By on August 16, 2017

2018 Ford F150 - Image: FordAs Ford prepares to launch the refreshed 2018 F-150 with a thoroughly updated engine lineup, Blue Oval product planners expect 2017’s engine selection to continue. That means the 5.0-liter V8, while mildly upgraded for 2018, will be found under the hood of only one in four 2018 F-150s.

The transition has been a rapid one. Twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6s were surprisingly effective when, in early 2011, 35 percent of F-150 buyers made the leap from conventional naturally aspirated powerplants. Three years later, when Ford was planning to expand the F-150’s EcoBoost lineup with a less costly 2.7-liter variant, Ford expected 56 percent of F-150 buyers to choose one of the turbocharged units.

Heading into 2018, Ford’s truck marketing manager Todd Eckert tells Automotive News that the 2.7-liter EcoBoost will be the most popular F-150 engine followed by the 3.5-liter EcoBoost. Together, they’ll claim 65 percent of all F-150 sales, leaving 10 percent for the new entry-level 3.3-liter, and roughly 25 percent for the five-point-oh.

So how many V8 engines is that?

A bunch.2015 Ford F150 5.0L V8 - Image: FordWhile far from the leader of Ford’s F-150 pack, the burbly V8 is 10-horses stronger (for 395) in MY2018 and adds 13 lb-ft of torque for an even 400. Thanks to a new 10-speed automatic, fuel economy climbs to 16 mpg city; 22 highway for four-wheel-drive F-150 V8s, up from 15/21 in 2017. By the EPA’s count, that’s an annual reduction in fuel costs of a cool hundy.

But upgrading to the 5.0-liter V8 (from the basic 3.3-liter V6) costs $1,995. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, with equivalent torque figures but 19/24 mpg numbers, is a $995 option.

The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, meanwhile, costs $2,595. That extra $600 over and above the 5.0-liter V8 adds 1 mpg in both city and highway driving and an extra 70 lb-ft of torque.

The on-paper EcoBoost advantages are noteworthy, and they’ve gradually eaten into the F-150 5.0-liter’s slice of the gigantic F-150 pie. Ford doesn’t break down F-Series sales figures, but if production is matched to demand, we can safely assume 65 percent of F-Series sales so far this year are of the F-150 variety. That should work out to around 578,000 F-150 sales in the 2017 calendar year (if the 2018 refresh doesn’t spur greater demand.) Carry the one, multiply by the square root, move the decimal, hold the mayo…

That’s 144,500 F-150 5.0-liter V8 sales.

The V8’s not dead yet.

[Image: Ford]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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72 Comments on “Ford F-150’s V8 Market Share Shrinks to Just a Quarter...”


  • avatar
    SD 328I

    I’ve only owned V8 trucks prior to my 2015, even then I was trying to get a 5.0L until the salesmen asked me to just try out the 2.7L.

    I was signing papers for a 2.7L a hour later. It runs rings around all my previous V8 trucks in every possible performance metric, but if I stay off boast on the highway, I can get almost 25 mpg.

    The fuel economy is like a V8 when you are working it, but it can get you impressive fuel economy if you take it easy. People who know how to drive turbos will understand this better than drivers who only had naturally aspirated cars.

    • 0 avatar
      Higheriq

      I’ve gotten as high as 32mpg with my 2.7. Bear in mind that’s @ 63mph.

    • 0 avatar
      nvinen

      Do you notice any throttle response lag? I’m asking because I frequently drive my wife’s car with the 2.0l EB engine and while its torque is great and power adequate, what annoys me compared to my V8 is how long it can take between pressing the pedal and getting a significant response. It may be less than a second but that still seems like a long time to me, coming from a vehicle with torque constantly on tap.

      What bothers me even more is the inconsistency. Sometimes you press the pedal and get instant acceleration and other times.. nothing much. Partly it’s due to the fact that the turbine takes several seconds to spin down but other times the lag just seems random to me.

      So anyway, I guess what I’m asking is whether the 2.7l engine is much better than the 2.0l in this respect.

      • 0 avatar
        markx35

        Even BMWs have split second lag and quite inconsistent throttle response depending on if the turbo is spooled up, the gear you are in, whether cornering or on a hill…. it is worse on other German brands.

