Can the 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor Be Fuel-Efficient?

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Automotive journalists write lots of stories about fuel economy and fuel-efficient vehicles. We say, so what? How far you can squeeze a tank of gas or battery charge is only as important as the things it allows you to do.

Case in point: Earlier this year, a colleague bemoaned the fact that after towing his classic Willys Jeep to Moab, Utah, from Detroit with a new 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor, he averaged a dismal 9.4 mpg combined for the 1,700-mile trip. We say he wasn't doing it right.

To his credit, he did note he encountered strong winds and rough weather, and maybe the Raptor equipped with the twin-turbo V-6 EcoBoost and 10-speed automatic transmission wasn't the best tow vehicle for this adventure. To be fair, he also gushed in a companion piece about how the Raptor saved his bacon on the same trip.

What struck us about this Raptor tow story was that it all seemed to make perfect sense to us. A smaller engine that uses turbochargers so it can act like a larger V-8 engine very likely dumps gobs of fuel straight into the cylinders when on boost for hours on end. We surmise that was the case for most of his trip as he towed that load at the Raptor's maximum gross vehicle weight rating. Yes, the Raptor has 10 speeds; yes, it has mountains of peak horsepower and torque; and yes, with a 36-gallon fuel tank it is reasonable to expect the truck to get more than 350 miles per fill-up. Unless you're towing and hauling across country at maximum capability.

To be fair, the opposite is just as likely — and probably just as valuable when exploring the full depth of the Raptor's strengths and weaknesses.

So in the name of balance, we decided to do some "hypermiling" in a new Raptor to see what would happen. In the name of full disclosure, we're not good at this, so basically all we did was keep our speed down, run with the air conditioning off, and keep our starts and stops smooth. We didn't pull the mirror in, tape up the front grille or employ any of the other hypermiling tricks.

We started our adventure in Valencia, Calif., about 40 miles from Los Angeles. We headed north over the Tejon Pass, giving us a chance to climb and glide down the backside of many hills. Once into the flatlands of the San Joaquin Valley it was 60 mph all the way to Bakersfield. From Bakersfield we motored east on state Route 58, climbing in elevation again through the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada Mountains all the way to the wind-farm-dotted town of Tehachapi (elevation 4,000 feet).

Route 58 is popular with semitrucks and, due to some construction, the highway slowed to a crawl for about 45 minutes before we could get back up to our designated 60-mph speed. It didn't take long from there to get to the high-desert town of Mojave. From there it was a straight shot south on state Route 14 through the commuter towns of Lancaster and Palmdale (where we saw temperatures of 106 degrees — remember, no air conditioning). Then back to Interstate 5, which returned us to Valencia and the gas station fuel pump where we started. (It's our policy to use the exact pump and nozzle at the start and end of our fuel-economy runs.)

The round trip was 209.7 miles and the Raptor's trip computer reported 23.7 mpg, while our specific calculations gave us 22.7 mpg. Not bad when the EPA fuel economy numbers on the price sheet for our test Raptor were 15/18/16 mpg city/highway/combined.

Our test Raptor was a SuperCab that weighed 5,720 pounds, while the one my colleague used to tow was a SuperCrew, which probably weighed closer to 6,100 pounds. Still, getting 6.7 mpg better than the EPA combined number for a couple hundred miles is not bad.

Maybe the lesson here is that hypermiling a Raptor (or just driving one slowly without the air conditioning in the summer heat) and bragging about the results makes just as much sense as towing with a Raptor and complaining about it. Just because you can, doesn't always mean you should.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams

 

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This photo was taken not long after our final fillup, where, after driving (shall we say) a bit enthusiastically for a bit with the A/C on full blast, we remembered we better take a photo of the readout. 

Comments

When testing FE short trips do not make for accurate results. A meaningful test would involved carefully measured amounts of fuel and optimal test conditions.

They went over 200 miles. Any longer who have yielded probably even better results as they got more skilled at it.

220 miles is not short.

My 2015 Silvy with 6.2 8 speed crewcab with 6.5 ft box weighs 5900 lbs. Why are the those aluminum Raptors so heavy.

AS papa should have stated nobody really cares about FE in an offroader( much less a PU in general)....really why would you spend the money, this article is useless.

