Quick Tow Comparison: 2015 Ford F-150 Versus 2015 Chevrolet Colorado


F150 tow 1 II

The recent Texas Auto Writers Association's Truck Rodeo provided our first chance to do some comparison towing with a couple new 2015 pickup trucks. We hauled loads with a 2015 Ford F-150 equipped with the all-new 2.7-liter V-6 EcoBoost as well as an all-new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado with the 3.6-liter V-6. We didn't get to do any instrumented testing, but we thought you might be interested in our observations.

To its credit, TAWA allows its members to do some towing with select manufacturers' vehicles that are part of the rodeo. We can't think of any other automotive writers' association that does this. This year TAWA provided four identically equipped 500-gallon water-tank trailers — outfitted with a conventional surge-brake hitch — to put behind each of the designated vehicles. Although we didn't see an exact weight for the trailer, we calculated the total weight of water and double-axle reinforced supports to be just more than 5,200 pounds. Based on our best guess, the total weight of the trailer was nearly the same as the F-150 and probably several hundred pounds heavier than the Colorado. All trailers and hitches were well balanced and height adjusted, so there was no excessive tongue weight.

The Ram for this tow event was a well-equipped EcoDiesel; the Toyota Tundra was a fully loaded 1794 Edition; the Ford was a midlevel XLT FX4 package; and Chevrolet, interestingly, offered its Silverado 2500 Heavy-Duty Duramax and Colorado crew-cab V-6. As you might expect, the big and small diesels (the Ram EcoDiesel and the Chevy Duramax) made short work of the stubby trailer, with the Duramax significantly under-stressed during the drive loop. Likewise, the Tundra's V-8 had no trouble moving the load around comfortably and feeling quite stable (but we can't believe Toyota doesn't offer an integrated trailer brake controller yet).


TAWA towing 1 II


The big news was getting the chance to tow with the all-new, high-tech 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine, something we weren't able to do at the 2015 F-150's recent introduction. The bottom line is that the engine seems powerful enough to pull a 5,000-pound load wherever needed, but maybe more importantly is how calm and settled the chassis feels when pulling and hauling the weight. From hill stops and takeoffs on a fairly good grade, the truck handled smoothly and settled any road irregularities pretty quickly. In comparison, the Colorado, since it's a smaller and lighter vehicle with a naturally aspirated gas engine, struggled a little bit more. Still, the engine and midsize platform did have the grunt and pulling power to move the load on our drive route. We did find ourselves more aware of the weight and how the trailer could push us around if we weren't careful when going off-throttle into and out of curves and corners.

Our drive route was pretty short, but we did manage to collect some unscientific numbers. While driving the F-150 we averaged just more than 11 mpg, while the same route in the Colorado got us just less than 9 mpg. We're fairly certain the F-150 was equipped with 3.55:1 gears, while the Colorado only comes with 3.42:1 gears. There's not doubt the Chevy would have handled the load better with a 3.73:1 gear, as would the Ford — yet it wasn't necessary.

The F-150's new EcoBoost engine automatically turns off the auto stop-start feature and does a great job in Tow/Haul mode, slowing down the truck and trailer with an aggressive software program that makes quick downshifts when slowing or braking. The Colorado, dealing with a higher percentage of its maximum towing capacity (about 61 percent for the F-150 and about 74 percent for the Colorado), seemed to accelerate slower but had the very comforting ability to quickly downshift with just a tap of the brake pedal or manual thumb shift (the Ford also had this grade-braking feature, but it didn't seem to react as quickly and tended to rev the engine at a higher rpm).

Based on these preliminary quick drives, both pickups seem able to do plenty of hard pulling, but the Ford (with the smaller engine) seemed to handle the load with a touch more confidence. The Chevy V-6 was only down 20 horsepower when comparing the two engines, but when towing, the torque numbers always tell the tale. The Ford EcoBoost produces 375 pounds-feet while the GM V-6 gets 269, almost a 40 percent difference. Still, for a downsized player, a 5,000-plus trailer is likely to be a 99th percentile activity for this truck; even so, it's nice to know it will do it with control.

Texas Auto Writers Association images


Colo tow 1 II



So, its been well over 2 weeks since the first ride review of the new f150 but we have yet to see the usual standard PUTC top 5 hits and misses for the ford. What gives PUTC? You did the GM twins in less than 3 days after posting your drive review. I hope this is not some type of favoritism being shown due to ford being a major sponsor on the site.

Please prove me wrong PUTC.

News Flash

Chevy Colorado First Drive gets panned for: cheap interior, too expensive, not the right size, gets full-size truck fuel economy (18 mpg)...


You're about 9 months late


The 400m I had (reg. cab 8ft. bed) with a C6 auto did have good torque. I put an alum. intake, 750 Thermoquad 4 barrel, and Doug Thorley headers with true duals. Raised HP about 50 and was more fun to drive. It got exactly the same mpg as stock, 10-11.

