The auto show floor was buzzing after the new F-150 was unveiled. The new pickup has the potential to set the truck world on its ear, thanks to Ford’s use of first-in-segment technology in the upcoming truck. Here are the five innovations on the new half-ton that we feel are the most likely to change how other manufacturers build trucks.
There’s a lot of meaning within that one word. In the F-150, that the body is almost exclusively made of aluminum means that the truck’s weight is dramatically reduced (by 500-700 pounds, depending on cab layout and bed length), a move that will help improve fuel economy. Because Ford is using military-grade aluminum, 6000 series alloy, it’s said that the switch to aluminum won’t compromise capability.
2. New 2.7-liter EcoBoost
This is the newest engine in the F-150. It doesn’t share its architecture with the big brother 3.5-liter EcoBoost. This is a new application for the engine, and is the first in a family of engines. It uses a compacted graphite iron cylinder block, which was also used in the Super Duty turbodiesel, but this is the first time it’s being used in a gas engine. CGI allows the block to be smaller, lighter, and stronger. F-150s with this engine will also come with start/stop.
3. Next-Gen Tailgate Step
The first generation of the tailgate step was good; the new generation is even better. Now, pulling down the step itself is easier, and the assist handle is much easier to pull into place. In addition, one of the coolest things about the new tailgate step is that it’s fully integrated into the tailgate. That means that the tailgate is a solid piece; once again, you can sit on it when it’s down, and clumps of dirt and mulch will no longer collect around the assist handle when it’s stowed.
This is the new tie-down system, which makes cargo management much easier. BoxLink uses metal brackets, plus cleats, which are mounted midway down the bed sides to make them easier to use. There’s also a set of dirt bike/ATV ramps that attach to the tailgate when it’s down, and store flush against the bed’s side using the BoxLink system.
5. 360-Degree Camera View
Here is one of those features that we could see becoming standard equipment on trucks in the future. It has already proven its worth on large sport/utility vehicles; it makes total sense for it to make its way onto pickups. Ford is the first to offer it on the truck side. The 360-degree view uses exterior cameras to create a birds-eye view of the truck, making it easier to park. It could also be really helpful when out on the trail—and we would like to see if this would help even more than a rearview camera when backing up to a trailer.
For all the latest news, photos, videos, and much more direct from the 2014 Detroit auto show, head to our 2014 Detroit auto show coverage page here.