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No Surprises, But 20,000-Mile Goal Comes Months Early - 2015 Ford F-150 Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited October 2015 in Ford
imageNo Surprises, But 20,000-Mile Goal Comes Months Early - 2015 Ford F-150 Long-Term Road Test

We added some 1,891 miles to our 2015 Ford F-150 this month, pushing its odometer past the 20,000-mile threshold four months ahead of schedule.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • Seems to be the ongoing trend for mileage claims by way too many manufacturers these days.

    So, which does the Edmunds staff prefer, the Ford or the Ram?
  • csubowtiecsubowtie Posts: 143
    Seems to be the ongoing trend for mileage claims in cars with small turbocharged engines. Trucks also have the unfortunate reality of the EPA rating not taking into account things like towing or hauling, which drags down any trucks actual numbers, but even moreso for the turbo trucks.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    I'm guessing the F-150 is now up for sale, since y'all hit the mileage mark. How about getting one that's got the 5.0 V8 for comparisons sake? My 2013 F-150 XLT SuperCrew RWD with the 5.0 V8 beats it easily on mpg, even if I compensate for the 4WD y'all's has. So far, I'm a non-believer in the "all-aluminum turbo charged V6" full size truck hype.
  • I'm guessing the F-150 is now up for sale, since y'all hit the mileage mark. How about getting one that's got the 5.0 V8 for comparisons sake? My 2013 F-150 XLT SuperCrew RWD with the 5.0 V8 beats it easily on mpg, even if I compensate for the 4WD y'all's has. So far, I'm a non-believer in the "all-aluminum turbo charged V6" full size truck hype.

    I just took a road trip in a 2015 Expedition with the twin turbo V6 and I'm a believer. Drove it for almost 1,000 miles round trip and the power is effortless. Even with 6 people plus luggage on board it pulls like a train, you had to constantly check the speedo because you will quickly hit 80+ mph. I understand why it gets poor gas mileage, the power is intoxicating and you just can't keep from burying the accelerator.
  • I'm guessing the F-150 is now up for sale, since y'all hit the mileage mark. How about getting one that's got the 5.0 V8 for comparisons sake? My 2013 F-150 XLT SuperCrew RWD with the 5.0 V8 beats it easily on mpg, even if I compensate for the 4WD y'all's has. So far, I'm a non-believer in the "all-aluminum turbo charged V6" full size truck hype.

    I second this, and my old school F150 has the 5.4. I beat the numbers this new F150 puts up for Edmunds, and I have 4x4 and off road tires. Others point out that the twin turbo V6 engines are much quicker...maybe so, but anyone who drives a full size pickup truck for speed is flirting with danger. Trucks are utility vehicles and they shouldn't be driven like sporty cars. I don't want that temptation. I want load hauling power and efficiency, not blazing acceleration.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,018
    Instead of putting it up for sale it would be interesting to see how it handles the rust belt for the next five years or so.
  • I've owned or leased four F150s since 1998; all 2wd. All pretty basic and light weight versions with high gearing for rear axles, which is supposed to help with fuel economy. All four fall well below the EPA mark with me driving, and I'd say I get better mpg driving than 90% of the driving public. The first was a 1989 reg cab short bed with the 4.9 I6. MPG rating was 15/19. I could get 19 only by going on a trip more than 100 miles and driving 55-60 mph. Averaged 17.7 lifetime in that truck on mostly slow-speed highway commutes, 13 miles each way. The way I drive, it should have been much closer to the highway estimate, because in small cars, I always exceed the estimate by far.

    The second was a 1997 with the 4.6V8, super cab, short bed. Estimate was 15-20. My wife drove that truck mostly. Sixty to sixty-five mpg, 28 miles to town and back with no traffic, and a little in town driving in between to run errands. I drove it a little. We averaged 15 (hardly what I'd call city driving) but could get 20 on a trip driving below the speed limit on a long trip. The third was the same design with the 4.2V6 in a 1999 version. Estimate was 16/21; in reality, driving the same way on the same routes by my wife, as she did the '97 she got around 1/2 more mpg in the V6 as the V8. Now we've got the 2015, all aluminum 2.7 Ecoboost and this one will be a keeper for sure, as it's not leased. I'm the primary driver and drive like an old granny, and it looks like I'm going to average around 21 against an estimate of 19/26; 57 mile commute 45-65 mph. The trip computer so far way underestimates the amount of fuel burned, and is therefore around 2 mpg off. Going by the trip meter, it looks like we'll see 22-23 except for really cold weather, however, the trip computer is off by so much because the amount of gas needed to refill exceeds what the comuter shows burned by about 1.5 gallons, and so that puts the real mpg around 20-21.

