Tuesday, August 19, 2014

2015 F-150: Ford Reveals Two Powertrains


We've been hearing about new all-aluminum 2015 Ford F-150 since the beginning of the year when it was revealed at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, but details on the truck's engines have been kept under wraps. Ford is now slowly beginning to peel back the layers of secrecy surrounding two of the F-150's powertrains, releasing some (but not all) specifications for the standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine and the brand-new turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost motor.

The new standard V-6 will provide 283 horsepower and 255 pounds-feet of torque, enabling the base 2015 F-150 to tow 7,600 pounds and carry a payload of 1,910 pounds. This is a best-in-class tow rating for V-6 light-duty pickups, according to Ford. But the more interesting power option comes in the form of the new turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6, which is rated at 325 hp and 375 pounds-feet of torque. It's as powerful as most other truckmakers' midrange V-8 engines and enables an F-150 equipped with the 2.7-liter engine to pull 8,500 pounds and haul a payload of up to 2,250 pounds. The company believes that this is likely to be its volume engine, comprising fully half of its expected engine mix. It makes sense, Ford said, given that 85 percent of F-150 buyers tow less than 8,500 pounds and carry a payload less than 2,000 pounds.

Ford demonstrated the efficacy of the new 2.7-liter motor through a comparison with three competitors: the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado with its midrange 5.3-liter V-8, the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel with its 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6 and the 2015 Toyota Tacoma 4x4 (an unusual choice) featuring a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine.

The company showed a video at a special news conference at the company's headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., that showed the 2.7-liter-equipped 2015 F-150 out-performing the Ram EcoDiesel up the Davis Dam run in northern Arizona, and besting the Chevy in two out of three runs up the same steep grade while towing a 7,000-pound enclosed trailer. The Toyota was included as a demonstration of what the an engine of comparable displacement can achieve — the 2.7-liter EcoBoost produces 166 more hp and 195 pounds-feet more torque than the big four-cylinder in the Toyota.

Sadly, no fuel economy numbers were made available by Ford; those are likely being reserved for yet another press conference in the near future. Ford did, however, demonstrate something that the public has been asking to see for months — a direct weight comparison between the outgoing truck and the new one. Ford had two F-150 Lariat models on display, one a 2014 crew cab with the 5.0-liter V-8, and the other a comparably equipped 2015 model with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6. Both trucks were rolled onto electric scales, with the 2014 model weighing in at 5,674 pounds, while the new 2015 model totaled just 4,942 pounds, a difference of 732 pounds. Ford spokesman Mike Levine said that even if the 2015 had been equipped with a comparable 5.0-liter V-8, the difference would have been just 25 pounds less.

Stay tuned for more F-150 news and specs (hopefully including some fuel economy ratings) as the year progresses.




To see the video and the press release, click here.

By Aaron Bragman
From  www.pickuptrucks.com

Images from manufacturer

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Secrets of the All-New Ford F-150 Seamless Sliding Rear Window

  •     Ford to launch new seamless sliding rear window design, available on the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 – the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 yet
  •     New technology hides window seams, setting a new trend for power sliders by improving looks and functionality while reducing components and manufacturing complexity
  •     Seamless sliding rear window was developed through a Ford and Magna International association
When people see the all-new Ford F-150 for the first time, they tend to do two things: First, they tap their knuckles against the high-strength, military-grade, aluminum-alloy body, and then they marvel at the pickup truck’s available segment-first seamless sliding rear window.


The seamless design conceals the vertical seams that mark the edges of conventional pickup truck sliding rear windows, creating a smooth opening when viewed from outside. Developed by global automotive supplier Magna International, in association with Ford, the first-to-market design sets a new trend for power sliders by reducing component needs and improving overall functionality and manufacturing efficiency.

“Delivering the latest in innovation and technology to our customer is a top priority for Ford,” said Noah Mass, Ford body mechanisms manager. “The seamless sliding rear window is another great example of the intricate detail that goes into producing the next-generation F-150, setting it apart from any pickup on the market today.”

Standard sliding rear windows typically contain three pieces of glass – left and right panes that don’t move plus the sliding portion in the middle, all held together by a support structure that requires numerous components. The seamless sliding rear window uses only two pieces of glass – the exterior surround and the sliding portion, reducing build componentry and complexity. The window’s opening is the same size as the outgoing design.

In addition to its streamlined looks, the window’s two-piece design enables continuous uninterrupted defrost capability for the larger surrounding glass.