GMS was that your actual weight or the sticker said it is? You need to weigh it your self to actually know, those trucks are usually way off the listed weight. In your case, since its GM, that was probably the sticker without the bumper, spare tire, step bars and such, you know cuz thats how they cheat capacities as noted in may articles......sorry you will need to defend.

This goes to show that even automotive "experts" don;t fully understand the difference between driving a car and driving a pickup.

Good job Mark! Just because a person can drive a truck dosen't mean they should and it seems your colleague is one of them!

With the right conditions you can do a lot on mileage. I just drove across much of Canada and back last month from western Alberta to the Quebec border of Ontario. On one stretch of over 400 miles I got 22.19 miles per US gallon in a 2015 - 6.6 GMC 3500 crew 4X4 with an 8 foot box and 2500 pounds in it. I got well over 700 miles on that tank. I was going speed limit and no major wind on relatively level ground.

I'm pretty sure no one cares about a Raptor's fuel efficiency.

"My 2015 Silvy with 6.2 8 speed crewcab with 6.5 ft box weighs 5900 lbs. Why are the those aluminum Raptors so heavy."

Posted by: GMSRGREAT

They're built to last .........Hahaha !!

Why is my steel truck so light.
Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Aug 8, 2017 1:20:55 PM

It's a difference of philosophies between the companies. GM's alleged high strength steel is made from paper thin steel and under the skin, parts can be half as thick in terms of material and size.

Fords have beefier parts and you can research this and see the difference by looking up the truth about trucks videos.

You see, when Ford talks about Built Ford Trough, it's not just a slogan, it's a passion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMgbQ303x4c

My 2015 Silvy with 6.2 8 speed crewcab with 6.5 ft box weighs 5900 lbs. Why are the those aluminum Raptors so heavy.
Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Aug 8, 2017 1:20:55 PM

Sorry to tell you. But short cuts got made on your truck, bro.

Using the weight philosophy, Ram and Toyota are built to last because they both tip the scales with a curb weight of 3+ tons.

Nice truck!!!

Can't trust ford garbage about anything, the flagship Craptor can't even beat the little Colorado, LOL
Now we know that the ford Craptor is # 3

http://www.motortrend.com/cars/ram/2500/2017/chevrolet-colorado-zr2-vs-ford-f-150-raptor-vs-ram-2500-power-wagon/?sm_id=organic_fb_social_MT_170807_sf104192447&utm_source=m.facebook.com&utm_medium=referral#sf104192447

"Hypermiling" a v6 truck with a 10 speed, speed limit of 60, not running the AC, and only getting 23 mpg doesn't really sound that impressive. Consider the 2017 Escalade ESV is rated 22 highway without hypermiling.

Yawn, another story bout a crappy claptor!

Consider the 2017 Escalade ESV is rated 22 highway without hypermiling.


Posted by: Jack | Aug 8, 2017 3:55:32 P

Yes, but one jump in the desert and the entire SUV will fall apart.

No Thanks.

Using the weight philosophy, Ram and Toyota are built to last because they both tip the scales with a curb weight of 3+ tons.
Posted by: Tyler | Aug 8, 2017 2:59:31 PM

Except the Tundra's open-C frame is thin, flimsy, and it's been well-documented that it rusts in abnormally fast compared to its competitors. The weight is coming from some where else.

Yawn, another story bout a crappy claptor!


Posted by: johnny doe | Aug 8, 2017 3:55:40 PM

The trvll is awake, it seems it's very tired to speak. Quick, someone get it some oxbow essentials.

Why is PUTC attempting to bring the term "fuel efficiency" into anything associated with an F-sister. If you want the most fuel efficient truck, you need to look at a GM or Ram.

You see, when Ford talks about Built Ford Trough, it's not just a slogan, it's a passion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMgbQ303x4c

Posted by: Dave Z. | Aug 8, 2017 2:49:56 PM

One of the assembly workers forgot to put the tough part onto this Ford. LOL!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=ZXmbltLogms

From the PUTC news headlines page leading to this story:

>>We took a 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor on a fuel-economy drive to see how many mpgs we could ring from it.<<

"ring"? Seriously?

Try "wring". (Doesn't cars.com have editors, or at least someone with an English degree?) And stand still so elementary school teachers from every state can line up can slap you people silly.

My 2015 Silvy with 6.2 8 speed crewcab with 6.5 ft box weighs 5900 lbs. Why are the those aluminum Raptors so heavy.

Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Aug 8, 2017 1:20:55 PM

What an idiotic question but it makes perfect sense coming only from GMSUCKS aka johnny dum dum;
You cannot compare weight of a shaky cheby to an all-purpose off-road truck with all the added weight from beefier skid-plates, suspension, larger tires & wheels etc etc etc...

school teachers from every state can line up can slap you people silly.
Posted by: RoadTrip | Aug 8, 2017 5:14:02 PM

This is improper English.

Towed a Jeep with an off-road designed vehicle with 35 inch tires and this colleague complained that he got 9.8 miles per gallon? WTF! The dude should have his head examined!


You see, when Ford talks about Built Ford Trough, it's not just a slogan, it's a passion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMgbQ303x4c

Posted by: Dave Z. | Aug 8, 2017 2:49:56 PM

Rebuttal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f3CAnH7WIM

220 miles is not short. Posted by: Alex | Aug 8, 2017

@Alex

The shorter the test mileage, the more precise you have to be with the amount of fuel used.

The gas pumps at filling stations have meters that are not accurate enough for a decent test.

It's better to use five gallon gas cans so you can pour a carefully measured amount into the tank. The truck's tank has to be empty. It gets really impractical.

Instead, you test fuel mileage over several thousand miles of driving and it begins to get very accurate. 200 miles is not enough for a decent test.

So i guess the answer is No, the F150 cannot get good fuel economy.

WHO CARES!

the answer is --- what is fuelly dot com

Mark - it must be very depressing to have to read through these comments. Perhaps you should steal a line from jalopnik and make the comment system registered users only. Anyways, I thought the article was interesting and you make a good point: just because you can eek out +++mpgs by babying a truck, does it really make a difference? Just like towing with a raptor and complaining about 9.4mpg (which I don't even think is bad), it is what it is.

Except the Tundra's open-C frame is thin, flimsy, and it's been well-documented that it rusts in abnormally fast compared to its competitors. The weight is coming from some where else.
Posted by: Barnes | Aug 8, 2017 4:12:49 PM

Wrong... The tundra C-frame is thicker in gauge then the box-frames of the other trucks. Flimsy is quite the exaggeration... more like a trait of all C-frame. Lots of ford idiots out there... Rusty frame was due to Dana Corp manufacturing process. After Dana went bankrupt, a new supplier now builds the frame for Toyota trucks. I believe 2012+ no longer prone to rust like previous ones built by Dana.

Yes, but one jump in the desert and the entire SUV will fall apart.

No Thanks.
Posted by: Frank | Aug 8, 2017 4:11:28 PM

You missed the point. An SUV that weighs more has fewer gears and more cylinders is rated the same MPG as a "hypermiling" Raptor. That is not impressive at all. In fact that is pretty embarrassing.

"My 2015 Silvy with 6.2 8 speed crewcab with 6.5 ft box weighs 5900 lbs. Why are the those aluminum Raptors so heavy."
---- Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Aug 8, 2017 1:20:55 PM

Would you believe...
• Extra hard steel framing to make up for the loss of structural strength in the aluminum body and cab?
• Heavy off-road suspension and tires?
• 36 gallon fuel tank? (252# of fuel±?

Your Silvy may not be a purpose-built off-road monster now, is it? I think you would have said so if it were.

"This goes to show that even automotive "experts" don;t fully understand the difference between driving a car and driving a pickup.
"Good job Mark! Just because a person can drive a truck dosen't mean they should and it seems your colleague is one of them!"
---- Posted by: Old GM Guy | Aug 8, 2017 2:03:06 PM

Good point as far as it goes, but the commentary above also points out some of the fallacies in their own arguments. Mark is exactly right that operating a truck at its limits will give much poorer fuel economy than operating one empty. Mark also pointed out that driving conservatively (he was by no means "hypermiling") can give you much better economy than driving like an idiot at 10-over the speed limit, weaving, and overall agressive driving will give you.

I'll admit I was surprised that he exceeded the EPA rated economy by so much, but that means the engine is more than enough power than needed for everyday driving if you only stay out of the turbo once you reach highway speed. That means be aware that for every 10mph you go above 45mph, you face almost twice the wind resistance. Add to this that your best economy will probably come around 1500rpm and you'll want to keep your revs as low as possible without making yourself a hazard on the road.