    The point is that all full-size Ford's have fallen well short of the EPA estimate for a long time, and this new Ecoboost falls right in line with the others or maybe just a little worse. I'd say it's possible to get 26 on a long trip of 100 miles or more w/o stopping driving 60 mph, but that's about the only way. And it's important to point out that I've got the lightest and smallest and highest gearing version of the 2.7 available in an F150 and can usually go well above epa esitmates in other type vehicles, but in full-size Fords, I can't meet the EPA estimate, and the trip computer error is a huge disappointment. However, it's a great truck otherwise, except for being a little tall for a 2wd pickup.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    I just read the review about the F150 with the 5.0. It falls into my line of thinking. More towing & better fuel economy.
  • socal_ericsocal_eric SoCalPosts: 189
    csubowtie said:

    Seems to be the ongoing trend for mileage claims in cars with small turbocharged engines.

    I know there are quite a few commentators making this into a popular saying, but I've owned quite a few smaller displacement turbocharged fours that had no trouble meeting and even exceeding their EPA ratings. Those have all been other automakers. My one recent model Ford with an EcoBoost four ('13 Focus ST) about matched EPA ratings if you really, really drove it carefully.

    I don't think Ford's issue is using a smaller displacement forced induction engine hurting economy, even in a truck like the F-150, but instead the design of said engine. They used really small turbochargers to minimize lag and provide excellent transient response to throttle changes but the small exhaust housing chokes off exhaust flow and increases backpressure. That's likely the much bigger reason the economy isn't as great compared to other turbocharged powertrains.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,018


    They used really small turbochargers to minimize lag and provide excellent transient response to throttle changes but the small exhaust housing chokes off exhaust flow and increases backpressure. That's likely the much bigger reason the economy isn't as great compared to other turbocharged powertrains.

    Pumping losses are an issue that has to be dealt with in order to get the fuel economy of a gasoline engine to approach the efficiency of the diesels. Some manufacturers are employing variable valve lift designs on top of the variable valve timing strategies in order to allow them to take throttle body losses out of the equation. The turbo itself would not have much impact on pumping losses at cruising speeds, there just isn't enough airflow to generate much (if any) back pressure. In fact, most GDI designs take advantage of the fact that they can intentionally leave a (relatively) large amount of exhaust gasses trapped in the cylinder, effectively reducing the amount of fresh air that needs to enter the cylinder.

  • socal_ericsocal_eric SoCalPosts: 189
    Yes, the automakers can tune the engine calibration to use some of the variable valve timing and lift system in place of EGR to help emissions. Having done quite a bit of calibration and worked with many OEM and aftermarket turbochargers, although at light load cruising a smaller turbine housing might not seem like much restriction but when you have something like 6-cm2 that you're trying to push all the exhaust through that imparts a slight pumping loss even with the wastegate flapper valve open. It disturbs exhaust flow and slightly increases backpressure causing the pistons to lose energy on the exhaust stroke.

    Looking at the turbochargers specified on a lot of the OEM gasoline applications Ford sized them slightly smaller than normal on their various EcoBoost branded engines. With being able to better tailor the combustion events with direct injection and more importantly with regards to the exhaust driven turbocharger, valve timing/lift, other automakers have been able to tune their smaller displacement turbocharged engines to minimize lag and transient response.

    Since Ford was trying to replace larger displacement, naturally aspirated engines with the EcoBoost inline-four and V6 engines, it appears they place a pretty high priority on minimizing any potential turbo lag which decades ago was one of the larger complaints about the technology. The smaller frame turbochargers they specified spool extremely fast due to the small turbine and housing/scroll area but that imparts a slight restriction to exhaust flow which impacts overall volumetric efficiency (air pumping efficiency) of the engine.

