2015 Ford Atlas Concept Takes Shape

Lead Atlas Concept design pdf-1 II

Not long ago, Ford did a good job of dropping a huge surprise at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit with the Atlas concept pickup. Some super-cynical types went so far as to suggest the super-secretive concept was unveiled in Detroit to steal as much thunder as possible from the recently revealed all-new 2014 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. Well, here we go again.

Just as GM released some fairly impressive pricing and fuel economy numbers for its new half-tons earlier this week, Ford is offering some background design information about the Atlas, a possible 2015 F-150 replacement. Well played sir.

What we can see from the photos and the infographic (to download the full pdf, click here) is that the Ford truck design team came at this new truck from several different directions. The goal? To give potential truck customers more of what they want and need. And if there's another company that's doing that better than Ford right now, we don't know who it is. As you can see, the designs range from the excessively aerodynamic to a blunt punch in the face.

The "Bullet Train" (designed by Ford's Tyler Blake) clearly reflects the current need to squeeze every fraction of fuel economy out of a pickup's shape by forcing each air molecule to gently slide over and around the hood and side panels. The "Locomotive" (designed by Brad Richards) is as simple and subtle as a well-balanced sledgehammer. What we eventually received with the Atlas was somewhere in the middle, with tons of clever storage and functional problem-solving accessories. We can only hope as much of this original design makes it to production.

Atlas Concept design pdf-2 II

Atlas Concept design pdf-3 II

Atlas Concept design pdf-4 II

Atlas Concept design pdf-5 II

First aero wheel II

Box lighting II


Bullet train II


Locomotive II


Roof concept II



THE LOCOMOTIVE looks the out of the 3 too me.


I like the llocomotive drawings the best. I'm not a huge fan of the headlight shape on the current F150. The bullet trail looks like an oversized and stretched Escape.

The locomotive design looks like a joint venture between Ford, Hummer, and Jeep.

Fords marketing department has got to have the GM boys pissed off! Hope they realize turnabout is fair play.

The locomotive with a more traditional grill insert might look good.

I prefer the Atlas, but Ford should not follow the mistake of GM with the 3-piece front bumper! I really want a Super Duty with the Atlas styling and an all-new fully-boxed frame with outboard dual shocks. Bump up the power and torque to 450/1000! FX4 package with front diff locker option!

It's easy to see what we have here folks, and that is the "Bullet Train" is the 2020 F-150, and the Locomotive, the 2020 Super Duty!

The Bullet Train has one advantage: Aerodynamics. That shape alone could mean an improvement of as much as 25% compared to almost all the other shapes. You may hate the looks, but those looks could make all the difference between reaching mileage goals or not.

The Locomotive gives the visual implication of mass and power--at huge consumption rates. For all that a modern locomotive is the most efficient transportation device currently in the world, running in the vicinity of 500 ton-miles per gallon, when running light, they run in the vicinity of about 5 ton-miles per gallon, even though they weigh in at near 1,000 tons each; they're most efficient at full load. Running light does mean they may get more range out of the existing fuel load, but when compared to hauling tens of thousands of tons that economy is nothing at all.

What Ford did do here is choose to eliminate some of the more desirable features--like the wrap-over windshield. That added height to the glass makes it easier to see poorly-placed traffic lights at tight intersections where you normally have to lean forward and look up to see that light. Of course, it's also a nice 'luxury' feature that could have upped the value of the truck even more.

Let me make a small correction to the above statement. At 500 ton-miles per gallon, that means a railroad locomotive running light MIGHT get... 0.5 real miles per gallon--that's right, just 1/2 mile per gallon. Think about it.

LOVE the locomotive

I want that Locomotive!

The front end on the Atlas looks way better than the current F-150...But I think in person its too cartoonish.Maybe toned down a bit it would look good,but hey...its easy to beat the front they have now lol !!!

The Locomotive is what the Raptor should be !! That looks like a brick S#@* House !

You guys are nuts...(no offense) but the Loco and Bullet are FUGLY...the Loco especially looks like it was drawn by some kid in high school. Or gr 5. The Atlas on the other hand, the finished product, is f'in sexy as hell. I hope it's the new '15 model...when my '11's lease is up I'd jump ship in a heart beat for an Atlas (or something similar at least. I'm aware the interior won't be that cool. Friggin' beautiful!)