        Lag on ecoboost is actually not bad, to me mainly due to the old school 6 speed that allows much torque converter unlocking and often run a rpm higher than ideal also due to lack of gears. With the new 10 speed, if the rpm is always low and TC mostly locked, it will probably have more lag. It might downshift faster but can’t beat an unlocked TC in terms of instant shove of torque.

      • 0 avatar
        True_Blue

        Compared to driving my mother’s 1.6L EB, the 2.7TT has a lot better throttle response. Boost comes on awfully early, maybe one of the other guys knows exactly when, but it’s strong around 1800 and up to 4500 or so (really haven’t tried revving it past that).

        Gearing helps, and putting the trans in sport *really* helps. It feels more V8 than small-V6-with-two-snails.

        So not exactly apples to apples, but in the ballpark. The 2.7 was the first of the second-gen EBs, too.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    Ecoboost trucks came out in 2011, and presumably well over a million have been sold since then.

    How many more trucks in the field for how many more years do we need to put the “turbocharged truck engines are never going to be reliable long-term” Chicken Little mindset to bed?

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      I was coming here to ask this, since you can probably still count me among the Chicken Littles of the world — chalk it up to all my turbo exposure coming from 80s and 90s European cars, which had a pretty spotty reputation there.

      I’m coming around a bit, but still a bit skeptical. As most truck owners would say about a 2011 model, “It’s still getting broken in.”

      • 0 avatar
        Higheriq

        The turbos of the 80’s and 90’s were vastly inferior to modern turbo tech. That, and running synthetic oil = MUCH greater reliability and longevity.

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        Everything you own was brought to the store in a turbo diesel truck that has rebuild intervals between 750k and 1.5 million. And most likely came off of a turbo diesel electric powered train which pulls billions of pounds millions of miles every day.

      • 0 avatar
        JDG1980

        European cars have *never* been reliable. Even the original VW Beetle wasn’t so much “reliable” as it was “easy and cheap to fix when stuff did break”.

        Also, many turbo engines in passenger cars from decades past were just naturally-aspirated engines with a turbo slapped on. It was basically the equivalent of an aftermarket mod except that it was done at the factory. Since these powerplants hadn’t been engineered to withstand the added stress of a turbo, reliability was poor. But that has nothing to do with today’s mainstream turbo engines, which were designed for turbocharging from the ground up.

        I doubt Ford would have bet so heavily on EcoBoost on its most profitable and best-selling vehicle if they weren’t sure that its reliability would meet customer expectations.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      But Ford’s reliability has slipped significantly based on the most credible data, and this includes problems with motors and transmissions, since it unveiled the ecoboost motors – so much so, that Ford is bring up the rear in terms of reliability, hovering down near the bottom quarter percentile, consistently, year after year.

      And as you’ve stated, the ecoboost was essentially ramped up in or around 2011/2012, or roughly 4-5 years ago, so it may get a whole lot worse in terms of long-term reliability.

      I realize my comment will elicit the inevitable “[B]ig rigs with turbo diesels go 500,000 miles or more before having their motors rebuilt,” but as the mechanically knowledgeable will note, comparing the design and cost-to-build specs of a turbodiesel motor block and ancillary oil and coolant cooling in a tractor-trailer and that in a Ford consumer vehicle is like comparing apples and blueberries.

      • 0 avatar
        JDG1980

        I just went to the Consumer Reports site and looked at the detailed reliability survey for the F-150 (category-by-category). For model years 2013 through 2016, the engine reliability got the highest rating (two green up-arrows) for “major”, “minor”, and “cooling” issues. All F-150 MYs going back to 2009 had the highest rating for no major transmission issues. For minor transmission issues (e.g. gear slipping, bad gear programming) the rating was only the second highest (one green up-arrow) in 2013, but for ’14, ’15, and ’16 it was the highest rating.

        Could you please specify where you are finding this data showing the EcoBoost engines to be of lesser reliability than those which came before?

        • 0 avatar
          bikegoesbaa

          “Could you please specify where you are finding this data showing the EcoBoost engines to be of lesser reliability than those which came before?”

          Agreed, if this exists I would like to see it.

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “Could you please specify where you are finding this data showing the EcoBoost engines to be of lesser reliability than those which came before?”

            Agreed, if this exists I would like to see it.

            Got kind of quiet all the sudden………LOL

            When people have an emotional agenda to push the don’t let facts get in the way.

            Facts don’t care about your feelings!

