If there was a way to properly put into the words the feeling of seeing something like the Ford Atlas Concept in your rear view mirror, it’ll probably go something like this..."holy @%@!"
See, intimidating doesn’t even begin to describe the looks of this concept truck, one that Ford is pegging as the future of its F-150 series. In its attempt to showcase the design, capabilities and smart technologies that will eventually come to be known as future F-150 models, Ford has already succeeded in turning to a new design chapter in the F-150’s history.
Add that to new technologies that the existing pickup will have moving forward, and it’s easy to see why we think the Atlas Concept is one of the brightest concept debuts to hit the stage at the 2013 North American International Auto Show.
Check out all the new digs the Ford Atlas Concept has after the jump!
We’ve already established that the Atlas Concept looks the part of the world-carrying machine. But there’s a lot of substance to the pickup’s exterior that’s worth more than just aesthetics.
For one, the active grille shutters, arguably one of the most eye-catching design details of the concept, are there for more than just good looks. These automatic shutters behind the grille actually stay open when extra engine cooling is needed or when the pickup is trail blazing in hot weather. However, when it needs to improve its aerodynamic qualities, the shutters automatically close. Pretty cool, huh?
Joining the grille as the highlight of the Atlas Concept’s front end are the advanced LED headlamps that offers improved road lighting while lasting longer and illuminating faster than conventional halogen lights. Best of all, though, these lights make the concept pickup such an imposing sight in anybody’s rearview mirror.
Active wheel shutters, which are powered by self-charging batteries, are also part of the package, hidden from plain sight to improve the pickup’s style at low speeds and then automatically close when the pickup enters the highway to improve its aerodynamics.
When it comes to serving its purpose as a functional machine that’s capable of doing a variety of things, the Atlas Concept can easily adapt to any situation, thanks to features that include multiple tie-down points that have been integrated within the cargo box walls and load floor.
There are also 110-volt electrical outlets in the cargo box to charge power tools, an integrated roof-carrying system, hidden extendable ramps that gives the Atlas Concept plenty of versatility, power running boards that helps passengers get into the truck when its idle and stow away when its moving, and an LED cargo box and side mirror lighting illuminates the cargo box whenever work hits after the sun goes down.
All in all, the Atlas Concept’s purpose-driven design, wide stance, fancy lights, and chiseled grille, to go with all that functionality, have turned this concept pickup into a vehicle that’s worth more than just a concept designation.
The cabin of the Atlas Concept is definitely a picture that doesn’t usually translate to the kind you’d find in a pickup truck. Ford installed what it describes as "innovative, thin, and lightweight" seating. That’s a fancy way of putting it. These thin seats also allow for more space for the rear passengers while small storage spaces allow the same passengers to stow their trinkets and little items away without the threat of losing them.
The concept pickup’s instrument panel of the is also a fresh surprise, particularly the “floating” instrument pods and the glove-friendly buttons that makes for a cabin that’s both stylish and functional all at the same time.
While Ford didn’t go into specifics on what kind of output the Atlas Concept is capable of, the automaker did say that the concept pickup comes with a next-generation EcoBoost powertrain that comes with a bevy of features.
The truck-enhanced Auto Start-Stop engine shutoff technology allows the pickup to shut off its engine when in traffic, which not only saves fuel, but also keeps money in your wallet. It may be hard to come to grips with a pickup that highlights fuel efficiency more than torque, but in the world we’re living in right now, the former is all the more important.
That’s why the Atlas Concept’s EcoBoost engine uses gasoline direct injection and turbocharging to deliver fuel-economy gains of up to 20 percent and reduction of CO2 emissions of up to 15 percent, compared with larger-displacement engines. Features like the Dual-Purpose Tailgate Step and Cargo Cradle, the Dynamic Hitch Assist, and those power running boards all play a part in the efficiency puzzle, improving aerodynamic elements that, in turn, reduce wind resistance.
Yes, the Atlas Concept cares about Mother Nature, too.
Speaking of showcasing an improved functionality, durability and overall productivity, the Atlas Concept boasts plenty of features that meet the diverse needs of drivers.
The aforementioned Dual-Purpose Tailgate Step and Cargo Cradle is a step further from the acclaimed Ford Tailgate Step, providing the added ability to also act as a cargo cradle – lifting and holding extra-long cargo items above the truck and freeing valuable bed space. A Trailer Backup Assist was also put in, giving drivers an easier way to back a trailer without having to worry about having to do it by themselves.
Then, there’s the Dynamic Hitch Assist, which helps line up the truck’s hitch with the trailer coupling, and giving the driver a visual assist via the truck’s center display screen. Imagine the time you save when you don’t have to worry about guessing and asking for other people’s help when you’re trying to hitch the truck to the trailer.
And then there’s the 360-Degree Point-of-View Camera, which is a first for a Ford truck. Providing a bird’s-eye view of the truck not only helps position the vehicle in tight places but it also gives you a good look at any wandering debris that you can now safely avoid thanks to this technology.