Greeting all. Time to join in. Like in a previous post I too prefer lites not stacked. But to each their own. Ram quite stylized and for the most part, a decent package. The new Atlas concept appears mostly tonka but the difference is still appealling. Its a big game being played with big stakes. Ford has a lot to lose. But atlas should be well recieved by ford faithful and other truck aficionados.

@Sandman4x4 - good eye. It makes sense. Aero for the 1/2 ton and angular muscle for the HD.

I have one request for all these American brands (I couldn't care less about the imports at the moment):

Get rid of the too-obvious door handles. There are better ways to offer a decent grip and still be aerodynamic. I'd also prefer the 'suicide door' layout for the extended and double cab models so I don't have to walk around a door (sometimes in traffic) to grab something from the floor of the back seat.

Is it me or does it look like those bed lights are too low inside the bed? When you're hauling a load, the lights will be useless because they'll be hidden by it.

Sorry folks, not feeling any of these. I think they look ugly, jmo. I thought some of you said the new GM twins are ugly (not really caring for the chevy myself), but you like this monstrosity?

Are we in a transformers cartoon or something? All of the current trucks look better than this IMHO.

@Jeep - given a choice between the 3 designs - locomotive, bullet train, and Atlas, I prefer the Locomotive design. The grill isn't "in your face" as the Atlas. I want less grill not more. The Bullet Train looks like a mix of 2003 F150 and Fusion.

Rumour is that the F150 will go monocoque which is just a more high tech and masculine name for unibody. If that is the case, we may see a truck looking more like the Bullet Train. Before guys wet themselves over the thought of a unibody truck, the Transit, and Promaster are unibody and will be available in chassis cab variations capable of handling huge weight and an array of work bodies.

Lou: they are going to have to reduce weight of these trucks somehow, i mean...the current full size truck is large and heavy.
I was unpleasantly surprised at how much my 4 door Wrangler weighed in on our truck scales....~ 4650 lbs. Thats alot for a vehicle with a soft top and removable doors :( thats inline with my old work truck ar home, ext cab and V8 which was just a touch higher @ 4700 lbs.

I dunno about these trucks, I just not really feeling any of these.....too :in your face" for me. I thought the current Superduty's are the most hideous of the bunch. But imho if Ford releases any of these...the superduty will look even better in my eyes.

Good thing looks are subjective.... :)

After studying the looks of them, I guess if a gun was @ my head I would choose the Locomotive for myself as well. I think the Bullet with the Atlas following are funky looking. These fanboi's seem to wet themselves over the Atlas, but really don't see why ....


@Jeep cos it looks awesome!

@Jeep - Emission and MPG rules are footprint or vehicle size based. Downsizing potentially means having to meet midsized truck guidelines. Fighting at the high end of your weight class is okay for MMA but is disastrous for trucks. The Atlas is supposed to be lighter but physically larger than the current F150. Ford could chose to deliberately move into the 3/4 ton emissions/mpg arena with the F150 and be the lightweight in the heavyweight class.
I am afraid that is the direction the "domestics" are going. Chevy has raised the tow ratings to 11,500 with their mid class engine. I'm sure Ford and Ram will follow suite. Ram has unveiled 30,000 lb as the tow gorilla of the HD class. That is well within medium duty commercial truck territory. GMC has said that if you want performance get a 1500 and if you want economy get a Colorado.
That is how I interpret recent truck news. Bigger seems to be better. 4 out of 5 Americans are obese and looks like our trucks are going that way too. 10 dollar a gallon gas (or some other market disaster) will be the "Biggest Loser" fat camp for the auto industry.

