We’re all pretty much ready for a new F-150, but are we ready for one from the future? That’s the question implicit with Ford’s reveal of the F-150 Atlas at the Detroit auto show today. I was expecting them to actually bring out the 2014 model, but hey, this thing is is still pretty cool.
Honestly, it’s not a revolutionary change from the current F-150 in the looks department. They’ve given it the trademark barred grill, the blocky fenders, and of course, that funky little kink in the belt line under the window. If anything, it looks a little bit more like the Super Duty. The main difference is the addition of LEDs everywhere. The headlights and tails are all LEDs and the running lights look like they were ripped out of Tron. They’ve included lights in the bed as well. Hopefully that’s a feature that makes it’s way into the next production model as standard.
Efficiency is also a pretty big deal. Unfortunately, there’s no mention of it being built out of aluminum. Instead, Ford uses a host of gadgets to help keep MPGs up. Active grill shutters open to keep the engine cool while working at low speeds and close for better aerodynamics at high speeds. They use similar technology on the wheels, with shutters that close at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics. Ford says the wheel shutters are hidden at low speed to “improve style.” Form over function I guess.
Even though the wheel shutters are more of an aesthetic point, they’ve also included some useful new stuff. Dynamic hitch assist and Trailer Backup Assist aim to make the process hauling stuff much easier. They’ve also added a camera that that gives a birds-eye-view of the truck for tight parking situations. Handy!