2015 Ford F-150 4×4 EcoBoost Review

I’ll get this out of the way now, I’m not a truck guy.  I’ve never owned a truck, and, until this week, I haven’t driven a pickup truck longer than an occasional trip to the local big box home improvement store and back in someone’s pickup I borrowed.  So I’m not comparing the latest Ford F-150 to other trucks, I can’t.  I am comparing it to cars and SUVs, which I have owned and driven dozens to compare it to.  So how does a bigass truck handle, well..handling?  How well does it handle hauling people or hauling ass?  Let’s find out.  We kept the video portion simple on this one, just a quick walk through followed by a glorious burnout.

 

 

 

 

Hauling People

I subjected the big Ford to the worst that Washington DC could throw at her, that included 495 (aka the Beltway) and a host of other highways and byways (wait, what’s a byway?).  Long story short, it’s a comfortable cruiser.   There was nary a rattle in the big truck, save for my Recaro child seat, which has been in the back seat of more different vehicles than <some famous slutty person>.  Inside there was a decent amount of room.  My first ever ride in a pickup was my Dad’s single cab compact Toyota, which would probably fit in the bed of this beast.  So to me, it had a lot of room inside.  However, I do question the use of “supercab” though.  I recall a day when “super” only preceded truly special things like “man”, “size”, “bowl”, “car”, “Mario” and “Big-Gulp”.  This, on the other hand, was pretty much what I expected a normal extended cab truck to be.  Perhaps, like fountain drinks, medium is the new large and large is freakin huge.  The suicide doors give admirable access to the back seat to load passengers into the aforementioned Recaro seat and my two older varmints kids said they had enough room.  My daughter dug the rear-opening doors and insisted she open them herself.  I guess you need to upgrade to “SuperCrew®” to get extra space in the back.  It’s the new large, bring your whole crew.  Elsewhere size is in your favor, particularly from a storage standpoint.  The center storage area is voluminous, with trays and bins and cup holders abound.  I found myself leaning over to reach my drink, it’s a large space.  It all flows into the center storage area/armrest which I managed to fit a couple of jackets into at one point.  It’s super huge.

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The technology was, as best I can describe, adequate.  I know I just said that I’m not a jaded auto journalist yet, but allow me to digress down that path for a moment.  Ever vehicle we have gotten in as a press loaner was loaded with tech, from fairly basic warning lights on the side mirror to alert you that someone is next to you in traffic, to high end collision avoidance and radar guided missiles cruise control.  Plus they came with big ole touch screens, all of them.  This, not inexpensive, truck came with none of that.  I understand that a lot of the options that make up its $40K+ window sticker are there to make it a better truck, however, I sort of expect some of this tech in any vehicle in this price range.  If you are a purist, you’re saying through your handlebar mustache (sorry Fails) “good, keeps the weight down, doesn’t over complicate stuff, keep that crap out of my truck”.  And you may be right.  I may be crazy, but I’m starting to get used to it, nay rely, on it a bit in the hectic daily drive through out nations capital.  Especially in something this huge, I would have preferred to see that little amber light on the mirror telling me that something smaller, like a U-Haul, was in my blind spot.

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And that screen!  I found myself continually surprised at how chunky and solid everything is inside, all the components are 35% larger than they are in any other vehicle.  Except that tiny little (non-touch) screen.  While it did the job, just, I’m getting spoiled these days.  Docking Parking this thing in a DC garage while looking at that tiny screen was a challenge.  Thankfully the mirrors are gigantic. So I’ll ding the big Ford on tech, but like ordering Chinese food, you can just add a #3 to your #5 via the Ford build-your-own menu and get what you want.  More on that later though, there are limits.

