EcoBoost V-6, 2011 Ford F-150Enlarge Photo
2011 Ford F-150 Harley-Davidson EditionEnlarge Photo
Once upon a time, the automaker would have been laughed out of any serious truck owner's stall. Turbos were peaky; they lagged in responsiveness; and they were finicky with maintenance needs—exactly what you don't want in a truck powertrain.
A turbo fit for a truck
But—thank modern electronic engine controls—that's all changed. Ford's latest 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 has been a huge success in the Flex crossover and Taurus SHO sedan, proving that a V-6 can feel every bit like a V-8 in power characteristics while feeling more like a V-6.
Ford hasn't specified exact power or fuel economy figures yet, but we've been told that the engine has been retuned for the F-150, taking advantage of the hoodspace that longitudinal mounting and the huge engine bay allows, as well as stronger truck transmissions, so it power might approach 400 horsepower, along with 400 pound-feet.
With last year's base 4.6-liter V-8 engine rated 15 mpg city, 19 highway in base 2WD form, that could put the EcoBoost F-150's fuel economy as high as 19 mpg city, 23 highway.
4 mpg could make a huge difference
And four miles per gallon makes a huge difference in annual fuel budgets—as well as for fossil fuel dependence and the environment when we're talking about a vehicle that Ford sells tens of thousands of per month.
But the EcoBoost won't be the base engine. The most affordable 2011 F-150 will come with the new Duratec 37 that's now made its debut on the 2011 Ford Mustang and will soon be introduced in the 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. In the F-150, it will be rated at 300 horsepower and 275 pound-feet of torque, and just as in the other applications it will have Ford's new Ti-VCT variable camshaft timing system.
Next up above the EcoBoost will be a new version of the Mustang GT's 5.0-liter 'Coyote' V-8, retuned here for truck duty and improved durability and making 360 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque.
At the top of the lineup is a 6.2-liter V-8, making 411 hp and 434 pound-feet of torque. Unlike the 5.0, this engine has a cast-iron block.
EcoBoost carries 11,300-pound tow rating
And here's the punchline: According to PickupTrucks.com, the new EcoBoost V-6 is rated for towing up to 11,300 pounds—the same as the mammoth 6.2-liter V-8. Base V-6 models can tow up to 6,100 pounds, and the 5.0-liter models will tow close to 10,000 pounds.
Gone entirely are the old four-speed automatic transmissions; it's six-speed automatics all the way, with the new 6R80 that's included in most of the lineup offering both a manual mode as well as a tow/haul mode.