QOTD: Putting a Price on Pickup Potency?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd putting a price on pickup potency

As so-called auto writers, a good number of us spend a great deal of time configuring dream rides online and very little time walking into dealerships and actually buying anything. Someone has to support the used market, I guess.

Today we’re going to focus on a vehicle once used almost solely for hard work but now used just as much, if not overwhelmingly so, for domestic drudgery and commuting. It’s also the most popular vehicle in the country, and one that offers the option of more power for little extra price.

For those who haven’t been asleep since the Carter era, you know we’re talking about the Ford F-150. Seems there’s some consumer appeal there, to say the least.

No, Jim Farley is not sending me checks with an exclamation mark written after the sum; rather, the F-150 just happens to come up in conversation quite a bit. People buy them. And for buyers of all trims, the list of option packages and accessories and engines could take a few days of deliberation before deciding on an ideal configuration. However, for buyers of lesser trims — the XL and XLT, in this exercise — there could be more attention paid to keeping that out-the-door price in a reasonable bracket.

You might be asked whether you want to upgrade the model’s standard dual injection 3.3-liter V6 for a 2.7-liter Ecoboost V6, which would springboard the truck’s power from 290 horses and 265 lb-ft of torque to 325 hp and 400 lb-ft. No small increase, that. Gear count also rises from six to 10 with this addition.

A sadly departed friend of your author once posited that, regardless of what mission you have in store for the truck, you’d have to be an idiot to turn down the extra power, given the overall ask of the vehicle. In the U.S., swapping to the 2.7L means an extra $995. In Canada, it’s a breezy $700 add-on. With no penalty (or improvement) in fuel economy and modestly boosted towing and payload capacity, it seems a no-brainer.

Thing is, the standard 3.3L will be just fine for a great number of buyers in 2020. Perhaps even for your uses. Leaving pricier engine options off the table (in Canada, they’re WAY pricier), let’s all set ourselves up for a hypothetical truck buy. Volume F-150 XLT pickup it is. Your income and household needs stay the same. Are you going to shell out that extra cash for power you probably don’t need?

[Image: Ford]

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  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jun 02, 2020

    So I own a 2.7 (2015) truck and often drive my father's which is the same trim (XLT) and config but 3 years newer and a 5.0 (2018 vs my 15). Now I don't know if the change in transmission factors in, but we both agree mine feels quicker and generally more peppy to drive and contrary to internet legend, I get better MPG by a significant margin. I'm at 80k miles, only time it has been in the shop was for the 2 recalls. I will say plugs lasting 100k is a wet dream by the writers of the owners manual. Half that. They've been around long enough that you needn't guess...the Ecoboost in the trucks are reliable and yes, if you look at the assembly of the 2.7, it is an overbuilt motor for those tiny turbos. CGI block, etc. It's a simple matter of preference at this point. I prefer the power delivery of the turbos. Objective data (not my uncle's drinking buddy on some internet car forum) says you really can't go wrong picking either one. My experiences echo that.

  • Daniel J Daniel J on Jun 02, 2020

    I test drove the RAV4 hybrid they currently have, and it was an unpleasant experience.