We Need Your Help: 2011 Ford F-150 Towing Mileage Challenge

We Need Your Help: 2011 Ford F-150 Towing Mileage Challenge

We're looking to find out, once and for all, which of these two new Ford F-150 engines has the best towing fuel economy: the EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 or the 5.0-liter V-8. We need your help to do it.

We'll pay to rent two readers' trucks (plus food and lodging) to measure their mileage on Highway 163's steep grade, west of Laughlin, Nev., and on a 50- to 75-mile loop near the California, Nevada and Arizona borders.

Both trucks must be 2011 Ford F-150 SuperCrews with 5.5-foot cargo boxes (145-inch wheelbase), four-wheel drive and 3.73 rear axles.

We're going to hitch the trucks up to identical trailers and tow increasing loads of 3,000 pounds, 6,000 pounds and 9,000 pounds and report back how much gasoline each truck consumed.

Want to get involved? Drop an email to mlevine_at_pickuptrucks_dot_com to work out the logistics and dates.

Got questions? Ask away in the comments below.


This will be good... :-)

This makes me want to go out and buy a 2011 Ford F-150. Too bad it would require me to give up my Dodge Ram 2500 Power Wagon. Not going to happen!

this tests gonna have to have similar od mileage too in both trucks, otherwise everyones gonna harp that ones broken in more than the other, yady yady yada.....

heck, y not include others like ram 5.7, gm 6.2 n tundra 5.7 in the mix just for comparison. this ought to put to rest the "that all it's got for mpg's" or "the tests werent done at the same time n place"............

Do you want a 2010 with a 5.4 just for old times sake? LOL

@Mike L,

Please include Lou's 5.4L so he can see what he missed out on.


No pun intended, Lou.

uh huh-

You are on to something.

Mike Levine-

Would a grouping, like uh huh mentioned, be possible? That would be awesome!

Would love to but live way over here in Ohio.

I have offered up my 2011 with the 6.2. It will out do both for towing and the ecoboost for milage! waiting for a reply from Mr. Levine

Once again Mike Levine going that extra mile for us!!

@ Frank - maybe you are right. I might be too depressed after seeing how much better the new engines are;)

@Mike Levine
Your dedication and response to readers sets the gold standard for journalism.
This test is going to set new standards.
One question, are you going to drive the trucks together in a convoy to eliminate any speed differences while towing and climbing? No drafting of coarse...

Wish I had a 2011 to "contribute". I'll be glad to include my 08 F-150 SuperCrew, 4.6, 3.55 axle.

How about a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500 Quad Cab 4X4 (Power Wagon) with the 345 h.p./375 lb.-ft. torque HEMI V8 and 4.56:1 gears? Show me how badly my pickup is outdated in the power department.

@dcfluid: The current plan is to drive them simultaneously, like we did the twin EcoBoost trucks, with duplicate trailers.

Since everybody's on a role for offering something that wasn't requested, would you like to borrow my wife's 2002 Sonata V6?

@Joe: Check your e-mail!

@uh huh: I'd like to see both trucks have at least 2,000 miles each on them. Let's see what comes forward.

I WISH i lived closer. I would show up with the crew max 4x4 Tundra 4x4. Cincinnati is awfully far away to contribute to this but i would REALLY like to see everyone in it.
ALL crew models with 4x4 short box
Chev. 6.2 4.10's
Tundra 5.7 4.30's
Dodge 5.7 3.92's
Nissan 5.6 4.10's
Ford 5.0 3.73's
Ford 3.5 3.73's
Ford 6.2 3.73's

IF everyone had to adhere to SAE J2807 towing ratings the 5.0 wouldnt be able to due to tow capacity restraints in a crew cab towing 9000lbs.

IF this were done, it would solve ALOT of bickerin. AND do some performance tests along the way. This way everyone could see the trade offs of power VS. economy.

that should have read 4x4 Tundra with a 5.7. sorry for the typo

@hemi lol: When we have the trucks, I'll publish the dates. If you want to join us, you're welcome to.

This would be one way to stop the "my truck is better than your truck" bickering.
How do I convince my wife that I need to drive 1,800 miles to hang out with some truck guys? I could tell her we are driving to DisneyLand. LOL

Better make sure that both trailers have new axle bearings or someone will complain that one trailer has more drag from friction than the other. OH, and make sure that all of the trailer tires are identical and have the same tread depth.

Seriously, thanks for doing the test again

oh and make sure all trucks in the test are clean and waxed equally because a dirtier truck will get worse mileage due to increased air friction. LOL I love this website. Looking forward to the test results. There's always gonna be those people who disagree with your tests for whatever dumb reason, but you do an awesome job of making them fair. I'd gladly volunteer my truck if I could. Seriously it would be cool if you could get trucks from other manufacturers in this test. But that's a lot of gas money.

Make sure they have the proper size tires and are not larger than stock.

Can't wait for the results!! hoping to order a new F150!!
Also is the "Browse by sections" please add "vans" lots of news coming on new E Seris and Ram replacements for Sprinter!!

The 1st 2011 is up on http://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?action=mpgData&vehicleID=31035&browser=true&details=on
20mpg so far. Too bad that site doesn't allow you to combine mechanically identical model years...

