Class-leading strength is a core value in pickup trucks, and that’s what Ford is promising with the 2017 F-150’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6.
Time was that a six-cylinder engine in a full-sized pickup was the economical choice. A straight six typically had enough low-end torque to get a heavy load moving, and its generally low-revving nature helped it get decent mileage, although the small-V8 option usually didn’t use that much more gas.
Ford’s EcoBoost V6s have changed that landscape, and it’s a second-generation EcoBoost V6 with twin turbochargers that’s sliding under the hood of the 2017 Ford F-150. Ford touts a class-leading (and eye-popping) torque measurement of 470 lb.-ft. That’s impressive when you consider that Chevy and GMC come darned close with 460 lb.-ft., but it takes 6.2 liters of displacement to generate it, rather than the Ford’s 3.5 liters.
Of course, the Chevy’s 420 horsepower is significantly stronger than the Ford’s 375-hp rating, proving that there still can be no substitute for cubic inches.
Mileage ratings between the 2016 Ford and Chevy are very similar, with the Chevy having a 1-mpg advantage in its 21-mpg highway rating. Both score 15 mpg EPA city. It’ll be interesting to see where this new EcoBoost’s mileage lands when the EPA tests it.
The 10-speed transmission is the first of its kind in a truck and is a very similar unit to the 10-speed that’s being installed in 2017 Camaros.
As we continue down the road of ever-tightening mileage standards, Ford has made it clear that, in addition to adopting aluminum construction for the F-150, the company sees the answers to present and future challenges as being outside the usual gas-or-diesel-V8s approach. Full-sized trucks were once pure cash cows, where decades-old tech could generate huge profit margins.
Not anymore, and it wasn’t so long ago that you’d think it’d be a supercar running a twin-turbocharged V6 through a 10-speed tranny. Now it’s an F-150 doing it, and we can’t wait to try one.