Trucks

10-speed automatic helps Ford F-150 achieve impressive fuel economy

It's only a hair ahead of the competition, but it's ahead nevertheless.

John Roe

Here is a truck, doing truck things, because truck marketing.

Ford

Back in May, I spent some time learning about Ford's new 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 engine and the 10-speed transmission attached to it. Ford wasn't talking about fuel economy in specifics back then, but with the EPA's estimates now public, it's ready to pimp the figures.

The rear-wheel-drive 2017 F-150 will hit 18 mpg city, 25 highway and 21 combined. That's a net positive of 1 mpg across the board. In 4x4 guise, the F-150's numbers are 17 mpg city, 23 highway and 20 combined. In that instance, the gains are 1, 1 and 2, respectively.

While the numbers are important alone, they're also good news in the context of the F-150's segment. The Silverado, with a 4.3-liter V6, is less efficient on the highway but equal in the city. The Ram 1500, packing a 3.6-liter V6, is down in the city but equal on the highway. That puts the V6 F-150 ahead of the competition, but only by a razor-thin margin.

However, one place the F-150 decidedly dominates is power output. This new V6 puts out 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. Neither the 305-horsepower Ram nor the 285-horsepower Silverado can match those figures.

In terms of what's changed, this second-generation 3.5-liter now features both direct and port fuel injection. The turbochargers have been tweaked, and auto stop-start is now standard on this engine, as well. The transmission, developed with GM, features wider gear ratios, which lowers the rear axle ratio, contributing to this fuel economy bump.