The 2017 Ford F-150 receives a winning powertrain combination.
The Ford F-150 is changing. Again. For 2017, the current-generation F-150 reaches its third model year and receives a pair of significant updates: an all-new EcoBoost engine and the first production 10-speed automatic transmission offered by any manufacturer. The 2017 Ford pickup truck goes on sale this fall.
EcoBoost represents Ford’s trademark describing its family of turbocharged and direct injection gasoline engines. At present, Ford offers a pair of boosted engines for its pickup truck: a 2.7-liter V6 and a 3.5-liter V6.
The larger of the two V6s was released in 2011 and immediately won over fans for its V8-like power combined with its V6 fuel efficiency. It’s rated at 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. In the 2016 F-150, it delivers up to 17/24 mpg city/highway with this engine.
The smaller EcoBoost engine entered the F-150 line for 2015, coinciding with the current generation’s debut. This engine also packs plenty of power, making 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque. The compact V6 also allows Ford to claim a segment-leading 19/26 mpg city/highway rating from the EPA.
Ford will maintain its four-engine lineup this fall with naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8 engines rounding out the product line. However, the larger of the two turbocharged engines enters its second generation and gains several important updates.
For instance, two new turbochargers are present along with a lighter weight turbine wheel. To enhance operational efficiency, the new turbos work seamlessly with the electrically activated waste gates.
Other changes include reducing the weight of the valve train, rolling out a new dual direct and port fuel-injection system, and making automatic start-stop standard. Start-stop technology effectively shuts down the engine when the truck is at a stop, then instantly restarts the moment the driver lifts his or her foot from the brake pedal.
Ford says the new engine will make 450 pound-feet of torque, a 30-point gain and beating all V-6 gasoline and diesel competitors.
New 10-Speed Transmission
For the second time in its history, the Ford Motor Company and General Motors collaborated to design new automatic transmissions. Many earlier six-speed transmissions from the first collaboration are still widely used today. This time, the two competitors worked on nine- and 10-speed transmissions that are designed for front- and rear-wheel drive applications in cars, crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks.
Ford’s 10-speed arrives first and is composed of advanced materials. It features a wide ratio span with optimized gear spacing, an integrated turbine clutch, and improved tow/haul and sport modes. Three overdrive gears and the wider ratio span work to improve fuel economy at highway speeds while maintaining stellar towing capabilities (Watch out, Chevrolet Silverado!)
As for GM, its first 10-speed will be used in the 2017 Chevy Camaro ZL1. Both automakers are responsible for manufacturing their own transmissions, which will eventually appear in various Ford, Lincoln, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models.
Holding Off the Competition
Ford F-Series pickup trucks are composed of regular-duty F-150 models as well as Super Duty F-250, F-350 and F-450 vehicles. For the past 39 years the F-150 has been the best-selling pickup truck by model name. At the same time, GM usually builds more full-size pickup trucks than Ford, spreading its production across two models: the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
The Ram 1500 remains the third-best selling pickup truck in America, coming in behind the Silverado and ahead of the Sierra. Ram offers two gasoline engines and in 2014 it became the first manufacturer in 15 years to offer a diesel with a regular-duty pickup truck. It was also the first manufacturer to upgrade to standard eight-speed automatic transmissions, giving it fuel economy leadership for a few years.
Choosing Your Pickup Truck
In all, customers have a variety of pickup trucks to consider, covering six brands, five manufacturers, an assortment of body styles, bed lengths and pricing levels. For its part, Ford makes the 2017 F-150 harder to pass up.