2017 Ford F-150 Review: First Drive

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We first heard about Ford's new EcoBoost engine and 10-speed transmission at a technical briefing at Ford headquarters not too long ago. Ford recently gave us our first chance to test its latest powertrain in 2017 F-150s at the Michigan Proving Ground just outside Romeo, Mich.

In a couple of trim packages both with and without trailers, we had the chance to drive Ford's new and more powerful 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine as well as its all-new 10-speed transmission. The combination will be available on all trim levels and standard on all fully loaded Limited models.

The bottom line is that Ford's 2017 F-150 is smarter, faster, better geared, quieter, more confident and likely to be more efficient than the vehicle it's replacing when equipped with this latest EcoBoost and 10-speed transmission. Ford has made no announcement regarding whether this engine design will spread to other V-6s or V-8s — or if the 10-speed will be made available in other existing powertrains — but we hope both happen.

Preproduction Models

During our engineering preview drive (all of which was done with preproduction vehicles, so some minor calibration changes could still happen), we had the chance to drive the 2017 models in four closed-course settings: two towing and two with empty loads, all with SuperCrew cabs.

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It's worth noting that there is absolutely no way visually to tell the 2017 EcoBoost/10-speed F-150 apart from the 2016 EcoBoost/six-speed F-150; no badges, decals or labels identify the new powertrain. However, if you pop the hood, the new EcoBoost engine has a more squared-off engine cover. And that's it.

Our first set of quick comparison tests (2016 versus 2017) included a loop up a short, hilly two-lane road that took about five minutes to complete. Both our F-150s had a perfectly balanced box double-axle trailer setup behind, each weighing just less than 10,000 pounds.

How They Compare

It's rather pronounced how much quieter and stronger the new powertrain feels, pulling off the line with more assurance under load. Additionally, where we noticed some shift flare on upshifts and downshifts in the six-speed (meaning the amount of space between the 1st and 2nd gear shift seems to allow for a slight engine rev), we did not notice any in the 10-speed.

Later we had the chance to take 2016 and 2017 F-150s and 10,000-pound trailers to a stretch of test track running up a 7 percent grade. Not too surprisingly, we found the extra torque in the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and the gearing advantage of the 10-speed clearly outperformed the old combination off the line and during the 1st-to-2nd gear shift. The shifts at wide-open throttle were made faster and felt more solid, and once the shifts were made, the 2017 truck and trailer consistently pulled away from the 2016 setup.

Ford also allowed us to compare how well 2016 and 2017 F-150s ran up and down the steepest hill climb at the proving grounds, a 29 percent-grade two-lane road to the top of a hill. Although we never did any low-range crawling with the 4x4, the engine and gearing spacing in the 10-speed seemed to help keep the pickup in the comfort zone of the engine's power band going up the hill. It did an equally impressive job of holding gears on the steep hill descent. We also noted a conspicuous difference in shift points and downshift quickness when in Sport, Tow/Haul or Normal modes.

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Lastly, we were given the chance to drive the new F-150s on a high-speed oval track where we could experiment with how well, at normal and "enthusiastic" highway speeds, the transmission would react. Again, the new engine and transmission combination was impressive. This seemed to be the venue where the more advanced computer software really shone; without much effort (and under moderate throttle to get up to normal highway speeds), the transmission shifts into 10th gear right around 40 to 45 mph. Dip into the throttle a little or a lot and it quickly downshifts to the appropriate gear — maybe 3rd, maybe 6th — without any perceptible shift shock. And when cruising comfortably at 70 mph in the 2017 model, the engine purrs along at 1,650 rpm; by comparison, the 2016 six-speed runs around 1,800 rpm at 70 mph.

Capacities and Cost

Ford engineers have not changed the axle ratios on any of the 2017 models, meaning most F-150s will offer the same ring-and-pinion gears as 2016 models (3.31:1 or 3.55:1). Likewise, max payloads, towing capacities and gross vehicle weight ratings also stay the same.

Model-year 2017 Ford F-150s with this new engine and transmission powertrain will be rolling off the lines in October, and the upgraded 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 will add $2,595 to the cost of the pickup above the base 3.5-liter V-6 (although it will be standard on the Limited trim level). The added cost for the previous EcoBoost engine and six-speed transmission was a few hundred dollars less. All new EcoBoost engines will be mated to the 10-speed transmission.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams

 

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Comments

Who doesn't like more HP, more Torque and more speeds in their auto tranny? Seems to be the norm. Hope it all holds up. Waiting to see them go 200 trouble free K. In the mean time they will continue to sell like crazy.

