What We're Up to: Driving 2014 V-6s

Group side shot II

We've been at a sunny and warm location for the past week with a gaggle of V-6 pickup trucks as part of PickupTrucks.com's Annual Physical. For this first year we decided to bring together as many new V-6 pickup trucks as possible to see what kind of shape they're in. We're collecting test information from the track, taking a few measurements, looking at their weight and finding out how their real-world fuel economy compares to their EPA numbers. We even put together a few video reviews you'll see pretty quick.

Depending on how this initial effort goes, the Annual Physical may be something we do every year, choosing a particular segment of pickup trucks each year and testing as many configurations within that segment as possible. We think "checking the temperature" of these trucks each could be quite valuable for someone looking to purchase a pickup or to see how different pickups measure up. We should note that Ford did not have any 2014 V-6 F-150s, Ram could not find us a Pentastar half-ton, nor did Toyota have a Tundra V-6.

We'll have more on what we found out from our 2014 patients coming soon. Stay tuned.

The 2014 Annual Physical patient list:

  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT Double Cab two-wheel drive
  • GMC Sierra 1500 SLE Z71 Double Cab four-wheel drive
  • Honda Ridgeline Special Edition all-wheel drive
  • Nissan Frontier PRO-4X Crew Cab four-wheel drive
  • Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn EcoDiesel four-wheel drive
  • Toyota Tacoma PreRunner SR two-wheel drive




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@Vulpine - to answer your question "Obviously the two will show significantly different performance characteristics, but does either stand out significantly over the other across ALL possible usage scenarios or does the turbo's high fuel mileage suffer when carrying or pulling the same load as the NA V6? Does the NA V6 have any advantage at all over the turbo at any level of performance?"


I got a 2013 F150 Ecoboost SuperCrew 4x4 as a loaner while my truck is getting some repairs done to the box. It is noticible between it and my 5.4. The 5.4 is known for having low end torque. One cannot compare the EB 3.5 to any normally aspirated V6 other than engine noise.
I will do a calculation of mpg at the end of the week since I have to return it with a full tank of gas.

@ lou BC

Imagine adding another 60 hp and 110lb-ft of torque on top of the 365hp/420lb-ft with an 87 octane towing tune in that Ecoboost. Yes, it is awesome for a half ton to have that much low end torque. Makes you almost forget you have a trailer back there when towing.

@ALL1 - around town and low throttle applications (under 1,800 rpm)I notice a slight difference between it and my 5.4. It will hold a gear longer but the loaner has 3.73 gears and my 5.4 has 3.55's. Both trucks are running 10 ply tires so that is a wash.
I was going up a long hill at 80kph (50mph) and applied some firm throttle (not enough to get a huge downshift) and that is where the extra torque really becomes apparent.

I found it odd at first to have all of that power and torque without the throaty rumble of a V8.

You had mentioned on another thread that with gear multiplication the EB3.5 puts more torque to the ground than the Cummins Ram. The husband of my wife's friend replaced a Cummins Ram with an Ecoboost and he claimed it pulled his 33 ft long 10K trailer as well as the Ram.

After a few hours behind the wheel, I believe it.

@Lou BC

Well if you ever decide to get one or just want to liven up your current 5.4L, I would give mike over at 5 Star a call. What he does with the shifting on these trucks alone is night and day. In, stock form the F-150 shifts way to early putting you in 6th gear by the time you hit 45 mph at times. Mike addresses this by baking it shift at the right moments to keep you in your power band rang even with normal throttle. Another thing is the throttle itself. It is really spongy with a long delay giving you a sense that it has turbo lag when it is actually just the way the drive by wire system is programmed from stock. He also makes the torque converter lock up sooner and stay locked up longer to ensure you are putting all the engine power through the drive-line. His reprogramming of tow haul mode is really phenomenal for those that tow. It upshifts and downshifts at exactly the moments you want it to with a slightly more aggressive than stock downshift as you come to a stop to ensure the engine is helping you stop as well. It is a night and day different. Last but not least is the power. He moves the turbo mapping around to give you more power sooner making a substantial improvement from 1,400 to 3,000 rpm. It is crazy how much more power you get in those rpm ranges that just slightly pressing the throttle with a little rpm will get you moving faster than normal. It makes it a lot more fun to drive and is how I think the truck should have came stock. He will change things that you want to change with the tune if you don't like a certain aspect of it. He also does 5.4Ls, 5.0Ls, 3.7L, 6.2Ls and 4.6Ls so hit him up if you ever decide to make that drive like you want it to. http://www.5startuning.com/

@ ALL1 - I have to agree that the way my 5.4 and the EB are programmed, both will hesitate when mashing the pedal to the floor at low speeds. It is obviously set up that way.

My 5.4 will go into 6th slightly over 40mph. Same for the EB. The EB will hold that gear longer than my 5.4 will.

I did notice that my 5.4 has better compression braking on a downhill. That makes sense since a larger engine with 2 more pistons has more holding power than a smaller engine.

Ford cleaned up some features between my 2010 and the 2013 I'm driving. The windshield washer button takes little pressure, the backup camera works better,and the backup sensors have wider coverage.

I'm not convinced that I like the e-locker. The fact that you have to be going under 22 to engage it and the fact that it kicks out at 35 mph is lame. I've pulled small trailers in the winter on slippery roads and have had the back end start to spin on hills at 50-60 mph. I'd rather have the diff engage ten the traction control brake and kill power to control wheel spin.

