Ford knows as well as any truck maker that truck buyers come in all shapes and sizes. To accommodate them you have to offer rugged, functional and clever bed solutions to solve hundreds of different types of cargo-carrying and transporting problems. Although it may not look much different at first glance, the 2015 F-150 offers some unique and thoughtful changes and options to the bed area; it's making its debut at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The most impressive bed change is four new upper pop-out slots where extra tiedowns can be popped in and out within seconds. The mounting slots are permanently located on the side of the bed (one in front and one in back for all beds) and are likely to include many other types of snap-in devices such as storage boxes, bed dividers or ski racks. Called "BoxLink," these cleats are likely to be a good opportunity for aftermarket companies to create their own products. Ford included a full ramp/rack setup for its display, where the rack is locked in place for transport in much the same way it's snapped in place to help load a motorcycle.
The bed itself (walls and flooring) will all be made of thicker military-grade aluminum alloy, which is more dent and scratch resistant, we're told, than the steel bed it replaces. One new feature we really like is a set of rear-mounted, push-button LED cargo lights, easily accessible from the rear of the bed, as well as a new, lighter rear tailgate that is both remotely lockable (and unlockable) and openable remotely with the key fob (on select models).
Additionally, Ford is debuting the next-generation tailgate step on this truck, which now offers all the parts and pieces (step and grab handle) hidden inside. Just pull the drop-down latch on the top of the tailgate to access the step, and with two easy pullouts, your step and grab handle are ready to use. The new setup is simpler, lighter and easier to operate than its bulky predecessor. Also worth noting, the Boxside step (the one-touch hidden pop-out access step behind the cabin) has been available for a while for the 6.5-foot and 8-foot beds, but now it will be an option for the 5.5-foot bed as well.
Finally, although technically not part of the bed, the new 360-degree surround capability of the new camera allows for more accurate truck positioning when parking or navigating tight spaces. Likewise, a new trailer-hitch assist system makes it easier to hook up your trailer when alone, and a smarter trailer-tow wiring harness can now tell you exactly which bulbs might be burnt out anywhere on your trailering setup. More 2015 F-150 information to come.