Road Test Review: 2011 Ford F-150 FX2 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, Part 1

By Mike Levine and Mark Williams

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Watching Ford torture-test its all-new 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 in the lab, on the job and in the Baja 1000, we get it. This six appears to be as tough and capable as an eight, but durability and power are only part of an engine’s story.

What’s it like to live with the EcoBoost? We set out to find the answer during a 2,100-mile trip around the Western U.S.

For our road test, we asked Ford to provide two identical 2011 F-150 EcoBoost trucks that can tow a heavy trailer. Twin Flame Red FX2 SuperCrews were delivered with 3.55 rear axles, two-wheel drive and maximum tow ratings of 9,800 pounds. The trucks were well-broken in, with both having around 7,000 miles on their odometers.

Why duplicate trucks? So we could test performance and fuel economy with an unloaded EcoBoost F-150 and one pulling 9,000 pounds simultaneously in the same driving conditions.

EcoBoost is a gamble for Ford, but with tougher fuel economy regulations just around the corner, it’s the direction other manufacturers are headed, too. The EcoBoost is Ford’s top-of-the-line engine for the F-150. It’s positioned as the high-volume choice above the premium 6.2-liter V-8 even though that engine option costs $1,245 more and is moderately more powerful.

EcoBoost combines gasoline direct injection and twin turbos to shrink engine displacement for improved fuel economy while delivering tons of low-end boost-assisted power. The dual overhead cam 3.5 mill is rated at 365 horsepower and 420 pounds-feet of torque. In high-end configurations with the Max Trailer Tow Package, it can tow up to 11,300 pounds, the same as the single overhead cam 6.2.


The EPA rated its fuel economy at 16/22 mpg city/highway (4x2) and 15/21 mpg (4x4).

Our drive route (download full details in Adobe Acrobat formatAcrobat) covered almost 2,100 miles, from Norco, Calif., just off Interstate 15 east of Los Angeles to Colorado’s Eisenhower Pass on I-70 in the Rocky Mountains – the highest point on the U.S. interstate highway system. In between, we crossed elevations from 200 feet above sea level to 11,000 feet, from the floor of the Mojave Desert to Alpine forests. Driving across terrain this varied, there’s no place for an engine to mask performance gaps. It’s the longest, toughest road test we’ve ever done.

Hitching Up

At first glance, the low-slung FX2 might not seem like the ideal towing platform compared with other F-150 models optioned with four-wheel drive or the Max Trailer Tow Package, which includes a towing-friendly 3.73 rear axle, larger mirrors and revised rear bumper. Our FX2s came equipped with power fold-in heated mirrors and the F-150’s standard trailer tow package, which is optional for models below the FX2 (XL, STX and XLT). The standard towing package includes a Class IV hitch receiver, seven-pin wiring harness, upgraded radiator, auxiliary transmission oil cooler and the new SelectShift six-speed automatic transmission. Each truck was also equipped with an integrated factory trailer brake controller.

Doubts about towing comfort started to ease after we hitched up one of the trucks to a car hauler ballasted to 9,000 pounds. We used our Elite Eaz-Lift weight-distributing hitch’s height-adjustable ball and the trailer’s height-adjustable hitch to ensure the truck sat almost level with about 12 percent tongue weight (about 1,100 pounds) pushing down on its rear.

We measured the gross combined weight of the FX2 plus trailer at 14,500 pounds, or 95 percent of its maximum GCW.

With the trailer properly hitched, we headed out in both trucks.


On the Road

As we’ve previously reported, the EcoBoost F-150 is a firecracker when it’s empty. During the first drive of the truck last year, we clocked a zero-to-60 mph time of just 6.82 seconds behind the wheel of a two-wheel-drive FX2 SuperCrew with a 3.73 rear axle. Our unloaded truck felt at least that quick, as we’d find out later in the drive.

But we were most curious about how the EcoBoost would feel pulling a four-and-a-half ton trailer. In short, confident. The V-6 has a flat, mild exhaust note that doesn’t change much unless you’re at wide open throttle, when it sounds like an angry blender. Contrast this with the aggressive, macho sound we heard when we drove the 5.0-liter V-8 several weeks ago. Still, the EcoBoost had remarkably little difficulty pulling the double-axle white brick behind its bumper up to highway speeds on I-15 and felt every bit as strong as the eight-cylinder engine.

