Although Ford is calling the Atlas pickup concept just that, a "concept," it doesn't take a genius to put the pieces together to see that Ford is preparing to launch an all-new F-150 soon. The current F-150 got a full powertrain refresh in 2011, but the current body style and chassis has been out since 2009, meaning that 2015 would signify a logical six-year production cycle.
The F-150 can't come a moment too soon, either. With brand-new or significantly refreshed models from General Motors, Ram, a mildly refreshed Toyota Tundra, and what Nissan is promising will be a "no excuses" replacement for the geriatric Titan.
Just as GM used a fake oval in the grille in the new full-size SUV test mules, Ford is trying to fake out the spy shooters with an upswept beltline along the rear doors, or at least upswept cladding. Obviously, any distinct details are obscured through the black wrapped cladding, but a grille shape similar to both the Super Duty as well as the Atlas concept is apparent through the front mesh.
The wheels on this tester are six-lug, like the current F-150, but there's no sign of the trick (and pricey to replace) active-shutter wheels on the Atlas. Although not necessarily indicative of the final production hardware, the rear window on this test mule shows just a horizontal sliding center section, making it look like the Toyota Tundra will retain its class-exclusive status as having the only full-width vertical retracting rear window among full-size trucks.