Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ford F150 FX4 V8

The real surprise in the V8 isn't the subtle natural rumble in the exhaust, the premium feel of the cloth interior and touch surfaces, nor the substantive changes in ride and handling over the outgoing 2014 model.  The real surprise can in the MPG jump for the V8 with the switch to the all aluminum body for this model year.

Over the 20 mile loop of nicely moving freeway traffic, urban streets and a big hill climb this truck returned an incredible 19.2MPG, half mile per gallon less than the 2.7L EcoBoost.  Its also a huge increase over a 2014 model, 4X2 with the same engine that I drove a while back that returned 15.8 over the same loop.  That switch to all aluminum makes this V8 down right thrifty for a pickup truck.
There are subtle differences between this and the volume leading 2.7l Ecoboost.  The added weight of the V8 over the tiny turbo V6 you do notice when making turns on a twisty hill.  The extra weight makes it feel just a bit more ponderous and slow to react to input speeds, on wavey freeway it wants to bob a bit more before recovering.  Nothing obnoxious, just noticeable.

The interior on this model was the all cloth.  Well, actually a very nice durable artificial fiber called Repreve made from recycled water bottles. As a part of its commitment to sustainable, recyclable and renewable materials, Ford wants to help change that. So this week, Ford announced that all fabrics in the all-new F-150 will be made from REPREVE fiber, a sustainable fiber made from 100 percent recycled materials, such as plastic water bottles.The F-150 is the sixth Ford vehicle to be manufactured with this environmentally responsible, high-performance material. And this simple substitution will have a major impact on the planet: By adding REPREVE to the F-150, Ford will divert five million plastic bottles from landfills each year.

On the topic of the F150 being ecologically friendly I got a real treat courtesy my friends at Ford where I was their guest at the NAIAS aka Detroit Auto Show this past January.  Not only is the new F150 made of all aluminum that will contribute to better fuel economy and fewer greenhouse emissions than its competition, it also is manufactured in a green plant.  The Ford Rouge.

The Rouge was the first, and for several years, largest factory in the world with a living roof.  A prairie constructed of native plants on the roof that grow and produce oxygen and serve as insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs at the plant.

But that's not the end of of the The Rouge's ecologically friendliness.  It's also a green plant. Its a near zero waste generated plant. IE everything is recycled, reused or re-purposed so they have near zero landfill waste created in the manufacture of the new F 150.

Manufacture of the all aluminum F150 is an expensive proposition as military grade aluminum doesn't come cheap.  There's milling waste that's captured via vacuums and traps that's remelted and recycled into new aluminum.  This yields little waste and more efficient manufacture that offsets the added cost of the raw aluminum.  Added bonus to this is that recycled aluminum is cheaper than new aluminum made from raw materials as its less energy intensive.

All in all the F150 is an amazing vehicle thats eco-friendly from manufacture to on the road in the drivers hands.  The V8 was a real surprise in improvement from the outgoing 2014 which was no slug in its own right.  For 2015 its more refined, more capable and more eco-friendly.  A win on 3 levels.

The cost of entry on pickup trucks is no longer the inexpensive proposition it once was.  These are in many ways luxury vehicles that happen to be very capable haulers for whatever the activity may be.  The entry cost for the basic XLT starts at a pretty reasonable 36.4K.  Add in the FX4 all wheel drive, creature comforts like Sync/MyFord with Navigation and the prices jumps up pretty quickly to $40.4K  Not unreasonable for what you get.  For more information visit and build your own.

all pics by me, more high res images from the shoot on my flickr album.