Seems nice, maybe a few too many gears for my liking.

I wonder if the intent of the first drive with a trailer was to display the virtues of the 10speed or to hide the fact it doesn't feel any quicker than the 6speed?

1650rpm? I'd say it will only use tenth gear on very few occasions. Even at 70mph and using any throttle application will shift down.

Is it worth the effort or is this just for meeting FE and CAFE?

Clint,
I wonder how much it will cost to repair one of these 10spd gearboxes.

Or, do you just throw them away and put a new one in your pickup?

Who doesn't like more HP, more Torque and more speeds in their auto tranny?

I agree more horsepower and torque might appeal to some, but many are not after this. That's why the NA 3.5 V6 and 2.7 EcoWhatever are by far the biggest sellers for the F-150.

If I were a betting man I'd say around 10k lbs is where Ford is stopping at 1/2 towing capability. Even if the others advertise higher 1/2 ton towing capacities, I think Ford will not change. Anything greater than 10k, buy a 250 or 2500.

Seems nice, maybe a few too many gears for my liking.

I wonder if the intent of the first drive with a trailer was to display the virtues of the 10speed or to hide the fact it doesn't feel any quicker than the 6speed?

1650rpm? I'd say it will only use tenth gear on very few occasions. Even at 70mph and using any throttle application will shift down.

Is it worth the effort or is this just for meeting FE and CAFE?

Who doesn't like more HP, more Torque and more speeds in their auto tranny?

I agree more horsepower and torque might appeal to some, but many are not after this. That's why the NA 3.5 V6 and 2.7 EcoWhatever are by far the biggest sellers for the F-150.

Now that all critical upgrades are in placed. When will Ford engineers will extend the oil change to 10K plus and Transmission Service to 100K plus?

Grnzel1,
I agree with you.

Think about the changes required to the drive train? The added weight to the vehicle. It will make it harder to produce a vehicle with decent FE to meet CAFE.

So you tested this on a "high Speed Oval at normal and "enthusiastic" highway speeds" Mark, all I see is where you got it up to 70mph? It's 80mph where I live so I would have expected you to test this to at least 100mph if not top out at redline, so us enthusiastic drivers would now how it handled and shifted. What a waste of a high speed oval...lol

Mechanically this combo appears well thought out and solid. Ford has to get the ECU programming right, it appears they may have. Once the media gets hold of them any faults should quickly come to light. Looking forward to the comparos!

Toyturbodiesel,
Mechanically this combo appears well thought out and solid.

I think we have to wait and see how "solid the 10spd is. Don't forget they have gotten an extra 4spds into a package that weighs the same.

Time will tell how good this 10spd really is. I mean, Ford has had trouble manufacturing gearboxes and it took Ford 8 years to resolve the issues with a simple 6spd manual Getrag MT82. You know the one fitted to the Mustang.

@dav
These automotive events to press have many people there. Also putc seems to work fairly close with the tflt guys frequently. My guess is putc guys went faster then 70 as the tfl guys hit almost 110 at sbout 2400 rpm as seen in the pic here... See the thing is idiots will criticize this publication wether they do or dont.... Can youimagine the outragefrom the idiots if putc posted a review of 100 mph plus.... The outrage would be worse then the idiots that are outraged over not reporting on highspeed capability.

http://www.tfltruck.com/2016/08/how-fast-and-efficient-is-the-2017-ford-f-150-10-speed-first-drive-review/

Since this tranny will be used extensively by GM and Ford, albeit with different programming, I fully expect they have taken the best from both companies to build it right. Otherwise, this could get very ugly for both of them.

Looks like a very nice performance truck, but I'm not signing up for one because the price will be too too high, and it is just too long for a 5.5' bed (231.9"). Yah it will fit in a garage, or one should just go SuperCab route with 6.5' size bed, but many don't want to make that kind of tradeoff in bed size or rear cab size when looking at spending $40-$70k. So I'll keep waiting, or intensify my used market search for midsize because I've been truckless for too long now, and pessimistic that the big 3 will ever produce more cab forward reduced front end designs in full size anytime soon, to be really excited about moving up from midsize. I got a ton of work and play done in a deceased 320kmi '84 B2000 6.2'bed (though it required some major repairs with my own skills to keep it going). And just looked at a 1999 Dakota ExtraCab with, to my surprise, a 6.3" long bed. I wonder how easy it will be for a 5'8" tall person to see over the long extremely high front end of any of these full sizers to be able to park it efficiently. Perhaps midsize is really all some people need for the kind of work and play they may do: handy part time do it yourselfer, dirt bike riding, no trailer jet skier (trailers take too much space in the expensive real estate area of SF, Ca), but it's been fun reading and learning and kinda fun hoping they would make full sizers shorter in the front end area. I've become too accustomed to driving smaller vehicles too with all of the maneuverability that comes with them.