You Guys at Ford Must Be Total Morons; first you take away our Ford Rangers & Now This!!!!!! If you guys take away the F-150 design truck that you guys have today...That's it I am going to buy a Chevy instead. The only thing you Idiots at Ford have going for you these days is the design for the F-150 if you take that away too & replace it with this Ford Atlas..look you are Not going to have any buyers left on your sales floor. One thing Ford Guys..Please Grow a Brain???..Shorten down your existing F-150 design & bring back the Ranger in a New American Design & maybe that will be a Great Start, Over & Out, Jim :(

You Guys at Ford Must Be Total Morons; first you take away our Ford Rangers & Now This!!!!!! If you guys take away the F-150 design truck that you guys have today...That's it I am going to buy a Chevy instead. The only thing you Idiots at Ford have going for you these days is the design for the F-150 if you take that away too & replace it with this Ford Atlas..look you are Not going to have any buyers left on your sales floor. One thing Ford Guys..Please Grow a Brain???..Shorten down your existing F-150 design & bring back the Ranger in a New American Design & maybe that will be a Great Start, Over & Out, Jim :(


Most everyone is liking this truck irrespective of what concept.

I like the Locomotive, which believe it or not has some lines similar to my Mazda BT50 pickup.

One thing to remember, will be this trucks size is due to CAFE regs.

Engine choices for this truck will probably surprise you. You will probably have a 5.0 Coyote and some form of turbo V6 and a diesel to meet mpg requirements.

Also the material technology for weight reduction and other aerodynamic technology will make this vehicle much more expensive than your current full size trucks.

Its a beautiful idea, that may be necessary.

I just hope its affordable to many.

Garbage, as usual from fword. I can't believe people buy anything from that company, must like maintaining their mechanic skills.

give me the bullett with different headlights.

I think the locomotive headlights should be retained, they are by far the best looking Ford has had for years

If Locomotive is midsize it will knockout Taco & Frontier and it will be a king of midsize.

These so-called Concepts are just for the media and the insiders. I guess it keeps 'em busy.

Truck owners are a conservative bunch (not politics but in most other ways). If pickup trucks were entirely made of bread, it would be white bread--no whole wheat or rye, thank you!

V8, rear drive, basic colors, etc. Getting folks to consider alternatives to the basic Regular Cab took decades of trying. They still have not embraced the diesel except in HD trucks.

Any of the Big 3 who depart too much from that focus on basics will pay a dear price in the minds of truck buyers.

"Ford designers decided users of the truck would more readily need a way to secure large cargo like wood or a kayak."

How about...IN THE BED?? If people would actually buy a real pickup, with a regular cab and an 8' bed, you wouldn't have to sell us these SUV-monstrosities with all their gizmos and gadgets that put the price way out of reach of the average workingman, and into the reach of small-dicked suburbanites who'll never so much as put a load of groceries in the bed.
It's a cargo vehicle, people...made for cargo!!

I absolutely love the front end of the Locomotive concept! The Atlas concept is a fantastic looking truck, but I'm not crazy about the grill.... it's just too big and busy. But the grill and bumper on the locomotive have perfect proportions in my opinion (but I'd scale up the size of the head lights slightly). I really like the blacked out four bar grill that seems to float independent of the hood, and fenders.... this "floating" component design is very popular with sport bikes and exotic sports cars at the moment, although this is a rugged almost military take on it. Simple and clean looking is what I like and the Locomotive concept nails it for me. Just give me something like this in a "global" Ranger mid-size and I'll have my check book ready in an instant!!!

Lou and others: we have had unibody trucks in America before, the first that comes to mind in the Corviar pickup and Greenbriar van, then we had the Pioneer, which was a Jeep Cherokee in a p.u form, and most of the pre-sprinter Dodge vans were also unibody, so it has been done, and used succesfully, but some might not think so, and there may be others I am not aware of, but the ones mentioned were good haulers, and were durable, light, and in some cases got decent mpg, in the case of the Jeep Pioneer, that was even offered with a diesel engine, and I know someone with one right now, in great shape, it has a 4cly 2.5l turbo 5 spd 4x4, and he gets 20mpg city and 28hyw!! the truck has 180K on it, and he tows a 4K boat all over with it! and still get 18mpg doing that! and I believe it is rated for 1400lbs loads, I have also had some experiance with the Corvair vans/pick-up, and they also made what they called the Ramp-side, that had a ramp on the pass. side, that went down to the ground, so you could drive a motorcycle or lawn tracktor right up inside, then close the ramp and be on your way, and they were actualy rated for 1600lbs!!!, not much power, but and they are aircooled, there are still a few running around, and they to got decent mpg for what they were, they had 4wheel independent suspension, and were not bad off road, for a 2 wd truck, very good in snow. So there is no need for anyone to "wet" themselves over uni-body trucks, that is all thanks.