The new design also contributes to vehicle weight savings, as the seamless power slider uses a lighter window control module. Overall, up to 700 pounds have been saved through the use of smarter design and advanced materials, helping the all-new F-150 tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter, and contributing to efficiency. All-New F-150 Seamless Sliding Rear Window

“We designed the seamless sliding rear window to deliver not only a new look and improved functionality, but also to start a trend in the truck sliding window market,” said Troy Tooker, design engineering manager for Magna International. “With pickup sliders being one of our core products, we wanted to show our leadership and raise the bar on the new F-150.”

All-new Ford F-150 – the future of trucks The 2015 Ford F-150 is the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 ever – setting the standard for the future of trucks. Its signature fully boxed ladder frame is all-new, with more high-strength steel than ever – making the truck both stronger and lighter.

High-strength, military-grade aluminum is used throughout the F-150 body for the first time, improving dent and ding resistance and also saving weight.

When it arrives in showrooms later this year, the all-new F-150 will have undergone the equivalent of more than 10 million miles of torture testing to ensure it meets or exceeds Built Ford Tough standards. 2015 Ford F-150 Platinum

In addition to an all-new 2.7-liter EcoBoost® engine offering, a complete lineup of powertrains lets customers tailor the toughest, smartest, most capable pickup truck ever to their needs. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine returns, an all-new normally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 debuts and there is an improved 5.0-liter V8.


F-150 is part of the Ford F-Series lineup. Now in its 66th year, F-Series has been the best-selling truck in America for 37 consecutive years and the best-selling vehicle in America for 32 consecutive years. The all-new F-150 will be manufactured at Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan, and Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri.

 About Ford Motor Company Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 186,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit corporate.ford.com.

About Magna International Magna is a leading global automotive supplier with 317 manufacturing operations and 83 product development, engineering and sales centers in 29 countries. We have over 130,000 employees focused on delivering superior value to its customers through innovative products and processes, and World Class Manufacturing. Magna’s product capabilities include producing body, chassis, interior, exterior, seating, powertrain, electronic, vision, closure and roof systems and modules, as well as complete vehicle engineering and contract manufacturing. Common Shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange (MG) and the New York Stock Exchange (MGA). For further information about Magna, visit www.magna.com.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Celebrating 90 Years of GM’s Milford Proving Ground





Safety testing moves from primitive to high-tech over the decades 

DETROIT – When the General Motors Milford Proving Ground opened in 1924 – 90 years ago this October – engineers lacked advanced tools and technology for safety testing. Judging from this video, some might say the only crash test dummies back then were human.

Engineers today keep their distance during crash tests. No more riding the running boards until seconds before impact. Inside the vehicles being tested are heavily instrumented anthropomorphic test devices – dummies – who capture the data for which engineers once risked their lives.

“The technology used today to research vehicles is far superior to the past, but the intention stays the same, put vehicles to the test in the name of safety,” said Jack Jensen, the GM engineering group manager for the dummy lab and a GM Technical Fellow. “We have more sophisticated dummies, computers to monitor crashes and new facilities to observe different types of potential hazards.

“All those things together give our engineers the ability to design a broad range of vehicles that safely get our customers where they need to go.”

GM has provided customers with many industry-firsts using the Milford Proving Ground to test the developments:

  • ·         Patent-pending child restraint seat cushion extension feature: A segment safety first, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon jump seat headrest can be removed from the back of the seat on inserted into the base to give the child seat more area to sit on
  • ·         Belt assurance system: The industry-first keeps drivers from shifting from “park” if not buckled up, will be launching in Q4 of 2014 on a limited group of fleet vehicles
  • ·         Front center air bag: GM was the first manufacturer to introduce the feature in 2013 on all full size crossovers, it will also be on the all-new 2015 full size utilities
  • ·         Rollover test facility: GM was the first North American auto manufacturer to build a rollover test facility, which opened in 2006.
  • ·         Test dummies: In the early 1980s, GM’s safety team developed several dummies, including the Hybrid III, which became the universal standard for frontal crash testing and remains so today across the globe.


General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Real World Testing: 2015 F-150



Two and a half years before production Ford secretly tested six prototype F-150s with high-strength aluminum cargo boxes. The goal was to prove the durability of aluminum alloy through real-world extreme experiences that ensured the new F-150 could stand up to the tough work of our customers.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Stiles Truck Body and Equipment - a Rack-It Dealer in Turlock, CA.




 Stiles Truck Body and Equipment is a Rack-It Dealer in Turlock, CA.

Stiles Truck Body & Equipment, Inc. was established in September of 1984. It is a small, family owned and operated business dedicated to supplying quality truck equipment to the Western United States. STB employs approximately 9 installers, fabricators in the shop, along with a knowledgeable sales staff and parts department. STB also operates a body and paint department with the capacity to facilitate any size vehicle.