We figured we’d learn two things during the first leg of our trip, from Norco to the Nevada border, about 200 miles. The first was how well the EcoBoost would perform climbing a mountain — in this case, the 12-mile Cajon Pass connecting Los Angeles and the high desert. We’d also start to get a feel for the fuel economy.

The F-150 with the trailer had no problem pulling Cajon, finding its sweet spot in 4th gear in tow/haul mode at about 3,000 rpm and 60 mph to provide power as needed to get around slower traffic. The empty truck held 5th but downshifted to 4th or 3rd for passing.

While some might consider the tall 3.55 rear axle to be a handicap while climbing hills, the F-150’s wide-range six-speed transmission made up for this. Fourth gear is 1.14-to-1, making for a fully multiplied ratio of 4.05-to-1. That’s just a bit taller than the 2008 F-150 with a four-speed transmission and mountain-friendly 4.10 rear axle. Its 1.00 ratio in 3rd gear made for a fully multiplied drive ratio of 4.10-to-1.

As soon as we crested the top of Cajon and the highway flattened out, the F-150 quickly shifted into 6th gear to lug at around 1,800 rpm at 60 mph up to 1,950 rpm at 70 mph.


For much of the way to Las Vegas, both trucks cruised at about 67 mph to 70 mph, fast enough to pass slower semis and not become obstacles ourselves to smaller vehicles zipping by. The trailer felt stable at those speeds, too.

About 150 miles into this leg, we learned the hard way about the differences in fuel economy between the trucks.

Towing Efficiency (download full details in Adobe Acrobat formatAcrobat)

The 2011 F-150 adds a new 4.2-inch high-resolution productivity screen in the center of the instrument cluster. It provides info about a wide variety of truck features, including transmission temperature, selected gear, pitch and yaw angles, trailer information and more. We were drawn to the fuel economy data, which is now much easier to access compared with the 2010 F-150’s trip computer.

Nearing Baker, Calif., the empty truck was averaging about 18.5 mpg, according to the truck – good enough to cover a respectable 480 miles of range with its 26-gallon tank. But that tank would be a weak point for the truck towing the trailer.

Baker was 50 miles from our planned refueling stop in Primm, Nev., on the border with California. The truck with the trailer was below a half-tank of fuel, but its trip computer estimated another 80 miles of range. However, we were averaging only about 7.2 mpg, according to the productivity screen. With two more hills to climb between Baker and Primm, we ran into a critical fuel situation that required us to stop just five miles from the exit to tap the extra two-gallon canister of gasoline we kept on hand for such a situation.

Because we paid more attention to the range estimate than the gas gauge and average fuel economy, we pushed the EcoBoost F-150 to its efficiency limit with the trailer – in this case, 190 miles from full to empty.


As the F-150 climbed the last hill, range ticked away in decrements of up to 5 miles at a time. That’s because the truck calculates its distance-to-empty algorithm based on past driving history, according to Ford. In our situation, the algorithm averaged in the low fuel economy with the previous history of high fuel economy from when the truck had been unloaded. The distance-to-empty algorithm isn’t a crystal ball; it had no way of knowing that we’d be driving with such a heavy trailer. That’s why the distance-to-empty range started dropping faster and faster. The extreme change in fuel economy pushed the algorithm to the edges. The range shown was still catching up and decreasing sharply when we went below a quarter-tank of fuel.

Given several tanks of fuel while towing, the truck’s distance-to-empty algorithm can adapt to the new, lower fuel economy figures – and it eventually did during our drive.

We weren’t aware of it, but the F-150 has a built-in solution to this situation that the driver can use when towing a trailer occasionally instead of regularly. Using the thumb controls on the steering wheel, the driver can access the settings menu in the cluster and select "Towing" instead of “Normal.” This tells the truck that the driver is going to drive under the situations tested. It effectively shortens the driving history and allows the distance-to-empty shown to be accurate within the top three-quarters of the tank. This setting can be chosen once, and always left as "Towing." Under normal driving conditions, the driver won’t notice any changes between "Towing" and "Normal” because if the gas mileage history is 20 mpg and the truck is currently getting 20 mpg, the length of history does not matter.