David, you sound like my father ... "regular cab/long box is a truck, anything else is a waste." LOL

The fact remains that the very concept of a truck has changed. More people want something that can do it all ... whether it is a smartphone, a TV than can surf the Web and download movies on demand, or a truck that can carry up to six people, their gear, and tow a boat for a weekend on the lake. If people didn't want these trucks, the automakers wouldn't be offering them.

Mark Williams: thank you for a very interesting story on the genesis of the Atlas concept! I am optimistic that the Atlas will find its way into production with few changes. It looks great as it is!

The Atlas would need a big grille to cool a diesel such as the 6.7, but it could be alot smaller if they wouldn't over design it. Just not a fan of big huge front ends. The Super Duty and GM HDs seem to have the biggest .bulkiest frontend, followed by the Ram HDs.

People with full size trucks don't often like the thought of aerodynamis, but unless your truck doesn't ever get driven at highway speeds, or even just 55, it will help alot.

I myself don't mind the current front end on F-150s, like Lou, I think some grilles are better then others. But the hood being short and rounded I like. Sometimes they tend to over style at the higher level.

@DWFields: If a locomotive train mileage is that, it actually is quite impressive, considering that's alot of weight! Here's a question: what is the typical max weight or aveage weight of a single loaded train car?

As a brief example, the typical coal load in a gondola comes in at about 80 tons. Considering some unit trains consist of 100-150 cars, that falls between 8,000-12,000 tons in one train. Some loads are heavier, some lighter. Depending on terrain (relatively flat plains vs the Appalachian Mountains) you might find four, six or even eight locomotives attached to that load.

I think the Atlas in current or final draft is perfect! Ford deserves credit again for raising the bar as Ram did with the "13 1500. If they wanted to steal GM's thunder with this truck then that's a good thing because it can only be good for the consumers.

Chevy High Country spotted

Back to article.
I like the Locomotive as well. It reminds me of some European military vehicles. Like the square look to it.

Trains have two things going for them. 1. Low rolling resistance and 2. diesel-electric serial hybrid power.

We can't apply the former to pickup trucks, but the latter...

@TRX4 Tom: Note that I posted the LOAD in the car, not the weight of the car itself. That is such a broad variable simply due to the type and length of the car. As an example, the old 80' steel passenger cars weighed in at about 80 tons even before passenger load due to a number of factors including a different suspension and weighting the car to provide a smoother ride. A typical flat car may only weigh about 20 tons or so, but is capable of carrying maybe two M1A1 Abrams tanks (pretty much centered over each truck) and little more for a load weight of 120 tons. Other cars carry other loads that may weigh more or less than that.

The real limiting factor is how much weight rides each axle of the car. Certain really heavy loads may see as many as sixteen axles at each end, but arranged on a strange array of arches so that there is only one pair of trucks (four axles) under each arch and one secondary arch to each pair of primary arches. Of course, such a car is designed for specific ultra-heavy loads where you may never see one yourself. The heaviest single load I've personally seen carried on rails came in at 1,000 tons (a reactor vessel for a nuclear power plant) but other items can easily come in at half that weight and still require very special handling.

Of course, when hauling a load like that, fuel economy is among the least of your worries--you just charge the customer for the fuel used as well as all the other special handling such a load would require. You and I, driving our own trucks, don't have that little advantage.

