Road Test Review: 2011 Ford F-150 FX2 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, Part 2

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Unloaded Efficiency (download full details in Adobe Acrobat formatAcrobat)

In contrast to the truck and trailer combo, the unloaded truck amazed us with its fuel economy. Dropping back from 70 mph to 60-65 mph raised its gas mileage from 18 mpg to the low 20s without even trying, even when we were high in the Rockies where the air is thin.

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During a 300-mile stretch of highway — where we refueled just outside Vail, Colo., and headed east across the Rockies to Dillon, Colo., and then traveled back west to the Utah border — there were moments when the truck’s trip computer told us we were averaging over 25 mpg. We finished that segment averaging a manually calculated 23.2 mpg – the best fuel economy we can recall over such a long distance in a full-size gas pickup truck.

It’s important to point out that we didn’t “hypermile” either truck to boost efficiency. We drove them like we normally would, and for long stretches we kept the trucks at one speed using cruise control. We also filled up only with regular octane gasoline, which ranged from 85 RON to 87 RON.

Our fuel economy chart (download full details in Adobe Acrobat formatAcrobat) summarizes our gas mileage throughout the trip, according to both the trucks’ trip computers and manually calculated mileage. It also includes our range estimates for highway speeds, weather conditions and altitude. We’ve also identified (in red) where we performed acceleration tests. Fuel economy with and without those tests is provided.

Other Mileage Experience

Driving in Los Angeles’ urban traffic, before and after the touring and trailering portion of our test, we easily averaged 15 mpg to 17 mpg depending on surface street traffic and stop-and-go conditions. For an unloaded truck, were we impressed with this fuel economy. The thirsty 6.2-liter V-8 in the F-150 Raptor returned only about 12 mpg in similar conditions.

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The last data point about fuel economy we’ll provide is how the EcoBoost performed pulling the 9,000-pound trailer up the steep 17-mile grade on Highway 163 due west of Laughlin, Nev. Averaging 55 mph to 60 mph at low altitude, the rig burned 3 gallons of fuel and averaged 5 mpg to climb the mountain. The unloaded truck burned 0.9 gallons of gas and averaged 15 mpg, according to the trip computer.

Overall, both trucks used 356 gallons of fuel to travel a combined 4,186 miles.

Boosted Performance

During our EcoBoost odyssey, we also worked the trucks hard to measure their wide open throttle performance at some of the highest and lowest altitudes you’ll find in the country.

On I-70 in Colorado, on the same route we did our Rumble in the Rockies, we also ran the F-150 pulling the 9,000-pound trailer. We were stunned by how well it pulled at such high elevation on the 7 percent grade to the Eisenhower Tunnel. It was so strong that we had to start testing at 10,000 feet to ensure the rig didn’t climb the hill at an unsafe speed at wide open throttle. The EcoBoost F-150 ran the quarter-mile in 27.83 seconds at 50.83 mph – more than enough to keep up with or pass traffic. That’s a performance we don’t think could be easily matched by a non-turbo gas engine, even a large-displacement V-8.

Now, compare that time to how the truck-and-trailer pair performed on Davis Dam’s shallower 5 percent grade at only 2,000 feet of elevation, where it’s easier to gulp oxygen to feed the engine. Here, it ran the quarter-mile in 24.56 seconds at 58.47 mph – not much slower than it did in the Rockies.

Performance-chart

The EcoBoost’s Davis Dam time is also faster than what we measured in the 5.0-liter V-8 F-150 with a different 9,000-pound trailer (25.06 seconds at 55.46 mph).

On level ground, the EcoBoost F-150 and trailer covered the quarter-mile in 21.02 seconds at 67.21 mph and did zero to 60 mph in only 16.36 seconds (compared with 16.85 seconds for the 5.0-liter V-8).

But it wasn’t all perfect performance with EcoBoost and the trailer. The sudden delivery of torque to the rear wheels with the trailer hooked up often caused the tires to lose traction and cause pounding bouts of axle tramp until we reduced throttle or until the traction control system reduced power on its own. Wide open throttle isn’t just for testing purposes. If you’re stuck on the side of a highway with a trailer and need to quickly merge back into traffic, you’re going to need as much power as your truck can provide. It needs to do so without reducing driver confidence or control.