Of course, we also wondered why we averaged only 7.2 mpg towing in the EcoBoost truck. We quickly figured out – as you can see in our detailed fuel economy chart – that the mountain climbs, windy conditions and consistent cruising speeds above 65 mph robbed us of the efficiency we were expecting from the EcoBoost engine. The turbos were often spooled up in tow/haul mode when the truck was holding a lower gear for power. We suspect that as the turbo temperatures rose for extended periods, the engine may have overfueled and burned rich to cool down combustion and exhaust gas temperatures. This could explain the soot we saw coating the inside of the tailpipe.

Slowing down was the easiest way to boost fuel economy. With either truck, we didn’t attempt to get close to the 80 mph highway speed limit posted along Utah’s empty stretches. Depending on terrain and speed, we eventually could push the towing fuel economy into the 8 mpg to 9 mpg range. Not great and below what we expected, but we were also steadily climbing into the Rocky Mountains.


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Make sure you download the detailed fuel economy and route chart! It's too big to fit as a picture.

Mike, I'm trying my best to embrace this motor, but it just isn't gonna happen.


I agree...I'm getting the 5.0L myself.

Let's see....

EB better mileage empty

EB about same or better mileage towing

EB better mileage towing in higher elevation and grades

EB better mileage empty in higher elevation and grades

EB faster 0-60

EB faster 1/4 mile

EB more payload

EB higher GCWR

EB more hp

EB more torque

EB with Max Tow, tow mirrors options, etc.

Yep, I'm going with the 5.0. NOT.

Thanks for gettin' her done Mike!

For me, towing results were as expected. Not sure why Ford kept the towing efficiency myth alive. There were plenty of questions about it and Ford kept with the mythical Ecoboost mantra.

There's no free lunch, it takes extra fuel for the 3.5's turbos to make V8-like performance. Plus several other factors like gasoline not having the same energy content as diesel. Ford would have been better off making a fuel efficient 3.5L Ecoboost tune with about 275hp.

Maybe the E85 tweaked Ecoboost has a chance of being closer? Again I have my doubts as Ford would crank the HP/Tq to extremes much like current the production 3.5L Ecoboost.

Dave, exactly.

Some people just will never admit it. The EB beats the 5.0 and just about anything else available in a half ton on power unloaded and towing. It has as good or better unloaded fuel economy than anything available and anywhere near it's power. It gets about the same mpg towing as the highly efficient 5.0 and does that with better power and ease. It categorically beats anything else on the market. I test drove the EB and 5.0 back to back unloaded. The EB is easily more powerful and got 1.2 mpg better on same route with more playing bc the power was easier to come by than the 5.0. The EB is easily the better engine. Now Ford is stupid for not putting the 36 gallon tank with the EB and not much can be done about the exhuast note. You would have to blow a 5.0 to get above the EB in power and then you kill the efficiency.

Great test. Shows the advantage this engine has at high elevation. It is a shame Ford has not made this engine flex fuel. The overfueling you mentioned at full throttle to cool the cylinders would be greatly reduced if the engine was running about 50% ethanol. The much higher heat of evaporation would offer much better cooling and the much higher octane would allow more boost for better efficiency. This combination would essentially eliminate the lower energy content of the ehtanol so it is probable that the fuel economy would be better than with neat gasoline.

We'll see how this gets spinned but pre-result mpg survey showed EB fans were expecting more. Maybe we're all a victim of reality being less than marketed/advertised. I bet the 3.5L EB is destined to be an enthusiast pickup. We'll see how these #'s impact sales interest for those wanting to tow close to EB F150 limits. The summary opinion recommends the 5.0L for those doing alot of near max limit towing.

So, this truck gets the same mileage my V10 SD gets, towing................ except it does this with a 9000lb brick, vs my 4800lb pop-up.

And people are complaining.

Perspective people.

