by Patrick Rall
When the sales numbers from May 2011 came in, an interesting expectation by Ford Motor Company had become reality: Ford sold more F150s powered by V6 engines than they did new half ton trucks equipped with traditional V8 mills.
Thanks to the wonders of the Ford EcoBoost technology, the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 in the 2011 Ford F150 is among the most powerful engines in the Ford truck lineup ““ and in the entire half ton truck segment. Churning out 365 horsepower and 420lb-ft of torque, the EcoBoost V6 offers more power and torque than the 5.0L V8, leaving the EcoBoost to trail only the 6.2L V8 in power numbers. More importantly, the EcoBoost V6 in the 2011 F150 offers a class leading 16mpg around town and 22 on the open road in rear wheel drive configuration. Even if you check the box on the Ford website for four wheel drive, the fuel economy numbers of the EcoBoost’d F150 only drop to 15 in town and 21 on the highway ““ making it more efficient than any V8 in the class.
The other end of the Ford V6 spectrum is the Duratec 37, which is offered in the base model 2011 F150 pickups. This entry level motor offers 302 horsepower and 278lb-ft of torque while also achieving 17mpg around town and 23 on the highway when configured with rear wheel drive. The models with 4×4 power still get 16 around town and 21 on the open road ““ making the entry level V6 among the most fuel efficient trucks on the market today.
These amazing power and mileage capabilities have lead to incredible success for the 2011 Ford F150, with the twin turbocharged V6 being fitted in 41% of all F150s sold in the month of May 2011. Helping to boost V6 sales, the 3.7L naturally aspirated V6 tacked on an additional 14% of the total month’s F150 sales ““ bringing the overall share of the Ford V6 in May 2011 sales to an impressive 55%. This marks the first time that new F150s powered by V6 models have outsold V8 models, but with the incredible strides made by Ford to improve the abilities of their V6 engines, it is no surprise that consumers are responding so well.
While fuel prices have leveled off a bit lately, they are still hovering close enough to the $4 mark to keep consumers focused on fuel economy, though no one wants to compromise power. The EcoBoost V6 delivers more power than any of the Ford F150 V8s in the past few decades, with the only exception being the SVT-developed 6.2L V8 originally found in only the Raptor and the Harley Davidson edition F150 ““ all while yielding fuel economy that is as good as almost any truck in the market today. Based on the success of the EcoBoost engine in the F150, we can expect to see things solider on for Ford’s powerful new V6 engines.