The unloaded F-150 was a screamer, too, but it didn’t suffer from wheel hop like the trailer-towing EcoBoost F-150 did. It went from zero to 60 mph up Davis Dam in only 7.29 seconds and took only 6.79 seconds on flat pavement – right in line with times we measured in other EcoBoost F-150s over the past year.

With the non-towing F-150, we noticed something that felt like turbo lag during wide open throttle runs. It took almost a second from the time the accelerator hit the floor until the turbos fully responded to the request, but once they did, we were shoved back in our seats. Awesome. We also noticed a hint of turbo whine but nothing that we considered fatiguing or annoying.

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Overall, both trucks exhibited the traits we’ve come to benchmark other half-ton pickup trucks against. Both F-150s provided great rides, unloaded and towing. It was reasonably easy to hop from one truck to another without needing a lengthy amount of time to get used to the handling differences. The F-150’s new electric steering also seemed to help better maintain control of the loaded truck on the highway during windy conditions crossing the desert. Even the unloaded truck and its large crew-cab profile seemed to benefit from similar steering assist.

Other Items

We also discovered a cool feature for the backup camera that was displayed in the rearview mirror. Using the productivity screen, we could change the zoom setting to pan out to a fisheye lens view or zoom in for a close-up look at the hitch while hooking up the trailer. Very nice.

As you might imagine, one improvement we’d like to see for the truck as soon as possible is the availability of a 36-gallon fuel tank, which is in the 5.0-liter V-8 F-150 we tested. The extra-large reservoir isn’t available for any EcoBoost truck, including those optioned with the Max Trailer Tow Package. The extra 10 gallons would have saved us from having to carry extra gasoline with us.

We’d also like to see the addition of a turbo boost gauge, which we think could be easily provided as a new truck app in the productivity screen. We’d also like the gear-select indicator to remain displayed in the screen after the truck is turned off and back on, as it does in the Ford F-Series Super Duty.

Summary

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Each of the four engines offered in the 2011 F-150 has a unique application and personality. It’s like Ford is giving you four different tools to accomplish similar tasks. You need the right tool for the job. If you wondering if the EcoBoost is right for you, then you’ll need to carefully consider how and where you’re going to use your truck.

Balancing fuel economy and performance, the EcoBoost is the best choice for people who spend most of their time hauling cargo in the bed or driving empty on rural roads where speeds are limited to no more than 60 mph. In this case, you’ll get the best mileage for a reasonable price with the power to tow a heavy trailer occasionally without too much of a hit to your wallet. EcoBoost also works well if you’re going to regularly tow a heavy trailer at high altitude because its performance is only matched by today’s heavy-duty diesels in that environment.

If you’re going to tow a trailer regularly around geography like the Midwest, we’d suggest the 5.0-liter as a better choice. From our experience, the 5.0 gets better fuel economy in that scenario -- we'll be putting this to a side-by-side test in the future. For the heaviest trailers, the 6.2 is a good choice, or consider moving into a diesel Super Duty. Light contracting work at a reasonable entry price can be accomplished with the naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V-6.

We have high hopes for EcoBoost engines in the future but we want to see if Ford’s powertrain engineers can do more about the stressed fuel economy figures we saw when towing so they better complement the stellar unloaded gas mileage we observed. Or perhaps we’re faced with the fact that some physical laws can’t be repealed no matter how much slick technology is thrown at them. Big towing needs big cubic inches and trying to deliver that same capability with twin turbos may always force truck guys to pay a low-mpg price when there’s a trailer behind the truck.

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Special thanks to K&N Engineering and American Horse Trailer Rentals

Comments

@Mike
When we can see new Dyno test for 3.5EB please?
I am not disappointed with EB. I expected it will fail. No miracles at all. 5L V8 or Hemi with 6 speed or 3L diesel, but definitely not EB.

@ Hurry'up'n'wait
When the hell did I say we should give up trucks ? I have owned probably dozens of trucks and own four full size trucks now .
@ Zach J
Refer to above .

