The 2015 Ford F-150 is easily the angriest and boxiest rendition of the truck in its history, but believe it or not it's also the most aerodynamic. Scraping down as much wind resistance as possible was done by taking advantage of details where air could be directed.
I would not have guessed the rolling temple of aluminum that is the new F-150 would be sleeker than, say, the bubbly tenth generation. But here's how Ford F-150 exterior design manager Brad Richards and his team tweaked and tugged at the truck's shape to shave wind resistance:
- Outer portions of the vertical grille angled back; directing airflow across angled headlamps and down the gunwales.
- Leading edge of the hood beveled to smooth airflow to windshield and roof.
- Flush-mounted windshield eliminates need for molding that would disrupt smooth airflow
- Tailgate top designed to act as a spoiler, giving air that flows off the roof a place to land before smoothly trailing off, reducing turbulence behind the truck
- Cargo box is narrower than the cab to enhance airflow, while a trim piece prevents air from getting trapped between cab and box
- Rear corners and taillamps angled to "break air off" cleanly, reducing turbulence behind the truck
- Duct under the headlamp channeling air through to the wheel housing and reduces the wake generated from the wheel.
Designers basically accentuated the truck's shape with sharp edges to direct airflow off the vehicle's vast flat surfaces. "The truck's sharp, boxy shape gives it a tough appearance, but actually the key to the design is aerodynamic efficiency – getting the most out of the shape," he said. "We made F-150 look tough and capable, while also reducing wind resistance."
Here's Ford's tidy infographic to break it down further: