By Aaron Bragman
We'll admit it, most of us in the automotive media thought Ford was nuts — putting a twin-turbo V-6 into the iconic F-150 pickup truck seemed like blasphemy at the time. No true red-blooded American will want a turbo V-6 pickup, we cried! And how wrong so many of us were.
Ford just announced that it has sold its 500,000th EcoBoost-equipped F-150, the pickup with the twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter gasoline direct-injection V-6; the engine first became available in 2010. It has become the best-selling engine in the F-150 lineup, representing 45 percent of the total volume of F-150 sales. The company says that the fuel savings realized by customers who opted for the EcoBoost motor instead of a similarly powerful V-8 engine comes to 56 million gallons of gasoline — more than all of the fuel saved through the sale of all electric and plug-in electric vehicles ever sold.
When one includes the naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V-6 that is the standard engine in the new F-150, Ford says that V-6-powered F-150s are responsible for 91 percent of the massive growth in V-6 pickup registrations during the last three years.
"We expect those numbers to hold for the rest of the year," Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager, said in a statement. "It really is amazing when you consider we are doing that with just two V-6 engine choices — the 3.5-liter EcoBoost and the 3.5-liter Ti-VCT engine. When we come out with the new 2015 F-150, we will offer three different V-6 engines, so there is potential for further growth."
The current 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine produces 365 horsepower and 420 pounds-feet of torque, easily as much as most modern V-8 engines, while delivering an 11,300-pound tow rating and improved fuel economy. An EcoBoost-equipped F-150 won our 2013 Light Duty Challenge last year, in fact. The updated all-aluminum 2015 F-150 even gets a second EcoBoost V-6 option — a smaller turbocharged 2.7-liter motor meant for buyers who like power, value and efficiency but may not need a towing rig. This means three of the four available powertrains for the 2015 F-150 will be V-6 engines. Losing out will be the big V-8 option currently available — the 6.2-liter V-8 goes away, with the only V-8 engine available scheduled to be the 5.0-liter.
Cars.com photo by Evan Sears