Ford's new aluminum intensive F-150 pickup won't arrive in showrooms until later in the year-fourth quarter is as specific as corporate spokespersons are willing to be at this point. But the march to the on sale date continues to be punctuated by teaser previews, the latest focusing on two new engines, one of them clean-computer-screen new.
Building on the acceptance of the 3.5-liter Ecoboost V6-over a half-million trucks so equipped sold since 2011-Ford will add an all-new 2.7-liter turbo V6 to the powertrain lineup, keeping 2015 F-150 engine options at four. (The 6.2-liter gasoline V8 will disappear from the lineup, but will continue with the F-series Heavy Duty trucks.)
The other new engine is a naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6, replacing the previous 3.7-liter six as the F-150's basic powerplant. Rated for 283 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, the 3.5's output is reduced versus the 3.7-liter's 302 horsepower and 278 pound-feet, but Ford cites a much improved power-to-weight ratio, thanks to the extensive use of aluminum in the new truck's body, engines, and suspension components.
This also contributes an increase in the new truck's towing capacity-7600 pounds versus 6950-although max payload drops slightly, from 1930 to 1910 pounds.
But the big news is the 2.7-liter Ecoboost V6, rated for 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque, the new engine slots in between the basic 3.5-liter V6 and the line's other powerplants, a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 and the 3.5-liter EcoBoost 3.5 V6.
The new engine has several innovative design features. For example, it's the first truck engine to offer start-stop technology, an increasingly popular fuel-saving feature. The engine block is composed compacted graphite iron, the same material employed in Ford's 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8, and the bottom end of the engine is diesel-tough: forged crankshaft, six-bolt main bearing caps, and heavy duty Federal Mogul bearings to accommodate the potential extra load imposed by the stop-start system.
The compression ratio is 10.0:1, on the high side for a turbocharged engine, yet the small gallery turbo is capable of generating boost in excess of 30 psi burning regular fuel.
Propelling a 4x4 F-150, the 2.7 Ecoboost has a max payload rating of 2150 pounds and can tow up to 8400 pounds. According to Ford, that trumps the payload ratings for 4x4 versions of the Chevy Silverado with a 5.3-liter V8 (2007 pounds) and the Ram 1500 with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel (1620 pounds). However, the Chevy and the Ram both have higher towing capabilities.
Ford has yet to announce 2015 output numbers for the other engines in the F-150 inventory. And the information released regarding the new 3.5-liter and 2.7-liter engines did not include specifics about EPA fuel economy ratings. However, Ford cites 2015 F-150 weight reductions that average about 700 pounds per trim level, which is sure to add up to across-the-board improvements in the mpg department. So will the new 2.7 turbo come in with better ratings than the Ram's 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 (20 mpg city, 28 highway)? Ford VP of powertrain development Bob Facetti fielded this question with a tight little grin. "Stay tuned," he said.
More Ford news...