Why the dealer recommend the 5,0 and Ford push the dealer to advertise the turbo ??

Why does GM push the 5.3 the on the lots but the 6.2 in shootouts?

Ford dealers are not in the recommendation business. They are actually pushing more EcoBoosts than anything. If you think you need a V8 to just to say you have one by all means get one. Nobody is stopping you.

Gmleavesalottobedesired,
You sound knowledgeable with pickup trucks, except pickups are speed limited to 98mph. Sorry.

Scott,
The same reason most every pickup tested are mid to high spec vehicles.

Why not put your best foot forward?

Why does Ford push this new 3.5 EcoWhatever and 10spd?

Will it be the most popular vehicle? No. The naturally aspirated 3.5 and 2.7 Eco ..... sell more than the 3.5 Eco .....

It's called marketing.

Like Ford wanting the world to know about this new 3.5, GM wants the world to know about the 6.2.

Maybe there is more profit in high powered, high end pickups.

Just a thought.

Gmleavesalottobedesired,
You sound knowledgeable with pickup trucks, except pickups are speed limited to 98mph. Sorry.

Posted by: WildWilly | Sep 6, 2016 3:03:15 PM

Hey wildwilly, Bia Al, BARFO of whatever you call yourself these days; whatever happened to yr endless doomsday predictions of Ford's aluminum trucks will tank or better still; Nissan's new full size truck will take over the market...hahaha...wrong as always. My guess anyone is more knowledgeable than you when it comes to trucks...hey, stick with what you know...like your butt ugly Mazda BT50...:-)

Bafo/wildwilly
You sure about that???

Bafo/wildwilly
C&D test truck int 2015 had a limiter of 107 mph.

http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-ford-f-150-35l-ecoboost-4x4-test-review
You lack of knowledge in trucks is apparent thatyou must be from australia and are only familiar with utes like the subaru brats snd such.

"Why does Ford push this new 3.5 EcoWhatever and 10spd?

Will it be the most popular vehicle? "

---------

Very likely it will become be the most popular are closely tied with the 2.7L Eco.

---------

"No. The naturally aspirated 3.5 and 2.7 Eco ..... sell more than the 3.5 Eco ....."

That is False.

The 3.5 is only about 10% of sales.

The 3.5 NA and 2.7 Eco only sell more when you combine the two and that's only slightly more

The 3.5 Eco is about 30% and 2.7 Eco is about 30%.

The 5L is about 20-something %.

-------

"It's called marketing."

No its called real world.

The 6.2 GM pushes in its shootouts only sells less than 10% of sales. Real world sales of EcoBoosts are tremendously more popular than the 6.2 in the GMs.

Educate yourself.

The 3.5 Naturally Aspirated is nowhere near selling more than the 3.5 EcoBoost.

The 2.7L EcoBoost is the best selling engine in the lineup at about 32% of sales.

The 3.5L EcoBoost is the next best at about 30% of sales.

The 5L is just under 30%.

And the 3.5 Naturally Aspirated is less than 10% of sales.

Giving the 3.5 EcoBoost a new engine and the 10 speed should make it overtake the 2.7L EcoBoost this model year. The 3.5 naturally aspirated isn't even in the picture.

EcoBoost is overall is about 2/3 of sales and the 2.7L liter shot up to 34% in July. Amazing!

The 6.2 GM pushes in its shootouts only sells less than 10% of sales. Real world sales of EcoBoosts are tremendously more popular than the 6.2 in the GMs.

Educate yourself.
Posted by: Scott N. | Sep 6, 2016 3:59:53 PM

-----------

It's called supply and demand. GM restricts the 6.2 availability to keep transaction prices (profits) up. If they flooded the dealer lots with the 6.2 like Ford does the 3.5EB, they would erode transaction prices.

The 3.5EB is tremendously popular because the next best option is the 5.0 coyote, which is a great V8 for a high-revving pony car but not a good V8 for a pickup truck. Ford doesn't have a choice but to sell more 3.5EB F-150's.

