Detours help highlight F-150’s handling
By Mark Sherry
The 2015 Ford F-150

In case you have not noticed—although you probably have—road construction season is not just reserved for the summertime around here anymore.

Fall was firmly entrenched in these parts recently when I took a Ford F-150 from Mike Burkart Ford, Inc. of Plymouth for what I thought would be a quick spin around that community.

Instead of my usual jaunt down STH 32/57 to Waldo and back, I decided to turn right out of the Mike Burkart Ford lot and check out some new territory. I was sure I could find my way to STH 67 or to some county trunk to test the pickup truck out at highway speeds.

What happened instead was that I seemed to find road work site after road work site, detour after detour, “road closed” sign after “road closed” sign. Before I knew it I had taken a longer test drive than ever but never got out of the city.

As my progress was halted at too many turns, my frustration level began to grow—until it dawned on me that backing up into residential driveways and zipping around narrow city streets was a piece of cake with this 2015 Ford F-150. Yes, the F-150 is as powerful and rugged as ever, but its style and handling makes it suitable for taking anywhere, anytime—even into tight quarters at the end of a barricaded street.

Ford’s F-Series of trucks has been around a long time—since 1948, to bespecific—and the F-150 has ruled the market. It has been the best selling vehicle in the U. S. for the past 32 years and the best selling pickup truck for 38 years. So is Ford resting on its laurels? Hardly. In fact, it says in its booklet for the 2015 F-150 that it has “set out to build the best truck ever.” The statements in this last paragraph would seem to say Ford already has, but Tom Blague of Mike Burkart Ford pointed out even more reasons why the F-150 could indeed be the best truck ever.

Ford has made the F-150 stronger yet lighter. High-strength steel now comprises up to 78 percent of the frame. The use of high-strength, military-grade alumnium alloys never before used in a truck body and bed make the new F-150 almost 700 pounds lighter which helps it accelerate smoother and stop faster. The lighter weight also helps it achieve a class-best gas EPAestimated highway fuel economy rating of 26 mpg.

These things have not come at the expense of power and performance. The 2015 F-150 also has the class-best maximum towing capacity of 12,200 pounds and the class-best maximum payload of 3,300 pounds.

One of the engines available in the F-150 is the 2.7L EcoBoost, known as the “Pocket Hercules.” That engine combined with some of the other features already mentioned increased the power-to-weight ratio of the F-150 by 13 percent over a V8-equipped 2014 F-150.

The F-150 I drove around Plymouth had the 5L V8 in it. It also had 20-inch, six-spoke painted aluminum wheels, and a trailer tow package. This particular F-150 was clearly set up for some heavier work but, once again, it nimbly handled getting around in the city as well.

Blague explained that I was test driving a F-150 with the XLT Sport package, which took over for the FX4 package and includes the gear shifter on the floor.

Rear leg room was excellent in this 4x4, and the step assist only added to the vision that this could easily be an everyday vehicle for a family.

The base list price of $39,815 went up to $47,810 with some of the features already mentioned as well as Sirius XM radio, a rear-view camera, remote start, and a reverse sensing system, among others.

Blague mentioned that one of the new features coming in the 2016 F-150 is Pro Trailer Backup Assist™—a segment-first technology that makes the challenge of backing up a trailer easier than ever for both experts and infrequent towers alike. It works by letting the customer steer the trailer with a control knob while the truck steers its wheels and limits vehicle speed.

Introducing something new is really nothing new for Ford or the F-150. The 2015 F-150 was first-in-class to use the aluminum alloys mentioned earlier, a 360 camera with split-view display, remote tailgate release, and inflatable rear-seat outboard safety belts. It also has a long list of best-in-class and class-exclusive features, the latter of which include an available twin-panel moonroof and stowable loading ramps.

With all those first-in-class, best-in-class, and class-exclusive features, Ford has just one item listed under its “Always” category—Built Ford Tough.

There is no arguing that in the 2015 Ford F-150.