Approximately four decades ago, Ford introduced the F-150 to its F-Series lineup as a way to provide drivers with an in-between option for the F-100 and F-250. Over the years, the F-150 has done nothing but rack up awards, en route to becoming the top-selling nameplate in the United States for 32 years running.
Recently, the popular pickup truck reached yet another milestone when Ford sold the 500,000th F-150 EcoBoost engine – a feat that reveals a dramatic transformation in what pickup fans have come to prioritize.
Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager, touched on this ongoing change: “Today’s customer doesn’t hold to the old notion that a truck must be powered by a V8 engine. Just five years ago, you would have had a hard time making a case for V6 truck engines. Not today. Now, it’s all about fuel effectiveness. Customers are looking for the best combination of city and highway mileage, horsepower, torque, towing capacity, payload and value, asking the key question, ‘What is the most productive, efficient package for the work I need to do?’”
This evolution was likely behind Ford’s remodeling efforts for the all-new 2015 F-150, which debuted at the North American International Auto Show back in January. Early estimates have the next-generation F-150 returning up to 30 mpg on the highway – although probably not until the 2017 model hits the market – which would represent a significant increase from the 17/23 city/highway mpg of the 2014 F-150. And the best part? It won’t be sacrificing any power or torque to reach that number.
There are two major changes to the all-new model that will help it achieve this significant fuel economy jump: a brand-new EcoBoost engine option and a body that’s about 700 pounds lighter.
Introducing the All-New 2.7-Liter EcoBoost Engine
Ford has been among the earliest automakers to adopt more fuel-efficient engine options for its pickup truck lineup. In fact, the V6 EcoBoost engine alone has been responsible for saving more than 56 million gallons of gasoline in just a few years.
Now, an available 2.7-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine is on the way for the 2015 F-150, and it will come standard with stop-start technology, according to The Blade.
Start-stop technology functions exactly how its name indicates. When the driver has his or her foot on the brakes, the engine automatically shuts off, only turning back on once the driver’s foot comes off the brakes. The technology can be disabled, though, when the F-150 is in either four-wheel drive or towing mode or when the driver manually shuts it off.
“When you’re not moving, there’s no reason for the engine to be running,” said Paul Seredynski, a Ford spokesman. “When people get in it and they drive it, the remarkable thing is how much they don’t notice it,” he continued.
At the same time, Ford claims the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 will be able to perform up to the expectations of a V8 engine, generating an estimated 320 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque.
Reducing the F-150’s Weight … by 700 Pounds
The heaviest change – literally – Ford is making to the 2015 F-150 is to the composition of its frame and body, the Pittsburgh Times reported.
At the moment, only 23 percent of the frame of current F-150 models is made up of high-strength steel, but that number is expected to jump to 77 percent for the next generation of the best-selling pickup. Despite being thicker, the frame of the 2015 F-150 will actually be lighter than that of the outgoing model.
The body, meanwhile, will be comprised of military-grade aluminum alloy that offers improved protection for drivers.
Taken together, these changes will make the all-new F-150 about 700 pounds lighter than the previous model, which, along with the brand-new EcoBoost engine option, should account for a large portion of the 2015 F-150’s fuel economy jump.