One big question. Did you ever tow using premium. There is a big reason I ask. In the owners manual, it states that premium should be used in high heat or sustained heavy towing. I would think that premium would have prevented the overfueling that occurred, due to the higher octane. In essense, the engine wouldn't have to protect itself as much.

I would like to see one of the heavy climbs, towing, with premium, to see the difference. I think it could be significant.

All in all, your test confirms what I need to know. It will get better mileage than my gas SD, performing the same duty towing................... and will get mileage my SD could only dream of (I would be lucky to average 12.5 empty, over that route). This week has seen alot of high winds, which completely kills the mileage in my F250.

As I had already concluded, I see a EB Lariat Plus, or Platinum, in my future.

I wouldn't expect better MPG under those conditions at all Ken. I'd suggest this just to put some salve on this opinion: Mike, take the truck out on a hyper mile trip. Drive 55, coast stops etc. See what it turns out. I bet it'd be shockingly high.

People are trying to decide between the 5.0 and the Eco, Appreciate you guys testing the numbers Ford puts out but trying to decide between these two engines is difficult. Many believe Ford is subduing the 5.0 numbers to sell the Eco

The F-150 with the trailer had no problem pulling Cajon, finding its sweet spot in 4th gear in tow/haul mode at about 3,000 rpm and 60 mph to provide power as needed to get around slower traffic.

This is what makes the EB nice, 3,000 rpm and it has plenty of power. I would imagine the 5.0 would be at least 1,000 rpm more.


I think its funny. The Ecoboost is proving to be a bigger divide between Ford fans than Ford vs Chevy. I've noticed that it seems as though people who choose the Ecoboost tend to scold the rest of the F-150 buyers as if they are killing baby kittens because they didn't purchase the Ecoboost. To be honest its quite frustrating to have to listen to people like you bitch because I don't want an Ecoboost.

If you want the Ecoboost then YOU can get one. Personally I'm more impressed with the 5.0L and I have my reasons so thats what I"LL as well as MANY others will be getting, and the sooner you Ecoboosters get used to that the better off we will all be.

Now for the record let me state...I love Ford and don't drive anything else, and I think the Ecoboost is a fine engine...But its not the fine engine that will be in my garage. That's a void the 5.0L is gonna fill.

With that said, let me explain to you how I feel and why I feel this way...I've driven the 5.0L Ecoboost and 6.2L and I'll tell you this, The Ecoboost is a souless engines...It makes driving the F-150 feel more like driving a Toyota Avalon. NO SOUL. You can scoff at that reason all you want, but if your an Auto Enthusiast like myself, then you don't want to be driving an appliance down the road...You want somthing with a soul something that lets you know its here to make the most of your driving experience. And that's a feeling the Ecoboost DOES NOT give me.

Ford know's there's people like me that just won't go for the Ecoboost...That is why the 5.0L is here!

So I'll ask politely...Respect my choice and I'll respect yours.

I still pay extra for the 5.0 V8!!!!

I have no use for the added problems a turbo charged engine creates!!!

It took 8,000 miles for the 1.6L 4-banger in my 2011 Fiesta to get broken in. How is this engine "well-broken in" in just 7,000 miles?

I had a EB out on a test drive last weekend, I was/am very impressed with the truck as a whole package when empty. With a 9000# TT I was hoping to see better MPG than this. My Toyota gets 10.2 mpg pulling my TT that weighs 9600#.[I pull in the mountains most of the time] I am kind of surprised.

You should have done the tests with 3.73 axle, the truck wouldn't have downshifted so much, would have stayed out of boost longer and gotten better mpg.

Someone needs to do the towing test with the 3.73 anyone serious about towing is going to get that axle and the max tow package.

@Carl: I don't disagree. This was the test we told Ford we were going to do and those were the trucks they provided. This took several weeks of planning from both sides, so I'm sure Ford knew any tradeoffs for providing 2WD trucks with 3.55 axles and the standard tow package.


Speaking of perspectives. Interesting how before you thought we'd be pleasantly surprised with the EB's mpg under tow given the survey's low mpg guesses and now you're trying to justify the underwhelming results. Once again proving kool-aid puts a positive spin on regardless.

It's not that low specially given the conditions: Davis Dam, 9,000 lbs, non v-neck trailer, abnormal driving.

People on the F150 forums are reporting 6-8 mpg with their 2010 5.4 with much lighter trailers and normal driving.

Put the exact same trailers on the 5.4/5.0 and EcoBoost, put them in a real world situation or at least the same Davis Dam test. Then you will see how the EcoBoost really compares to the rest.

Towing mpg is lower then I guessed in your other story the other day. I like the idea that Ford has but I have a feeling they rushed the EB into production and it is showing. Yes the EB is a fast truck I will give it that but I do not buy a truck to be fast. I buy a truck to work. I am not biased towards any company at all but for something Ford hyped about so much it seems to be doing the exact opposite Fuel Economy wise then what they put on paper. If I was to get a half ton again it will still be a V8. I do like Ford's 5.0L and 6.2L V8s though.

I'm thoroughly impressed with EcoBoost's performance and durability. However, it's unloaded highway MPG of 22 is not impressive and barely better than the GM V8 or 5.0 F-150 V8. I wish they had a TracKey option, like on the Boss 302, for this truck. Imagine one key with a tune for tests like this one, and a second key for unloaded, everyday driving - couldn't some things be adjusted to back the HP way down and get 25-26 MPG in that second tune?

I made two round trips from the Eastern US to Alaska with a similar trailer and an F250 HD 5.8L. My average fuel consumption for ~10,000 miles of towing was 8.3mpg. I also have made the trip from SoCal to Denver with a Land Rover DII 4.6 pulling a 5500lb trailer and averaged 12.6mpg. Cajon was cake, but the climb to Eisenhower Tunnel was hard. At this elevation, any turbo motor will have an advantage (gas or diesel). I had guessed the EB between 8 and 9 mpg as I can't see anything that would make this rig get better efficiency than my older rig. You still have to convert fuel into work, and its the same fuel and relatively the same compression ratio.

I would be interested to know how well the EB held temperature and what was the average ambient temp? I think this motor would use even more fuel on a 100+ degree day. Converting this much fuel into work in 3.5 liters of displacement must place very high demands on the cooling system and oiling system. I would guess the turbos were glowing bright red after some of those climbs. Does Ford advise a cool down period following high boost running before shutting off the motor?

With 1/2 ton trucks weighing between 5 and 6K pounds I just don't see any silver bullets for power and economy until we have diesels of about 3.5 to 4.5 liters. More energy dense fuel with significantly higher mechanical compression will come closer to the holy grail of power and efficiency. The only thing left is to reduce weight and improve aerodynamics.

Interestingly, I have learned from much towing experience that wind drag from the trailer is a major contributor to fuel consumption. I made one transcontinental trip with the above rig empty and my mileage improved by .2mpg. I lived through the first Ford era of small displacement turbo motors, and even owned Merkur XR4Ti and F250 with a 4.9 I6. The shocking truth is neither of these motors delivered better economy than a V-8, and were in every way less satisfying to drive.

For all the hype surrounding the new motor lineup, Ford has a big displacement gap between the 5.0 and 6.2. The EB is what they are banking on to fill that void. Most of us that have driven light trucks for 35+ years are not going to bite on that hook. I attended the Richmond International Auto Show recently where Ford had a EB 4x4 on display with the hood up. I stood back and observed numerous people looking under the hood and commenting "Oh, just has a V-6". It's going to be a tough slog for Ford selling this one.

WOW, why would anyone want the extra complexity of this engine??

Case in point, my 2010 crew max tundra with the 5.7 gets me 19.6 UNLOADED with a 4.10 rear diff and pulling 9100lbs. it gets me 10.9 mpg RUNNING 80! why oh why would anyone want this engine? there is ZERO gain and much much more complexity.

I say if you want a turbo truck go for it, but IF you want economy, dont buy the "eco" boost engine for this, you'll only be disapointed...