To those who complain about the size of pick ups,
1) pickups havent changed much in size for decades exept wieght as required for saftey systems and increased stength for coloisions. the new trucks are significantly more arodynamic than their predicessors. my 5.7l GMT 400 suburban 4,830 lbs curb wieght gets about 12-13 mpg highway my 5.4l Raptor 5,908 curb wieght gets 19-20 on the same roads with 35in tires and being sinificantly wider and taller. The front end on the fords while it appears boxy is very curved , it was designed to give an optical illusion of being boxyer.
2)As to the little pickups people just arenot buying them as much as they used to the average yearly sales of tacomas from 2000 to present is 149,306 the 2012 sales total was 141,365, in 2006 toyota was selling 178,351 a year. the ford ranger from 1999-2011 averaged 167,116 units a year but you can see where demand tapered off from 348,358 to 55,386, Colorado Canyon production peaked in 2005 at 163,204 and was at 67,866 units in 2012. With the deline of people truly intrested in midsize trucks the auto makers have decided not to invest resources into vehicles that do not bring in significan money for them. It seems that the people complaining about how big trucks have gotten are still driving around in 10 year old small pickups, if they had bought trucks more oftern than maybe manufactures would have kept making them, these companies are in it for profit, and if people dont buy a product than they will drop it.
3) Saftey featrues nesesitate the growth of the compact truck into midsize in order to make a vehicle meet crash saftey standards vehicles had to bulk up to offer increased occupant protection and ad saftey features. the sheet metal had to get bigger to accomidate many of these features. in vehicles where the sheet metal stayed the same like the ranger you can tell that there is a noticable diffrence between older rangers and the newer ones in terms of interior space. for vehciles to do better in crashed they needed to have a greater amount of the vehicle crumple before reaching the passenger compartment. What causes bodily injury is force which is mass time acceleration, your vehicle will have a constant mass in an accident so a crumple zone decreases the deceleration by deforming and slows the vehicle more gradualy thus protectiong your vital organs.

@Lou--You're assessment is probably correct. If were still living in the country I might have some use for a bigger truck but even if they lighten these trucks they are still way to big and tall for me. I have a feeling I am not alone in my opinions. But you are also correct that the population is getting bigger and heavier. Now we will be able to go to the Ford, Chevy, and Ram dealers and say "Super Size Me" and that will not just be at McDonalds.

@carilloskis--Yes the midsize truck market has shrunken but you might also see the full size market shrink as well. Crossovers seem to be making more inroads and are replacing mini vans, SUVs, and in many cases crew cab pickups. The hardcore truck users will always be there but many suburbanites will transition away from trucks as they get larger and the fuel prices go up. That might not be a bad thing because maybe the prices of trucks will stabilize more.

Could be the Bullet train will be the new F100 and the Locomotive will be the F150/250.

Why do we keep seeing prototypes riding with 98-03 bodies? Mabye the F100 will have the 'aero' look.

I think the Atlas is probably the most beautiful truck I've ever seen. It also looks rugged! Only the 1967-1972 Chevrolet trucks look this good. And that says a lot. I can wait to see the Platinum Atlas. For sure my next truck! Can I get one of those new Chevrolet Smallblocks in it though Ford? That would be truck heaven! :)

@carilloskis... Before you make a comment about the decline in the the compact/mid-size truck market, take a good hard look at what has been and is currently available from the manufacturers. Here is one prime example... Ford did almost nothing to update the Ranger since the '94 Ranger came out in the fall of '93. That's twenty freaking years with no major redesign. While it was a great small truck (I owned a '94 XLT supercab), how long do you think that is marketable? Very little innovation has been infused into these markets over the last two decades from ALL of the foreign and domestic manufacturers. Can you really blame us for driving 10-15 year old trucks? While SUV's, CUV's and the full-size trucks are getting redesigned every 6 years with updates every 2-3 years in-between, that hasn't been the case with the compact/mid-size truck segment. Many of us are simply waiting for fresh new redesigned trucks that are capable and efficient with modern creature comforts. If we hadn't settled on an antiquated mid-size or jumped to a full size or SUV, we're just waiting for the manufacturers to give us what we want. Why in the world would we keep buying the same old trucks from the same manufactures who neglect the market. That doesn't make any sense to me? My truck F-150 SuperCrew is 11 years old and I'll continue to drive it until something innovative hits the mid-size market. Like many others who share my feelings, I refuse to settle.

Ford is a little late with their cargo lights in the bed. GM already came out with this feature on their new 2014 models. Good idea having a tool box in the tailgate, especially in a Ford!

Alex: Again, for your reading comprehension skills.....looks are subjective. You think it looks great, I think it looks like a pile of futuristic krap, just like that hideous Superduty. Two different tastes for two different men. There you have it. I guess I'll just hang onto my old F150 and continue to be a luddite.


The comments to this entry are closed.