The big things may sway the initial vehicle purchase decision but it's often the little things that drive a customer crazy when it comes to living with the purchase.
That's a truism Ford's human factor engineers took to heart in the design and development of the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 pickup.
Based on customer feedback, for example, they purposely clustered the control buttons together for ease of use and did not include entertainment information in the instrument cluster.
Here are 10 more features of the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 pickup that were designed to satisfy customers without them ever even noticing.
1. Grooves in tailgate handle: For ease of grip and use, grooves in the tailgate handle allow a customer to open and close the tailgate with one hand.
2. Large box step: Ford made sure there was enough surface area on the box step of F-150 for a customer to place a full-size work boot – both to stand on the step and to push it back under the bed when not in use.
3. Hard buttons on keypad: Designers preferred smooth capacitive-touch keypad buttons on the outside of the driver-side door, but pickup truck drivers prefer tactile feedback, for easier use when wearing gloves. Hard buttons also enable input by feel, making entry easier for drivers who wear bifocals.
4. Beltline armrest on front doors: The beltline trim on the front doors is wide enough to accommodate most arms with the window up. The feature could be considered an armrest, and is at the same height as the centre armrest.
5. Sculpted, finger relief inside door handle for easy hold: When grabbing the inside handle, the hand is already holding the door – a helpful feature to avoid losing control of the door on a windy day.
6. Four-spoke steering wheel: F-150’s traditional, four-spoke design allows for a comfortable grip on the lower portion of the steering wheel. Other pickup truck manufacturers have closed off the bottom portion of the steering wheel.
7. Steering wheel feel: Finger indents remain on the back side of the steering wheel, a feature that on some competitor trucks is now smooth. These indents allow a lighter feel on the wheel for ease of maneuverability, especially when backing up a trailer or off-roading.
8. Buttons clustered for ease of use: Customer surveys showed a strong preference for controls clustered together. All lighting controls – headlamps, side spotlights, bed light – are grouped together on the left-hand side of the instrument panel, while all radio controls are to the right and below with the climate controls. Towing and other controls are to the right of the steering wheel as well.
9. MyView productivity screen customization: Because every customer uses the truck differently, the importance of specific features can vary among individuals, making it a challenge for engineers to determine the most essential information to include in the instrument cluster. Ford’s MyView, allows customers to sort and organize their seven favorite gauges on its 8-inch screen. One button click can shift between things like individual tire pressure, trailer information, off-road mode or trip fuel.
10. Entertainment information exclusively in centre stack: Based on cusyomer feedback, Ford chose not to include any radio or entertainment features in the instrument panel cluster behind the steering wheel. Truck customers consider operating information more essential so other stuff is relegated to the centre stack." The only entertainment information that appears in the instrument cluster are incoming calls and turn-by-turn directions.