@hemi lol- spoken like a true salesman/troll. Give it up and quit tying to sell those turds on here. The turdra is out dated and is the ugliest truck on the road. Ford has brought us more choices and more configurations than any manufacturer. There is more aftermarket support for the F150 then the turdra and ford has given the aftermarket another platform to work from. The 3.5l outperforms the turdra 5.7 and looks alot better while doing it.

The only way I would opt for the 3.5 is if it was offered in the Raptor. The Raptor and the Fx4 I think would be the best candidates.

To Mike and the crew GOOD JOB!

@x007, I'll second you opinion on the EB and the raptor.

Ken, I am pleasantly surprised. I did not know the full extent of the route to be driven. Now, knowing that, I can easily compare what my mileage would be with my '08 V10 SD, towing my 4800lb Pop-up.

It would be less.

How can I surmise that?? We tow our camper up to Hawley Lake, from our home in Payson AZ (5000ft to 8500ft). This includes 2 very hard pulls, with the rest being a mixture of minor hills. We will average 7.9mpg on this run without the wind blowing, and about 7.4 with the wind blowing. Our speed never goes over 65mph, and is 55 up the steep climbs.

On this run, our truck is pulling over 4000rpm on the steep uphills. This is what kills the mileage.

Remember, this is not a tall, blunt trailer, and this is not 9000lbs.

Yes the laws of physics apply, but a more efficient powertrain will be more efficient under all circumstances. It may not be as obvious under extreme load, but it still exists.

To make all of you happy, and to let you all see actual reality, I guess Mike has to put together a test where every truck made, in every configuration available, is testing on this same route. This way, it wouldn't just be numbers pulled out of peoples behinds. We can all play that game. See, when I fill up in Payson, and get to the bottom of the hill, my SD will read upwards of 24mpg, depending on the wind. So I guess that means that it is getting 24mpg. Cool. I feel so special now. :rolleyes:

@hemi lol

the tundra has a 4.30 with the 5.7 not a 4.10


not saying the EB is junk but, it has never been testing against a tundra 5.7 with 4.30. show me where it outperformed the tundra 5.7 with 4.30?

I think it cool Ford is thinking outside the box and offering something different. I wish them luck.

if i was towing 9K all the time I wouldn't buy a 1/2 ton anyway, no matter what the brand.

WoW imagine this OLD 5.4 and the BIG BAD 5.7 anything odd with this VIDEO ?


Any chance we can get the same test done with the HD trucks from the big 3?

@ hemi lol,

Doesnt Toyota only have 4.30 rear axle ratio's in the 5.7 Tundra ? I think so !! I would rather have an eco-boost Ford than any unreliable recall riddled Toyota ! My last 2 Toyota products were the worst vehicles ever !

The Eco-Boost is slower than my 2011 HEMI RAM 1500 Q.C and I get 21 average mpg when my foot isnt to the floor on take-offs !! Yeah,I blow the doors off of Toyota Tundra 5.7,and do so with a smooth ride and good looks !!!

Straight from F150 owners guide page 392:
3.5L V6 EcoBoost™ engine
Your vehicle is designed to run on regular fuel with an octane rating of 87 or higher. For best overall performance, premium fuel with an octane rating of 91 or higher is recommended. The performance gained by using premium fuel will be most noticeable in hot weather or in severe duty applications such as towing a trailer.

Is towing a 9,000lb trailer on that route not severe duty?

@ the 2008 light duty shootout you didn't hesitate to run 93 octane in the GM twins 6.2L, yet in this case when Ford says you should... you don't.

Yes the Gm 6.2L needs 93 to hit its advertised numbers, and the EB doesn't, but it will produce more with high octane and as stated is rec'd for towing.

What gives? This test leaves to many question marks. not getting 3.73s is Fords fault. Not using premium is yours.

To compare the 5.0 and EB (or any other truck) the test needs to happen same day same trailer too to be valid.

This gives some feedback, but doesn't really settle anything...

@The Common Man: Everything I've heard from Ford about EcoBoost has been mentioned with reg gas. If we'd been told by Ford that premium was better for heavy towing, we'd have used it. I wasn't aware of that instruction in the owners manual. And neither truck had an owner's guide.


Hopefully eventually we'll see a dyno run on premium.