How is the EB failing????? I just looked at the 5.0 road test and nowhere does it say the mileage for Davis Dam, the Eisenhower Tunnel or anything extreme like that.

It just states the mileage for when it was towed a couple hundred miles in California.

If you are going to compare mpg, compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges. And for the love of god, wait for a test that uses the same road and trailer.

Unloaded the 5.0 was 13-18 mpg. EcoBoost was 19-23+. So how is that a fail again???

Maybe next 1/2 ton shoot out Mike, you can do the same test with all trucks and see which one does the best for empty, towing and mileage.

Could even sneak an Amarok into the country to show us what we're not missing.

@Zviera: We're Doing the 5.0 and 3.5 dyno test this Monday.

Mike sometime could you do a 6.2l test for the f-150 4x4 in a larit or somthing that is not a raptor with a 10,000lb trailer or so, i think many people who are wandering or want to purchase a 6.2l would greatly benfit especally, while pushing its limits

@Mike
A bit unrelated but what can you tell us about the 2.0L Ecoboost?

@Mike
Thank you.

@Mark
If I want to drive unloaded, I would drive a Prius.
But considering my Hemi has 245 000km without any parts changed yet, I don't think 2 turbos will last this kind of mileage without any problems at all. How much are those turbos ? Thank you very much for saving couple of cents for gas when empty and paying thousands for engine rebuild with 2 turbos. If Ford would give me 160 000 miles unconditional warranty for EB, I would buy it. But 60 00 miles warranty is not enough and EB is fail in my point of view and my economy calculations. Just put it on the paper and see it for yourself.

I have to agree with Mark.
A truck that gets better MPG than comparable V8's empty, gets the same mpg loaded as a V8 but pulls better than most current V8's.
The EB gets 19 - 23 empty. There is a 5% difference between 2 wheel drive and 4 wheel drive based on EPA testing. That would be 18 - 22 with a 4x4.
I don't see a "fail" on Ford's part as far as engine design goes.
The only fail on Ford's part was letting the PR department lead everyone to think that it would be much better than what we are seeing now.

I am sick and tired of these Ford fanboys like Mark and Lou who are making excuses. They say its not the same road, not the same trailer. Bullocks!!! EcoBoost is a fail. The 8 year old GM 5.3 is stilling kicking Ford's booty. GM is still the most fuel efficient company that produces trucks today and nothing you say can change that. So, sorry to rain on your parade Lou, but you LOSE again.

You will see at the halfton fuel economy shootout this summer that GM gets the best fuel economy and the debate will be over.

GM will win the half ton fuel economy shotout this summer. GM will do it!

The ecoboost is not a fail. It has as much pulling power as the 8.0l v10 in my 2500 dodge. Seems like they will get the same mileage towing, but the v6 does much better empty because it can run off boost. Turbos are great. Lightly loaded they act as a small motor, but put you foot down and you can increase the displacement by turbo pressure.

Look a lot of truck owners tow and haul nothing most of the week. Then on occasion tow something good sized. My dodge does a great job towing, but sucks gas empty. Diesel in HD trucks are nice, but 8k options? That is stupid money. I don't need 800 lbs of torque and don't want to pay that much. If I can get the payload to work for me I might be ok. What I really need is 3.0 diesel with 425fllbs.

Since you were getting up to 27mpg with the 3.55 setup and I know ford builds the f150 ecoboost with a 3.31 mainly for commuting and hauling. What is the estimated mpg using 3.31.

@Bob - The Ford cheerleaders on here are doing Ford no favors by getting all defensive everytime something comes out negative against Ford and blame the messenger and ignore the message. Fuel economy can be very different with a trailer. I know I cringed when I saw the 8.5 mpg. A big truck with with lots of torque needs a lot of fuel. Shame on Ford for going to a V6 for such an important part of drivetrain, and on a full size truck no less. GM's 5.3 V8 will take it. Any time. Any place. GM will win the fuel economy shootout in 2011!

@Robbie,
So GM's 5.3 will win the 2011 shootout? If it has to endure the test through the mountains pulling a 9000lb trailer, I'm afraid it might not finish until 2012.