My last observation on the inside is about the HVAC controls.  Just like I’m jaded enough to have gotten used to large touchscreens and blind spot monitoring, I wasn’t quite prepared to wrap my brain around how accustomed to automatic climate control I have become.  Which is strange, since the conventional fan and temperature dials, along with the myriad of buttons across the middle to control other aspects of your climate, were part of most of my personal cars up until sometime in the 2000s.  But the maths and thermodynamic theories that I needed to do to get the temperature right the first time I went back to the old system were mind boggling.  Ok, so we need warm air for the windows to defog, part of the way into the red, OK, wait but not so warm that it smokes me out of the cabin, fan up to…oh I guess 3…wait, that’s not right, lets dial that back, oh, darn need more heat.  It’s chaos!  Alright, it wasn’t that bad, and was sort of like riding a bike, I got back into the groove and managed to find a great temperature 9 times out of 10.

Hauling Stuff

I didn’t really have any stuff to haul.  So I didn’t really haul any stuff.  The bed in the back is spacious though, and has some fancy tie downs that, for reasons unknown to a non-truck guy like myself, unlock and can be removed by a separate key!  So there’s that.  The bed..door..access..thing, ah right tailgate (I actually couldn’t think of the word as I typed, I’m not just being an asshole) folds down and sports a fancy ($375 option) step system.  You push a button and a step retracts and folds down.  But wait, there’s more!  There is a yellow button, naturally I pushed it!  A pole type thing came out and hinged up with a satisfying click.  This pole is not for dancing though, so put the dollar bills away.  it’s to help you climb up and down.  Back in my day we just put one foot on the tire and hopped over the side, but the pickup truck market is competitive to say the least, so you have to innovate.  Plus I’m 39 and have a sprained ankle so I used it.  Our F-150 sported an optional $475 spray-in bed liner; interesting to see that the manufacturers are now installing what the aftermarket has historically been making a lot of cash adding post-purchase.  I watched a soccer game from the bed, had two dogs running around in there plus me and a folding chair.  Plenty of room, so if that counts for hauling stuff, consider some shit hauled.  On to the important bit.

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Hauling Ass

This!  This is what we do here at RFD.  I can attest to the fact that there is substantial boost in EcoBoost.  This truck didn’t just feel quick for a big vehicle, it felt quick for a vehicle.  Plant your right foot to the floor and this girl has some giddy up, seriously.  I’m not sure how many other cliched terms I can use to make it clear that a turbo 6 is just as much fun as a V8.  And this wasn’t even the biggest EcoBoost option!  This had the 2.7L with 325hp and 375 ft. lbs.  There is a 3.5L rated at 365/420!  It may not make the exact same noise as the 5.0L V8 (which has 20 more HP than the 3.5L but 33 less torques than the larger EcoBoost), but it didn’t sound wimpy or lesser of an engine.  As you hopefully saw in the video, turn off the traction control, toss it in Sport mode via the right stalk, plant both feet and the big red machine will roast her rear Goodyear Wranglers.  If I’m being honest—and you’ll allow me to part the curtain a bit this took a couple of takes.  The first time there was a lot of noise and a big lurch forward but no time smoke.  I yelled “cut” and we tried it again.  This time I saw the view behind me cloud over in a white rage of tire-murdering enjoyment.  So much fun, I love this big thing.

2015 Ford F-150 EcoBoost

One element I wasn’t quite sure where to address was the start-stop feature.  Since this bit is about the engine, I guess it’ll go here.  It has one such system, and it was never obtrusive, nor did it cause me to miss a light or anything while I waited for it to activate.  It (probably) measures your foot’s pressure on the brake pedal and as you start to let off, it fires up the engine, and is ready to go.  It’s a testament to how smooth the engine is that you don’t really notice.  Last, but, well, perhaps least, handling.  It’s not a sports car, it tows sports cars.  The chassis stays flat, and even though it’s a tall vehicle, I never felt like it was leaning to one side.  Then again, I didn’t slide it through an on and/or offramps.  That’s not what it’s for.  It’s like an old muscle car.  Fast in a straight line, can make quick work of rear tires, and just feels “cool”.  That’s the real story here, to a car guy like me, this truck is cool.  Plus it hauled me and my family around DC and did a sick burnout.  I’ll take one, maybe not in red, although it did look darn good next to the American flag barn.  Didn’t it?