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          you’re wasting your effort. I’ve replied with the same info pretty much every other time but he just ignores it and continues to bang that drum.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Let the record reflect that I stand corrected.

      The latest data compiled that I research from Consumer Reports (as of EOY 2016) shows both motors and transmissions across the F15p line to be above average in terms of reliability, going back as far as 2011.

      I’m not the type of person to not admit when I’ve inaccurately stated something.

  • avatar
    Null Set

    Never owned any kind of truck, but I did own a SAAB 9-3 turbo Aero for a decade. Classic four cylinder turbo, and a delight to drive. Absolutely *everything* wound up breaking on that car … EXCEPT the turbo engine. Sold the car with 180,000 miles on it, and that stout little turbo was still burbling along, with nary a problem. Turbos can be extremely, extremely reliable engines.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Hilariously, I had a coworker with a 9-5 Aero, and the turbo was the biggest thing that *broke* on his.

      As well as almost everything else; that thing made my 35 year old Mercedes look *reliable*, somehow.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Well….I guess most F150 purchasers realized they don’t need a big V8 to commute to work, for hauling air or towing little Johnny home from little league.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    I can attest to the gutsy 2.7 Eco. I owned a 2016 Crew cab 4X4 2.7. I didn’t even bother with the V8 or the 3.65 Eco. The 2.7 is a phenomenal motor.

    Funny this is, if you put it in the Fusion Sport it doesn’t feel the same. Funny how a car can change a motor.

    If I get another F-150 it will be the 2.7 and i wont even blink an eye.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    That 2.7 really is an impressive midlevel engine, based on the numbers. I’ve never driven a truck equipped with one, but I have driven a couple of 3.5 EcoBoost vehicles. It sounds like the engine in a 2000 Taurus but feels like a heavy truck diesel: a short wait for boost, then a steady and very strong surge of low-end and midrange torque. It’s much more appropriate for a truck than the high-winding 5.0, which is really a Mustang engine at heart.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      The 2.7 wasn’t at all the same-but-less to the 3.5 that I expected it to be. The turbos are much smaller which greatly reduces the lag, the initial surge of power doesn’t have anything like the on/off feel, but the top end falls off more so than the 3.5 does while making even worse noises.

      • 0 avatar
        markx35

        Somehow the 2.7 feels more eager than the 3.5…. even though it is ultimately slower if you floor it.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          The 2.7 is the FiST of trucks engines. In addition, the transmission (the 6 speeds, I have no experience with the 10) programming is much more lively on the 2.7 than on the V8 and 3.5Eco. The base engine has tranny programming that doesn’t sap the life out of it as well. It’s the one to get for offroading, as the turbos are clumsy, and the transmission makes the V8 feel clumsy as well.

          Another benefit (depending on usage, I guess) of the base V6 and the 2.7, is that most of them come with much softer rear springs than you can get for the V8 and 3.5Eco (the 2.7 can get the stiffer springs as an option). So, they don’t stinkbug and jitter nearly as bad when unladed or lightly (600lbs or below) loaded. With more weight than that, the stiffer rear starts becoming an advantage. But for DD “commuter” trucks, the soft sprung F150s drive almost as well as the airsprung Rams. The softer springs also help somewhat with wheel articulation on trails.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      @DAL – It’s Mustangs/Camaros that have truck V8s, always have, except for that Voodoo flat crank.

      But this 2.7TT gives the impression it’s a Hot Rod minivan engine on acid. I hope it has all forged internals, 6 bolt mains, cap girdle, gusseted block, cast with high-nickle content, 6 head-bolts per cylinder, O-ringed heads, etc, or I don’t trust it. Knowing Ford, lately, they did the absolute minimum.

      Just give me the damn V8 so I can go.

      “The Fast Lane Truck” compared all the F-150 engine line up, (except the base V6) hammered on all of them, considered all quantifiable measures, and of course the Coyote V8 won the battle. Easily.

      But for some reason, Ford kept stalling on delivering a V8 F-150 for them to test. Ford had excuse after excuse before finally coming through.

  • avatar
    True_Blue

    Chiming in, the 2.7 (I guess it’s nicknamed the “Nano”) has been simply phenomenal in my ’15 XLT. That doesn’t change the fact that I’m putting a 5.0 Coyote in my fastback. Some applications just *require* a V8!