I would like to see what the motoring world does think is wrong with the new F-150.

Why is it any different than any other brand?

What does Mark Williams consider the pitfalls and postives of the aluminium F-150.

What about the ride. To increase payload, especially with shorter leaves might reduce the ride quality.

What about FE with the 2.7 EcoBoost? Is it as good as Ford states does it match Ford hype?

My dad had a late 70s F-250 4x2 with a 400 m engine, both mileage and power sucked on that thing. That explains why he didn't keep it long.

17 mpg, wow, some people have some dreams.

Try driving 65-70 mph and tell me that Ford 400 mileage, and how much noise you hear, how good (rather how poor) it stops, and how it does in a crash.

I like how they say the Colorado towing 5K is like barely gonna happen, it's rated to pull 6750 or so, 5k should be a cakewalk.

Yeah, the 3.73s would help, but then it might get the same mileage numbers as a full size v-6 (Ram 3.6 and likely new Ford 3.5 non turbo) then they couldn't claim anything in that

Then you have the bunch that never noticed the 2.8 diesel was only good for 25/26 or so in a smaller Jeep Liberty, lol, so maybe the same or less mileage then a Ram 3.0?

Funny that Raven brags about that 2.7 vs the 3.0 Ram, yet that 2.7 might be lucky to get 66% of the fuel mileage the Ram 3.0 gets towing, and of course, Ford was probably pouring 91 octane in it to get such power, but yet they will say "runs on 87" Yeah, till you need power.

If the 2.7 mileage towing wasn't important, then wouldn't somebody just get a v-8?

Speaking of gas tanks, how hard can it be for Toyota to make a bigger one? Are the factory trailer brakes so hard? I think not, pretty easy since 2011. Make more excuses, Hemi lol!

@TRX 4 Tom

If Ford got their SAE power numbers using 91 octane then they are required to advertise and recommend 91 octane, but has less performance with 87 octane. If their SAE power numbers were achieved with 87 octane then they can recommend 87, but can say that 91 octane will increase performance. That is how it works. I thought we already went over this.

What we went over, All 1 All 100, and any other aliases that you use, is that Ford uses 87 octane recommended for their 3.5 eco-burst, yet they say that for better performance when towing heavy you should put in higher octane. It's in the book, whether you like it or not.

Like I said, Ford hasn't been known to be the very honest about their tow ratings and things like gas mileage ratings.

There one of the best pencil whipping a rating.

Believe whatever the heck you want to believe.

You act like you seen all these tow ratings and everything? Where do you have any links to say this is true?

I know what it is on the 3.5, you don't need to try to pull the wool over my eyes.

BTW, what Dodge Ram lost tow ratings for 2015? You're saying that the Rams did those tow ratings, how about you share with us, and prove it to us.

I can see you're just happy that the 2.7 is plain and simple the fastest way up the hill (well, vs a 3.0 diesel) because that's all you seem to care about.

California speed limit with trailer is 55 mph. I thought all you guys knew that. It always has been.

That's why you shouldn't jump to conclusions.

Mine is a f150. At that time it was considered fords heavy half ton. It basically had the f250 front suspension but it had the 5 lug bolt pattern, on a f100 frame and body and a 9 inch rear end.

I had the t18 4 speed. That is what gave me the mpg advantage.

I am surprised you people do not know the advantage both power and mpg wise of the stick shift back then.

There were no locking torque converters. The converter slipped at all speed.

Back then everything else being equal the auto truck always ran at a higher rpm than a stick even when both were at the same speed.

For the middle half of it's life it ran a 2.47 ratio. It gave me a lot more range in 3rd gear. 55mph was quite reasonable in 3rd gear. But it did not give me the down hill engine braking that the 3.50 does. It's now back to the 3.50.

Most everything is possible. Stop being doubters.

"Fine, fine. But at least for the prices being charged, they must be decked out nicely. Not always. The GMC SLT is, but the Chevy LT isn't. It has all the stuff you want, but unpleasantly presented"

Quoted straight from the article itself. And precisely why Chevrolet's are crap and perceived that way by everyone. Low rent, low resale, rental crap. All because of GMC. Thanks GM. Thanks a lot... As if Chevrolet buyers don't have a whopping grand extra to pay for a nicer ride. These trucks are how much?? GM ruins Chevrolet more and more each year with their GMC garbage.

@Raven: "I'm not sure about your non scientific test...the EB2.7 will out tow the Ram Ecodiesel with ease. With 7000 Lbs it out classed it going uphill for 7 miles. See the video on you tube. The 5.3 GM was the closest competitor with the 5.3. The Midsize GM is 1/2 the truck the Ford is!!!"