Oh please! I'm a GM for lifer until this F150 Ecoboost. My 08 GM 3500hd srw 6.0 gas was a great truck, but the empty mileage wasn't worth the ability to haul a camper for a few weeks a year. Enter Ecoboost. Can haul a trailer and enjoy great empty mileage, and the rest of the truck is better too. Much higher build quality.
My GM would get 11 city,15 hwy empty. With a trailer loaded with lumber weight on scales 17500 lbs GVCW the mileage was 7.8 mpg @60 mph on easy light rolling road, driving nicely.
Keep things in perspective.
My new Ecoboost saves me $200 a month just driving to work, as we can't all afford a second car for commuting and need a do it all truck.
Thank you Ford for being the first to fill my needs.
Looking forward to all manufacturers bringing it now.

@ford850, I believe testing for the 5.3 began last year, so it should be done with the quarter mile in time for the shootout. :)

Dave and Alex, let me say again that I question the assumption that a V6 F150, blown or naturally aspirated, will find any market that will prove profitable for Ford. Yeah, they'll sell a few, but not in the numbers they are selling the F150-series in now. And Ford's profitability is what we ALL should be hoping and praying for because of the loan paybacks anticipated.

How many of you Ford fan boys are actually going to trade your 4.6 or 5.4 V8 F150 in on one those these V6 jobs? As I pointed out, the previous editions of the blown V6 by other manufacturers were no success. Even Porsche with its turbocharged boxers had the same problems with bearing wear because of premature oil breakdown, sludging, etc, related to overheating.

I know that V8's aren't fancy any more, but if someone is given a choice of an all-aluminum, 32-valve, DOHC, normally-aspirated, 350 (5.7), why would they want to buy a V6 of any kind? Better to stuff this V6 into a Ranger for the masses, or a Flex for the masses, or (egad!) an MKX for the masses.

DeBinder, why not read the article? If you are pulling a trailer every day, don't get one. Get a diesel. I pulled a trailer about 5 days last year. If I got 22.5mpg every day when it was unloaded, it could have got 5 mpg those 5 days that I was towing, I still would have been much better off. As Mike said, the EcoBoost gets pretty damn close to the towing economy of the 5.0, but it pulls a lot harder than any V8. Not everybody wants a Tundra.

By the way, Ford offers a large displacement 6.2L V8 which has more power and torque than the Tundra, and the same fuel economy. I would also take the SOHC 5.7 Hemi before a Toyota.

Alex, of course I read the article, twice in fact. I think it is a great article. And I'm not selling anything. I have owned F150, Silverado and RAM. I don't care what people choose to drive. It's their money. But I question if any owner of a V8 F150 would trade down to a V6 F150. And given the long history of blown vs normally aspirated engines, we won't know if this blown EB V6 is going to be any better than the previous crops that are no longer offered.

I used to be part of my brothers' drag racing team that used to race 426 and 440 fully blown hemis at Riverside (CA) raceway during the sixties, and we stripped them down after four runs. Had to! I think the EB V6 is a nice try but it remains to be seen how well they hold up. Are you going to trade your V8 F150 for a V6 EB model? Or are you just blowing smoke?

"Are you going to trade your V8 F150 for a V6 EB model? Or are you just blowing smoke?"
I never said I was buying it, did I? If I were buying a brand new pickup truck, I would buy the EcoBoost. But an increase in mpgs won't make up for those monthly payments, so I will stick with my 5.4 for now. I will seriously consider one when they have been out for a while and depreciated a little.

I think a lot of people will switch to the 3.5. I'm not one of them, I'm a 5.0/6.2 guy but a lot of Ecoboost trucks will be sold and it's being proven as a strong performer with good empty mileage. Nothing wrong with that.

It is true, the market will decide if this is the future engine or not. I agree, turbos can equal more things to go wrong. If this was 10 years ago, I'd be concerned about a turbo V6 truck app. I'm not as concerned now. We've had some much technology stuffed into vehicles and they are as reliable as ever.

The interesting thing is if they still sell after the initial curiosity buyers are done.

In the mean time, I'd take a 5.0/6.2.

