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First Drive: 2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost V6

Can a pickup deliver both performance and fuel economy?

by on Oct.18, 2010

A 2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost prepares for the upcoming Baja 1000 desert endurance race.

Mention the word, “pickup,” and a lumbering, gas-guzzling behemoth might come to mind.  But with the launch of its 2011 F-150, Ford is out to change that image.

From a sheet metal standpoint, not much changes, but there are some significant new features and, most important of all, a completely new range of engines.  At launch, Ford will roll out a new 3.7-liter V6 replacing the old 4.0-liter V6, a 5.0-liter V8 replacing the former 5.4-liter V8, and a 6.2-liter V8 borrowed from the F-250 Heavy Duty for some specialty models.

Later in the model year, for the first time in an American pickup truck, Ford will offer a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged direct-injection EcoBoost V6 engine, a design borrowed from the all-wheel drive Ford Flex, Taurus SHO, and Lincoln MKT.

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With the addition of the 3.7-liter V6, Ford shows just how good you can get mileage on a full-size pickup, which hits 23 mpg on the highway.  (Click Here for more.) But with the EcoBoost, Ford is out to prove that you can deliver both mileage and performance in the same package.

For pickup truck duty, the 3.5 EcoBoost V6 has been turned around 90 degrees and completely redesigned in order to drive the rear wheels.  It is rated at 365 horsepower and a massive 420 foot-pounds of torque, the same horsepower as a Taurus SHO but with far more torque for truck workloads.  In the F-150, it will cost $1750 over the base 3.7-liter V6.

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