This concept pick-up, revealed at the Detroit motor show today, previews the new look of America’s biggest selling vehicle, the Ford F-150, and points towards a new generation of more efficient pick-up trucks.
Although it looks like the archetypal American pick-up, the Ford Atlas is fitted with active aerodynamic technology and stop-start to improve fuel consumption. It uses shutters to close off the gaps in-between the grille slats and wheel spokes, running boards that fold under the body while the truck is moving and an air dam that drops down at cruising speed.
It’s powered by what Ford describes as a “next generation” EcoBoost engine, which has a stop-start system that will not shut off the engine while the Atlas is towing.
The tailgate has a pull-up support for long loads that would otherwise have to sit in the load bed at an angle, resting on the cab. There are also pull out ramps hidden under the load bed, LED work lights at the rear and a 360-degree bird's-eye view camera to help manoeuvre the Atlas where access is restricted.
The new F-150 is expected to go on sale in 2014. It’s the biggest selling pick-up in North America, a position it has held for 36 years; last year Ford sold over 645,000 F-Series pick-ups, a 10 per cent increase on 2011.