@DeBinder
I know of three guys that have traded 5.4 F-150s & 2 with 4.6s for the F-150 Ecoboost. I know a hard core bow tie boy that traded his 8.1 crew cab for one. My brother is trading his 5.4 F-150 for one when his gets here; heck my local dealer can't keep them on the lot!

Great article Mike! I have the 2011 F-150 5.0 and is still very impressed with both engines! Looks like I made a great choice! Great job guys!

You take identical F-150's, one with the 5.0 and one with the Egoboost, give them the same rear gears...and the 5.0 will get the SAME mileage as the Egoboost.

Egoboost is a complete sham. All it is, is a high strung V6 that drinks fuel like a V8. All while costing more to purchase, maintain and repair.

Single digits for this engine is horrid. It's a typical Ford though...overhyped and under-delivered.

@P, why don't you criticize the V8's fuel economy too? Since it is the same as you say. How much does it cost to repair one? I wouldn't know because I haven't got any experience at repairing one, and I usually don't comment on things that I have no clue about. But if you could enlighten us, please do.

@debinder I have a 5.4 and i will be trading it off on an ecoboost next year. it will be perfect for me i tow a little on the weekend and use it mostly for hunting and commuting to work. I never buy trucks or cars the first year they have new stuff, Iwait till the next year when all the kinks are worked out.
@ p and anyone else that says its expensive to fix are just idiots. first you have no idea how much parts are for a brand new motor and second there isnt a cheap fixing motor on the market especially with labor at 85 bucks an hour.

@ Alex:
Because this is great mileage for a V8. For a V6, it's terrible. Remember, Ford (falsely) claimed that Egoboost would give you V8 power with V6 economy. That has not been true in the Flex, that has not been true in the porky D3 sedans, and it isn't true here. I saw Egoboost for what it was...a complete pipe dream. And using 'cost to own" calculators shows that maintenance and repair costs are higher for this engine. And common sense tells you that the more moving parts you have, the more it will cost to maintain and repair. Plus, Ford designed it...so there is little hope that they got it right. It took them over 10 years to figure out how to get the spark plugs right in the modular boat anchors.

@ bobsled80:

Why are we idiots? First, Ford doesn't have the ability to design something that just works (their durability testing is a joke...). Second, even if you take Ford out of the equation, the more technology and moving parts you have, the more it will be to maintain and repair...and it will need repair more often. I rather to pay to have a simple yet very efficient pushrod V8 repaired than something with direct injection and two turbos on it.

For those of you who have decided to trade your Ford V8 for a Ford V6, good for you. If that is what you really, really want, doubly good for you. I'm more of a slower turning power plant kinda guy, with the extra cylinders to provide that higher torque at a lower rpm. I'll wait for the annual sales numbers to see just how well the V6 sales stack up to the V8 sales.

And for those, like Alex, who somehow question why I chose to buy a 2009 Tundra Limited 4dr 4X4 5.7 I say that the Tundra innovations of 2007 won me over. Do you guys remember all the ads on TV of the American trucks comparing themselves to the Tundra? After having owned Silverado, RAM1500, F150 and a Titan, the Tundra fit my wants and needs perfectly. It caused Detroit to up the ante with all their innovations like 6-speed trannies, etc. But Tundra was the first. Gotta give them credit for that. And I have not been disappointed in over 33K miles. No problems. No warranty repair visits to the dealer. That's already better than any of my previous trucks.

When it comes down to buying any pickup truck it should be noted that if you have to worry about gas mileage and the cost of gas, you oughtn't buy a truck 'cause none of them are great on mileage. Truth is, people who buy a truck don't worry about the cost of gas, no matter what brand they buy.

Surely there is a market for traditional V8 shoppers to make a switch to the more powerful, with pretty good fuel mileage to boot, 3.5L V6 EcoBoost motor. Not everybody needs/wants a V8. They will accept the fact that a powerful V6 will fit their needs.

After all, did not Toyota pull the wool over the eyes of a few unsavvy full-size pickup buyers, and lure them into T-100s and the first Tundra iteration? Toyota tricked these buyers into thinking that they were getting a real truck. Later these owners realized, and Toyota actually admitted, that these Toys were quite a bit smaller than REAL full-size pickups from Dodge, Ford, and General Motors. These owners accepted the fact that they had smaller "full-size" pickups.