It's called supply and demand.
Posted by: gregory | Sep 6, 2016 4:59:16 PM


That's not the question or topic. The original question was why do dealers push 5L? And why does Ford push EcoBoost? This was a false question - Ford dealers do not push 5L's. If they did push one it would be because it was the cheapest for advertising. Then BARFO argued that the 3.5 Eco is all marketing and the 3.5 NA sells more. This was also false. The 6.2 was brought up to show you the true marketing going on. If the steel 6.2's was a better choice than EcoBoost then GM wouldn't restrict 6.2L sales and they wouldn't be coming out with their own turbo aluminum trucks for the 2018 models. I bet anyone a 100 million dollars that GM will be pushing aluminum turbo trucks in January 2018 and they will become the most popular in the lineup.

@DJ and @Scott N. Pickuptrucks.com Ford Sept 3 news.
10% V6 naturally aspirated
33% 2.7L Eco
32% 3.5L Eco
25% V8
Respectively guys, I'm picky when it comes to data, and I like to see data be exact, because when slightly incorrect, it becomes further muddied down the line, and then people start to spout incorrect data entirely. Maybe in the format above it will be easier for people to remember.
I speculate that when % of V8 sales becomes less than 10% of sales, they'll drop the engine, and then reduce the front end, thereby never bringing ranger to NA. Time will tell....

If the steel 6.2's was a better choice than EcoBoost then GM wouldn't restrict 6.2L sales...

@Scott

I think the 6.2 is an alloy block/heads engine, Scott. at least since 2014 or so.

@DJ
And yes you are correct:
2/3 of Ford Sales are Ecoboost
75% are V6.
25% V8

I wonder if the 2017 2.7L ecoboost will get the all new 10 spd?

"Now that all critical upgrades are in placed. When will Ford engineers will extend the oil change to 10K plus and Transmission Service to 100K plus?" If you go by the computer the oil change interval is already over 10K miles, at least it is in both my 2013 and 2016 Ecoboosts. And that is with a lot of trailer pulling. I have been changing mine a little more frequently just to be on the safe side, around 8k miles for the most part. Nowhere near the 3K intervals a lot of oil change places push.

Thanks goodness Ford finally uprated the 3.5 EB's horsepower and torque as everyone was tired with the 2016's

- poor acceleration,
- barely budging fuel gauge when towing.

I do wonder what the maximum amount of speeds that can be added to an automatic transmission before the law of diminishing returns sets in. I am not knocking this transmission but what next? Seems that these transmissions have become more complex and with this complexity what will be the long term reliability? Maybe with improvements in technology that cvts will become a better choice.

Fords trany is not out yet and obsolete already.
Fords 1st gear ratio 4.69:1
RAM 1st gear ratio 4.71:1
That, how it's done

If the steel 6.2's was a better choice than EcoBoost then GM wouldn't restrict 6.2L sales...

Posted by: Scott N. | Sep 6, 2016 5:25:41 PM

The old block was IRON. The current 6.2 is an aluminum block with aluminum heads.

Being the better choice has nothing to do witch how many they make. GM isn't concerned with winning pissing matches, they're only interested in controlling the supply of trucks with the 6.2 so they make as much money as they can on each one sold. If you have two dozen trucks with the top engine option sitting on the lot at every one of your dealers, the customer has a the advantage when it comes to negotiating price. If the customer has to order the truck to get the top engine option, there's almost no haggle room. It's a very simple concept. Business 101.

Great job Ford...the best get better

10 speed is dated. 12 speed is where it's at.

If the steel 6.2's was a better choice than EcoBoost then GM wouldn't restrict 6.2L sales...

Posted by: Scott N. | Sep 6, 2016 5:25:41 PM

The old block was IRON. The current 6.2 is an aluminum block with aluminum heads.

Being the better choice has nothing to do witch how many they make. GM isn't concerned with winning pissing matches, they're only interested in
Posted by: gre | Sep 6, 2016 10:31:07 PM

That's not even my topic, and by steel 6.2s I am talking about steel bodies with 6.2 engines. GM loves peeing. That's why they are bashing the Ford aluminum trucks with EcoBoosts and saying V8s with steel body is better. While they are currently building their own for aluminum trucks with turbos for 2018. They do this all the time: see their attacks and flip flops on truck steps, heated wheels, 60k warranties, etc.