After 25 years in business, Stiles Truck Body has been setting the standard for truck equipment in Central California. While many larger truck equipment companies have dismissed quality and focused on quantity, STB has continued to serve its customers by selling and installing the highest quality truck equipment available.

You can find us at: http://www.stilestruckbody.com

Stiles Truck Body & Equipment, Inc.
701 S Golden State Blvd.
Turlock, CA 95380

Local: 209-667-2639
Toll Free: 1-800-909-2639

Thursday, August 7, 2014

2014 Ram Review



In the age of expensive pickup trucks, you can still get a cool one for under $30,000 — but in the case of the 2014 Ram 1500 Express, the content you'll have to sacrifice to get there may be too much.

Pickup trucks are expensive, far more now than they used to be, with the sticker prices of more well-optioned rigs easily topping $70,000. Even average, midlevel versions can go for nearly $50,000 when you start adding options.

The folks at Ram, however, think a good pickup doesn't have to be so expensive — and to prove it, they built the 2014 Ram 1500 Tradesman/Express. Take a Tradesman work truck, add a few appearance items, give it a Hemi V-8 engine and — voila: an attractive, two-door, sporty pickup that just happens to be the least-expensive V-8-powered truck in America. What do you get for the money you do spend? Not much, it turns out — not even some of the basics that people have come to expect in modern vehicles, though that hasn't stopped the Express trim from being massively popular with Ram customers. Compare the 2013 and 2014 Ram 1500s here.

Styling
The Ram light-duty truck got an update for the 2013 model year, making it one of the most attractive pickups on the market. The Express is the base version of the truck, so there isn't much flash. Instead, Ram has made a few cost-careful cosmetic choices to emphasize sportiness. The Express is limited to a few body styles: only regular or quad cab with the 6-foot-4-inch bed, or crew cab with the shorter 5-foot-7-inch bed. The least expensive version is the one I drove: a standard cab with the regular bed, in 4x2 configuration. Despite its being cheap, it looks complete — body-colored bumpers front and back, blacked-out trim, fog lamps and big 20-inch painted wheels don't make it look like a stripped-down model. There's very little chrome for a pickup, but it has a custom sport-truck look to it that's fantastic. Unfortunately, the Express is also built to a price, so things like a spray-in bedliner and a trailer hitch receiver are extra-cost options.

How It Drives
The best part about the Express is what comes under the hood — a 395-horsepower, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It also pumps out 410 pounds-feet of torque, good enough to lay down some massive stripes if smoky burnouts are your thing. Around town, it means instant acceleration and maximum bass through the truck's exhaust. A recent back-to-back drive with the much more expensive Ford F-150 Tremor and its twin-turbo V-6 engine gave the crown of best-sounding truck to the Ram, hands-down, thanks to that traditional V-8 rumble.

The six-speed automatic shifts with authority but feels clunky and outdated — the optional eight-speed would've been smoother, more fuel efficient and would have made the 1500 Express quicker off the line, as well. My test truck came with a 3.92:1 rear axle and a limited-slip differential. The former made acceleration a bit quicker than it might have been, the latter helped put the Hemi's power down in slippery conditions. Not that the 1500 feels slow by any means; all that power in the smallest, lightest pickup in the Ram stable means the truck flies when you ask it to. It also helps the brakes haul the truck to a stop with considerable force.

Handling is typical for a truck, meaning it's not going to win any autocross events, but the thick steering wheel is grippy and confidence-inspiring. What stands out much more is how well the 1500 rides — choppier than your average family sedan, of course, but much more relaxed and controlled than most pickups over broken pavement. There's no bouncing around in here and no unusual chassis movements, just a steady, comfortable ride for three people. It's quiet, too, keeping the Ram's occupants very well insulated against wind and road noise.

Being a pickup, the 1500 Express tows and hauls easily, especially with the big, torquey V-8. The truck is rated to tow 9,250 pounds thanks to the 3.92 gear, which is more than enough to haul a boat, a pair of Jet Skis, a camper trailer, even an automobile. Fuel economy is fair for a two-wheel-drive, V-8 pickup, rated 14/20/16 mpg city/highway/combined. My week with the truck averaged a spot-on 16 mpg in an even mix of city and highway driving.

Interior
Haul yourself up into the cab (there are no side steps) and you'll plant yourself on a big bench seat — three across, with the center position featuring a fold-down seatback that becomes an armrest, cupholder and storage bin. The driver and passenger seats are plenty comfortable, but I wouldn't want to test that center seat: Along with a lack of legroom, one has to contend with a thick backrest that just doesn't look like it would be comfortable for anything more than the quickest jaunt down the street.