    It also doesn't leave much overhead in the turbocharger for the aftermarket tuning crowd. That's why the most of the gains are usually in the mid-range torque when rpms and exhaust flow isn't as big of a restriction but there isn't much room left on the top end as the turbo starts to choke off the exhaust flow. If you look at the next generation 2.0L and the 2.3L EcoBoost that evolved from it, they're moving to using more efficient twin-scroll (divided) exhaust housings that are also bigger and should help improve fuel economy when out of boost and compensating for the slightly increased lag with better powertrain calibration (tuning).
  • 500rwhp500rwhp Posts: 98
    I still can't understand why this truck gets such bad gas mileage. I drove down to the beach this weekend and got around 22MPG on my 2015 3.5L Ecoboost 2WD supercrew platinum with the big bed. This was loaded up with 3 people, a dog, and lots of beach stuff. As they say....YMMV My lifetime mileage is up to 19.8MPG indicated after this trip, and total mileage is over 14k
  • socal_ericsocal_eric SoCalPosts: 189
    edited October 2015
    Could be something wrong with this truck or off just enough to cause an economy issue but not enough to flag as a problem in the computer, could be the way Edmunds drives it, or possibly the EPA testing regimen is more favorable to economy numbers than what an owner can expect.

    It does seem that the Edmunds staff has a little heavier foot than most, but when the truck is driven under the most favorable possible conditions (such as the recent road trip) and it still has trouble meeting EPA ratings I think we can rule out driver variance for the most part.

    There aren't any trouble codes set so there isn't a need to take the truck in for diagnosis of a "problem" that could easily be chalked up to the way the truck is driven, but I've suggested at least asking the service manager at the Ford dealer during the next oil change if there are any powertrain controller (software) updates available as Ford seems to continually update and refine their calibrations.

    If nothing is "wrong" with the truck then you're left with only a few possible scenarios. Either the gearing or way this particular truck is optioned differs enough from the test truck used for EPA testing to cause a significant difference or it's just the nature of this particular engine in this particular application.

    Since other fuel tracking web sites are reporting slightly better economy numbers for some real-world owners it does appear possible that in some configuration and driving styles it can meet the EPA numbers. Yet others are showing similarly poor economy ratings.

    If I were buying one of the two EcoBoost turbocharged V6s in an F-150 I'd personally skip the 2.7L and get the 3.5L. It has a little extra displacement and shouldn't need to be in boost as often, has more power in reserve for towing and real-world economy numbers seem about a wash. Either that or get the naturally aspirated 5.0L V8 as all the gas engines in the Ford lineup seem about the same in actual use.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 5,018
    edited October 2015

    There aren't any trouble codes set so there isn't a need to take the truck in for diagnosis of a "problem" that could easily be chalked up to the way the truck is driven, but I've suggested at least asking the service manager at the Ford dealer during the next oil change if there are any powertrain controller (software) updates available as Ford seems to continually update and refine their calibrations.

    You don't have to ask the service manager, besides, as a pencil pusher it is highly unlikely that he/she would have any idea. So just do a mode 9 request and then see what's available on https://www.motorcraftservice.com/vdirs/retail/default.asp?pageid=&gutsid=

    specifically,

    https://www.motorcraftservice.com/vdirs/PCMflash/default.asp?pageid=calibration_pub&gutsid=calibration

    By doing this any Ford owner can check their calibration level to see if it is the most current.

  • socal_ericsocal_eric SoCalPosts: 189
    We're talking the Edmunds staff who has to keep up with tons of vehicles in their fleet and where simple maintenance items often appear to go undone or they pay a lot of money for simple stuff at service centers, so I doubt they'll pull out a higher end scan tool to find what calibration is currently in their truck (if the sticker doesn't reflect any updates it might have already received). They could also flash update it themselves with a pass-thru programmer, but I'd figure why buy a subscription to access the calibration files when it would be a free quick at the dealer.


    Unfortunately looking at the mileage in this update I'm guessing they're already processing it out of their fleet (if it hasn't be done already). If not, it would be nice to rule that out before forming an opinion that the 2.7L can't meet economy ratings.
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