By on October 5, 2016

2017 Ford F-150

It’s not a revolution in fuel efficiency, but an evolution.

Ford added a healthy dose of new technology to the 2017 F-150’s 3.5-liter Ecoboost V6 powertrain, but the significance of the newfound efficiency depends on who you ask. To the folks at the Blue Oval, it’s a mileage boost worthy of celebration. To would-be buyers, it’s a minor perk, but tell me more about the torque.

We’ve already detailed the improvements made to the next-generation 3.5-liter Ecoboost. Producing 375 horsepower and 470 foot-pounds of torque, the revised mill makes many V8s envious. The added power comes by way of a dual direct and port fuel-injection system that sends fuel to both the intake port and cylinder, turbochargers with lighter turbine wheels and electrically activated wastegates.

Adding to the efficiency, Ford paired the engine with its new 10-speed automatic transmission, a unit co-developed by the automaker and General Motors.

What’s the payoff? A solitary mile per gallon. Ford rates rear-wheel-drive F-150 models equipped with the engine at 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, or 21 mpg combined. That’s an increase of 1 mpg in all three categories.

Four-wheel-drive models return 17 city/23 hwy/20 combined, or an overall gain of 2 mpg.

Compared to the base V6 engines of its domestic competition, the rear-drive Ecoboost-powered F-150 matches the highway mileage of the 3.6-liter Ram 1500 (4×2 model), but beats its city mileage by 1 mpg. Ford matches the 4.3-liter Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4×2’s mileage in the city, but beats its highway figure by 1 mpg.

Modest gains if you’re only looking at displacement, not output. That Ford could wring any mileage improvement out of the engine while delivering a significant power boost is admirable.

Within its own stable, the new powertrain’s combined mileage beats the naturally aspirated 3.5-liter F-150 by 1 mpg, and falls 1 mpg short of the 2.7-liter Ecoboost’s combined figure.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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35 Comments on “Ford Piles on the Tech, Squeezes More Mileage From the 2017 F-150...”

  • avatar

    the increase in mpg is significant if the F150 truly reaches 25mpg on the highway. The increase on the Monroney sticker might be modest, but in the real world could be much more. The prior figures seemed highly exaggerated in the best Ford/Hyundai tradition–print 24 on the sticker, but no one gets more than 21 in practice. Ford has since been called out on this and people are now watching. That’s reason to believe the new mileage figures may be achievable.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      A friend just bought a 2015 F-150 with the 5.0 V8, and found his actual fuel economy matches real-world MPG of the 2.7 V6, despite their differences on paper.

      He had actually wanted the 2.7, but got ‘stuck’ with the 5.0 when the 2.7 became scarce. Now, he’s happy it turned out that way.

      • 0 avatar
        SD 328I

        We have both in my company, a 2.7L and a 5.0L 2015 trucks.

        Both get similar mpg when working (hauling and towing), though you can hypermile the 2.7L up to 25+ mpg on the highway if you stay off boost.

        The funny thing is, the 2.7L feels more fun to drive. It seems more “lively” to drive around than the 5.0L, which almost feels sluggish in comparison.

        That’s why when I eventually bought my new F150, I got the 2.7L instead of the 5.0L.

        • 0 avatar

          The 5.0 is just screaming for a manual. In front of a mileage programmed auto, the 2.7 is much more responsive.

          • 0 avatar

            Sport mode does a reasonably good job of keeping it on the lively side of the power band, at the expense of linear response, but the underlying problem there is that the 5.0 just doesn’t have much of a low end. 4900cc and change is on the small side for a big truck and what it does have doesn’t really come on until past 3000.

            It doesn’t need a stick. It needs another 1000cc – which is, coincidentally enough, what the 2.7 running 1.2 atm of boost works out as equivalent to.

            On paper the 3.5 should be that much better still but between the taller rear gear, the turbo lag, and the pedal calibration it felt worse than the 2.7 to me in most circumstances other than flooring it.

        • 0 avatar

          The top end of the 5.0L would be great in a Lincoln LS sport sedan revival and I like it in the Mustang GT, but for the way most people prefer to drive their trucks and CUVs the diesel-like power delivery of the turbo V6s are likely preferable.

        • 0 avatar

          I’ve found the 2.7TT accelerates somewhat harder than the Coyote at legal speeds. Boost comes on early and strong.

      • 0 avatar

        When the 2.7L and other EcoBoost engines aren’t stressed, they return good mileage. But they do have the power when its needed for towing, hauling and just plain acceleration.

        A V-8 gets worse mileage than EcoBoost when both are driven lightly. You don’t have to get into the turbo all the time, the more you stay out of it, the better MPG you will get. Those gains in power are there when you need them.

        When my cousin’s EcoBoost F-150 is driven on his wife’s normal commute (light hauling, some areas of rough unpaved road but mostly highway), it gets great mileage, far better than her previous 2wd 5.4L Expedition (the F-150 is 4wd). When they are towing the camper, a project vehicle (old K5) or the boat, it accelerates better and gets about what the Expedition got when under load. The trade off is the Expedition got significantly worse mileage than the F-150 when not under load.

