By on June 1, 2020

All-New 2018 Ford F-150 - Image: Ford

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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30 Comments on “QOTD: Putting a Price on Pickup Potency?...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Yes, always go for the extra power, you may not need it, but you’ll like it :)

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I drove an F150 with the 3.3, and it was tolerable for me. If the Ecoboost engines were trustwotthy, and they are not, from everything I’ve seen with friend’s vehicles, they would be fine, but since I could never trust one, it would be 5.0 or walk on over to the Ram dealership and say hello to Mr Hemi.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    For the extra towing capacity, yes.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    5.OL all the way. I do not care to deal with 2 turbos on a Ford, post-warranty.

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      ^Agreed….I’d actually go one further and wish that the 6.2 was still available as an option for the F150.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      Hell, I wouldn’t even want to deal with turbo issues under the warranty, as a friend of mine has done with 2 F150’s at this point. He made all kinds of comments about how much trouble he had with his first one, and how he was going to order a 5.0, but instead, he bought a leftover ’19, I don’t remember the trim level on it, but it’s pretty much loaded. And before the first yer was up, turbo issues struck. I’m going to go out on limb here and predict this one won’t be around longer than it takes him to get some positive equity built up.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    The 5.0 is a mere $1995 over the base 3.3L and should maintain a resale edge.

    For the average buyer on a 72 month loan, that is going to be $30 a month or so. No brainer if you tow anything bigger than a lawn mower or just appreciate a good-sounding engine.

  • avatar
    TimK

    Yeah, definitely go for the turbo, give da man the extra $1K for guaranteed headaches and bills down the road (so to speak).

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Just get the V8. You’ll thank me in another life.

  • avatar
    DedBull

    If I am actually going to step up to the plate and buy a truck, it is going to be used for truck stuff. The 3.3 is not available on the long wheelbase trucks (SuperCab 8′ bed, SuperCrew 6.5′ bed) and when you add 4X4 it automatically pushes you to the 5.0, so I would not end up with the 3.3 or 2.7 Eco by default.

  • avatar
    CadiDrvr

    I’d take the V8. Just had a ’20 Expedition as a rental, and while the EB engine certainly moved the Expy with authority, it was horribly unrefined. Maybe the 2.7 is more refined, but I wouldn’t want to take the chance.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I’ve been doing some window shopping, started at Chrysler LXs, but a lightly used truck has not escaped my consideration. I like the Fords in particular for their aluminum bodies both for the weight reduction as well as the long term resistance to body rot. A SuperCab+6.5 bed, in an XLT with the 5.0L sounds like just the ticket.

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      ” A SuperCab+6.5 bed, in an XLT with the 5.0L sounds like just the ticket.”

      That is exactly what my buddy just bought (well a crew cab), all body color (black), he wanted no chrome, nice gray 20″ alloys and the V8. Sticker was $51k, pretty tough to swallow with cloth interior, but he got TWENTY GRAND off. At low-30’s it’s a lot more tempting.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      XLT is a good F-150 trim level, has all the necessary options, doesn’t look like a starter kit and it won’t break the bank. Add the 4X4 and the 5.0L and you’ll have a sweet ride for a long time :)

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I’d only argue the STX package (XL) is a way a better looking truck than the base XLT.

        It comes with 20″ wheels, black mesh grill, limo tint, chrome delete, color-key bumpers and grill surround, fog lights, Apple Carplay, Android, SYNC3, cloth seats and carpet delete.

        The STX looks like you spent Lariat money, but it approaches the price of the base XLT once you get it with power windows/locks and cruise (as most dealers would stock).

        I did add cheap carpet to my STX, and it adds a lot of class, but I can throw it away when it gets disgusting.

  • avatar
    SSJeep

    Ford changed the way they manufacture the 5.0L V8, and a number of strange issues have surfaced as a result. Which is odd as the 5.0L used to be the most solid motor offered by Ford.

    Id opt for the 2.7l EcoBoost 6 cylinder. Its the best engine available for the F-150 today and is built for longevity.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “Are you going to shell out that extra cash for power you probably don’t need?”

    Lol. Yes I will.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    God, yes, buy the V-8 version, for two reasons:
    1) Trucks are pretty expensive to start with, and they eat gas no matter what’s under the hood, so if you’re going with one, just do it. You’re gonna save what, $75 a month on a V-6 version? Makes no sense.
    2) The more V-8s the D3 sells, the better our chances of still being able to buy a V-8 powered Mustang, Camaro or Challenger are.

    And a third reason: It’s a f**king V-8. Buy it.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I’d get an XL with the base 3.3-liter V6 – but without any of those under-$1000 appearance packages that magically inflate the vehicle price by $2000. And that’s only if auto start-stop can be disarmed.

    That keeps the as-delivered price under $30K – before incentives or deals. And that’s as much as I’m willing to pay for any truck. I realize that I am the outlier here.

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      The thing about the appearance packages, be they “chrome” or “body color sporty” is…………. they really help the appearance :)

  • avatar
    deanst

    Similarly, why would you not spend the $3000 or so to get the hybrid option on Toyota vehicles?

  • avatar
    JMII

    I tow so I would get the bigger engine. Same MPG? Seems foolish not to go for more power regardless of the task. Nobody ever complained about having too much power. Given the cost of these things I doubt another $1K is a stretch.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    +1 for the 2.7. Mostly because I live at 2000′ elevation and boost helps more up here.

    I keep spec’ing my dream F150 as a RCSB with nothing but the 2.7 and the 101A package, which is basically just windows/locks/cruise. 325hp/400ft-lb ought to have some real scoot in a 4200 lb package.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    There have been some amazing deals to be had with your typical year end leftovers along with some COVID-19 incentive pricing. Most of the left-overs I see are 5.0’s, 2.7’s, along with the odd 3.3. I’d opt for the 5.0 if there wasn’t and EB 3.5 next to it for the same price.
    I’ve been toying with the idea of buying a F350 Tremor with the 7.3. That is because it is around 10k cheaper and 500 lbs lighter. Yesterday my son,myself and a few buddies spent 6 hours trying to get a 6.7 F350 crew unstuck. That big heavy diesel in soft terrain is a huge liability.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    If you plan to keep it long term, I don’t know about a twin-turbo Ford. Turbos are pricey to replace, and generate a lot of heat to cook everything else underhood too.

  • avatar
    bobbysirhan

    The 3.3 liter with a 10 speed transmission to make up for its paucity of torque might be an efficient and dependable alternative if it were offered. I suppose it doesn’t make sense to use the 10 speed because the gearing and final drive probably has results in a bunch of nose-bleed overdrives that the 3.3 liter could only use coasting downhill. Something like a 4.56 final drive ratio should fix that.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Depends on usage. The 3.3 is ideal for a woods truck: Lighter engine set further back, so it suffers somewhat less from the nose heaviness endemic to lightly loaded pickups. For towing, otoh, you want nose heaviness when empty….

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    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.

  • avatar
    Daniel J

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

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