REVIEW 2015 Ford F-150 XLT 4X4 is the Future

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Ford has a good thing going when it comes to selling pickup trucks. Year after year after year, they are the top selling vehicles in the United States.

In addition to word-of-mouth advertising, Ford packs millions into marketing these trucks nationwide. Trucks are what make Ford money, and they don’t want to do anything to mess that up.

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So why, for 2015, did they decide to change it up? Because the future. They kept the steel frame, but ditched the rest of the metal. In its place came a high-strength aluminum alloy. Some people were skeptical. “Aluminum, you mean the stuff in beer cans?”

No, I’m talking about the aluminum that’s been used in applications like dump trucks for years. I’m talking about aluminum that is as strong as steel but saves approximately 700 pounds of weight over the previous F-150. Basically, I’m talking about the future.

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Speaking of the future, this truck comes with a futuristic set of engines. Sorry, there’s no 5.4L Triton, and good riddance to it. Ford’s modern engines are more efficient, more powerful, and better engineered. With over 5 million EcoBoost engines on the road, any issues that they may have had were worked out long ago. It’s 2015, and Ford is ready for it.

The XLT has every 2015 F-150 engine option available, but there’s really only two you need to concern yourself with. The 5.0L V8 is a great engine if you plan to do your own service or looking for simplicity. It’s easy to work on and plenty powerful.

F-150 EcoBoost 1

But if you want the best engine, you want the 2.7L EcoBoost. On tap is 325 hp and 375 lb-ft of torque. Yes, that’s less power and torque than the 3.5L EcoBoost, but there’s a significant difference between the two engines; price.

The 2.7L is a $795 price increase over the base, non-turbo V6. The 3.5L EcoBoost represents a $1995 increase over the base price. Yes, the 3.5L EcoBoost can tow up to 10,700 pounds when properly equipped in the XLT, and the 2.7L can only hit 7,800 pounds. But guess what?

Many half-ton pickup truck owners don’t tow anything, and the ones that do aren’t towing that much.

But what about the rest of the truck?

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From the exterior, the truck has subtle changes. The front grille is paying homage to the Atlas concept. Redesigned tail lights let you know the truck is the new one, but the overall profile really remains the same.

Our review truck came with the Chrome Appearance Package, which gives you a different grille and lots of chrome. It’s a good looking package, but chrome tow hooks never made any sense to me. Once you use them, they’d be all scratched up.

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Inside, almost everything is new, but familiar. There are more physical buttons than ever for controlling the radio and air conditioning. That’s good for people who wear gloves.

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Our review truck didn’t have MyFord Touch, but the radio still featured Bluetooth connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio, and text message notification. MyFord Touch is available, but I’d wait for Sync 3 at this point if I were looking for navigation, since it’ll be a better system.

The interior is much improved, but in my opinion still not as nice as the interior inside a Ram 1500. I do like the new squishy steering wheel, but I know a few people who don’t.

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If you get the center console instead of the front bench, you get loads of storage available for devices as large as a laptop computer. Ours didn’t come with the 400 watt, 115-volt plug, but it is available.

If fuel economy matters to you, I was able to get 20.8 MPG over the course of the week. During one particular hypermiling run, I managed 24 MPG. But that was driving to try to be the most fuel efficient possible, and not maintaining a high speed.

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The truck also had some intelligent bits, including the side mirror spot lights that make lighting up a camp site or work area after dark a breeze. The rear-view camera also worked in the display on the stereo even though it wasn’t the big navigation display. I prefer that location than the rearview mirror.

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One final note: definitely spring for a spray-in bed liner. Even if you don’t get the one from Ford it’s a nice addition. It’s not necessary because the bed is aluminum and won’t rust, but it still prevents scratching.

I expect the XLT to be Ford’s volume seller. The company touts how many trucks they sell in the luxury segment, but just as many people want an everyday work truck that gets the job done without too many frills. In that case, this 2.7L XLT is a great truck for the job.

Equipped with the 2.7L engine, a Super Cab configuration, and four-wheel drive, our review sample carries an MSRP of $44,850, including the $1,195 destination charge. It’s not cheap, but falls in line with the pricing of other trucks in this class with this capability.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely. If you want a new Ford truck but don’t want all the luxury features, the XLT with the 2.7L is the truck to get.

What do you think? Sound off in the forums!

Chad Kirchner is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other auto sites.

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