Ford has at last released official EPA fuel economy ratings for its radically redesigned 2015 Ford F-150 pickups, which begin arriving at dealerships this month.
The F-150 now has the highest fuel economy ratings—by a smidge—of any full-size gasoline-powered pickup on the U.S. market. When equipped with the new 2.7-liter turbocharged V-6, which makes 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque, the rear-wheel-drive F-150 earns EPA ratings of 19 mpg city, 26 highway (22 combined).
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This new engine also gives the F-150 a noteworthy max towing rating of 8,500 pounds, as well as an excellent max payload of 2,250 pounds.
With this truck family’s new aluminum-intensive construction, a weight loss of several hundred pounds, and a revamped lineup of powertrains, as well a long list of other efficiency-minded engineering changes, it’s no surprise that their mile-per-gallon numbers are significantly improved versus their predecessors.
A 2.7-liter V-6 taking on big V-8s?
Ford compares that to V-8 versions of rival models, and the F-150 with this small V-6 under the hood does remarkably well. For instance, 2015 Toyota Tundra 4x2 models with the (smaller) 4.6-liter V-8 engine, which only manage 6,800 pounds of towing capability and a max payload of 1,605 pounds. And while 5.3-liter and 5.7-liter V-8 models of the Silverado and Ram 1500 have stronger towing numbers, their payload is in the same ballpark—with the F-150 430 pounds higher in payload than the Ram, actually.
Fuel economy ratings for the F-150 with the non-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 roll in at 18 mpg city, 25 highway, with tow and max payload ratings that range up to 7,600 pounds and 1,910 pounds, respectively. And those with the 5.0-liter V-8, making 385 horsepower and 387 pound-feet, ante up to a 11,100 max tow number and a 3,300-pound max payload, while they earn 15/22 mpg ratings (all in rear-wheel-drive form).
The available 3.5-liter EcoBoost (turbocharged) V-6 is the top engine in the lineup for those who want the most towing ability. It earns an EPA-rated 17/24 mpg, and can pull up to 12,200 pounds—a number that stacks up well against the Silverado 6.2-liter’s 12,000-pound rating—or haul up to 3,270 pounds.
Ram 1500 EcoDiesel outdoes it on mpg, not running costs
Ford does point out in a release accompanying these results that the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine is just a $495 option on the F-150, while the EcoDiesel engine is a $4,470 option on the Ram 1500.
The Ford turbocharged engines are designed to run on regular unleaded gas, whereas the pump price of diesel is currently much higher—currently $3.66 for diesel, versus $2.89 for regular-grade gas, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel returns 20 mpg city, 28 highway, with its 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V-6—rated at 240 hp and a very meaningful-for-towing 420 lb-ft of torque. And a special HFE V-6 gasoline version of the Ram carries 18/25 mpg ratings—the same as the non-turbo V-6 in the F-150—albeit with lower towing/hauling numbers.
It's also worth mentioning that Ford's lead over full-size, steel-framed-and-bodied GM trucks isn't all that significant either. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 lineups achieve 18 mpg city, 24 highway—and real-world reports on F-150 3.5-liter EcoBoost trucks haven't placed mileage nearly as high.
The takeaway: Kudos to Ford, but let's see about real-world numbers
These F-150 2.7-liter models could make a lot of sense if they do return much-improved numbers in everyday use; check back in the near future as we report on that, and put them to the test with some real-world tasks.