        There is a reason the EcoBoost is so popular, far more popular than even Ford predicted beforehand. Its not because they’re full of negatives coupled with no benefits.

        The 5.0L works great for your friend? Fine, but people have kept the EcoBoost option when upgrading to a new truck, so obviously they were satisfied with it. As was the author of an article on the 2.7L on this website if I recall.

    • 0 avatar

      @NN – in my experience trucks are more sensitive to driver input than smaller vehicles when it comes to getting decent mpg. They are big heavy beasts, I find the best approach is to drive like you are on icy roads all year round. Smooth gentle throttle inputs, try to avoid red lights, build momentum for hills but allow for some loss of speed on hills. Think ahead. I’ve always been able to match or beat government mpg estimates.
      In some cases you are hampered by typical traffic flow or freeway speed limits. I find any speed over 65 mph and your mpg suffers badly. 55 – 60 is typically the best speed for good mpg in any of these boxes on wheels.

  • avatar

    Isn’t the main point of the dual injection tech to prevent carbon buildup on the valves? Fuel from port injection washes the carbon off of the valves, direct injection bypasses the valves, valves never get cleaned. Solution: put a couple of extra port injectors upstream, ensure they get cycled enough to keep your valves clean.

  • avatar

    So the combined MPG went from 20 to 21, that’s a five percent increase. Not negligible. Revolutionary improvement is rare. But if you can bump your numbers a few percent every year, it adds up fast. And more power? Win.

    • 0 avatar

      Right! 1 mpg is a big deal do the math –

      800,000 F150’s doing 12,000 miles a year at 21 mpg vs 20 =
      a reduction of almost 22,900,000 gallons of gas or 1.2m barrels or 450m pounds of CO2

      of course that is just for the first year…

  • avatar

    Perhaps they’ll actually achieve these numbers in the real world this time. I had a 2012 Platinum EB 4×4 and it never got its advertised rating of 17/22 MPG. It averaged 18.5, sometimes less. I had a 50/50 highway/city mix.

    • 0 avatar

      They’re not even trying. Gaming EPA for CAFE reasons is where all the effort goes. Not that there’s absolutely zero carryover to some/many/most customer use cases, but we’re in the realm of making traffic safer by operating speed traps on lonely Nevada highways here.

    • 0 avatar

      Because of how mileages average out the heavier fuel use number always has a much heavier weighting in the average. So 18.5 is actually about right for a car that gets 17/22, because when it’s using 17mpg it heavily outweighs the 22mpg when you average them together. That’s why when you look at combined fuel economy figures it’s always much close to the lower number.

    • 0 avatar

      If you were getting 18.5 average in a truck rated at 19 combined, you were getting almost exactly what it was rated.

  • avatar

    Just imagine how the highway mileage could be if pickup buyers didn’t demand styling by Minecraft.

    • 0 avatar

      With that boat behind it, it doesn’t matter what the F-150 is shaped like :)

    • 0 avatar

      The aero 1997-2004 models loved gas despite their downsized engines. The vehicle can look blocky but still be aerodynamically fine. The 1998-2011 Crown Vic got very similar mileage to the far more aerodynamic-looking 1992-1997.

      • 0 avatar

        The problem is what happens ‘after’ the nose. Turbulence from big mirrors, upright back window, in the bed, through the ladder frame & suspension and abrupt tail.

        • 0 avatar

          But the windshield is laid further back then earlier models, and most importantly the frontal area is the same, so it is not trying to punch a larger hole in the air. There are all kinds of stuff hanging underneath a truck besides the ladder frame; the large airdam tries to help by directing more air down the smooth sides instead of underneath the truck, as do the headlights. The blunt front end is confined to the grill only.

          • 0 avatar

            “But the windshield is laid further back then earlier models”

            This! And the ratio of greenhouse height to beltline height further diminished here in a *truck* as in every other vehicle segment.

            Aero is Car Zika! Nothing is immune.

          • 0 avatar

            The windshield can’t be laid back much further, and I’m not sure it’s not fighting a losing battle or even make the turbulence after it, even worse. Same with a super aero nose.

            This is the inherent problem CAFE can’t full grasp about pickups and “trucks” in general.

  • avatar

    “Producing 375 horsepower and 470 foot-pounds of torque, the revised mill makes many V8s envious.”


    The 3V 5.4 in my F250 only puts out 300/380, and it blew up at 130kmi or so – won’t be hard for the 3.5EB to beat that longevity.

  • avatar

    You forgot to mention Ford’s other fuel-saving feature for the F-150. They’re definitely going to set the hypermiler’s world on fire with the gains from the new “brakeless driving” system. Bug or feature? Depends on which side of the wheel you’re on, I suppose.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    UN-BAN [email protected]!!!!

  • avatar

    Yet another well intentioned yet completely failed effort by Ford. All the tech, all the beer cans, all the unnecessary complication and these trucks really have no significant improvement over their competition. Once again all hype and no results.

    And that 2.7 is a hateful engine. It’s garbage. It makes a noise reminiscent of a 3.0L Ford Windstar and really delivers no real world advantage over the proper 5.0L.

    Ford really needs to recruit some decent engineers to figure this stuff out. Then they would have actual results and wouldn’t need such a big marketing department.

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