Drive Type: -
Model: Model A
Sun City, California, United States
To learn more about the all-new 2015 F-150 and get an early read on its potential hero-or-zero status, we flew to the heart of full-size pickup truck country, San Antonio, TX, to spend a day driving, towing and playing in the mud with an assortment of Ford's innovative new trucks.
First, a caveat - while we feel we have a reasonably good handle on the new F-150 after attending this first-drive event, we are far from ready to pass definitive judgment on the success of this radically new rig. Our time in the various models was lamentably limited and we felt rushed. With so much at stake and with so much to talk about and experience, we had zero alone time with the vehicle - there were Ford folks shadowing us at every moment.
And we still don't know everything there is to know about the trucks, as Ford is withholding some of its most crucial numbers, including curb weight data and anticipated EPA fuel economy figures. We don't even have a firm on-sale date. All of this information is typically disclosed - or at least officially estimated - at the time of a new vehicle's first drive. This limits the scope of the judgments we feel comfortable making based on our first encounter.
The Ford Mustang is already the lightest of the current crop of muscle cars, at around 3,600 pounds for a GT coupe with the six-speed manual transmission. That's almost 260 pounds less than a Chevrolet Camaro SS and about 450 pounds less than a Dodge Challenger R/T, which means the Mustang has a pretty big advantage when it comes to handling, braking, accelerating and economy. More good news: The next Mustang will be even lighter.
According to a report from Edmunds, the sixth-generation Mustang, which is set to debut at the 2014 North American International Auto Show, will shed an additional 400 pounds of body fat. That 11-percent weight reduction will be thanks to lightweight materials, with a particular focus on using stronger, but less material in construction. Aluminum will feature heavily, but Edmunds' inside source warns that there is "nothing terribly exotic" coming to the original pony car.
The other big news is that the new Mustang will be smaller overall. It's going to be 15-inches shorter than the 188.5-inch Mustang on sale today, while it'll also be 6.5 inches narrower. Shorter overhangs, both in the front and rear, are also good signs for those that want an agile Mustang.
A total of 20 Ford customers are suing the automaker in a class-action lawsuit for selling vehicles "vulnerable to unintended acceleration." According to Reuters, the suit names 30 models built between 2002 and 2010 with electronic throttle control systems but without a brake override system. Those include the 2004-2012 F-Series pickups and the 2005-2009 Lincoln Town Car. Adam Levitt, a partner with the law firm of Grant & Eisenhofer says the plaintiffs in the case want "to be compensated for their economic losses by having overpaid for cars that contained defects." Levitt contends that the plaintiffs would not have bought their vehicles or paid less for them had they known there was no brake override system in place.
Ford began installing brake override systems in its vehicles beginning in 2010. In response to the lawsuit, Ford has pointed to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that indicated that unintended acceleration is mostly caused by driver error, saying in a statement that, "NHTSA's work is far more scientific and trustworthy than work done by personal injury lawyers and their paid experts."
Belville et al v. Ford Motor Co. will be heard in US District Court in the Southern District of West Virginia.