Acceleration from a stop is seemingly instant, with no noticeable turbo lag and with generous power throughout the rpm range. It's not just that there is comparable power to a V-8, either; this engine makes theF-150 really fast. That stays consistent when towing. When we tried the EcoBoost with a 6700-pound trailer hooked up, the engine didn't struggle in the least and felt as capable as a traditional V-8. Towing with the EcoBoost was effortless. If you drive it gently, fuel economy is impressive. We used the productivity screen, a feature inherited from the Super Duty, to gauge mpg on a stretch of the drive. There were grades and stops, and some traffic, but the EcoBoost we tested, with the 3.15:1 rear axle, got 22.8 mpg (official EPA numbers haven't been released), and that was without hypermiling or turning off the air conditioning-we weren't about to go without A/C, as this was in Texas in the heat. While we were driving the preproduction engine, there was a noticeable whiny whistle, presumably from the turbochargers. It wasn't overly loud, but we have a feeling it may be quieted by the time the engine goes on sale.
Even though this is new technology, the EcoBoost will be competitively priced. The EcoBoost is said to cost only $750 over the price of the 5.0-liter V-8. The lowest price for any 2011 F-150 is $23,390. From what we gleaned from the complex price sheets, the least expensive F-150 with the EcoBoost is $27,785, XL with HD package. However, we know it's very easy for a truck to become expensive. Two of the EcoBoosts we drove had price sheets with estimates inside. One was an XLT SuperCrew, as tested at an estimated $37,960, the other a fully loaded Platinum model with an eye-watering $51,450 sticker. The EcoBoost will be available in XL, XLT, FX2/FX4, Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trims.
While people might worry about durability, Ford has done extensive testing with this engine. It's promoting the EcoBoost's strength with webisodes showing the same engine undergoing the equivalent of 150,000 miles of testing, then being installed in an F-150 on the production line and sent to work at an Oregon logging company. By the time you read this, the same engine will have been put in a race truck and run in the Baja 1000. Even with all that, it's going to take time before truck buyers can accept a V-6 as being as capable or reliable as a V-8 doing the same amount of work, and we're not sure the engine will bereceived with open arms by hard-core truck people. Gradually, though, they should warm to it.