Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Serious Trucking, with a V6?

V8s are as American as Apple Pie, wars and obesity. But they are under threat of extinction. Okay probably not, but because of what Ford has done under the hood of their new F-150 a V8 isn't your best option anymore. There's a replacement for displacement.

This replacement comes in the form of two turbochargers. Essentially Ford has replaced the old 5.4 litre Triton V8 with a twin-turbo 3.5 litre V6 EcoBoost. And the figures suggest this is a good idea. Horsepower and torque figures are both up 55 from the old Triton to 365 and 420 lb-ft respectively. But what's most impressive is where the torque comes. You get all of it at 2500rpm and it stays for the long haul.

It's amazing because the EcoBoost really turns the F-150 into an excellent towing vehicle. Ford rates towing capacity to 11,300 lbs. During a drive event Ford let me try for myself how the EcoBoost fared with 7000 lbs of trailer in tow. This, admittedly, was my first time ever towing and I was slightly nervous. I already have trouble maneuvering pick-up without a 24 foot trailer attached.

But the F-150 just towed the trailer like it wasn't there. That EcoBoost is astonishing. The engine didn't have to rev to pick up speed. All that torque means that the engine just pulls. We were given a chance to compare to other pickups like the Dodge Ram. While in those the transmission had to constantly downshift for hills the EcoBoost just calmly let the speed pick up. It's astounding because now if you're buying an F-150 for towing the twin turbo V6 is the best engine of the new troupe.

The witch's new pot
A troupe that includes a new 5.0 Litre V8 (360 hp + 380 lb-ft), 6.2 Litre V8 (411 hp + 438 lb-ft) and a small 3.7 litre V6 (302 hp + 278 lb-ft). Ford is claiming that these engines are about 20% more efficient than their counterparts. That was something I wasn't able to quantify. But finally, the F-150 is in the 21st Century.

The thought of a twin turbo V6 being better than a V8 is one that makes a few of my friends cringe. But you don't have to look further than the Nissan GT-R and here to see that somehow there's witchcraft behind the configuration.

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