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2011 Ford F-150: New V-6 Gets Top Highway Rating Of 23 MPG

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Ford Motor Co. [NYSE:F] has revealed fuel economy figures for most of its 2011 F-150 lineup, all pending final EPA approval. And while the numbers aren't yet out for the much-anticipated EcoBoost V-6 version, Ford is claiming a best-in-class 23 mpg highway for both its 3.7-liter V-6 and 5.0-liter V-8 versions.

The Dearborn automaker said that it found in a poll of F-150 owners that 70 percent wanted improved fuel economy, and it hopes to conquest more current owners of full-size trucks from the other brands with these higher-mpg offerings.

Regarding Ford's best-in-class claim, the key phrase here is "in the respective segments." However, their claim might be disputed; the figure ties with the highway mileage of the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid and 2011 GMC Sierra Hybrid—models that achieve 20 mpg city, 23 highway, for a better EPA combined figure than the F-150. To its defense, Ford assumes—probably correctly—that shoppers looking at the V-6 aren't going to consider the Hybrids; for the V-8, we're not as sure that's true.

The base engine on the 2011 Ford F-150 will be a version of the new 3.7-liter V-6 that's also used in the 2011 Ford Mustang, among other models. Here, it makes 302 hp and 278 lb-ft, effectively replacing last year's base V-8 for some customers, and will get 16 mpg city, 23 highway mated to a six-speed automatic transmission (Ford is the only automaker to equip all of its full-size trucks with six-speed transmissions). Ford has installed a higher-capacity, deep-sump oil pan in the truck application to allow effective lubrication even under severe towing situations—and to extend oil changes to 10,000 miles under normal use. The Car Connection has driven this version and found it

With the new 5.0-liter 'Coyote' V-8, the 2011 F-150 comes with EPA ratings of 15 mpg city, 21 highway. Ford assures truck shoppers that it "didn't just put a car engine in a truck." The engine makes 360 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque, and has a lower 10.5:1 compression ratio to work well on regular fuel, as well as a different intake cam profile that's been optimized for truck use. In a first drive last month, High Gear Media editorial director Marty Padgett especially liked this engine, saying it "rips off squares of pavement at launch if you want it to, and spins pretty freely up through the rev range."

At the top of the lineup is a 6.2-liter V-8, which Ford says brings "the heart of a Super Duty but available in the F-150." The big V-8, producing 411 hp and 434 lb-ft, has two valves per cylinder, but they provide as much flow as four according to engineers, and the roller-rocker valvetrain and overhead-cam design helps allow huge valves that aren't shrouded by the bore. A fuel economy rating of 12/17 mpg accompanies this engine.

The star of the F-150 lineup is quite possibly the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, which will provide a full 11,300-pound tow rating. Versus the car-duty EcoBoost V-6 that's featured in a number of vehicles including the Ford Taurus SHO and Lincoln MKT, the truck-duty EcoBoost is different; Ford points to a different fuel system, completely different airflow, and various durability improvements—such as to the pistons—in the truck.

The EcoBoost model won't be out until later in the model year; stay tuned for the numbers.

[Ford Motor Co.]

 
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