The new 2015 model Ford Motor Co. F-150 pickup being unwrapped at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit today features the use of military-grade aluminum alloys throughout the vehicle – but especially for the cargo box – which the OEM said will boost dent and ding resistance and save weight.

“To meet the needs of our truck customers, we created smart new features and a whole new approach to using advanced materials and engines to improve capability and efficiency,” noted Raj Nair, Ford’s group vice president for global product development, in a statement. “Overall, up to 700 pounds of weight have been saved, helping the F-150 tow more, haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter, while contributing to efficiency.”

The new F-150 – which goes on sales later this year and will continue to be manufactured at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, MI, and its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, MO – also features a range of four engine options according to Ford. They include a new 2.7-liter EcoBoost with standard automatic “start-stop” technology and a 3.5-liter V6 engine with twin independent variable camshaft timing, alongside the OEM’s proven 3.5-liter EcoBoost and 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8.

[To view more photos of Ford's new 2015 model F-150 pickup, click here.]

The 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine also features a lightweight, compact design to deliver the same power as some mid-range V8s, Ford added.

The OEM pointed out that its “start-stop” technology not only helps save fuel but is “specially tuned” for truck customers to shut off the engine to save fuel when the vehicle is stopped except when towing or in four-wheel drive. The engine restarts in milliseconds when the brake is released, Ford stressed.

New 2015 F-150 trucks equipped with EcoBoost engines also get active grille shutters as a standard feature; shutters that stay open when extra engine cooling is needed, such as during low-speed stop-and-go driving or while working in hot weather, but that automatically close to reduce aerodynamic drag at cruising speed.

“Customers are going to really like the smart new features developed with practical work applications in mind,” Mike Levine, Ford’s truck line spokesman, told Fleet Owner. “The 360 degree camera system helps improve visibility in tight spots, the new ‘BoxLink’ system supports plug and play accessories from ramps to tool boxes, and our new ‘smart trailer tow’ module can tell you if there are lights out on the trailer from inside the truck.”

Those new technologies are part of a wide range of design improvements, Levine said, including:

  • Integrated loading ramps, which enable easy loading of ATVs, motorcycles and mowers
  • 360-degree camera view, using exterior cameras to create a bird’s-eye view of the truck to help the driver park, maneuver in tight spots and navigate down narrow roads and trails
  • BoxLink, which is a combination of metal brackets and custom cleats used to secure a variety of accessories in the cargo box, from ramps to storage bins to bed dividers
  • Light emitting diode or LED headlamps and tail-lamps, which boost nighttime visibility
  • LED spotlights on side-view mirrors, which provide powerful, durable and bright lighting around the truck exterior
  • LED lighting embedded in the walls of the cargo box, which brightly illuminates the box interior to help customers quickly find tools or other items
  • Trailer hitch assist, a new rear view camera feature that adds a dynamic line based on steering wheel angle in the display to help customers line up truck and trailer without requiring a spotter or having to get out of the vehicle
  • Smart trailer tow module, which uses an all-new smart trailer tow wiring harness that helps identify and inform the driver of potential trailer connectivity issues, burned or unlit trailer marker lamps, and brake light and trailer battery faults
  • Remote tailgate; a feature that allows for the tailgate to be locked, unlocked and released with the key fob, thus eliminating manual locking while increasing convenience and security. The tailgate also is damped, dropping down, hands-free, to a flat position when opened
  • High-wattage power outlets (400 watts, 110 volts) in the cab, allowing drivers to easily charge corded tools, battery chargers or mobile devices on-site or while driving
  • Next-generation tailgate step, which is now fully integrated inside the tailgate and virtually invisible when not in use
  • A new 8-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) productivity screen in the instrument panel, which includes updated truck apps – from fuel economy to towing tips – and the ability to create a customized home screen for customers to access their most frequently used apps in one place
  • New rear under-seat storage in F-150 Super and Crew cabs, providing hidden storage for valuables. Two storage bins also are located underneath the rear seats
  • Boxside step, now available for the short 5.5-foot box
  • Second-row inflatable safety belts, which work like a traditional belt but include a tubular airbag that inflates in the event of a crash and distributes the force of the impact across a wider area of the passenger’s chest
  • Curve Control, which automatically provides more aggressive four-wheel braking when the truck is going into a corner too fast
  • Adaptive cruise control, allowing drivers to set a cruising speed and use radar technology to monitor traffic ahead and maintain a safe distance between vehicles
  • Lane-Keeping System, which is designed to help avert unintentional drifting of the vehicle outside the intended driving lane by automatically detecting the left- or right-hand road lane markings using a camera mounted between the windshield and interior rearview mirror
  • Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert, which uses radar hidden in the tail-lamps to detect a vehicle entering a driver’s blind spot while driving or backing up

Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s executive vice president and president of The Americas, noted in a statement that the new F-150 cab has been torture-tested in labs, at Ford proving grounds and in the hands of some of Ford’s "most demanding truck customers" for more than 10 million miles by now.

Those tests included crisscrossing the country pulling heavy trailers and hefty loads through desert valleys and over high-altitude mountain passes – in temperatures from 20 degrees below zero to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. He added that F-150 customers in the construction, mining and utility work fields have helped test the vehicle and its aluminum-alloy cargo box in rough conditions as well.

To perform better in such challenging conditions, Hinrichs said the new F-150 frame uses high-strength steel rated up to 70,000 psi, with eight through-welded cross-members provide increased stiffness, while staggered rear outboard shocks provide greater stability.