Pickups Will Continue to Get 'Slippery'

F150_Aero1 II

There's been quite a bit of promotion from Ford in regard to its new aluminum 2015 F-150; the most recent press release details how aerodynamic the new half-ton entry will be, especially when compared to the other segment players. Naturally, as fuel prices climb and all the truckmakers try to squeeze out every bit of fuel economy possible from their full-size trucks, technology and aerodynamics will be key.

The trick is how to keep a pickup truck looking rugged and capable without softening the exterior shape too much (i.e., making it it look too soft or egg-shaped) while improving aerodynamics. The new F-150 looks like it's found a good balance between the two where practically every square inch of the truck, from the bumpers to the window seals, has been designed to make air move around the truck instead of catching on exterior parts to create drag.

The new F-150 will be packed with new technology and construction processes to make its new look more slippery as it moves through the air; combined with new powertrains and lighter body panels, this will certainly help give the new Ford truck some likely impressive EPA fuel rating numbers.

Just some of the new ways engineers have made this the most aerodynamically efficient F-150 ever include a flush-mounted windshield (which eliminates the need for heavy molding strips), a tailgate top that acts as a spoiler to smooth air flow, a cargo box that is narrower than the cab to reduce rear cab turbulence, and a duct under the headlight that moves air into the wheelwell to minimize air push.

Although we don't have the new F-150's coefficient of drag (we're told that number will be released after the Ford half-ton completes EPA fuel economy certification), the 2014 Ram number is 0.360 for its regular-cab 4x2 and the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 crew cab is 0.410. All 4x2 Toyota Tundras have a 0.370, while all their 4x4s have a 0.380 Cd.

It should also be noted that there is no regulated, agreed-upon standards or procedures that aerodynamics engineers must follow when testing in a wind tunnel. The biggest challenge, as you might imagine, is how to deal with a pickup's inherently large front area and how to both move air around and into the engine compartment.

Going forward, we're guessing aerodynamic shapes will become an increasingly important part of every truckmaker's desire to make its vehicles more fuel efficient, but whether that means our pickup trucks will get softer and rounder remains to be seen. The next Nissan Titan could give us a hint of how daring truck designers are willing to be.

To read Ford's most recent 2015 Ford F-150 press release, click here.

Manufacturer's image


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They can help with the little extra finessing, but truth is they could be a lot better if they didn't insist on putting the bolt upright kenworth stlyle grills on them AKA Silverado that has a rectangle for a front end.

Unless your driving includes a lot of highway travel at speeds over 50 mph or so, this concern about aero is moot. The weight reduction means much more for the average trucker.

I own a 2500 , looking at the 1500 I sure made the correct choice..... Damn that 1500 is Ugly.........

They're going to have to do more than 'get slippery'. Most of my commute is spent in hurry-up and wait flying formation.

I don't mind "aero" stuff as long as it can't be torn off or damaged by those of use who use trucks as trucks.

All of the trucks chins have gotten lower and lower at the chin line. GM is the worst followed by Ram and Ford. Mind you, this truck may be just as bad. This truck has a fairly large plastic spoiler under the bumper.

I'd rather consume the extra fuel due to a loss of 0.5 mpg then have to be concerned about wrecking chin spoilers or removing them. (before or after they get wrecked)

A duct under the light to channel air into the wheel well will work okay in any place that doesn't get snow or freezing weather.

I guess keeping those "CARB" types happy in sunny California is more important than the rest of us in harsh climates with a better reason for owning a truck.

This was the exciting news from yesterday?

"The trick is how to keep a pickup truck looking rugged and capable without softening the exterior shape too much..."

Well there's your problem right there. If there are significant MPG gains to be had, then I don't need my truck to look rugged. I just need it to be affordable and dependable.

"...they could be a lot better if they didn't insist on putting the bolt upright kenworth stlyle grills on them AKA Silverado that has a rectangle for a front end."

Could not agree more. The front end of the 2014 Silverado looks like it was designed using legos. There's no getting around how stupid that truck looks. Yes Chevy, your truck is very rugged and tough looking...

This was the cool news from today:
“I work at the U.S. Army proving grounds where I drive approximately 350 miles a day on gravel and dirt roads, hauling parts and people. I’ve gone through my fair share of vehicles,” said Schober. “We currently rent a 2013 F-150 and consider it a workhorse. With a new F-150 on my radar for my next vehicle, the 2015 looks like it will do the trick.”


@Stego - goes to show that the "poser" segment carries a lot of weight................ at least in a design influence sort of way.

