By Aaron Bragman
The new aluminum body was only part of the big news Ford released at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit regarding the new F-150; Ford also announced a new lineup of powertrains.
The success of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine in the Ford F-150 took everyone by surprise — even Ford. The idea that Americans would embrace a high-tech twin-turbo V-6 engine in a full-size pickup truck for extra money was met largely with skepticism (if not outright derision) by many pundits, but the pundits could not have been more wrong. With V-6 models now accounting for more than half of F-150 light-duty volume, Ford decided to shuffle around the powertrain options for the 2015 model to better accommodate owners seeking a mixture of durability, power and fuel efficiency.
For 2015, Ford sticks with a four-engine lineup. Replacing the standard 3.7-liter V-6 will be Ford's smaller 3.5-liter V-6. While no power or torque numbers (or tow ratings) have been released for the 2015 F-150 yet, the 3.5-liter engine is expected to be less powerful than the 3.7-liter engine it replaces. In the 2014 Ford Explorer, the 3.5-liter V-6 makes 290 horsepower versus the 3.7-liter's 302 hp in the base 2014 F-150. But with the new truck weighing hundreds of pounds less than the outgoing model, thanks to the switch to aluminum construction (Ford told up apples-to-apples crew cab models save 700 pounds), the base engine doesn't need to be as powerful as the old model to achieve the same performance feel or to achieve better fuel economy numbers.
Moving up from the base engine will be an all-new 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6. It is designed to be as powerful as a lighter-duty V-8 engine, according to Ford, and is a response to customers' requests for a midlevel engine that can accommodate moderate towing duties and smaller payloads than a 5.0-liter V-8 or the powerful twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine for the tradeoff of even better fuel economy. From their research, a good number of their customers don't want to pay for capability they won't need; not everyone needs to tow a 10,000-pound trailer or haul cinderblock to a job site. This more moderate 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine is the first of a new family of EcoBoost engines, featuring a compacted graphite block and standard stop-start technology.
Carrying over is the 5.0-liter V-8 Coyote engine, but we'll have to wait to see if it makes any different power numbers. Fans of big V-8 engines will, however, be disappointed to learn that the current truck's top engine choice, the 6.2-liter V-8, is no more. Instead, the top premium engine choice will now be the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. And if it's going to replace the 6.2-liter in the lineup, we expect that it will likely make more power than the current model's 365 hp and 420 pounds-feet of torque. The torque numbers of the current 3.5-liter EcoBoost are already nearly a match for the 6.2-liter V-8 (420 versus 434), and the same benefit applies here as with the base V-6. With the top-of-the-line Platinum SuperCrew model ringing in at nearly 700 pounds lighter than the outgoing model, one doesn't need as much power to enjoy the same performance.
Stay tuned in the coming months for official news from Ford on power and tow ratings as well as fuel-efficiency improvements for the 2015 Ford F-150.
Photo below of 2014 F-150 EcoBoost engine.