Specifications

Trim: XLT Supercab
Trans: 6-Speed Auto w/Tow Mode
Engine: 325-hp 2.7 Liter, Turbocharged V6
Drive: 4WD

Exterior: Race Red
Interior: Medium Camel Cloth

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MSRP: $37,005
Destination & Delivery Fee: $1195

Packages & Options

301A Equipment Group $2150

  • Fixed backlight with privacy glass and defroster
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar and manual passenger seat
  • 4.2” productivity screen in instrument cluster
  • Dual power glass/manual-folding heated mirrors with turn signal, driver’s side auto-dimming feature and black skull caps
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirrors
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Rear view camera
  • Power-adjustable pedals
  • Rear under-seat storage (N/A with Regular Cab)
  • Class IV trailer hitch
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio

Remote Start $195
LED Side-Mirror Spotlights $175
Tailgate Step $375
Integrated Trailer Brake $275
LED Box lighting $125
XLT Chrome Appearance Package $1695
Cloth 40/Console/40 Front Seats $125
Spray-in Bed Liner $475

XLT Discounts (-$1500)
Total MSRP: $43,085.00

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Final Thoughts

So how would I option my F-150, asked no one.  But I’m going to answer it anyway, because I’m the Editor-in-Chief of this here website and I write what I want.  Driving this race red Ecoboost for a week made me want a fast truck.  A truck I could autocross, or take to the track, or even drift!  Rear wheel drive, light over the back tires, sounds perfect for some shenanigans.  So how does one go about building such a truck, a truck you are probably noting is the opposite of the tech-heavy Ford I was pining for above?  Well, again it’s my review, so screw you!  First, you start clicking the simplest, lightest options.  Regular cab.  shorter 5’1″ bed.  Rear Wheel Drive.  Tunable 3.5L EcoBoost engine.  3.55 Limited Slip.  6-Speed manual transmission.  Only that truck doesn’t exist in F-150 land.

Build your own F-150The 6 speed wasn’t even an option, you can only add the 6-Speed Automatic Electronic Transmission w/Tow/Haul Mode.  There’s something special about shifting your own gears in a big, powerful truck.  It’s mechanical, it feels like you are operating a piece of heavy farm machinery.  The long throw shifter and heavy clutch that existed in older big trucks I’ve driven made you feel like part of the process.  Like you are integral to the cogs and gears.  Thus, my dreams of building a turbocharged, manual tranny, sport truck were dashed.  Too bad, I just saw a video of an EcoBoost F-150 with just a tune running in the 12’s through the 1/4 mile.  That’s fast.

I guess I’ll have to go to the aftermarket for my imaginary truck.  This year at SEMA, you can take a look at a truck like the one I’m describing built by a company called MRT.  It’s got the 3.5-liter  EcoBoost paired with a Tremec Magnum 6-Speed manual transmission.  Add in a new suspension and Willwood brakes and it’s pretty much what I’m describing.  So Ford, it doesn’t have to be quite as crazy as this SEMA creation, but I’m sure there are some folks out there looking for a simple, tunable, sport truck. 

MRT Ford F-150 Ecoboost SEMA
Ford F-150 TKO by MRT

In the meantime, job well done on this 4×4 EcoBoost.  And really, Ford really shouldn’t listen to me prattle on about sports trucks.  They sell F-150s.  A ton of them.  Like 753,851 last year.  I talk sales figures on here often, and that’s more sold in one year then most, if not all, of the “sporty car” sales figures I’ve cited….combined.  And not just in one year, like over the course of their entire existence.  Regardless, the big girl compared well against the SUVs and cars I’ve been testing, (and owning) and does pretty much everything well.  I would just click the “302A” option box so I could a bigger 8″ screen inside and perhaps the BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System) and embrace my reliance on tech. 

Or I’ll just go look for a used SVT Lightning to destroy tires with.