3.5L EcoBoost V-6
Designed to offer the power of a normally-aspirated V-8 while delivering the fuel economy of smaller-displacement engines, the high-tech EcoBoost relies mainly on a pair of turbochargers to work the magic. There's a Borg-Warner turbo on each side of the engine, and each works in conjunction with three cylinders. Each fixed-geometry turbo has wastegate control, and they're water- and oil-cooled. Further, there's a thermal siphoning feature built in to cool the turbos after the engine is shut down. Maximum boost is 131/2 psi.
The engine itself is all-aluminum and features a forged steel crankshaft, die-cast aluminum deep sump oil pan, six-bolt main bearing caps, cast exhaust manifolds, Ti-VCT, one-piece composite intake manifold, direct-acting mechanical bucket valvetrain, and a direct-injection fuel system. The Cleveland, Ohio-built EcoBoost produces 365 horsepower, 420 lb-ft of torque, and has a maximum towing capacity of 11,300 pounds. During our drive, Ford sponsored the "Ford EcoBoost Fuel Economy Challenge," which involved trying to squeeze the most mpg out of the EcoBoost-powered trucks equipped with 3.15:1 axle gears. The Challenge took place on an approximately 20-mile course while being monitored by Ford representatives via the Ford Work Solutions onboard computer. The top mpg winner in our group of 24 drivers logged a shocking 32.5 mpg. Bear in mind, this was full-on "hypermiling" and not normal driving, but it's impressive nonetheless. While the rest of our group focused on actually trying to get good fuel mileage, we ignored the challenge completely and put our foot-to-the-floor at every opportunity, which earned us a dead-last finishing position. But here's the amazing thing: we still got 19.4 mpg.
And though its first name may be "Eco," its last name is "Boost," and boost it does. When asked, the EcoBoost V-6 pulls impressively strong. We think this is a performance engine that just happens to get good mileage. At press time, official mpg numbers weren't available, but pricing was, and it'll cost you $750 to step up to the EcoBoost from the 5.0L engine and $1,750 from the 3.7L engine. The EcoBoost will be available on 90 percent of the F-150 lineup.
Four new engine choices, fuel mileage increase, easy drivability.
Needs a front locker option on 4x4 models.
Great truck with enough configurations to keep just about everyone happy.
Six-speeds for Everybody
The Ford 6R80 six-speed transmission will be standard for each of the four new engines in 2011. The transmission has been "optimized" for each engine, and an example of that is that the 6R80 behind the 3.7L engine has fewer clutch plates compared to how the 6R80 is configured for other engines. The 6R80, which is now linked to the engine computer, offers features such as SelectShift Automatic capability, a new one-way clutch for smoother 1-2 and 2-1 shifts, and a recalibrated Tow/Haul mode.
Another new feature of the 2011 F-150 is electric power-assisted steering (EPAS). This system is available with all engines except the 6.2L and eliminates hydraulic lines and fluid, helps improve fuel mileage, and is quieter than a standard system. The rack-and-pinion-based system includes computers and an electric motor. It is speed-sensitive and can help correct for road irregularities and crosswinds. The steering gear can be tuned and the tuning is software-based, so the steering can be programmed to each model based on powertrain, wheelbase, etc. After experiencing it, we can say it's an amazing achievement. It's very confidence-inspiring and helps to make the F-150 a very stable, easy-to-drive truck.
But Wait, There's More
In addition to the engine and mechanical changes, the F-150 also sports a variety of new standard and optional items. Seen here is the optional new 4.2-inch LCD message center that's navigated via a five-way button on the steering wheel. Other new features include a larger screen for the rear view camera; a three-way safety belt and head restraint for the middle passenger in the front seat; express up and down front windows; 110-volt outlet; remote start; telescoping steering wheel; HD radio; and perimeter alarm.
Vehicle: 2011 Ford F-150 4x4
Base Price: $26,785-$51,140
Engine(s): 3.7L V-6, 5.0L V-8, 6.2L V-8, 3.5L EcoBoost V-6
Transfer case(s): Model 44-19 (two-speed electronic), Model 44-18 (two-speed manual), Model 44-17 (one-speed)
Low range ratio: 2.64:1
Frame type: Ladder
Suspension, f/r: Coil-on-shock, long spindle double wishbone independent, stamped steel lower control arm/Hotchkiss-type live axle, leaf springs, outboard shock absorbers
Ring and pinion (:1): 3.31-3.73
Max crawl ratio: 41:1
Steering: Rack-and-pinion, electric power-assisted steering (N/A with 6.2L V-8), hydraulic power-assisted steering (6.2L V-8 only)
Brakes f/r (in): 13.8x1.34 vented disc with dual-piston calipers/13.7x0.79 vented disc with single-piston calipers
Wheels (in): 20 (FX4)
Tires: P275/55R20 (FX4)
Wheelbase (in): 125.9-156.5
Length (in): 213.2-250.4
Height (in): 76.0-76.7
GVWR (lb): 6,650-8,200
Base curb weight (lb): 4,925-5,866
Max towing capacity (lb): 5,700-11,300
Fuel capacity (gal): 26-36