Next-generation Ford F150 spotted testing

The Ford F150 pick-up enjoys a chequered history. For more than three decades, the F-Series, the collective nomenclature used to denote Ford's full size pick-up trucks in which the F150 is the most popular model, has been the largest selling automobile in the United States of America. Inspite of stern challenges and several scares in the past, neither the Silverados, Rams and Sierras nor the Camrys, Accords and Altimas could dethrone the F-Series from the top of the sales charts. The sheer dominance of the F-Series and the fat profit margins that are generally associated with such trucks means that this model contributes significantly to Ford Motor Company's bottom-line.

When such an important model is due for a change, the entire automotive fraternity takes note. One such moment occurred at the 2013 International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this year. The Atlas Concept that made its debut at the show was the precursor to the next-generation F150 that is slated to go on sale sometime next year. Those vertically-stacked headlights, that massive grille with its unique vertical vents at the two ends, those flared wheel arches and that suave detailing in the quad-LED taillights did create a lasting impact that was quite unusual for a truck.

So, when this camouflaged truck whizzed past in the opposite direction in one of the suburbs of Detroit, our reader didn't have trouble identifying the model. Yes, the integration of headlights and taillights in the test vehicle matches the size, shape and location of the lights in the Atlas Concept. The outline of the massive grille that was a show-stealer at the Detroit Motor Show can be traced behind the canvas as well. But, the muscular crease and the flared wheel arches that adorned the profile of the Atlas Concept is nowhere to be seen in the test vehicle. Whether this is clever masking by Ford or one of those many instances where nice design touches gets lost in the transformation from concept to production stage remains to be seen.

The next-generation Ford F150 is said to be focusing on shedding its weight and improving its fuel-efficiency for meeting the CAFE standards that's getting stricter with each passing year. A combination of Ford's award-winning 'EcoBoost' engine, several tech features like active shutters in the grille and wheels that closes automatically when not needed to be open, stop-start system and aluminium body components are said to be aiding the company in achieving its mission. One thing that's certain is, when this next-generation F150 goes on sale, expect it to give the competition a run for their money.

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