  • avatar
    ajla

    Crawling in my skin.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    That tells me that more buyers are using their heads instead of their emotions to buy a truck.Unless you absolutely need the big engine to haul loads on a regular basis, they’re a waste of money.

    • 0 avatar
      jeanbaptiste

      As someone who doesn’t currently tow, I’ll share my rational for choosing to shop the 5.0 over either of the ecoboost options. It pretty much boils down to longevity. We were shopping for the next “15 year” vehicle for my wife and as I try to predict what the long terms costs will be, the number of moving parts factors into the equation. The v8 (while having 33% more pistons ) simply is a less complex beast with less parts to fail and for me to have to replace over the next 3-4 presidents. And if I have to give it to my kids after that, there’s less parts for them to have to replace. That’s pretty much the only factor. Not emotion, just trying to minimize future risk.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      This tells me people don’t care about cylinder count or how they are positioned.

      This tells me people care about power characteristics.

      This tells me buying vehicles for personal use is an emotional process.

      • 0 avatar
        nemosdad

        Lou, my truck is a Swiss army knife. It’s a 2011 Eco-Boost. It’s the only vehicle we have that seats six (the sum total of my family).
        It’s the best truck I’ve ever towed with hands down.
        It takes me away from my family up logging roads when I need it to. (wink)
        It does every thing I ask of it and more. Never had a vehicle do all of what I wanted before.
        It’s got six cylinders and is one of the fastest, most powerful vehicles I’ve ever driven. Oh, it’s also quiet when I come home at 3:00am in the morning from work, towing my trailer.
        I agree. Power, not cylinders is the key for me.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @nemosdad -I have a 2010 with the 5.4. Mine seats 6 as well. It has been the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. It has less problems than my ex-wife’s Sienna. I’ve driven a few EB 3.5 trucks. I had one for 10 days. Impressive power. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the e-locker. I prefer the feel of a limited slip.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      We’re talking about Ford F-150 buyers. That anyone buys one after the Triton years says that you can fool some of the people all of the time.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “Unless you absolutely need the big engine to haul loads on a regular basis, they’re a waste of money.”

      Except the TT V6 engines outperform the gas V8 when towing. And get better fuel economy when running empty if your keep your foot out of it. Has nothing to do w/emotion – get it?.

  • avatar
    srh

    “””
    While far from the leader of Ford’s F-150 pack, the burbly V8 is 10-horses stronger (for 395) in MY2018 and adds 13 lb-ft of torque for an even 400. Thanks to a new 10-speed automatic, fuel economy climbs to 16 mpg city; 22 highway for four-wheel-drive F-150 V8s, up from 15/21 in 2017. By the EPA’s count, that’s an annual reduction in fuel costs of a cool hundy.

    But upgrading to the 5.0-liter V8 (from the basic 3.3-liter V6) costs $1,995. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, with equivalent torque figures but 19/24 mpg numbers, is a $995 option.

    The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, meanwhile, costs $2,595. That extra $600 over and above the 5.0-liter V8 adds 1 mpg in both city and highway driving and an extra 70 lb-ft of torque.
    “””

    I hate to be a whiner, but why not present this in table form? Seems a lot more intuitive/readable, no?

  • avatar
    Dan

    I shopped the whole field in 2014 and ended up in a Ram with the 5.7 and 3.92s, because of that 5.7 and 3.92s. Two years of FCA quality later, I shopped everything again, everything now consisting of Ford and Toyota, with every intention of buying another V8. I drove away in a 2.7 vacuum cleaner edition Ford instead.

    I’m a V8 guy but after calibrating my butt to the Hemi for the last 30,000 miles the 5.0 just felt dead under 3K and unless you really stomped on it that’s where it always was. Great Mustang motor, great 2WD RCSB motor, great base for a supercharger, probably great with a 4.10 rear end, but as actually delivered it was not great at all. Adding insult to injury, it was a $1,000 upcharge over the much peppier 2.7.

    Three years in to dirt cheap gas, and with the short-haired shrew party out of office for at least the next three, the real question is when Ford is going to put the 6.2 V8 back in and TAKE MY MONEY.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    This shows the power of Ford’s deceptive marketing machine.

    From high pressure sales tactics, purposely making the 5.0L look bad on paper, deliberate manufacturing of less 5.0L powered trucks, and an extremely uninformed and gullible customer base, it’s no wonder why these high-stressed, gas guzzling garbage engines have sold so well.