Most will get over the need for a tough look when fuel prices continue to climb. It's like the H2's that were once all over the roadways. Add to that a new climate change tax is on it's way. California will be the first to implement it. It could be another $1 per gallon depending on the price of carbon credits.

And once again, the FAIL award goes to GM for their class lagging 0.41 CG 2014 Silverado.

@Papa Jim: weight reduction is great, and wheel and tire sizes have gotten a lot bigger in the last 10 years.

Your comment about 50 mph shows you must not get out of town much. Believe or not, a lot of folks drive pickups down the interstate a 70,75 and then some. Aero is highly important, as is a quiet cab with less wind noise, at highway speeds.

Your comment,(since Chevy is behind with their brick trucks) reminds me Tundra owners saying they care not about mileage (because Tundra and Titan are so far behind).

I agree the air dams air pretty low, we have electronic dis-connect sway bars, and cars have had rear spoilers that come up at certain speeds.

LOL, Ford talks about aero, watch this new one be same or barely better than the Ram, Ford trying to talk aero with a truck that looks like a large mouth bass!


After peaking near 4.00 per gallon summer 2013, gas prices are down.

U.S. average retail price of gasoline will decline modestly through the end of the year, reaching a monthly average low of $3.30/gal in December.

Gasoline prices often fall after Labor Day as seasonal demand wanes and as the market shifts to winter fuel specifications, which make greater use of low-cost fuel components.

Unless your driving includes a lot of highway travel at speeds over 50 mph or so, this concern about aero is moot. The weight reduction means much more for the average trucker.

@Trx-4 Tom

Maybe you can get someone to read this for you.

I repeat, unless your driving includes A LOT of driving at speeds over 50 aero is not a huge consideration for FE. True statement. Fish is supposed to be brain food. Go to Costco and buy a few cases of it.

People are sheep and easily scared. Have fun buying into the tiny gains from aerodynamics and expensive materials but paying a premium for it. You could be paying a lot less for a full-size truck and getting great mileage if automakers were allowed to produce what consumers wanted, and not what the government wants you to drive.

Papa Jim: Perhaps you could get you somebody to read this for you?! Most people do a lot of driving over 50 miles an hour! What do you think this is, the 80s where we had speed limits of 55 on the interstates?

What do you do, buy a truck just for city use? It sounds kind of ignorant to me. "Yup, that there is my city truck right there, I've got another one that I drive when I go out in the country!" Yup, it's a total brick made by Chevrolet!

Papa Jim, you Blockhead!

What the article fails to mention is HOW some manufacturers are hitting the number and the impacts.

For example, the Tundra has pretty good Cd numbers--and it has some of the best approach/departure angles, ground clearance, and does all of it without any cheesy chin spoilers or low rider suspension.

Papa Jim may be a smart man but he is a big time loser and troll when it comes to non-GM topics. He also said this about Ford snow plows:

I guess timing is everything.

Snow will melt if you wait a few months. The same readers who often comment about the importance of fuel economy are all revved up about the prospect of using their half ton truck to move the snow around a few feet before it melts. Jesus!

Just wait--I promise that by July it will be gone. Save a few tankfuls of fuel in the process. Unless, that is, you just wanted to play with your new snow removal toy. Big boys and their toys!
Posted by: papa jim | Feb 11, 2014 3:09:39 AM

TRX-4 Tom

Tuna Fish, Tom. Seriously. Get a few cases. Check out some recipes for tuna salad, tuna casserole, chip dip. Whatever you do, get some vitamins into that thick bleeping head!

LOL Papa Jim I know, you only have about 4 miles to go and it's all in town, and you could be at the dealership right?

Can't wait for your response to GM's lagging sales through August when it gets wrote up Thursday or Wednesday on this site.

What are you going to say, Jim? The weather was too hot out at the GM dealership?

You say you live down in Florida now, last time I drove in Florida on the interstate, you'd get your ass ran over if you didn't drive 75 at least.

BA ha ha, keep thinking aerodynamics are not important on pick up trucks Jim!

Not everybody can be like you and just need to drive a few miles in town and piddle around like you do.

With this numbers Ram.360-Toyota .380- last the Chevy at.410, now if We can find out what the gas MPG is for this three pickup trucks V6 to V6 and the V8 engine that is the most used in each trucks and see how they come out. that will stop some this bull sh-t. Mark Williams can you help out with those numbers ?

@TRX-4 Tom - there are a lot of people who don't hit the interstate and how many people spend most of their time on the highway?
Would you be slamming papajim if he happened to be a member of the Ram J!had?

Aero is part of the picture but light weight and more cogs in the transmission will play a big role at improving low speed mpg. That is where gains need to be made.
It takes more force to accelerate a large mass then it does to keep it at a constant velocity.

