Ford’s aluminum bodied F-150, an all-new generation that debuted in the 2015 model year, is revolutionary. It is also distinguished as Green Car Journal’s 2016 Green Truck of the Year™, an honor bestowed at the recent San Antonio Auto & Truck Show in Texas.
Besides this new generation’s more refined look and improvements across the board, use of an all-aluminum body has allowed Ford to decrease the pickup’s body weight by 630 pounds, with a high-strength steel frame reducing weight by another 70 pounds. This lightweighting contributes toward higher fuel efficiency without sacrificing the durability and all-around functionality F-150 buyers have come to expect from their pickups over many decades.
For 2016, Ford expanded the F-150 lineup with a new Limited edition for discerning high-end truck buyers, plus special edition appearance packages available for XLT and Lariat models. An all-new aluminum-bodied F-250 has now joined the Ford pickup lineup and this heavy-duty variant will be detailed in a future article.
The F-150’s weight reduction brings the added benefit of better performance. Simply, it takes less power to propel the truck when empty so acceleration is noticeably improved. With less mass working on the chassis, the truck has a lighter feel and handles better than the previous model generation. Braking is also improved since there is less weight to bring to a halt. Cargo bed payload capacity and gross combined vehicle weight ratings (GCVWR) remain similar on the new truck compared to the previous generation, so the lighter aluminum F-150 can haul and tow hundreds heavier loads.
Ford offers F-150 buyers four engine choices to fit varying requirements including a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, 3.5-liter Ti-VCT V-6, and a 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V-8. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine should be of particular interest to drivers seeking a balance of power, functionality, and efficiency. This engine allows the F-150 to achieve up to 26 highway and 19 city mpg while also enabling towing up to 8,500 pounds. Other powertrain choices allow towing up to 12,100 pounds. Ford has integrated the sport mode feature found in the Mustang that changes the frequency of gearshifts, thus enabling drivers to keep the F-150 in the ‘sweet’ spot of the powerband while holding lower gears longer for a more engaging driving experience.
A gaseous-fuel prep option is now available with the F-150‘s 5.0-liter V-8 engine. This positions the F-150 as the only light-duty pickup capable of running on compressed natural gas or propane to help further reduce operating costs and CO2 emissions.
The 2016 F-150 features SYNC 3, Ford’s newest communications and entertainment system that delivers enhanced voice recognition and a capacitive touch screen. Plus, the F-150’s segment-first Pro Trailer Backup Assist technology makes it easier to back a trailer up to launch a boat or park in a driveway. Using the F-150’s advanced camera technology, a driver steers a trailer instinctively by turning a knob left or right to indicate direction, then backs up as the truck controls its steering and limits vehicle speed.
Pickup buyers have a wide choice of F-150 engine, cab configuration, and trim levels in either two- or four-wheel drive, at a starting cost of $26,540.