With most of my vehicles, past and present, I'm able to exceed the EPA rating by roughly 15%. Typically this is by maintaining a steady speed at or just below the speed limit (I've found 62mph is almost ideal for most of my vehicles) and getting up to speed in a timely but not excessive manner. Those old Shell Oil commercials meant to teach drivers how to improve their gas mileage are still valuable knowledge, even today. https://youtu.be/iaf5zyweD6k
https://youtu.be/-6BtMZtDsiY

Your Silvy may not be a purpose-built off-road monster now, is it? I think you would have said so if it were.

Posted by: Road Whale | Aug 9, 2017 8:31:53 AM

My Silvy is a full load High Country 4x4 with the sun roof, rear slider window, side steps, 20 inch wheels, spray in box liner and hard tonneau cover, all of which adds weight and still it weighs just over 5900 lbs. The point I was making is that Ford and their aluminum wonder trucks are not living up to their marketing hype when compared to their competition. Sure their current trucks may be lighter and more fuel efficient then their previous generation but they are only now competing with the GM twins in light weight design and efficiency.

Yes, but one jump in the desert and the entire SUV will fall apart.

No Thanks.
Posted by: Frank | Aug 8, 2017 4:11:28 PM

You missed the point. An SUV that weighs more has fewer gears and more cylinders is rated the same MPG as a "hypermiling" Raptor. That is not impressive at all. In fact that is pretty embarrassing.


Posted by: Jack | Aug 9, 2017 7:29:06 AM

It's rated at 22 HWY with no real world testing, show me the video?

Yes, but one jump in the desert and the entire SUV will fall apart.

No Thanks.
Posted by: Frank | Aug 8, 2017 4:11:28 PM


We've all seen the video of one jump and the raptor exploded. Yep definitely more bullet proof than other trucks. At least his comment was relative to the article.

As for the amazing Raptor,

Motor trend could barely keep the squirrely pig Raptor on washboard roads in Canada. Struggled to compete with a ZR2 and a power wagon throughout the test unless they had a good smooth surface.

Ford Raptor - Specifically designed for parking lots and sandboxes. At least it costs more than the competition....

Motor trend could barely keep the squirrely pig Raptor on washboard roads in Canada. Struggled to compete with a ZR2 and a power wagon throughout the test unless they had a good smooth surface.
Ford Raptor - Specifically designed for parking lots and sandboxes. At least it costs more than the competition....


Posted by: andrwken | Aug 9, 2017 11:59:33 AM

Those bozo's do not know how to evaluate a truck, I don't subscribe to that crappy mag. To base your assumption off of one mag shows your IGNORANCE.

Posted by: Jack | Aug 9, 2017 7:29:06 AM

It's rated at 22 HWY with no real world testing, show me the video?


Posted by: Frank | Aug 9, 2017 10:49:31 AM

Frank, it's pretty much a proven fact that GM's 8V's rated fuel economy is more "real world" accurate than that of the Eco boost numbers.

Frank, it's pretty much a proven fact that GM's 8V's rated fuel economy is more "real world" accurate than that of the Eco boost numbers.


Posted by: Jack | Aug 9, 2017 3:12:45 PM

You're comparing apples, with oranges, and possibly grapes. Sheesshhh you gmfanboiz are really something else.

@Frank @Jack

We're good. It's a fact that mileage testing turbo engines is a little tricky because it requires the driver to avoid humping the turbo too often.

An EcoBoost or other turbo engine can get really great highway mileage on flat road at normal Interstate speeds between 55-65 mph. Above that speed, especially if you're bucking a headwind the mileage goes to hell and fast.

It's less of a problem with normally aspirated motors but they suffer from it too. Just not as much.

@papajim,

Not to mention the 35 inch BFG A/T. That will take a hit in mileage.

This guy is getting great mileage out of his Ford....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCnTcaZczHM


Great post, putc. The new military grade F150 gets great military grade milegae. I guess now you will have to round up all of the non-military grade trucks to go against Ford in a fuel economy challenge because the GM fanbois are feeling left out. Get r done.

Ford knows all about spring dust Nitro, lol

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXmbltLogms&t=28s

I prefer the original 4x4 from Ram the Mighty Power Wagon.

America's leader in off road trucks.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN0uKh1M0Ig

9.4 mpg towing with a lifted truck is pretty damn good



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