Covert Baja 1000 prototype racing. Late night TV host pimping. "Moon shot" metaphors. Sledgehammers. With all of the hoopla surrounding the redesigned 2015 Ford F-150, it's way too easy to forget one simple question: Is it a good truck? Consumer Reports finally has the answer. Indeed, the F-150 is a good truck, but the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra and Ram 1500 are better.
We hear your collective gasp. After all, we lauded the new F-150 as being part of the future because of its revolutionary aluminum body. The resulting weight loss, coupled with an amazingly small 2.7-liter EcoBoost turbo V6, helps the truck return a class-leading 17 mpg. Plus, that same engine feels downright frisky to drive, and it doesn't bat a whisker at towing a good-sized trailer. (Read the complete Ford F-150 road test.)
Indeed, the powertrain is a high point. So is the roomy and tomb-silent cabin. Towing and payload capacities are high, particularly with the available 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. We certainly appreciate all of the clever and innovative gadgets, ranging from the familiar tailgate step to new features like spotlights in the mirrors.
So what's the problem? Put simply, the F-150's engineering proves to be far more revolutionary than how it actually drives. For years, Ford has built the most "truck-like" pickup, and this truck doesn't stray from that path. It's like Ford was afraid that they already asked buyers to swallow enough "newness" with the 2015 F-150, so they slavishly benchmarked how the old truck felt from behind the wheel.
Even for a truck, the F-150 feels cumbersome to drive, with slow and vague steering. Constant jitters from the suspension spoil the ride—a compromise that doesn't fly anymore in this class, since the Ram 1500's unique rear coil spring suspension raised expectations for ride quality.
The MyFord Touch infotainment system didn't win the truck any points either, although the impending move to Ford's new Sync 3 infotainment system might gain a few of those points back. Finally, our F-150 SuperCrew XLT 2.7-liter 4x4 carries a hefty $45,750 price tag, making the better-riding, more efficient Ram 1500 EcoDiesel with its lofty 20 mpg overall a reasonable alternative.
There are a lot of good things about the 2015 F-150. Sales have been strong, and we're sure many repeat F-150 owners will love their new truck. But we just wish that the F-150 captured the same ride and handling magic that Ford works on their great-to-drive cars.
Our team discusses the results of our Ford F-150 road test and more in the latest episode of “Talking Cars With Consumer Reports.”
As with the other shows, this episode is also available free through the iTunes Store. Subscribe to the video or audio. You'll also find the video on YouTube.
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