I love to help and I have all the descriptions mention above except the axle ratio, got 3.31 axle ratio, so I can tow up to 8000 pounds only besides, I'm from Ohio far from that place. :(

This is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Just when I think I love this website, it only gets better. I'll make sure to bring my Frontier and smoke all those trucks. lol KIDDING

@Zach J, dont joke dude, if the amarok was in the US thered be no question who would win. amarok smokes all trucks, even 3/4 ton.

Hey Mike, what about up here in the BC/Alberta Rockies?? Lake Louise is elevated at 1534m (5033')... Come on, you can't say no to Canada!

It will be an interesting read Mike, great idea!

man i would love to take my '05 f-150 super crew cab 3.73 rears with the latest tune i got and see how i would fair against those two new trucks LOL

To add a 6.2 would be fantastic.

To add a 2010 5.4L: would also be a great yardstick.

To add a mysterious prototype 4.4L diesel would be impossible, yet also fantastic!

If you have to add one non-Ford a GM 6.2L owuld be the one. It was the strongest at the 2008 shootout.

Will the EB be running Premium while towing? ;)

Curious. (I 'd assume you'd have to do it on both)

Thanks Mike for listening to the readers. I would also suggest you make sure they both have either the 18" or the 20" wheels as that will make some difference.

@Mike Levine,

I prefer the idea of keeping it all Ford for the purposes of this test, which, correct me if I'm wrong, is to get real world information comparing the Ford engines in order that buyers can make informed decisions when and if they decide on an F-150. Choosing the right engine is a difficult decision with such a lack of real world information out there. For this reason, I think it is important that the 6.2 be in this as well if possible. I for one am very curious as to how much worse the mileage would be. I'm thinking not that much.

@Mike Levine,

Also, I meant to you that I think you have great ideas. This is like an F-150 engine shootout. Sincerely hope this pans out.

You would think a Ford dealer would step up.
And if so,you mention their name,I would guess.I think it would be great advertisement for the dealer,or even Ford would offer some trucks.

@All: Let me be clear that this *won't be* a drag race. It's a fuel economy challenge. Both trucks will only drive the posted speed limit.

@Mark Levin: Great point. We'll do that.

@Brad: I'd love to test in Canada someday but this test will have to take place near Laughlin so I can pull all the pieces together.

@The Common Man: We're going to use regular fuel, min. 87 RON.

@The Accountant $$: I don't think a dealer will work because the engines should have a few thousand miles on them.

@Soonerjoe: Great point. We'll make sure the wheels are the same too.

@UncleBud: @Joe is going to join us with his 6.2. :-)

@Mike Levine,

Thanks and have fun.

i have a eco-boost, 4x4, short bed, crew, with tow max. and 20'' wheels. i just got back from a 1500 mile trip towing a 30' travel trailer, with total weight of 6500 lbs. the rv is just under 10' tall. This trip was on I-75 Tn to Fl and back, so few hills, some wind, and at a speed of 65 or less. I drive very easy on and off the gas. My ave. mpg towing was 8.3, and around town not towing is 16 to 17, again very easy on the gas. I love the power of the truck, and had no problems towing, but the mpg's sucked.

I think that Mike is onto a good concept here. I would love to see a test done that can be replicated in the future and with other vehicles so that it is easier for us to make an apples to apples comparison when shopping. Every future test should include at least one element of this test.

If y'all don't mind, please share this post at other sites (as long as it's ok to do so). I'd like to identify the two trucks by early next week.

Don't forget we'll pay the owners to test these trucks.

This is a great test. One thing that I found out from my personal experience as well as others on online forums is that given a 5.4 v8 vs. a 6.8 v10 engine. Obviously the 5.4 gets better unloaded mileage. Although once there is a decent towing load the v10 gets better mileage. The v10 doesn't have to work as hard to do the same job as the v8 pulling the same load. So maybey there is hope for the 6.2 v8 pulling the 9,000lb load in this test.

Hey Mike, Will there also be a comparison of these 2 trucks while unloaded, this way we can see the whole picture??

@Rob: I don't think so. As of now, the EcoBoost clearly outperforms the 5.0 for unloaded mileage. We'll see how much time there is though after we finish testing towing mileage. Maybe we'll do that too.

@Mike Levine,

Given the purpose of the test, would it muddy the water too much to have a Powerstroke there as well? After all, the Powerstroke will be on the radar for many F-150 shoppers, and it would be interesting to see what real benefit there would to step into a 3/4 ton for somebody that is on the fence in terms of need for capability. Just a thought, probably not a good one.

@UncleBud: You're welcome to come and watch but I'd like to limit this to just the F-150 because there is so much interest and discussion about its new gas engines. Thanks for the offer!

@Mike Levine,

This may be a slight chance that you could rent one from a rental company. I have rented pickups from Avis numerous times, they are always 4x4 XLT supercrew F-150's. A newer one would likely have the 5.0, but I would be surprised to see a 3.73. May be worth a phone call though. You'll get the occasional Ram from Dollar and Hertz.

FYI for anyone else, pickup rentals are half the cost of renting a full-size SUV, usually in line with compact car. Best deal going.

@Mike Levine, thanks. Would love to come but gotta work and chase babies. I'll have to settle for living vicariously through you.

best i can do is a 2005 F150 5.4 with 91,000 miles and a 3.55 rear axle....

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