For many people around the world, trading in their pickup trucks for more fuel efficient compacts and hybrids is not an option. A hybrid sedan can’t tow 10,000 pounds or fit a load of lumber in the back. So what is the truck driver with a leaning towards fuel efficiency to do? Some trucks have diesel options, which offer better gas mileage, but higher prices for diesel fuel negate that option. Well, fret not, truck drivers. Ford has the answer with their upcoming EcoBoost-powered 2011 F-150.
What is EcoBoost? The technology is the result of thorough testing and design that pairs the horsepower and torque required for pickup trucks with the gas-sipping economy of smaller vehicles. Ford’s EcoBoost engines are being introduced into this year’s Ford Flex and Lincoln MKS models and are V6 engines that deliver performance comparable to a big V8 while using less gas. The 2011 F-150, which will be hitting dealer showrooms in mid-2010, will have the option of an EcoBoost V6 option.
How does it stack up against Ford’s 5.4-liter Triton V8 engine? The Triton produces 320 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque and gets a fuel economy rating of 13 mpg city / 18 highway. The 3.5-liter turbo V6 EcoBoost engine gets 340 horsepower and 340 lb-ft of torque and 16 mpg city / 23 highway (these numbers are estimates and may vary slightly by the time the truck hits the market). As far as price goes, the EcoBoost costs a bit more to manufacture than the traditional V8, but Ford estimates that the price increase will be less than $1,000. Depending on how much driving you do, savings in fuel could negate that extra cost within months.
Is there a downside to the EcoBoost engine? Not from an engineering stand point, but the turbo V6 sounds decidedly different from the V8 rumble of the current trucks. Ford is working on different aspects of the exhaust system that will give the 2011 F-150 a comparable sound, but even if they don’t get it right, the engine noise probably won’t be a deal breaker. Ask a contractor who uses his truck everyday hauling materials which is more important, V8 power with V6 fuel economy or V8 gas prices with V8 sound? Looks like Ford has a winner on their hands. Too bad its not already an option on this year’s model.