The towing fuel economy numbers are a lot lower than I expected but I still believe that the 3.5L V6 EcoBoost is a great motor in every respect.

Mike, It looks like you have more work to do. Here's two discussions from your forum that discuss premium fuel for severe towing. I also have seen this topic elsewhere. It been out there for awhile now.

2011 LD Shootout
Power Kid

"So thinking outloud here, if the EB should use premium with severe duty(towing), is it safe to say Mike will run premium in the EB for the shootout? At least for the towing part?

I believe he ran premium in the GM twins 6.2L back in the 09 battle royale as its recommended."


More Ecoboost information

"I got some good info on the engine from a chat with Phil, a Ford V6 test engineer over on

Originally Posted by pfabien1
First of all I apologize for the slow response, and thank you for your interest. I have tried to go in and answer the shorter questions. I wanted to have time to answer your questions as clearly as I can.

1. Under nornal weather and driving conditions, premium offers very little benefit. However, as the Ecoboost owners guide will state, premium fuel is recommended and will provide better performance under severe duty usage such as trailer tow.

2. Under normal trailer tow conditions, the Ecoboost offers a clear fuel economy advantage over th 5.0 and 6.2L engines. The advantage may be reduced in steep grades and very high ambient temperatures if regular fuel is used."

Using premium fuel for our test definitely crossed my mind but Ford has done all of its certification and promotion for GTDI citing reg octane fuel. To the best of my knowledge even the EB Torture Test truck in the Baja 1000 used regular gas. I'd say that's severe duty.

All that complexity and no mpg improvement??? In fact, possibly less mpg than expected?

As the SHO owners of the Ecoboost have found, nothing "Eco" about the "Ecoboost".

In fact, C&D found the same thing. Why build this???

The improvement is noted here:
"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."

The best fuel economy in a full size pickup is more than just an improvemnt. It is the best ever.

You will also seen improvement in regular towing fuel economy.

For severe duty towing it will not improve as much, but I don't think I have seen mpg numbers for a severe towing half ton fuel economy test on this route so there is really nothing to compare it to. Also premium fuel was not used for the severe duty part.

@Ryan: Our 2011 HD Comparison will start in Denver, travel to Davis Dam and then back to Denver.

Great write up Mike. That elevation change would be a hard pull. How did it handle going downhill without an engine brake like the diesels have? I'd like to see the HD trucks pull the same trailer & weight to see if they are more efficient. If they get better mileage pulling the same load why would you buy a 1/2 ton.

@James: Thanks!

I should have mentioned it in the story. We did use engine braking. Coming down I-70 from Eishenhower to Dillon, we manually downshifted to 2nd gear. It did an impressive job - and sounded very angry - but we still needed to apply the wheel brakes repeatedly. My notes have us at 58 mph in 2nd gear downhill at 5,300 rpm.

Nice review, Mike. I've been searching for a nice truck for awhile, but the miles-per-gallon on these trucks is not enough for me. Luckily, I came across this Ecoboost, which gives me more power while saving me gas! I've been searching the MI Dealers in my area and have named this truck one of my top 3. Might pick her up one of these days!

smaller fuel tank look better at the pump..but for long trip not good/never get a first year engine....

Really, I'm surprised some of you guys are surprised that the mpg towing wasn't any better than anything else. I mean they're in the mountains! How long you guys been around anyway? My buddy used to have a 76 Lincoln with a 460. It got 12. It got 12 pulling his 22' camper. His friend had a 96-98 Chevy 4X4, 350, got 20ish empty (Sorry, Imperial mpg - here in Canada-land) which I can attest to as I also had one and could get 20-21 mpg (Imp) empty. He (the friend of a friend) had a 20-24' travel trailer also...and low & behold, know what he got pulling it? 12. Huh. Funny, I know.
I now have an '08 F150...lucky to see 17 empty. (though I've been told by countless owners how they get 24-26 all day long empty - sure you do buddy, if you're being towed by a Z06 maybe, but not all by yourself) and I now have a 29' travel trailer, a nice light one too...and avg is about 10 (on a really windy day) and I've gotten as high as 13 by shifting into OD on the downhill sections (Minnesota aint exactly flat, but it's not life threatening altitude drops either) so the revs would drop. On average though...12. Funny that number keeps popping up. My dad's 06 Duramax...with a big arse retired persons 3 slide 5th wheel - 12. Sometimes a bit better, sometimes worse. Average...12. He likes it because it doesn't scream like his old 03 6.0l GMC did. Very stressful when it's revving at 4500 rpm up hill (it also only got 10-12 loaded...huh...funny). So, for anyone to think the Eco-boost will magically get you 20 towing, let me just say, you're crazy - or buy a tent trailer. They're out of the wind, light, and hardly noticeable. Guaranteed not to get just 12 (unless you're using a 76 Lincoln - then I make no guarantees).

