2015 Ford F-150 Platinum Review

Can technology transform the humble pickup?
Imthishan Giado

 2015 Ford F-150 Platinum

What’s the No.1 mantra in business? Don’t mess with success.

With the new Ford F-150, Ford clearly didn’t get that memo. You have to give the Blue Oval credit; it takes big brass ones to mess with the best selling vehicle in America, the vehicle on whose broad shoulders the entire company’s success rests.

2015 Ford F-150 Platinum

And so we have the new, aluminium F-150, built using various grades of alloy and resting on a traditional, high-strength steel ladder frame. Ford claims the switch has netted a 300kg weight saving. Lighter weight means you need less powerful engines to get the truck moving, smaller brakes will stop it sooner…you get the idea. And it never rusts, too.

2015 Ford F-150 Platinum

On top of this dangerously liberal move to aluminium, Ford has also seen fit to outfit its flagship truck with every technical doodad and geegaw short of an orbiting weapons platform raining Freedom down on the Middle East. Blind spot monitoring, radar cruise control, electric power steering, overhead cameras, heated and cooled seats…the only thing it’s really missing is Apple Car Play or Android Auto, and you can bet your bottom dollar those will turn up in the midcycle refresh.

2015 Ford F-150 Platinum

On top of that, you get a hard-as-nails sounding 5.0-litre V8 with 385bhp and 387lb ft of torque backed by Ford’s six-speed auto, able to tow more than 5 metric tons.  How is this not the best truck ever? It’s smart, it’s svelte and it’s multitalented – it’s the Channing Tatum of pickups.

2015 Ford F-150 Platinum

Hold your horses there, trigger. How about you mosey along down and watch my video first? I’ll wait.

A quick note: the F-150 Platinum is erroneously noted as the penultimate trim below the King Ranch and with a price of AED275,000. In actual fact, it is the top trim and the price is a much more reasonable AED235,000.

For those who prefer words: my pricing error aside, the F-150 is a quite confounding vehicle. Despite all the hoo-ha about aluminium and recyclability, it fails to feel significantly different from its predecessor. Yes, yes, it’s lighter on-pare but from behind the wheel, it feels…pretty much the same as before, a big heavy truck with dead steering and a big rig sense of proportion. Nimble, it is not. Easy to park in malls? Nope.

2015 Ford F-150 Platinum

I’ll grant you that it’s a handsome beast, definitely the most modern of the current pickup trio. The interior has acres of space front and rear, great visibility, huge storage space and attractive Tonka Toy styling that bristle with macho likeability. Pity that Ford continues to persist with the fiddly Microsoft Sync system. Both Ram’s UConnect and Chevy’s MyLink soundly trounce it for legibility and usability – so thank goodness Ford added a full bank of redundant buttons for HVAC and stereo use. Unfortunately, Dearborn went overboard on the steering wheel, absolutely festooned with buttons in every nook and cranny. Do they add functionality? Yes. Do I need that much functionality? No. Is it still miraculously a really comfy steering wheel? Yes.

2015 Ford F-150 Platinum

On the road, it’s trucklike with a firm, occasionally bouncey ride if the bed is unloaded; offroad, it’s capable in automatic 4WD, if not especially enjoying itself. The V8 presents a good case for itself with plenty of top-end power and a nice, snarling engine note, but it’s let down by a sloppy six-speed auto that stumbles into the higher gears too soon, leaving the big eight to lug along unless you take charge manually. Really, the F-150 seems designed for the brilliant new 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 Ecoboost motor; slightly less power with 365bhp but a whopping 420lb of torque. I’ve driven it in other Ford products and though it pains me to say it, it’s the right choice for this truck, not the V8.

2015 Ford F-150 Platinum

That’s not all to say the F-150 is a failure, because it’s not. It is indeed, a very good truck that happens to drive like one. Ford has added plenty of features to this vehicle that will matter to the people who use it for actual work, like the side-mounted kickdown step (even if it never seems to work the same way twice), the remote damped tailgate or a much better redesign of the ‘ManStep’.

But we’re not Truck Middle East, and not many people in the UAE will buy the F-150 to haul bales of hay. At AED235,000 it’s an alternative to a high-end SUV; for that money it needs to be rewarding to drive like the RAM, as well as be ultra-refined like the GMC Sierra. The sheer size of this behemoth means you don’t really feel comfortable enough for the former, and the wind noise puts paid to the latter.

So who is the F-150 for, then?

2015 Ford F-150 Platinum

Verdict

And that’s really the rub. We don’t have rich cowboys over here, but we do have plenty of rich people, and I can’t see them trading in their LandCruisers or Patrols for one of these. For better or worse, the F-150, vastly improved though it is, is still a truck. Having said all of that – AED235k might not be cheap enough to tempt them out of SUVs, but I can see left-field buyers being tempted out of cars. A BMW 340i costs 235k, as does a top-end Lexus IS or a Jaguar XE. A mighty Ford could be just the ticket to stand out in the executive carpark.

And make sure you get it with an Ecoboost; after all, if you’re going to get the future, why stop half way?

Ford F-150 Platinum

Price: AED235,000 (US$63,975)
Engine:
 5.0-litre V8, 385bhp @ 5000rpm, 387lb ft @ 3850rpm
Transmission: 6-speed, rear/selectable four-wheel drive
Weight: 1952kg

Let us know what you think about the Ford F-150 below

 

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