@P the "number of moving parts" thing can also mean increased cylinders and valves, not just turbos. Also, it seems pretty dang close to the unloaded fuel economy of Ford's only naturally aspirated V6. Within 1 mile per gallon I believe, I don't know how comparable that is when the truck configurations for both engines may be different.
To compare maintenance costs, it should be noted that the 5.0 requires 2 more quarts of oil than the EB, with the same oil change intervals.

@DeBinder, I never questioned why you bought a Tundra, I simply said "not everybody wants a Tundra." My mindset is everyone is entitled to buy whatever the hell they like, and should do so without criticism from other people. So if you're happy with your Tundra, that is great.

First time post on the internet. My car background started with a 78 Trans Am that ran a blistering 16.3 at 84 mph at the high school drags. Then after I road in an 85 Mustang GT in 1990 I was turned on to Ford. I’ve owned an 86 GT, 88 GT and a 91 LX with the usual Bolt-on’s . Went through a crazy stage of 20,000 miles on a ZX-9 with a lot street racing so I’m not a poser. I have been trying to decide what truck to buy for 3 years, almost to a sickness. I will say the 09+ Dodge suspension is the best driving truck. It came down to what I get most for the money, plus my truck is replacing my mini-van with my 3 boys. Ford has the most room, best quality, a truck that will go through a plowed field the longest without breaking. After I decided to by a Ford I was left with the big decision, 5.0 or EB. I am well aware of what Lethal and Evolution Motorsports have done with the new 5.0, it’s an amazing motor. I drove back to back the 5.0 and EB. I drove the EB first and then jumped into the 5.0 and I was like where is the motor? It almost felt like my 96 F-150 5.0, but only until you gave it more gas. The 5.0 ran very strong to the point I almost bought one, but you have to put your foot down on it. It sounded good like a 5.0 GT and I know 5 Star Tuning has already made some good tunes for it. It seemed like it got better gas mileage on the route I went also, but the decision came down to what engine impressed me more, it was the EB. I bought an XLT 4x4 crew/short bed with 3.55’s and 18 inch wheels. Normal every day driving is very impressive without the transmission downshifting, it pulls through like a diesel. I had a chance to race my longtime friend’s 2010 GMC 5.3 4x4. I had an additional 355lbs of passengers. The first time from a dead stop he break footed and I flat footed it. He got out on me a half a truck out of the hole, but I went by him and got a truck length before 60, had to shut down because of traffic. We raced again with similar results but never though a quarter mile.. The last time he manual shifted and started to run me down, got to my door. I don’t think we where over 60 mph yet, my RPM was about 5 grand when he was coming. I was hoping my tranny would shift soon so I would start pulling, but once again we had to shut it down.
I am a V8 guy, but I bought what I thought was a better set up for me and having a couple hair dyers under the hood is pretty cool too. I have read a few guys say well its not a V8 and it has turbo’s on it. Their statements confuse me because all the diesel trucks have turbo’s and so do semi’s. Dodge diesels and a lot of semi’s have 6 cylinders also. Is it because the EB use’s gas instead of diesel? So far since I have had it, (800 miles) I have averaged 15.1 mpg. I have reset my mpg on the 20 miles to work driving 70-75 and got 20.5 mpg. This weekend I drove over to DFW from east Dallas, 90 miles round trip. Averaged 20.5 there and ended up back at my house at 19.9. I think Ford delivered what it intended too, find a truck that tows like an EB with the same gas mileage. I am pleased so far with my purchase but you can’t go wrong with either motor, but guys who are chest pounding about V8's, don't cry when your cherry bombed, straight piped out the back V8 just got rolled by a V6. Sorry this was so long.

Congrats to Ford, you finally produced an engine that makes your trucks bearable to drive. Nobody can say that this power train isn't class leading.