At an as-tested price of $28,380 including destination, this is an inexpensive truck — and it's easy to see where the cost came out. There's almost nothing in the interior besides the aforementioned bench seat, which can be optionally clad in cloth rather than vinyl.

Stepping inside this truck is like stepping back in time to how trucks used to be: crank windows, manual door locks, manual seats, fixed rear window glass, manual climate control, a column shifter, manual side mirrors and very little in the way of creature comforts. My truck did feature satellite radio as part of a popular equipment group, but the only things “automatic” on the truck are the headlights and the transmission. It will take only a few times having to stretch all the way across the cabin to unlock the passenger door for a friend, or wishing you could reach that door while driving to roll down the window on a hot day, to make you realize that for just $735 more, the Power and Remote Entry Group with power mirrors, locks, windows and a remote key fob would make living with the Express massively easier.

Despite the lack of equipment, the cab is very well-done. The latest Ram pickup interiors are the best in Chrysler history, by far. Even in this stripped-down, entry-level model, material and assembly quality is noticeably good. About the only thing to complain about is the drabness of it all in diesel gray, but with the money you've saved getting the Express over a more expensive truck, you can easily spring for some aftermarket leather seat coverings in matching body-colored red to spice things up.

Ergonomics & Electronics
There isn't much to talk about in the Express in terms of electronics. There's a standard trip computer in the gauge cluster, which itself is clear and easy to read, but there isn't even a CD player in there. There is, however, a media hub containing an aux jack, USB port and 12-volt auxiliary power outlet in the fold-down console. In my tester, satellite radio was present thanks to an option package, but there was no Chrysler Uconnect, the company's excellent multimedia system, at this price. Again, it feels like a throwback to a simpler time, but it does offer an interesting palette for customization.

Cargo
It's a pickup, so cargo is ostensibly the name of the game, and there's a full-size 6-foot-4-inch bed behind the cabin that can accommodate anything you might need to haul. Payload is rated at 1,620 pounds, but without an optional spray-in bedliner, practically whatever you put in the cargo box is going to scratch up the paint. The RamBox fender storage system is optional. Storage inside the truck is limited to some space behind the seats, but with two larger cab sizes available (Quad Cab and Crew Cab), the option to have a more capacious cabin is there.

Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the Ram 1500 good in every test except the roof-crush strength, where it was rated marginal.

There's not much in the way of extra safety equipment in the 1500 Express, but the basics are here, like front- and side-impact airbags and stability control. The 2014 Ram 1500 has been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from which it got a mixture of four and five stars throughout the various tests. See the results of the crash tests here and a list of the 1500's safety equipment here.

Value in Its Class
The Ram 1500 Express justifies its existence right here, in the value category. As equipped, my truck cost $28,380 including a rather hefty $1,195 destination charge (a Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG luxury sedan has a destination charge of $925 and it was shipped here from Germany on a boat, not put on a train from a factory in suburban Detroit). Ram has adjusted prices over the course of this past year, however, with my example now costing $28,630 as-tested rather than the $28,380 seen on its window sticker when I had it.

That's a pretty good price for a V-8 truck with all the basics you need to get by, but as stated earlier, checking the box for the Power and Remote Entry package still brings you in under $30,000 and makes the Express a much more pleasant truck to live with on a daily basis. Adding the eight-speed automatic would also be a good decision, but strangely it also eliminates your ability to opt for a cloth seat instead of the standard vinyl. Choose your own options on one here.

The Ford F-150 has an STX trim level that does much of what the 1500 Express does: provide an entry-level, relatively inexpensive sporty truck for younger buyers with limited means. It's more expensive than the 1500 Express and does not include a standard V-8 engine, but it does have more standard equipment, like power windows and locks. Optioning one up to match some of the features of the 1500 Express (V-8 engine, 20-inch wheels, fog lights) does push it well above $32,000, however, giving the value advantage to the Ram.

Over at Chevrolet, there really is no equivalent entry-level sport truck — it's all about work at this low price. A regular-cab 4x2 with the 2WT package is roughly equivalent, but like the Ford it does not include a V-8 engine or 20-inch wheels. It does have a more advanced electronics suite, however, with Chevrolet MyLink and satellite radio standard, along with more power equipment than the Ram offers. Neither the Ford nor the Chevy can match the Ram's 5.7-liter V-8's power and torque, however. Compare all three here.

So yes, you can get a cool truck for under $30,000 these days. But pay a little extra for the convenience touches, and your cool truck will become much more enjoyable.

By 

Cars.com National