Ford’s all-new 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 for the 2011 F-150 has been officially rated by the EPA at 16/22 mpg city/highway for two-wheel drive trucks and 15/21 mpg for four-wheel drive models.
Those numbers give the twin-turbo six-cylinder yet another boost in credibility as Ford positions the engine as a suitable replacement for larger V-8 engines, which have long been the traditional mills used for max towing and hauling duties but are known for being thirsty at the fuel pump. Using regular gas, the EcoBoost makes 365 horsepower and 420 pounds-feet of torque.
Ford has already shown that the EcoBoost engine can outperform competitors’ V-8s in a towing test at Davis Dam in Arizona. Ford has also demonstrated the EcoBoost’s durability by torture testing a line-built engine on the dyno, pulling logs in Oregon, towing more than 11,000 pounds for 24 hours straight on a racetrack and competing in the Baja 1000 off-road race.
We’ve driven EcoBoost-equipped 2011 F-150s several times and have been impressed with its diesel-like performance – 90 percent of its torque band is available from 1,700 rpm to 5,000 rpm – and almost unnoticeable turbo lag.
The flat power curve also enables EcoBoost F-150s to run with the tallest (numerically lowest) rear axle ratios of any Ford half-ton, as low as 3.15. That helps enable the high fuel economy numbers, especially on the highway, without sacrificing much performance.
The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 is paired with Ford’s updated 6R80 six-speed transmission, which is standard across the 2011 F-150 lineup. The transmission features a new manual shift mode for 2011 that allows the gearbox perform like a manual transmission as long as it isn’t redlined. The 6R140 also features Progressive Range Select for every engine, which allows a driver to reduce the number of available gears so it’s easier to tow up a grade and hold a specific top gear, like 5th, without worrying about the truck upshifting and getting bogged down.
The 2011 F-150 with the EcoBoost V-6 is expected to go on sale before the end of winter with a $750 premium over Ford's 5.0-liter V-8 and a $1,750 premium over the entry-level 3.7-liter V-6.