Yes, it's possible to sell full-size pickups on sheer bravado and brand loyalty alone, but it seems most buyers are looking for a little something extra: fuel economy. Believe it or not, Ford says nearly 70 percent of all full-size truck buyers would like to see an improvement in fuel consumption - and amazingly, nearly 32 percent of those die-hard, badge-loyal buyers surveyed would actually jump ship to another brand to cut their fuel consumption.
Fear not, Ford fans. For 2011, the F-150 is blessed with an all-new lineup of engines, many of which are designed to offer more power while simultaneously reducing the pain felt at the gas pump.
Base Engine? Six Cylinders, Not Eight
To start, an eight-cylinder engine is no longer the base engine. While entry-level 2010 F-150s used the aging 4.6-liter, two-valve V-8, that engine is superseded by a 3.7-liter, DOHC V-6.
First launched in the 2011 Mustang, the aluminum-block six-cylinder features twin independent camshaft timing, and has been slightly re-tuned -- notably in its intake and exhaust systems -- to be less rev-happy and more towing-friendly. The truck-tuned 3.7-liter is rated at 300 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 275 pound-feet of torque at 4500 rpm, a slight drop from its Mustang-spec form, which was rated at 305 horsepower and 280 pound-feet. It is, however, fairly comparable to the old two-valve 4.6-liter V-8, which cranked out 248 ponies and 294 pound-feet of torque. In two-wheel-drive, regular cab trucks, the 3.7 is reportedly capable of towing as much as 6100 pounds.
Don't expect this engine choice to be limited to stripped-down work trucks -- all two-wheel-drive XL, STX, and XLT models will carry this engine as standard equipment, regardless of cab choice or bed configuration.
Unsurprisingly, another Mustang engine worms its way into the new 2011 F-Series, albeit with a few tweaks. The vaulted 5.0-liter, DOHC V-8, launched in the 2011 Mustang GT, is available in virtually every F-150 trim between the XL and Platinum lines. For the most part, the engine is identical to that used in the pony car, but slight revisions -- including re-tuned intake camshafts, decreased compression, and an additional oil cooler -- shift its output in favor of delivering more low-end torque.
In F-150 form, the 5.0 churns out 360 horsepower at 5500 rpm, and 380 lb-ft of torque at 4250 rpm - a little less than the 412 horsepower and 390 pound-feet offered in the Mustang, but a broad, flat torque curve will likely be appreciated by most truck drivers. Regardless, those figures are still a substantial upgrade compared to last year's mid-grade V-8 (the three-valve 4.6-liter was rated at 292 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque), but it also knocks on the door of 2010's premium engine, the 5.4-liter Triton V-8 (320 horsepower, 390 pound-feet of torque).