    Ford’s quest to immaculate the V8 continues.

  • avatar
    scott25

    Strange, I’d say 50% of trucks sold at our dealer probably are v8s. 30% 3.5T, 15% 2.7t, 5% base v6.

    Then again, we almost never stock or sell ecoboost mustangs. All v6s and v8s

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    I have a 2011 3.5 EcoBoost F150. I bought it as we camp quite frequently and had to tow a 29′ travel trailer. It did the job very well, but fuel economy suffered while towing. That’s no different than a V8 though.

    Now we’ve downsized to an 18′ trailer that weighs half as much. The truck is still working fine, so I have no reason to trade it in, but it’s really overkill. My next one will probably be the 2.7 EcoBoost. Or maybe I’ll just wait for the Ranger. Not sure at this point.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I’d say keep the truck you have unless you have some other reason to trade. The relatively light loading should have seen your towing mpg go up, which is a good thing.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    It’s still hard to wrap my head around the fact that people are driving 2.7 liter equipped fullsize trucks and talking positive about the performance.

    For those of us who still prefer V8’s for the sound, please stop putting aftermarket exhaust systems on your V6 equipped Ford trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      “For those of us who still prefer V8’s for the sound, please stop putting aftermarket exhaust systems on your V6 equipped Ford trucks.”

      That’s just an admission that they bought the wrong engine.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I don’t hate on Ford for switching to boosted 6s in their trucks (and I would fully consider buying one if I were in the market) but I still think that GM makes the best sound V8s.

        I’ve had to drive a fleet Suburban a few hundred miles several times in past years and the aural experience is always the best part.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      I vote people just stop putting aftermarket exhausts on truck, period.

      Also cars. And motorcycles.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Look at the shape of the torque curve and you’ll understand why people prefer the smaller, boosted motor. IIRC, the 3.5 liter ecoboost hits max torque at about 2000 rpm and stays there for another 2500 rpm. No normally-aspirated engine is going to have a curve like that. When I tested the 3.5 liter boosted engine, my complaint was a non-linear throttle response, a common characteristic of turbocharged engines. I had owned a Saab for 10 years, and its response was more linear. First time drivers get a thrill out of this wallop of power, which makes these engines showroom candy. After a few years of ownership, the thrill may wear off. Under heavy load, the ecoboost actually uses more fuel than a comparably powerful V8, probably because of the heavy fueling required to manage combustion temperatures under high boost conditions.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Seeing how V8 volume is down, seems like it is time to replace the 5.0L in the Mustang and F-150 with the 6.2L and consolidate to one 8-cylinder offering.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      yeah, that sounds like a plan, put a cast iron lump under the hood of a Mustang.

      I don’t think the 6.2 would fit anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Aluminum 6.2L for the Mustang and iron 6.2L for the truck. Like how GM did with the old LT1 or with their 6.0L.

        If Ford are just keeping a V8 around for the iconoclasts, might as well go all out.

        No idea if it would fit the Mustang though.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          The 5.4 DOHC V8 fits in the S550 car so the 6.2 probably would as well but I suspect its not doable down a production line since engines tend to be loaded from the bottom.

          Its a cool engine but for the most part people like their 5.0’s and Ford has been good about keeping the engine competitive since it was first introduced at 412 horsepower in the Mustang and now sits at 460 horsepower and still has some room to grow in power without too many changes.

          V8 pony cars live and die with cheap V8 engines though and if V8 production drops too low then I suspect the V8 Mustang will suffer the same fate as the V6 Mustang with Ford intentionally killing it off by making it a car even rental car companies avoid like the plague (seems to me most rental spec Mustangs are EB cars since they could be had with more options) then offering better overall packages for the EB cars.

          At which point V8’s will probably be the province of the special edition cars where the cost of something like the 5.2 in the Shelby is more easily absorbed (speaking of Ford didn’t add hybrid injection to the 2018 GT350, probably wouldn’t have done much to increase peak power but would have helped bump that average power)

  • avatar
    nrd515

    A friend of mine has had endless turbo and engine issues on his Ecoboost F150. Ford has basically told him that he’s on his own, even though the problems started very early on. He still wants another F150, but the next one will be a V8. I don’t understand his Ford loving after all the problems he’s had with them over the 30+ years I’ve known him.

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