The only real problem I see with the motor is, for having every piece of tech Ford can throw at it, the EB only eeks out wins for FE and performance, when compared to the competition. What is Ford going to do when GM launches it's new 5.5, DI, Cam in Cam, V8s? Or how bout when Ram launches its MultiAir, DI, Cam in Cam, all aluminum HEMI, with the 8 speed?

The new GM small block will probably get similar power numbers as the EB, but better FE. The Hemi will have about 15% more HP and 20% more torque thanks to MultiAir and DI. With a FE increase of 22% percent thanks the 8 speed trans, MultiAir, and DI. I see both engines (GM and Hemi) accomplishing 25 mpg in 2wd trucks.

Sure Ford could tweak the turbos a bit, to give the EB more power, or they could up the displacement, but neither of those will help the FE enough to catch the other two.

I just want to say congrats to Ford once again, this is a nice motor, and it truly is class leading. But for how long? We will have to see.


Mike, great write up!!!

Great article. I think your statement about the physical laws limiting MPG is accurate. All things being the same (wind resistance, equal weight and shape of trailer, etc), it basically takes a certain amount of fuel / energy burned, no matter what mfr, gas vs. gas - it's just physics. Even with a V6 Turbo, such as the 3.5L Ecoboost, the computer is going to tell the system to pour fuel at an increasing rate as the truck attempts to overcome gravity with a 9,000lb trailer. That's just a lot of weight and no matter what gas engine (Dodge, Chevy, Toyota, Nissan, included), I bet the mileage while towing would have been pretty equal. What makes the V6/turbo combo great is when you are "unloaded". That's when you can make up mileage/efficiency because you're not moving so much "engine mass" as you are with a V8. The V6 can shut down the turbos on the flat Hwy, maintaining enough power to keep the empty rig moving, thereby increasing operating efficiency (as you experienced with better than 20mpg). Ideal would be an Ecoboost with a small electric motor just to take maybe 10% of the load. If it adds another 1.5 to 2mpg, that would be awesome...close to 25mpg for a full-size truck under normal conditions!!!???

Ecoboost with the hydraulic hybrid assist system. There would be a killer combination.

@Taylor I never accused you of saying we should get rid of full size trucks. I told you that I thought Ford was not out of touch with reality when they market this 'gigantor' pickup. If you're saying you have own several full size trucks, and you understand there are several hundred thousand people who buy full size trucks each year, then how is Ford out of touch with reality? Even with gas skyrocketing, people need trucks. We love them, we need them.

I keep hearing comments like "what will Ford do when GM's new V8 comes out"... and "when the new 5.0 Cummins V8 is available"... and other "somehow-someday-fairytale" stuff.
Well, all I can say is that RIGHT NOW there's an EcoBoost F150 in my driveway that:
(1) Has more HP per cubic inch than a Z06 Corvette,
(2) has more TQ per cubic inch than a Duramax TD,
(3) AND gets better mpg than any V8 gasser in a fullsize truck.

Anybody who tries to compare the puny 5.3 with the EcoBoost needs to look at the WHOLE PICTURE, and not just the slightly-better fuel economy.

The only gasser that GM makes that comes close in low-end torque is the 6.2 V8. I wonder what kind of gas mileage it gets in 3.73 4x4 trim.

"What is Ford going to do when GM launches it's new 5.5, DI, Cam in Cam, V8s? Or how bout when Ram launches its MultiAir, DI, Cam in Cam, all aluminum HEMI, with the 8 speed? "

Ford will also have an all new truck with even newer engines (EB Version 2) out right after GM release it's new truck. Ford is also looking at 7, 8 or more speed transmissions. Ram isn't the only one. So whatcha gonna do? What is Ram and GM gonna do when Ford and the best selling all new F-150 runs wild and destroys them, brother????

Ford may use 7 and 8 speed:
http://www.blueovalforums.com/forums/index.php?/topic/44800-ford-may-use-7-and-8-speed-transmissions/


"Industry sources tell PickupTrucks.com that Ford is already developing the next iteration of EcoBoost motors ..."

http://www.pickuptrucks.com/html/news/ford/ethanol-boost/ford-ethanol-boost-engine-code-named-bobcat.html

That was from over two years ago that they said they were already working on the next version of EcoBoost. GM is yet to come out with its first EB type motor. So Ford is already on top of things and well ahead.