While I won't argue that the 2.7 EcoBoost can do it, I wouldn't want to do it on a regular basis. The longer that turbo is spinning up for power like that, the hotter it's going to get and it WILL, eventually, sieze. I used to think nothing of it myself until I watched two different big rigs both blow a turbo on a single long grade the last time I drove I-81 south through Virginia. Once that turbo blows, you've only got a hundred or so horses with maybe 90 pounds-feet of torque trying to take up the slack. The diesel, on the other hand, is likely to keep chugging along if it's towing the same weight as that 2.7 EcoBoost.

Yes, I agree that turbo-charging an engine is a great way to get more power out of a smaller engine, but you really have to consider which will hold up longer under sustained use. If you only intend to tow/haul heavy loads on a limited basis, then the EcoBoost is a great idea. But if you plan to do it more than about 25% of the time, then the tiny EB engine is NOT the best choice.

RoadWhale , wow just wow...

I have no clue how the laws of physics work on the planet you live on, but both the EB 2.7 and the Eco-diesel 3.0 would be dogs if their turbos blew out.

The EB engines are built for the abuse and the EB 2.7 uses a CGI block just like most diesels.

Feel free to have an opinion but try to keep your facts....um factual.

The reason the EB engine walked away from the Eco-diesel is the HP rating. The Eco-diesel CAN tow more if it was geared properly as towing is a function of torque. Speed and acceleration is usually determined by HP which is just a function of torque and rpm anyway.

If the rework that Eco-diesel to spin to 4600 and continue to make power until 4200 things could get interesting.

Mercedes has the tech to do this, so maybe RAM does as well.

No, the 2.7 EcoBoost will not tow more if both vehicles are using the same set of ratios. I don't know where you are learning your physics.

Really if you want to alter ratios my cordless drill motor with the correct set of ratios will pull more than a 2.7 EcoBoost.

The prime advantage of a diesel is it is under less stress and generates less heat to do the same work as a gasoline engine. Whilst using less fuel.

The EcoBoost block is actually an aluminium block with a iron insert to support the main bearing which in turn support the crank.

No, the 2.7 EcoBoost isn't as strong and engine as the VM.

It's good being a "Frod" fan, but be sincere and factual.

The 2.7 will do a fine job in an empty pickup, but once it is loaded or driven heavily it's FE will diminish.

Here is a description of the 2.7 EcoBoost block design.


A. Upper Block

The most novel element of this engine is the two-piece block, with a single iron casting for the upper block, which includes the cylinders, and the main bearing caps (only the lower half of the block is aluminum). The bearing caps are laser etched and then cracked off to fit the crankshaft. Once reassembled, the three-dimensional mating surface for each cap provides extra stability. The match is so good that Ford has tested engines running without the caps bolted in at all.

B. Lower Block

Most engine blocks are made from a single material, but to save weight the 2.7-liter's lower ladder frame is die-cast aluminum and bolts onto the iron upper half. A second set of bolts secures the bearing caps to the ladder frame to further stiffen the engine. A composite oil pan seals up the bottom.

2.7 litre EB

"The linerless cylinder block is compacted graphite iron (CGI), Ford's first application of this material in a gasoline engine. Proven on the latest generation diesels and some racing engines, CGI is a high-strength material with excellent heat transfer properties. Compared with grey iron, the CGI cylinder block offers approximately 75% higher tensile strength, 45% greater stiffness and roughly double the fatigue strength, with excellent dimensional stability, durability, and NVH damping characteristics, according to Ed Waszczenko, Ford's V-Engine Design Leader. He noted that Ford also used CGI in the 6.7-L Power Stroke V8 diesel (which influenced the design of the 2.7-L's block, offset I-beam connecting rods, reinforced-plastic oil pan, and pistons) as well as in the 2.7-L light-duty diesel co-developed by Ford and PSA for European applications.

CGI's strength properties allow for thinner-section cylinder block walls and narrower main bearing saddles. The CGI block is actually one of two main structural elements of the new V6's lower end. The other main element is a die-cast aluminum ladder frame which envelops the lower portion of the CGI element and bolts to thick flanges on each side of the cylinder block. Heavily ribbed on its exterior for added rigidity, the ladder frame also supports the precision-fractured main bearing caps.

The bearing caps, also in CGI, are laser-etched at an angle, Waszczenko explained. The specific angle creates a wedge effect that when the sections are merely set together, the engine actually would be able to run without the cap bolts."


On a separate note I got a close look a both the Colorado and Canyon last week. I missed the Canyon at first because it looked too much like the Sierra. The grill reminded me of a Ridgeline. The interior looked roomy and nicer than the Colorado. The Colorado has its own look which I like. both seem to have decent ground clearance but I'd remove the plastic airdam.

No, the 2.7 EcoBoost will not tow more if both vehicles are using the same set of ratios. I don't know where you are learning your physics.