Thank you Sir Isaac Newton.

in my case, the number of times I'm running down the highway at 60-65 mph are slim.

The number of times I've been down a gravel road at 20-50 mph are exponentially higher.
Same goes for winter driving or city driving.

You may use your truck differently and how many live on the freeway?

@Dav - agreed. I wonder if the Tundra has lost "aero" trying to be more "traditional" with the 2014 trucks.

This talk of 'when' airspeed is significant at certain speeds reminds me of the people in the late 19th Century who stated that driving faster than 15mph would cause brain damage.

Because of this cars even had to be chaperoned, by a person walking in front of them with a light.

If aerodynamics wasn't significant do you not think trucks wouldn't be adapting measure in streamlining?

I don't consider large trucks as performance vehicles. The effect of airflow is as significant at 20mph as 60mph. The increase in drag is logarithmic as speed increases.

Trucks are and have adapted streamlining aids for a long time now.

But I do ask the 50mph club to carry a sheet of plywood even in a 10mph breeze and describe to me the effects of the airflow around the plywood and the energy they are expending to move it, let alone attempting to carry a sheet of plywood in a 50mph 'breeze'.

Lol, the Tundra is low slung after you get past the air dam, but most of you have never compared frame heights, lower control arm heights, and crossmember heights, or the low slung muffler and gas tank on a Tundra.

I can remove an air dam, you however are stuck with a low slung truck, Dav. The numbers that the Ram has is for a basic coil spring truck, it only gets better aerodynamics when the air suspension lowers it at highway speeds. Oh, let me guess, Dav barely goes 55! Gas mileage is not important to Dav!

Hey Dav, in the 2008 light duty challenge, which truck bottomed out it's running boards on the off-road course? Now I know they are optional, but if you happen to notice, they are mounted about the same level as the frame is.

I do believe the design and marketing of pickups has a 'macho' element to it, even here in Australia.

But, once the regulatory authorities have their way the marketing departments for pickup manufacturers will find a way to describe 'aero' pickups as macho.

Ford, GM or the other brands could market the term "Eco Body" to describe their pickups.

Even now with gas prices in many NE States well over $3 a gallon their are many who are struggling to put fuel into their 4 cylinder family cars and CUVs.

It is odd, but sad that some in our society don't realise the actual cost of survival to a large group in our community, and they even have jobs and require food stamps as well to feed themselves and kids.

Ford only said it was the most aerodynamic F150 made, not the most aerodynamic pickup out there. Neither did it say that their figure for cD even matched Ram's, let alone beat it ....

Of course Ford doesn't want to release details too soon but you can bet money their designers had a goal of at least matching Ram's CD.

I think its funny some of you say the GM trucks are boxy but you must forget they get the best fuel mileage of any V-8 pickup and the Egoboost and even better in real life driving. How can this be??!!! They are boxy!!

All these arm chair engineers that never made it being an engineer haha!

I do think you guys are looking to simplistically at the FE solution.

There are many factors that need to be addressed, ie, drivetrain efficiency, rolling resistance, engine technology, materials technology and of course aerodynamics.

Just minor improvements in all of these areas will make a larger return.

Ford will not necessarily need to meet Ram's co efficient if it can obtain efficiencies in other areas.

Remember Ram's are built of steel and weight will play a larger role in FE, so naturally Ram will look at other areas to improve FE and aerodynamics would be an area to investigate, as will drivetrain efficiency.

We have witnessed Ram already in these areas of drivetrain and aerodynamics efficiency gains.

Ford on the other hand will manage FE slightly differently as will GM. Nissan and Toyota are even looking at FE from another angle.

Aerodynamics will play a greater role in FE gains, it has to.

I'm just angry that the Ram 1500 is better than my F-150.
At the time I was buying my F-150 I thought I was getting the best!
NOW after reading post after post here on PUTC I later find out the Ram 1500 is the best!

@Tom#3 - the Ram J!had has gained its first convert.

Your headgear and C4 padded vest is in the mail.

@trx4 tom

there you go again LOL .... dude the Tundra has a FULL 2" more ground clearance than the Ram your out of your gord....... The frame is not lower grab a measuring tape. the Tundra has a better approach angle, better departure angle, better breakover angle AND better coefficient of drag (unless of course you buy air suspension and the truck with grill shutters LOL LOL the Tundra 4x4 has been whoopin the ram since 2007 and STILL they havent caught up LOL LOL tell yourself whatever you need to so you can justify your purchase...... keep typing my sides hurt from laughing at you!