Where is the ecoboost 2.4 inline 4?
Isn't the output supposed to be 292hp@6000, 280ft-lbs@2500-5000?
That would be an improvement in performance & mileage over the 3.7 V6 in the real world.

What reason is there that Ford does not offer the 36 gallon fuel tank with the 3.5 twin turbo?


Any oil consumption issues with the ecoboost? only 6 quarts of oil seems worrisome, when the 6.2 has 7 and the 5.0 has 8.

I just wanted to say sincere 'thank you' to Mike Levine and staff for a great report.

After reading this article with bated breath, I'm confident I made the right decision to replace my 2002 7.3L PowerStroke with an EcoBoost with 3.73s and the Max Trailer Tow package. I take delivery on it this Thursday.

I believe in what Ford is trying to do, and proving it by opening my wallet.

Kudos to Glenn in CO!!!!!

Some of you who can't make up your mind choosing between a 3.5 or 5.0 might have your mind made up for you by the loan officer... Went to look at a 3.5 last Friday, the dealer said they couldn't offer more than $1500 discount for the ecoboost truck, that they were in very high demand and selling for close to list price most of the time. And no X-plan pricing on the ecoboost truck either, but they were more than happy to match X-plan pricing on any of the 5.0 trucks.

Bottom line, Ford's got a winner on their hands. Most likely, over time this initial pent-up demand should subside, but for now, if you want an ecoboost truck, be prepared to pay dearly for it.

I don't see the EB V6 outselling the V8 stuff.
I'm pretty spoiled to My Diesel truck for it's power & fuel milage.
I guess i'm missing something here. Are you going to buy this truck to tow with or is it a fuel econmy truck?
At 7MPG or anything less than 10MPG towing, why would you want this truck, when a bigger diesel truck will out work it with better fuel milage.

The only problem I have with this towing test is that why in God's green earth are we using TWO WHEEL DRIVE TRUCKS FOR THIS TOWING TEST???? While I realize you don't need Four Wheel drive when towing on roads, why are we using Two Wheel drive trucks for this tow test???

What percentage of readers on pickuptrucks.com are going to go out and buy a TWO WHEEL DRIVE TRUCK??? This test shows that the Ecoboost is a impressive engine with impressive horsepower and torque. The test also shows that towing 95% of gross combination weight rating in hilly terrain that the ecoboost may not be the best engine for towing heavy trailers in the mountains and will consumer more fuel because the turbos will be sucking in the fuel.

On a level road or empty, the Ecoboost is a very good on fuel but pulling heavy trailers up a mountain the 5.0 liter would do a better job and get better fuel economy doing it. Of course if you want the ultimate towing vehicle to tow a heavy trailer up a mountain than you will have to go to your local Chevy or GMC dealer and purchase a 3/4 or 1 ton Duramax Diesel to do the job. I am impressed with the Ecoboost engine with impressive horse power and torque. I thought the towing mpg would have been higher and I guessed 11mpg when the poll was taken last week.

Pulling a trailer that weighs 9,000 pounds is no joke and especially towing that weight up hill. I still think the manufacture's should offer a half ton diesel and I do think the demand is there if it's available to the public. Ecoboost is a good engine but no gas is as good as a diesel engine for pulling a heavy trailer in the mountains.

@ Bob
you are right pulling 9000lbs is no joke and if i were pulling that kind of weight over mountains and hills all the time i would be going down to my local Ford dealer and buying a 3/4 ton diesel, if i would not be pulling that kind of weight more than once a month or less i would be buying a 3.5 EB because i would want to consider fuel mileage empty but as proven the 3.5 EB can do it i just would not want to do for living (everyday)

@Dan the Man

Kudos!!!

Great minds think alike. I have the same sentiment.

"pulling heavy trailers up a mountain the 5.0 liter would do a better job and get better fuel economy doing it." - bob

No, it won't.

I bet most pickup trucks are sold in TWO WHEEL DRIVE. TX, California and FL are the most populated states and they are 2 WHEEL DRIVE country.

@ Frank
yea i couldn't help it but that is what i would do



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