I never said the 2.7 liter EB would tow more. I only said the 2.7 liter EB would accelerate faster. Apples to apples using the same ring gear ratio the Eco-diesel will out tow the 2.7 EB engine. Greater Torque always wins. But at lighter loads the EB will out accelerate the Eco-diesel due to a larger RPM band, gear ratio, power to weight...etc.

I did place an article here regarding CGI.

I really don't know why its such a big issue having this in a pickup. Commercial vehicles have been using this stuff now for over a couple of decades. Even cars have used CGI for 15 years.

Why is Ford not able to engineer an aluminium block? This would of saved more weight.

Using CGI doesn't make this engine a diesel. What is giving the engine it's torque is the heads, cams, stroke length and software, not the materials used in it's construction.

The biggest changes to the engine are it's low friction bearing surfaces, but then will this shorten the life of the engine?

There has been some fanfare regarding this truck. But in the end does the expense of developing and manufacturing this truck warrant it's cost due to it's primary use. A daily driver.

What's is it's FE? What is it's ride quality? I've read some comments and articles regarding it's FE that aren't so good.

The truck might have a larger load capacity, but this will diminish it's ride quality. Add the shorter springs and it will bounce, like one of our midsizers. To top it off it sounds like it's running springs from the Ranger as well.

It might provide slightly better FE than the older truck it replaces. But the 2.7 doesn't have a high tow limit. It's only slightly better than my Mazda at 3.5 tonnes this Ford will tow 3.8 tonnes. A weight I wouldn't tow with either truck.

I also think that this new F truck will not manage to tow as well as the older F-150 or even the Ram. It will be on par to slightly better than a midsizer.

It's about the mass of the tow vehicle as well. The Colorado has some length in it as well.

This will be a very nice pickup, especially if it can come with a diesel. But I do feel it isn't as huge a leap as people on this site are attempting to allude to. The leap is in the manufacturing. At the factory.

Ford took the gamble on a daily driver that's is supposed to be a bread and butter vehicle. I suppose if they lose out they can hit up the government for support. GM and Chrysler have already used up their taxpayer fun tickets, Ford hasn't.

@ Big Al from Oz if you look at these designs from the perspective of the traditional truck buyer, they amount to big changes. The conservative truck buyer has been conditioned to out of date Detroit technology and large heavy unsophisticated trucks.
Ford has to make these engines and designs sound better than they really are to convince the traditional V8 truck crowd to change over. It has worked with the EB 3.5 and it will work with the 2.7 V8 and aluminum panels.

Does the new F-150 come with synthetic oil and if so is the weight of the oil a 0w20w? The reason I ask is that since Ford is going with smaller turbo engines it is possible that they are now specifying a synthetic low flow oil which would increase the life of the engine. It is possible that Ford can get the longevity out of these smaller engines with low flow synthetic oil. I am not an engineer but that would make sense. My wife's CRV came with 0w20w synthetic oil and more manufacturers are specifying low flow synthetic oil

I've heard that the 3.6 liter LGX motor and 8 speed will both eventually make it into the colorado.

Probably in 2017

So I like the Colorado but their are some issues:

Price: 2K - 3K overpriced.
NEEDS a Manual option available with V6 and 4x4 options regardless of trim options. (Like the Tacoma)
Optional 3.73 gears
Maybe a more aggressive Offroad edition.. ie.. Bring back the ZR2.

The Colorado is close.. but it needs to be better.

"NEEDS a Manual option available with V6 and 4x4 options regardless of trim options. (Like the Tacoma)"

Even tho they would have to detune the V6 to fit in the power limitations of the manual, AND knowing that the manual gets worse fuel economy then the automatic?

Or Find/make a manual transmission that can handle the V6???

ok ok I think I see what you're asking for.

ZR2 offroad package, 3:73 gears and a non-power limited manual transmission.

Unfortunately you'd probably could GM to make that config for $2-3K more then the Z71!

Drop the custom manual option and GM might do the gear ratio change and the ZR2 offroad package for $1500 more.

brandon d: when GM does use a turbo 3.6 in their midsize truck, it will be called a Canyon Denali, will cost at least 40K, and yes it will be quick! and will tow great!

I just got my new Colorado 1 week ago I could not be happier this is the best truck we have ever bought nice solid ride and comfortable sitting in even for trips. Thee technology is fantastic I have not see any thing that comes close to this one and as far as price I thought it was right on line it so worth the money Love this truck

Congrats GM on taking 1st in another event!

Be great to see something like the 2.7 IN the Colorado. Great idea GM to put a car engine with low torque in a truck.

go chevy

It’s nice of you to share the comparison between 2015 Ford F-150 and 2015 Chevrolet Colorado. it will help people to choose the right one according to their needs.

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