Descending from the roof in dramatic style, Ford has revealed the Atlas Concept at a packed press conference in Detroit. The sizeable concept previews the future of Ford's F-Series truck line, the best selling car in America for the last 31 years.
"In 2012 alone we sold 645,000 F-Series trucks," a Ford spokesman told us. "Placed end to end that's enough to stretch from Los Angeles to Savannah, Georgia."
Although the Tonka-truck styling is a good indication of how the next F-Series will look, it's the advanced features and efficient technology that are revolutionary in the pick-up class. Under the bonnet is a 'next-generation' EcoBoost engine of undisclosed capacity, fitted with a stop-start system that disables automatically if you hook up a trailer to the back.
LED lights at the front and back are brighter and use less energy, while the aerodynamics are claimed to be significantly improved. Active grille shutters close when cooling isn't needed, shutters in the wheels close to improve airflow at high speeds and a retractable chin spoiler moves around to manage the flow of air under the car. A 360-degree camera gives the driver a bird's eye view of the car, to help in tight spaces.
Although clearly a concept aimed at the American market, there is some relevance here for UK buyers. Design cues and elements of the technology shown here are expected to appear on the next generation of the Ford Ranger. "Think of the Atlas as the Ranger's bigger, bigger brother," a spokesman revealed.