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Ford F-150: The Ultimate Buyer's Guide

Illustration for article titled Ford F-150: The Ultimate Buyers Guide

The Ford F-150 is the quintessential American truck. What do you need to know before you buy a Ford F-150? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in the Ultimate Buyer’s Guide.

Few vehicles say ‘Murica! quite like Ford’s half-ton pickup. It’s been outselling competitors for decades by sticking to a tried-and-true formula of lookin’ tough and keepin’ it simple. But with fuel economy and emissions regulations looming, Ford decided to eat their medicine now and invest in advanced engine and weight savings technology. You want a cutting-edge pickup that’s also dripping with red, white, and blue? This is it.

What’s New About The 2015 F-150:

Illustration for article titled Ford F-150: The Ultimate Buyers Guide

The biggest change for 2015 is the all new body, which is made from high strength aluminum, a big departure from the conventional steel bodies Ford has used on trucks for a century. This new body dropped the F-150’s weight by up to a massive 700 lbs (or about 1/3 of an NA Miata) compared to its predecessor. Powertrain options are similar to the outgoing model, with the exception of the 3.7L naturally aspirated V6, which has been replaced with a 3.5L naturally aspirated mill. The F150’s powertrains, when compared to the competition, are still quite advanced.

Powertrain Breakdown

There are four engines available on the 2015 Ford F150: two boosted V6s, one naturally-aspirated V6, and a big naturally aspirated V8. Power from these engines is routed through the only available transmission: a conventional six speed automatic.

2015 Ford F150 Engine Options

EngineMax Horsepower (hp) Max Torque (lb-ft)
5.0L Ti-VCT V8385 @ 5750 rpm387 @ 3850 rpm
3.5L Ecoboost V6365 @ 5000 rpm420 @ 2500 rpm
2.7L Ecoboost V6325 @ 5750 rpm375 @ 3000 rpm

3.5L Ti-VCT V6

282 @ 6250 rpm

253 @ 4250 rpm

Fuel Economy Breakdown

Even if you’re buying a truck, fuel economy is something most folks are going to have to consider. The 2.7L ekes out the most mileage, at 22 MPG combined for the 2wd version, while, unsurprisingly, the big V8 manages only 17 MPG combined. You can have a look at the full breakdown below.


2015 Ford F150 Fuel Economy Ratings (City/Highway/Combined)

2.7L EcoBoost V63.5L EcoBoost V63.5L Ti-VCT V65.0L Ti-VCT V8
Fuel Economy - 4x219/26/2217/24/2018/25/2015/22/18
Fuel Economy - 4x418/23/2017/23/1917/23/1915/21/17

Trim Level Breakdown

Illustration for article titled Ford F-150: The Ultimate Buyers Guide

Ford offers five trim levels on the F150. Their starting prices range from just over $26,000 for the base XL model to about $51,000 for the plush Platinum Edition. Let’s break down the trim levels.

  • XL: Base model. Starts at $26,030. All four engines and cab configurations available. Notable standard features: manual locks, manual windows, AM/FM radio, air conditioning, black front facia and bumper, 17” steel wheels, 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 engine, all season tires, trailer sway control, front and side airbags, manual tilt and telescoping steering wheel, front 40/20/40 vinyl bench seat.
  • XLT: Mid-range model. Starts at $31,320. Notable standard features over XL trim: electric windows, CD player, SYNC in-vehicle communications system, chrome front and rear bumpers, chrome grille, black grille inserts, 17” aluminum wheels, keyless entry, fog lamps, cruise control, 40/20/40 cloth bench seat, power lock tailgate.
  • Lariat: Higher end model. Starts at $39,310. Notable standard features over XLT: 2.7L Ecoboost V6 engine, satellite radio, 18” aluminum wheels, unique front chrome grille, body colored heated mirrors, class IV trailer hitch, heated and cooled power leather seats, blind spot monitoring, remote start, dual zone climate control, eight inch instrument cluster display, power rear window, LED box lighting, larger tires, manual gear select.
  • King Ranch: Country-themed luxury truck. Starts at $49,120. Available with only the 5 1/2 and 6 1/2 ft boxes and Supercrew cab configuration. Notable standard features over Lariat: 5.0L Ti-VCT engine; King Ranch emblems on the sheetmetal, brown leather bucket seats, and carpets; rear heated seats; heated steering wheel; real wood interior trim; unique grille inserts and bumper accents; unique sidesteps; LED headlamps and taillamps; voice activated navigation system; remote tailgate release, trailer brake control.
  • Platinum: Executive luxury truck. Starts at $51,585. Standard features over King Ranch: unique grille inserts, bumpers, and exterior trim; 20” aluminum wheels; unique black leather interior; chrome mirrors; inflatable rear safety belts; power deployable running boards.

Which One We’d Buy

The F-150 is basically the make-your-own-yogurt-bowl of automobiles, served up with enough permutations to appeal to just about everyone. If it were us, the sweet spot appears to be the SuperCab/Long Box XL 4WD with the 3.5 EcoBoost engine and Heavy Duty Payload/Max Trailering Package for $39,120. It’s a lot of power, a lot of space, and all the goodies you’d actually want for towing.


Important Facts At A Glance:

MSRP: $26,030 - $51,585 Max Advertised Towing Capability 12,200 lbs [3.5L]

Max Payload: 3,300lbs [5.0L] Bed Sizes: 5.5 ft, 6.5 ft, 8.0 ft

MPG: 26 hwy / 19 city / 22 combined [2.7L] Engines:2.7L V6, 3.5L V6 (2), 5.0L V8

Transmissions: 6-speed automatic

Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, RWD/4WD

Photo credit: Ford


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I have it on pretty good authority that this truck will *not*, in point of fact, protect you from bears at all.

It is completely irresponsible journalism for jalopnik to recommend a truck that is not bear proof like a Silverado, which is made of high strength steel.

*this commentary provided by a happy Silverado owner who is completely and totally embarrassed by those awful commercials*