GM is run by idiots. I'll never forget how GM bashed Ford's aluminum trucks and said it was the wrong choice early on in 2014 before they even came out. But then a few weeks later after they hit the media circuit at the Truck Fair of TX, GM ran to the press to tell everyone that they secured a supply of aluminum, too. The vile GMbots trashed Ford for using rivets and adhesives. Even while GM was starting to use the same thing on their luxury Cadillac line. All for scoring fake media points and because they didn't have their next gen aluminum truck out yet because they went bankrupt and had to cut back on product development. Last month it was revealed on PUTC that next gen Silverado would not only be made of aluminum but it have extensive use of rivets and glue! I'll NEVER take anything GM says seriously again. And I was a former Chevy truck owner. If GM has lost me, they have lost hundreds of thousands more over these tactics.

Guys, I never please read the comment I have made regarding the 3.5 NA V6 and 2.7.

They BOTH together are more popular then the 3.5 Eco .....

Will this 10spd place the price point for the 3.5 Eco .... out of reach for the average guy? Will the 2.7 with a 6spd be offered as the *replacement* engine over the 3.5 for the average guy.

Look at the construction of both the 3.5 and 2.7 Eco ..... the 2.7 is most likely the cheaper of the two for Ford to manufacture. Add a 6spd to the 2.7 and you could see a real difference in pricing.

Scott sounds like every other Fordtard....DUMB!

http://www.autonews.com/article/20141124/OEM06/311249975/as-ford-spends-big-gm-joins-aluminum-with-simple-welds

No gluing Scotty boy.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/gm-wont-follow-all-aluminum-strategy-in-future-cars-1412271919

Fordtards are so damn stupid.

Hey look its Fairway and Cool which is the same person posting under different names. How you doing Fairway cool?

Fords trany is not out yet and obsolete already.
Fords 1st gear ratio 4.69:1
RAM 1st gear ratio 4.71:1
That, how it's done


Posted by: RAM | Sep 6, 2016 10:15:36 PM

And yet a 5.7L fiat 1500 cannot out run a base engine F150 with the Ford running a 6 speed. Looks like the whole fiat truck is out dated. Meeh

LMAO,
Having a faster accelerating vehicle does NOT make for a better vehicle. Are you some school kid?

After reading your comments for a couple of weeks now it appears you have very little to offer other than trash comments.

How is the F-150 better than the Hemi Ram?

I can only think of one reason to own a F-150 over a Ram and that is reputation. But, FCA is slowly fixing up Ram's reputation.

LMAO,
Having a faster accelerating vehicle does NOT make for a better vehicle. Are you some school kid?

After reading your comments for a couple of weeks now it appears you have very little to offer other than trash comments.

How is the F-150 better than the Hemi Ram?

I can only think of one reason to own a F-150 over a Ram and that is reputation. But, FCA is slowly fixing up Ram's reputation.


Posted by: WildWilly | Sep 7, 2016 5:46:50 AM

BARFO, don't play that you have just started here. We all know who you are. Different name, same old girl. You have yet to answer my diesel questions from the beginning of the year. In fact since I would not let it go you have disappeared for some time with a random post here and there under different names. FYI, real men want a truck that performs. What is the point of having a truck if it is as a total turd of a truck like a Mazda BT50 with a diesel engine and stick shift transmission. Fiat is on their way out. They have no money. They cannot improve their garbage that they are current producing, they are paying for emissions credits because they have nothing that gets good EPA numbers.

I can only think of one reason to own a F-150 over a Ram and that is reputation. But, FCA is slowly fixing up Ram's reputation.


Posted by: WildWilly | Sep 7, 2016 5:46:50 AM

That's because you are anti Ford using aluminum. Even though you think aluminum is great and is good on planes, trains, automobiles, including big trucks and just about everything else except the F150.

I'd like to consider a Ram but their payload is generally less than GM and Ford. My personal perception of their quality is less than average and most importantly their last crash tests were the worst of the bunch. I wish Nissan wouldn't have made such a gawd ugly truck. The bones seem right but the body is awful. Who at Nissan thought that Frankenstein looked good?? Fix the body and I'll give the Titan serious consideration.

Nice job Ford,

Fords trany is not out yet and obsolete already.
Fords 1st gear ratio 4.69:1
RAM 1st gear ratio 4.71:1
That, how it's done


Posted by: RAM | Sep 6, 2016 10:15:36 PM

And yet a 5.7L fiat 1500 cannot out run a base engine F150 with the Ford running a 6 speed. Looks like the whole fiat truck is out dated. Meeh
Posted by: LMAO | Sep 7, 2016 5:11:47 AM

What do you mean by "out run" ? f150 with 6 speed never out run my 5.7 FIAT HEMI with 5 speed.




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