I hate today trucks square boxy looks,
It's not macho at all,its stupid,,
Give me truck like this


If I had to chose between a 5.7 hemi and a 5.7 IForce...........


I don't really see that as a choice ;)

If I had to chose between a 5.7 hemi and a 5.7 IForce...........


I don't really see that as a choice ;)

Posted by: Lou_BC | Aug 29, 2014 9:18:14 PM

Compared to your gutless gas hog spark plug puking 5.4 Triton
either one would be a huge step up. Note the 5.7 Hemi has been on wards best six times. ;-)

@CHEVROLET builds a better way to see the USA,

Here are some great looking Chevy trucks.




Turdra better then a ram? HAHAHAHAHA

Ram advantages over tundra:
More hp, more tq (both low and high rpm), better mpg, better performance, better trans, better reliability, better towing, better areo with stock suspension, much better areo with air suspension, lighter, best available ground clearance 10.7 vs 10.2, best available approach angle 27.8 v 27, best departure angle 24.2 vs 21, better tech, better interior materials, better sales, better market share, more market share gain.

Turdra advantages over ram 1500:
Payload (by only about 100lbs)

Even thinking the current tundra is a better truck then the ram is one of the dumbest things anybody has put on this site. Good luck selling those turdras. Any salesman that uneducated about his competitors product is giving his brand a bad name. Trying to convince a person to spend that much if his hard earned money is damn near immoral.

Blah Blah Blah more this than last... best ever... same old same old BS from EVERY manufacturer every time there is a redesign.

Only comparisions, time, and sales sort it all out.

While I have little doubt the all new F150 will be more revolutionary than evolutionary and that Ford's gamble(s) regarding its innovations will (at least eventually) pay off this article really doesnt say much of note other than Ford was able to keep things very square while making them aerodynamically slicker. Which i guess is mildly interesting.

What I would have liked to have seen are actual drag coeficient numbers for the new Ford versus previous F150s and current competitors.

@Clint - the 2015 F150 doesn't look much different than the 2014. That is a deliberate strategy. That is why they introduced an entirely new line up of engines in 2011. They make big changes but aesthetically make small changes.

@HemiVinLaden and company - The first thing I look at is durability ratings. Tundra is usually on top or top 3.
Ram 1500 is bottom 2.

If I'm going to by a truck from a foreign company might as well buy the more reliable one ;)

Blah,ha,ha. So why don't you drive a Tundra? lol

Ram not a drag compared with new Fords

by David Zatz • Posted on August 29, 2014
Ford recently issued a press release on the aerodynamics of their new F-150 pickups, saying they were the most aerodynamic F-150s in the line’s history.

Ford did not claim to be best in class, only the best in Ford history, implying that they are trying to avoid giving Ram time to cut their own wind resistance for 2015, or, more likely, that they were unable to match Ram 1500’s slippery skin.

Ram 1500 aerodynamicsThe press release avoided stating the actual coefficient of drag (cD) of the new trucks. Neither the 2014 F-150 nor the 2014 Silverado 1500 come close to the 2014 Ram 1500’s drag coefficient of 0.360.

@HEMI V8 - quality and durability ratings were nearly identical but the F150 was considerably cheaper and gave me more of what I wanted i.e. 6.5 box in crewcab, ITB, better ride.

My top 2 picks at the time were the Tundra and F150.

@Lou BC, http://autos.jdpower.com/content/press-release/bTiXte5/2013-u-s-vehicle-dependability-study.htm

2014 Ford rated below average. lol

2013 Ford rated below average. lol

2013 Ram rated above Ford and above average. lol

Looks like your in the wrong brand for dependability. lol

@LouBC, Now lets compare F 150 Fire Recalls vs Ram 1500 Fire Recalls. Oh that's right their is no comparison Ford wins by millions. :-( judging by the 2016 Super Dooty not much has changed over at Ford. lol

HEMI V8, Let me educate you. I looked up all of the recalls on this site. The fire recalls are as follows:

GMC: 4 (3 Sierras and 1 Hummer fuel tank strap)
Chevy: 3 (Silverado)
Ram: 2 (one for 7k 1500s and one for 108k HDs)
Ford: 2 (one for 14k 2011 F-150s and one for 24k 2010 Rangers)
Honda: 1 (76k Ridgelines)
Toyota: 2 (1 Tundra and 1 Taco)
Suzuki: 1
Subaru: 1

As you can see here, Ram and Ford have the same number of recalls for fire hazards. But when you consider Ford sells almost 2 1/2 x's as many F-series as Ram, there is a less chance of a fire in a Ford. But you can see neither Ford or Ram has much of a fire risk. In recalls in general, Ram was far and away the number one recall generator, even with the recent GM recalls.

