists that the new lightweight build will result in better fuel efficiency, greater towing and payload capacities, faster acceleration, enhanced handling, and more responsive braking over traditional steel-body pickups.
If consumers respond favorably, industry experts predict the 2015 F-150 will forever change the full-size truck category. “Even if there is some reluctance from buyers, I think the light weight and smaller turbo engine approach of the F-150 is a game changer,” says John H. Davis, of MotorWeek. “The new 2.7-liter turbo V6 is a real eye-opener.”
The truck also boasts a number of optional features that will help it find favor with hunters and fishermen. Here’s a look at a few.
▶ No matter how many times you’ve backed a trailer, there’s always a degree a difficulty involved. Ford’s taken the backup camera to a whole new level by installing cameras on all four sides of the truck that work together to produce one real-time bird’s-eye view of the vehicle and its surroundings.
▶ LED spotlights on the sideview mirrors and LED panels in the cargo box provide ample exterior light for those times when you don’t get out of the woods or off the water until well after the sun’s gone down. The box lighting also comes in handy when you’re using a bed cap or cover.
▶ This proprietary cargo management system features four lockable tie-down cleats mounted to plates on the walls of the bed. Tie off ropes or hook bungees to the cleats, or skip the cleats and attach things like carabiners directly to the plates. Below, available cargo ramps are stowed via BoxLink.
Four awesome truck accessories.
▲ Decked: This bed storage system features a deck with a 2,000-pound cargo rating and two bed-length drawers. It weighs about 200 pounds and mounts to a truck’s tie-downs. ($975–$995; decked.com)
**▲ Gun Holder: **This device secures a firearm to the inside of a truck door for easy access. No longer will you have to awkwardly wedge your gun between the seat and the console. ($100; thegunholder.com)
▲ Bolt Lock: No more blaming the kids for misplacing the lock keys. These rugged, weatherproof cable locks, receiver locks, and padlocks are operated with your vehicle’s ignition key. ($22–$40; boltlock.com)
▲ Montana Hitch: If you enjoy smashing your shin into your truck’s drawbar, you can stop reading. If not, check out this receiver that swings out of the way when not in use. ($359–$389; montanahitch.com)