The 3.5-liter, 365-horse, 420-pound-foot twin-turbo V-6 EcoBoost is the newest engine to join the Ford F-150's engine lineup. This change happened for the 2011 model year as Ford cleaned house, replacing two 4.6-liter V-8s (one two-valve, one three-valve) and a 5.4-liter V-8 with a 3.7-liter V-6, a 5.0-liter V-8, a 6.2-liter V-8, and the aforementioned EcoBoost. And for the first time, all engines in the line use a six-speed automatic transmission.
The twin-turbo isn't the largest displacement engine available -- those honors go to the 6.2-liter V-8 that's standard in the Raptor, Lariat Limited, and Harley-Davidson edition. It doesn't have the most horsepower or torque -- that would also be the 6.2 -- and it doesn't come standard in any F-150. Yet, despite what seems initially like shortcomings, Ford has made this engine its franchise player, declaring a V-6 the top-of-the-line engine. (What!!!???)
But pricing is aggressive: The upgrade from the 5.0-liter can cost a mere $750, depending on trim level. For that money, you only add five horsepower (which peaks at a lower rpm). Big deal, right? The true benefit is with torque, where the gain is 40 lb-ft (420 versus the 5.0's 380), and peak torque is at 2500 rpm as opposed to the 5.0's 4250. In our tester, a rear-drive Lariat SuperCrew, it a $750 upgrade. That, plus the 3.55:1 limited-slip, Lariat Chrome and Lariat Plus packages, heated and cooled leather seats, trailer brake controller, and tailgate step, brought the as-tested price to $43,155. The dark blue and beige paint combination looks good on this truck. So does the well-crafted interior, which combines black leather captain's chairs, light-hued wood on the dash, and an extremely roomy second row, which would seem to suggest this truck isn't ready for hard work. However, our EcoBoost tester can tow 11,300 pounds, has a GVWR of 7100 pounds, and an as-tested payload capacity of 1572 pounds.