There was also one recall for 1997-2004 Ford F-150 fuel tank straps but I'm not counting that because those trucks are over 10 years old and are will be 3 generations old and rust can be considered a maintence issue.

If you want to talk fires related to testing, Ram has Ford beat on that. Terry Box the TX auto journalist had his 2013 Ram go up in flames. Also, Ram HDs caught fire during NHTSA testing. Now that I have educated you on the fire recall myth, I hope you will stop talking about fires and start talking about trucks.

Percentage of trucks with fire recalls since '04:

14k recall / 7.2 million F-series sold = 0.19% chance of a fire recall in a F-series since 2004.

108k recall / 3.3 million Ram trucks sold = 3.59% chance of a fire recall in a Ram truck since 2004.

These are all of the recalls on this site since 2008, since before any of us started posting. So where again are all of these Ford truck recalls for fires you speak of? Who again has more recalls, and more of a percentage trucks recalled for fires? Oh, that's right. Ram. Now that this myth has been put to bed hopefully we can get off it.

@Dave, Sure thing Dave. lol
Lets not look back 10 years into the F series. LMFAO!

My Ram is an 03 and has plenty of life left.

Ford Recalls 57,000 More Trucks, SUVS for Fire Hazard
Latest recall unrelated to other fire-related Ford recalls



Ford Fire Hazard Recall Creeps Along
Parts shortages delay repairs of fire-prone Fords
01/18/2008 | ConsumerAffairs
By Joe Benton
More than 1.8 million Ford Motor Co. cars and trucks remain at risk of erupting into flames 5 months after the automaker recalled an additional 3.6 million vehicles because of a fire hazard in the cruise control system.

Ford initially promised parts would be available for the massive recall to repair the vehicles by October 2007. The automaker then said the parts will not be available until later in 2007.

Massive Ford Recall to Fix Fire Hazard
Despite Earlier Recalls, Fords Have Continued to Burn
08/04/2007 | ConsumerAffairs
By Joe Benton

Ford Motor Co. is recalling as many as 3.6 million cars, truck, and vans because a switch that deactivates the speed control can overheat and catch fire according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The agency warns in its recall notice that the switch problem can cause a fire under the hood.

Ford Recalls 4 Million Trucks to Fix Fire Risk
09/07/2005 | ConsumerAffairs

After years of turning a deaf ear to reports of fires in unattended F-150s and other trucks and SUVs, Ford Motor Co. is finally recalling nearly 4 million of the vehicles to replace a faulty speed control deactivation switch that may cause underhood fires.

The estimated 3.8 million Ford vehicles affected by the recall are from the 1994-2002 model years and include the Ford F-150 pickup as well as the Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator and Ford Bronco SUVs.

Manning Equipment recalls Ford pickups
A tailpipe problem could allow heat buildup in the rear compartment
09/06/2013 | ConsumerAffairs

By James Limbach
A Washington, D.C., reporter for more than 30 years ... Read Full Bio→
Email James Limbach Phone: 866-773-0221

Manning Equipment Inc. LLC is recalling 37 model year 2012 Ford F-350, F-450 and F-550 gasoline engined dual rear wheel chassis vehicles manufactured October 2011 through June 2012.

The tailpipe on the exhaust system does not extend out beyond the edge of the body, allowing heat to build up in rear curbside storage compartment, which could result in fire.

Ford Re-Issues Recall For Fire-Prone Vehicles
8.4 million fire-prone Fords are still on the road, even after repeated recalls
10/21/2010 | ConsumerAffairs

By Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief for broadcast outlets and ... Read Full Bio→
Email Truman Lewis Phone: 866-773-0221Google+

For years, Ford and federal safety regulators were criticized for moving too slowly to recognize and remedy a fire-safety risk on millions of Ford vehicles.

Now it's Ford owners who are the target of a recall reprise. Federal regulators say that an estimated 8.4 million Ford vehicles that can possibly catch fire remain on the road because of lack of owner action even after the largest U.S. safety recall ever

Spit Spark Plug Ignites Ford Truck
Feds Deny There's a Safety Problem, Refuse to Take Action
03/26/2007 | ConsumerAffairs
By Joe Benton
Thousands of Ford truck owners have paid thousands of dollars to repair the damage caused by the mighty Ford Triton V-8 engine spitting a spark plug from its aluminum cylinder head.

They're the lucky ones compared to Dan of Huntington Beach, California. They at least had a truck left to repair.

Dan's 1997 F250 is a mass of charred rubber, melted glass and frayed wires.

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