Second Six: Ford May Add Second V-6 Offering to 2011 F-150 Lineup

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We've heard about the Ford F-150 EcoBoost, and it looks like the turbocharged engine will be receiving some company in the form of a new powerplant lineup for the 2011 F-150.

After long offering Triton-series 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter V-8s, next year's F-150 will receive Ford's 3.7-liter V-6 as its base engine. The 305-horsepower aluminum mill has made for interesting reviews and comparisons when placed in the 2011 Mustang, and the new engine will return a six-cylinder to the F-Series for the first time since 2008.

Joining the 3.7-liter V-6 will be another Ford fan favorite: the 5.0-liter V-8 from the 2011 Mustang GT. Developing 412 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque, the 5.0-liter option will be joined by the 6.2-liter V-8 we first saw in the SVT Raptor and new Super Duty, albeit in different guises. The lightning Raptor version makes 411 horsepower and 434 pound-feet of torque, and it remains to be seen if this engine will be available in other non-Raptor F-150s (the Super Duty's 6.2-liter V-8 makes 385 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque).

Where Ford is really betting its chips, however, is on the F-150 version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. Additional tuning is expected to push the F-150's EcoBoost engine to around 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, a jump over the Taurus SHO and Flex crossovers on the road. While a six-cylinder isn't normally equated with work trucks, Ford will push the direct-injected, twin-turbo V-6 as a workhorse, which will also be the first EcoBoost application on a pickup truck. Nevertheless, F-150 marketing manager Mark Grueber is well aware the challenge exists in marketing a non-diesel V-6 that will be touted for its towing and hauling capabilities.

"The EcoBoost is a V-6 and smaller displacement so there is going to be some work that we need to do as marketers to get people into the EcoBoost," says Grueber. "If you can give them both, which is what the EcoBoost will do for us, then I think we've got a real winner. The key for us will be verifying the truck passes all of our 'Built-Ford Tough' durability standards. Some of the capability and fuel economy numbers on the truck will give us credibility with the customer."

Ford begins production of the 2011 F-150 later this year.

Sources: Automotive News (Subscription required), PickupTrucks.com

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