Stealing the limelight from rival General Motors' debutant duo – the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and the new GMC Sierra – Ford global product development vice president Raj Nair said the futuristic Atlas concept previewed innovations that would transform the world’s expectations of full-size utes.
“With 36 years as America’s best-selling pick-up, we are absolutely committed to setting the agenda in the truck market,” Nair said.
The Detroit-based manufacturer says the Atlas concept was inspired by decades of feedback from customers who use their Ford F-150s for work and play.
Ford group vice president and chief creative officer J Mays said the concept’s prominent wheel arches, chiselled grille and wide stance, along with its load-hauling versatility and cutting-edge interior were intended to address the demands and desires of next-generation pick-up customers.
“We wanted the concept to reflect how Ford trucks help customers in both their worlds – professionally and personally,” Mays said.
“Every surface and feature in the vehicle has been crafted for purpose and capability while retaining an unmistakable Built Ford Tough look.”
The gargantuan grille not only cuts an imposing figure but features active shutters designed to both optimise engine cooling and improve aerodynamics when cruising at highway speeds, which increases the car’s efficiency. Active shutters in the alloy wheels, a drop-down front air dam and auto-folding running boards join the grille in the pursuit of improving efficiency and aero performance.
Under the bonnet sits a direct injection turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engine fitted with stop-start technology – a powertrain that Ford says is up to 20 per cent more fuel efficient and emits 15 per cent less CO
than a larger-displacement engine of similar performance.
New to the rear load space is LED lighting, a set of 110-volt electrical outlets for charging power tools on the go, a series of tie-down points on the cargo box walls and floor, and hidden extendable ramps for loading wheeled items into the bed. The Atlas concept also features LED headlights and tail-lights and an integrated roof loading system.
The cabin combines the themes of comfort, utility and refinement, with thin and lightweight leather-bound front seats creating more legroom for rear-seat passengers, and high-tech features like the central touchscreen and instrument cluster contrasting with more rugged, hardwearing plastics.
Other innovative systems designed to assist the driver include trailer back-up assist, which Ford says allows drivers to reverse a trailer “with the twist of a knob”, bird’s-eye view camera display, and dynamic hitch assist, which provides visual cues and guiding lines on screen to help the driver precisely line up the truck’s hitch with the trailer coupling.
Ford’s Atlas-inspired 13th
-generation F-Series range is expected to launch by 2015.