First Look: 2011 Ford F-150 Powertrain

EcoBoost For Economy
Interestingly, the premium option for most F-150s won't be an eight-cylinder. Long a poorly kept secret, Ford is stuffing its twin-turbocharged, direct-injection 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 under the hood of its full-size truck. First seen in the likes of the Taurus SHO and the Flex crossover, the twin-turbo-six will be blessed with a number of revisions -- notably tied to the intake, exhuast, and turbochargers -- that will ready the engine for its first longitudinal application.

Ford has remained surprisingly mum on the engine, but we've heard whispers that the truck-tuned EcoBoost will produce in the realm of 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, and return a highway MPG figure in the mid-20s. Ford did reveal that the maximum towing capacity of a boosted F-150 will be close to 11,300 pounds, matching that of its biggest V-8.

The Big Boss
That big V-8 is none other than the SOHC 6.2-liter "Boss" V-8, first launched as an option in the 2010 F-150 SVT Raptor and as a standard gas engine on the 2011 Super Duty. For the 2011 F-150, the engine remains unchanged; power is still rated at 411 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 434 pound-feet of torque. Don't, however, expect to see this engine offered in every trim level. It'll be the sole engine offering in both the Raptor and the new 2011 Harley-Davidson F-150, but it may appear as an option only in premium models like the Platinum or King Ranch.

Six Speeds for All
In contrast to the variety of engines, 2011 F-150s will come with only one transmission: Ford's 6R80 six-speed automatic. Although we've seen this transmission in use for a few years, the gearbox has been re-tuned for better performance and control. A range select mode allows drivers to limit the span of gears used, while another mode allows full manual shifting.

More Features and Numbers?
Although we expect a few new touches to appear in the production truck (the productivity screen, found in the 2011 Harley-Davidson model, for instance), most of the 2011 F-150's revisions will circle around its engine compartment.

Although Job One for these 2011 trucks is quickly approaching, Ford has refrained from providing firm fuel economy (and in the case of the EcoBoost, horsepower) figures, saying its engineers are still working on finalizing the calibration and certification for each engine. Those numbers will have to come soon - production of 3.5, 5.0, and 6.2-liter trucks is expected to begin in late September, while the EcoBoost F-150 will launch later in fall 2010.

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Edward A. Sanchez
No question about it, Ford's on a roll. The one disappointment of the last refresh of the F-150 was the powertrains, and now that that's been addressed, I'd say we have the definite leader in the half-ton class now.

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