Wow, what a huge difference Ford's new 5.0-liter V-8 makes in the F-150. I never really liked the old 5.4-liter V-8 because it was slow to rev, sounded a bit old and coarse, and didn't ever feel as good as the rest of the F-150. The 5.0 sounds great, revs very quickly, and completely changes the character of the most popular pickup in America.
I'm disappointed by the 14/19 mpg ratings of the 5.0 when equipped with 4wd, but it does improve upon the 14/18 mpg ratings of the old 5.4-liter. That single mpg improvement should save owners $213 per year according to the EPA's web site (at an average of $3.38 per gallon). As fuel prices climb, even one mpg can make a difference. So, Ford, let's hope for 20+ mpg on the highway with 4wd soon. Chevy manages 15/21 mpg ratings with a 5.3-liter V-8 and 4wd. And the 5.3-liter V-8 in the Silverado is much older than Ford's 5.0.
When you take into account the F-150's new electric power steering system, and the Silverado's old hydraulic power steering, the difference in fuel economy is even more disappointing. While the steering feels very natural, what's the point of having electric power steering without a benefit in fuel economy?
The F-150 Raptor can't use EPS; it needs hydraulic power steering, to handle the increased stress associated with its huge front tires and the desert racing expectations of its owners. The 5.0 lacks provisions for running a hydraulic power steering pump, so it cannot be used in the Raptor.
In summary, the F-150 is a great truck with the 5.0-liter V-8. It's just too bad the best F-150, the Raptor, can't use my favorite F-150 engine.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Producer