The day may come when a production version of the Atlas Concept arrives in dealerships. But if you ask us, this concept version is mighty fine for us already. All Ford needs to do is tack on a sticker price and the model will sell like a popsicle on a hot summer day.
Exterior looks are fantastic
All those features make for a functional pick-up
Importance on fuel efficiency
It’s still a concept
Ford today unveiled the Ford Atlas Concept to showcase the design, capability, fuel efficiency and smart technologies that will define future pickup trucks.
“The Ford Atlas Concept previews the innovations that will transform what people expect from their pickup,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “With 36 years as America’s best-selling pickup, we are absolutely committed to setting the agenda in the truck market.”
Design with purpose
The Ford Atlas Concept is inspired by decades of listening to customers at the places they work and play. The result is a purpose-driven design with prominent wheel arches, a wide stance and chiseled grille – all to reinforce its functional Built Ford Tough® image.
“We wanted the concept to reflect how Ford trucks help customers in both their worlds – professionally and personally,” said J Mays, Ford group vice president and chief creative officer. “Every surface and feature in the vehicle has been crafted for purpose and capability while retaining an unmistakable Built Ford Tough look.”
Designers enhanced truck functionality, while creating new advanced features(see infographic here). For example, multiple tie-down points are integrated within the cargo box walls and load floor, along with 110-volt electrical outlets in the cargo box to charge power tools. An integrated roof carrying system and hidden extendable ramps give the truck unique functionality for a variety of jobs.
The interior is themed with structural styling cues and features the latest thinking in comfort, utility and refinement. Innovative, thin, lightweight seating in comfortable leather allows for extra legroom for rear passengers – along with integrated storage for smaller items. “Floating” instrument pods and glove-friendly buttons and controls keep the interior functional and ruggedly stylish.
Leading fuel efficiency
The Ford Atlas Concept features a next-generation EcoBoost® powertrain, which introduces truck-enhanced Auto Start-Stop engine shutoff technology. Auto Start-Stop shuts off the engine when stopped in traffic to save fuel – and smartly suspends the feature when the truck knows it is towing.
EcoBoost engines use gasoline direct injection and turbocharging to deliver fuel-economy gains of up to 20 percent and reduction of CO2 emissions of up to 15 percent, compared with larger-displacement engines. More than 500,000 EcoBoost engines have been sold globally, including 250,000 in the Ford F-150.
The Ford Atlas Concept goes further to save fuel through a combination of active aerodynamic elements that reduce wind resistance. They include:
Active Grille Shutters: Automatic shutters behind the grille stay open when extra engine cooling is needed, such as during low-speed stop-and-go driving or while working in hot weather. The shutters automatically close to improve aerodynamics when cruising on the highway at steady speeds
Active Wheel Shutters: Automatic shutters in the wheels are hidden to improve style at rest and low speeds, but automatically close at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics. Self-charging batteries use energy from the wheels’ motion to power the shutters
Drop-Down Front Air Dam: A drop-down front wind spoiler lowers at highway speeds to improve underbody airflow. The air dam is raised at low speeds to improve ground clearance – helpful for off-roading
Power Running Boards: Auto-deploying running boards help passengers enter the truck at rest and tuck up against the truck when it is moving to improve aerodynamics and ground clearance
The combination of these fuel-saving features saves more than 2 mpg on the highway without diminishing towing or hauling capability.
Work and play smarter, not harder
Ford Atlas Concept is a rolling showcase of features that improve capability, durability and productivity to meet the diverse needs of pickup truck owners. Features include:
Dual-Purpose Tailgate Step and Cargo Cradle: The acclaimed Ford Tailgate Step goes a step further by adding the ability to also act as a cargo cradle – lifting and holding extra-long cargo items above the truck and freeing valuable bed space
Trailer Backup Assist: This segment-first innovation allows drivers to back a trailer with the twist of a knob. Ford research shows that backing a trailer is often the most intimidating task a truck customer can face
Dynamic Hitch Assist: Hitching a trailer can be time consuming and difficult. Dynamic Hitch Assist helps precisely line up the truck’s hitch with the trailer coupling, eliminating maneuvering guesswork by showing visual cues in the truck’s center display screen
360-Degree Point-of-View Camera: A Ford truck first, the system gives a bird’s-eye view of the truck to help position the vehicle in tight places or when there are obstacles near the truck – such as on a busy job site or grocery store parking lot
LED Headlamps and Taillamps: Advanced LED lighting offers better road illumination than conventional halogen or HID lights and lasts longer. LED lamps also offer near-instant response, giving valuable extra warning time for following traffic
LED Cargo Box and Side Mirror Lighting: Advanced, powerful yet efficient LED lighting brightly lights the cargo box and job site after the sun goes down with minimal battery drain compared to standard headlights or plug-in lights
Hidden Cargo Ramps: Lightweight, durable loading ramps stowed below the cargo box can be quickly removed and set up to assist with loading wheeled items into the bed – from landscaping equipment to dirt bikes