Ford made the stability control system a PIA to disable. One has to be stopped and the gear select in R and then hit the button to kill it. It will re-engage at 35 mph. I hate that too. At least my truck required a 5 second push on the button to kill it. I like being able to do that on muddy roads or deep snow. I like to run in 4x2 if out alone and if I run into trouble use 4x4 to get be out of the mess I'm in. I learned that the hard way 30 years ago.

The electronic power steering feels heavier in the 2013 than the hydraulics in my 2010.

I do love the tow mirrors on the EB. I wish I had found a truck with them. They are ugly but work well.

You have to be careful when changing the mapping of a turbo engine.

The Honeywells on the Eco Boost are prone to temperature related failures. Gasoline engines run hotter than a diesel, so they would be much easier for a fail to occur.

Also if you have a turbo fail it is almost cheaper to buy new turbo's then have rebuilt as the calibration of the IGV's can only be done successfully at the factory.

A slight increase in the mixture by increasing the fuel ie, richness can create enough heat for a failure. Increasing the richness can also increase the temperature of the cylinder heads, which are alloy.

Be very careful. It's well an good to get extra power but don't set yourself up for expensive repairs.

Messing with the mapping for the throttle isn't as simple as you would think. The lag might be more than just a pollution reducing measure or a boost related issue. It might be an intentional reduction of fuel to the engine.

Ford has spent a lot of money tuning these machines and some guy messing around with it might not know enough about the engines characteristics to make a sound judgement on what direction to take.

@Lou and ALL1
Read this and transfer the information across as turbochargers will have very similar issues. This would be more comprehensive than reading about a turbo charger, but they operate on very similar principles.

Use these principles/information or at least think of them prior to modify any turbo engine.

Garrett and Honeywell are reknown turbine manufacturers.


Because of the complicated technology of the variable turbochargers, they cannot be reconditioned in a professional way. That is the reason why Turbo’s Hoet only supplies brand new, original variable turbochargers in order to guarantee optimal quality. In the presentation of the turbo manufacturer Garrett, you can see why it is better to choose for a new, original VNT turbocharger from Garrett.


Here's a test from Honeywell to see how much you know about turbochargers.


Man I can't believe you all can carry on an argument so long about an article that had such little information. Sound like a bunch of women arguing about which makeup is best or something.

Speaking of turbocharging, I suggest reading a TTAC article about Volvo's upcoming 4 cylinder designs rating from 145 through 302hp and possibly higher. Rather than using twin turbos, they combine supercharging with turbocharging to present what they claim is a remarkably flat torque curve from just above idle to 4500rpm through "twincharging"--a combination of supercharging for low end (eliminating turbo lag) and turbo (for high-end boost). Reportedly all the engines use the same engine block, but the heads differ based on performance level desired.

Now imagine this in a truck. These fours could conceivably eliminate the V6 while offering an even larger choice. Compact or mid-sized trucks could truly offer competition and still get better gas mileage than even the EcoBoost.


Oh I bet that would be a fun little engine to drive. I am not biasedwhen it comes to power. I don't care if its a V8, V6, I4, or a Dual Overhead Hamster Cage, if it has power then I will give it a whirl. All the power right off idle and keeping it for longer than 4,000 rpm. A lot of N/A guys do not understand how much of a difference that makes. On of the problems with the Ecoboost is that although it does have a lot of semi early on powern the turbos tend to start to peter off after 4,500 rpm. This makes for a great towing and daily driver, but not for an all out perfomance speed racer. Although I don't use my truck as a speed racer so it's no big deal to me, but I know others that take theres to the track. I have some performance only tunes that will keep the turbos in the boost throught the rpm, but you cannot tow with them because you run a chance of ruiing your engines if you tow for long perouds of time. I mainly stuck with my towing tunes which bump the turbos to come into play even earlier then stock. It fits my driving style.

The best possible option that will be coming out is an electric supercharger coming on line off idle and managed with a turbo to cut out as the turbo comes on line.

BMW are working with triple turbo's, but the costs are high. So far variable geometry turbo chargers are the best option. But as ways are to be found to overcome emissions and extract more from energy some great ideas will used.

If you look back at the performance of V8s and compare them to new V6s you will see these V6s don't perform to badly.

That's the exciting part about all of the changes with the tightening of emission standards. The harder aspect to swallow is the cost.

The idea for the turbo units on more modern engines wasn't for just ouright massive power increases. I read an article about how BMW started looking at what Ford is doing now. BMW wanted to increase torque by up to 50% and power by 15%. The torque they wanted down low similar to a diesel. Power equals a lot more fuel, where the torque could be found using less fuel.

@ D - what's your problem?
So what?
This is an off topic conversation that evolved from discussing why different vehicles were being compared to each other and what consitutes a fair comparison.
It isn't related to the topic but it is an informative and interesting exchange of thoughts and ideas.

Ultimately what matters is the exchange of ideas in a respectful manner.

Roadwhale: VW has had a "Twincharger" engine for a couple of years now, and Detroit Diesel had engines with both supercharges and turbos many years ago! in 4,6 V-8 and V-12-16 engines for many years as a mater of fact, they were even 2 cycle engines, that are different than two stroke engines, just for the fact they used valves for the exhaust and cylinder ports for the intake, where as 2 strokes use cylinder ports for the intake with the help of the piston skirt and forced through w/ transfer ports running trough a sealed crankcase, and also for the exhaust.

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