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Ford Likes Turbocharging In Trucks, GM Dodges It: Which Is Better?

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The Ford Atlas concept from the Detroit Auto Show, which gives a first glimpse of the all-new, next-generation versions of the F-150 pickup, has a lot of tech and design ideas packed into it. But truck shoppers often need to think about horsepower, torque, payloads, and pulling power first and foremost. So perhaps just as noteworthy is what Ford pointed to under the hood: a next-generation turbocharged 'EcoBoost' engine.

Ford Motor Co. [NYSE: F] has sold about 43 percent of its current light-duty pickups with the EcoBoost V-6, which made its debut for 2011, and it says that its 3.5-liter EcoBoost F-150 sales alone were greater than some rival full-size truck models' entire lineup. And the majority of F-150 models are now ordered with a V-6.

EcoBoost a success in trucks

2013 Ford F-150 Limited

2013 Ford F-150 Limited

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According to Ford, the gamble has paid off; the EcoBoost engine has been very successful, with take rates much higher than even the automaker had anticipated. And it all but confirms that Ford will continue to use the ‘EcoBoost’ moniker into its next-generation trucks.

On the other hand, General Motors [NYSE: GM] has no immediate plans to downsize its pickup engines or introduce a turbo. Instead, it's completely re-engineered the V-6 and V-8 engines that go into its latest, heavily revised 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and 2014 GMC Sierra pickups. While all three of those engines are expected to post higher horsepower, torque, and fuel economy numbers, they're the same size as their predecessors (4.3 liters for the V-6; 5.0 and 6.2 liters for the V-8). And in each of these, GM is turning to cylinder deactivation technology (along with direct injection and variable valve timing) to make its traditional-sized engines more efficient.

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