Photos by Seung Min Yu and Ian Merritt
We briefly had both of Ford’s all-new six-cylinder engines for the 2011 F-150 together during testing for our V-6 Work Truck Shootout, so we ran them in the quarter-mile at Milan Dragway in Michigan.
Even though both engines are sixes, they occupy opposite ends of the Ford F-150's powertrain spectrum. The naturally aspirated Duratec 3.7-liter V-6 is the F-150's standard engine, rated at 302 horsepower and 278 pounds-feet of torque. It features composite upper and lower intake manifolds to feed air to the engine and four valves per cylinder (two intake, two exhaust) that are combined with twin independent variable camshaft timing, or Ti-VCT in Ford speak. Ti-VCT varies valve actuation throughout the power band so there’s improved torque at the low end, cleaner emissions and better fuel economy throughout the rpm range.
The 3.7 also features a die-cast aluminum deep-sump oil pan that helps the engine go up to 10,000 miles between oil changes. The high use of aluminum throughout the engine saves weight and improves fuel economy. The 3.7 F-150 4X2 is expected to have an EPA mileage rating of 16/23 mpg city/highway.
The twin-turbo gasoline direct-injection 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 is the top-of-the-line engine choice for the 2011 F-150, priced $1,750 more than the 3.7. With power ratings of 365 hp and 420 pounds-feet of torque, it can do the work of a V-8 engine with two fewer cylinders. Like the 3.7, the 3.5 also features four valves per cylinder, Ti-VCT and all-aluminum construction. Ford hasn’t released its expected EPA fuel economy figures yet, but we expect around 24 mpg on the highway.
Both engines are paired with Ford’s six-speed automatic transmission.
We wondered how both engines stack up against each other since they share Ford's V-6 core engine architecture.
In the quarter-mile at Milan, the 3.7-liter clocked in a best run of 15.87 seconds at 87.69 mph, while the 3.5-liter EcoBoost ran the stretch in as little as 14.67 seconds at 94.6 mph, according to Milan's timing equipment. That's faster than any of the V-8 half-ton trucks we tested during our 2008 Light-Duty Shootout at the same location.
Check back in a few weeks for our V-6 Work Truck Shootout, which will compare the 3.7-liter V-6 against the competition.