What is impressive though is the mileage empty. We only camp in summer (which this year might be 3 weeks in total if we're lucky...maybe the end of July will stop snowing) so for me I'd prefer the higher mileage of the EB6 empty. If I can get 25 US mpg...probably better because where I live it's so flat you can see next Tuesday...shoot, I might break into the high 20's, I'd be excited as a kid at Christmas! I'll suffer the same mpg towing that I get with my 5.4. I can deal with that. I'm excited about the possibility that a full size truck would be better on gas than my car. Now THAT's nuts!

I'd be curious to know what the 5.0 does empty - Mike eluded to the fact that it would be better for towing on flatter land then the EB on pg 2 - like to see that test. I'll volunteer my time and trailer, we can go to Calgary - mostly flat all the way there. Just bring 2 (4X4) trucks please. :-)

@Kenny G: I think in the next few days I'll put out a rental request (yes, I'll pay to test your truck) for two equivalent readers' trucks that are 2011 F-150 SuperCrew 3.73 4WDs with the 5.0 and GTDI to test fuel economy side by side in California.

Lots of intresting reading. I am still waitting for mine to come in.Very excited and sure ill be happy with my choise.I did get the off road,mat cab.with the 3.5....cant wait to put it to the test my self.thanks for the imfo.

Great article! Excellent detail! Now there should be a head to head with a EB, 5.0, and 6.2 loaded & unloaded. Same trailers, weight, etc. Then we can get a real world comparision. Heck, even throw in a F250 diesel. And/or if you want to get real crazy, grab examples from Chevy, Dodge, Toyota, & Nissan. That would be the ultimate comparison!


I cannot believe i mistyped and put my truck has a 4.10!!!! my truck is a 4.30 and majority of any 5.7 Tundra has Tow package. i must have been half asleep or paying attention to something else when i typed that. i made a mistake on that one.




and looking better??? thats an opinion, mine is i dont like the look of the ford exterior, it looks cheap to me. thanks i'll keep my 5.7 Tundra that STILL has more advanced technology on it and it was designed in 07. i'll give you one example for now, if you wanna talk smack i'll type 5 things that the Tundra has that the ford doesnt.

1. Fluid to fluid heat exchangers on the engine oil AND transmission. This way ALL three get to operating temp FASTER and can be more efficient and extend the life of both.
Think about what you do to a truck when you start it when its cold outside and take off with a 9000lb trailer? its not good for it right?

@ the accountant$$

Thats why JD Power named the Tundra the MOST DEPENDABLE FULL SIZE TRUCK 5 YEARS IN A ROW. not once or twice, 5 TIMES!

Furthermore, your Dodge powered Hemi WONT pull anywhere NEAR the weight my Tundra will pull, so it had BETTER ride nicer. OH, and your stability when towing isnt nearly what it should be either. I assume you opted for the nice shiny wheels dodge has too right??? Your towing capacity just dropped for that too! LOL LOL

Bring your dodge to Cincinnati and i'll meet you at TriState dragway or Edgewater drag way and I'LL PERSONALLY show you your Hemi IS SLOWER. AND my truck weighs in at 5805lbs DRY (crew max 4x4)! advertised HP and Torque at the flywheel means NOTHING if it doesnt make it to the pavement efficiently, FURTHERMORE the "peak" HP and Torque means NOTHING if the engine doesnt make great power all the way throught the ENTIRE engine RPM range

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