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Bad Naming Has Skewed Our Outlook - 2015 Ford F-150 Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,125
edited October 2015 in Ford
imageBad Naming Has Skewed Our Outlook - 2015 Ford F-150 Long-Term Road Test

Sure, our long-term 2015 Ford F-150 2.7 EcoBoost hasn't achieved its EPA-rated fuel economy numbers. But that doesn't mean it's not one heckuva truck.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    I don't think anyone has complained about the promised performance on the EcoBoost Engines, at least in relation to towing, accelerating, and holding it's speed. But the problem is that Ford touted the EcoBoost as the fuel economy choice. In fact, they charge a premium for it. It's supplanted the V-8 as the top engine choice (at least the one above the 2.7 Liter V6). But it's fuel economy is dismal. In fact, it's worse than the V8. Which means, ironically, if you care about the environment, but need towing capability, you would actually be better off choosing the V8 (Green Peace activists everywhere just choked on their green tea in horror).

    I look at it this way...Ford claimed the future was in small-displacement, 3, 4, or 6 cylinder turbocharged engines that would deliver the power of a big V8 with the fuel economy of at least a V6, but possibly even a 4 cylinder. Instead, the EcoBoost delivers worse fuel economy than the V8, with about comparable towing capability. It's got an extra part (the turbo), that will be expensive to service or replace, that the V8 doesn't need to worry about. The engine will experience more stress and wear because of the boost than the V8 will experience being Naturally Aspirated. And you really should be running Premium Fuel in the EcoBoost to prevent detonation while that 5.0 V8 will happily work all the time on regular unleaded, giving you better fuel economy not only in the MPG, but also the price per mile.

    Would I be willing to buy into, and purchase, an EcoBoost F-150? Not as long as that V8 is available. Would I be upset as an owner about the EPA numbers not even being close? Absolutely. If the EcoBoost had been marketed to me as a performance option, with truthful EPA numbers, I might have considered it. But even then, it takes relatively little to hop up a 5.0 V8. We've now had 20 years of modular engines to learn on, starting with the 4.6 liter 2-Valve. We KNOW what the blocks can handle. We know what we can get with a cam swap and an ECU re-flash. We've had 60 years of cumulative knowledge of tinkering with V8s without a turbo, as an average gear-head who didn't have the money or the skill to risk their daily driver by putting a turbo on their car.

    What does Ford need to do? Release an "EcoBoost" V-8. Make it the next-Gen Lightening or Harley-Davidson Edition F-150. Don't lie about the MPG. People buying that aren't doing it for the fuel economy. I'd like to see the 5.2 V8 that just came out in the GT350 made available in the F-150.

    Of course, I'm old school and all I care about in ANY vehicle is V8, AC, AM/FM with bluetooth, & a manual transmission. Manual locks, windows, etc., are fine by me. I'd rather have a stripped down ride that'll go like stink. I'm also old enough (37) that I miss chrome & hood ornaments, so I may not be the most current consumer.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 14,896
    The original moniker for these engines (DI turbos) was supposed to be 'Twinforce', but was changed to Ecoboost.
    My only experience with them is the 2.0 4cyl. You can get good fuel mileage out of them, if you know how to use them.
    Dipping into the gas pedal doesn't hurt too much, if you don't do it all the time.
    When I swapped my '02 Explorer V8 for a '13 Escape 2.0, I thought I'd miss that V8, especially the sound, but the 2.0 is quiet and never sounds awful, plus it provides plenty of power and fuel mileage is more than 50% better.
    I've been looking at F150's, but I'm leaning toward the 3.5 instead of the 2.7 or 5.0.
    2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1, TBD
  • allthingshondaallthingshonda Posts: 878
    edited October 2015
    I've said it before and I'll say it again, Ford's Ecoboost engines invite you to put down the power. After driving a rental Expedition with the 3.5 Ecoboost I admit I was drunk on the power. I'm sure if you keep the revs low and be easy on the accelerator you probably will get decent fuel economy. But you can't, it's that good.

    The 5.0 is a good engine, don't get me wrong, but it's clear that Ford offers it just to keep buyers like daryleason in the family. I personally think the 2.7 is under rated to give people a reason to buy the more expensive 5.0 V8 and 3.5 EB. If Edmunds put the F-150 on a dyno it will probably show that it's putting out more power than Ford states. I'm willing to bet it's closer to 350 horsepower and 400 lb/ft of torque.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 14,896
    @allthingshonda, Putting the Edmunds F150 on a dyno is a great idea. Thing is, Ford is basically giving away the 2.7 compared to the upgrade cost for the 3.5 Ecoboost and 5.0 V8.
    2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1, TBD
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    edited October 2015

    The original moniker for these engines (DI turbos) was supposed to be 'Twinforce', but was changed to Ecoboost.
    My only experience with them is the 2.0 4cyl. You can get good fuel mileage out of them, if you know how to use them.
    Dipping into the gas pedal doesn't hurt too much, if you don't do it all the time.
    When I swapped my '02 Explorer V8 for a '13 Escape 2.0, I thought I'd miss that V8, especially the sound, but the 2.0 is quiet and never sounds awful, plus it provides plenty of power and fuel mileage is more than 50% better.
    I've been looking at F150's, but I'm leaning toward the 3.5 instead of the 2.7 or 5.0.

    I see what you're saying, Explorerx4, but my question is...when you stepped down from the Explorer to the Escape, but you did more than just step down from the V8 to the EcoBoost 4. You went from a body-on-frame, larger vehicle to a smaller unibody. In addition, I'd be willing to bet that the 02 didn't have anywhere near as many gears in the transmission as the new Escape has. A transmission is big part in not only the fuel economy, but also the acceleration and towing capacity. It's critical. That Escape has literally a decade's advantage of technological improvement. Also, the rear-end (or final drive if you got a 4x4/AWD setup) determines a lot in fuel economy. Going numerically higher, such as a 4.10 rear end over a 3.77 is going to decrease fuel economy while increase deliverable power.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, Ford's Ecoboost engines invite you to put down the power. After driving a rental Expedition with the 3.5 Ecoboost I admit I was drunk on the power. I'm sure if you keep the revs low and be easy on the accelerator you probably will get decent fuel economy. But you can't, it's that good.

    The 5.0 is a good engine, don't get me wrong, but it's clear that Ford offers it just to keep buyers like daryleason in the family. I personally think the 2.7 is under rated to give people a reason to buy the more expensive 5.0 V8 and 3.5 EB. If Edmunds put the F-150 on a dyno it will probably show that it's putting out more power than Ford states. I'm willing to bet it's closer to 350 horsepower and 400 lb/ft of torque.

    Allthingshonda, I actually agree that the EcoBoost is a powerhouse. But I still think it's marketed wrong and makes Ford look deceptive. And while Ford may be just keeping the V8 to keep people "like me" (which I'm not sure if that was meant as an insult or not) in the family, it's probably a valid concern. Right now, Ford's getting stomped on the MPG game by Ram with the Eco-Diesel. GM has a fairly decent offering with their Silverado/Sierra trucks and are going to steal some market share with their Colorado (at least in the short term). I love Ford pickups. I like GM trucks. I think Ram trucks look nice, but have issues with their build quality. If Ford is worried about people jumping ship on their trucks because of a lack of V8, it's because people are going to go with practical experience over assumptions in new technology. In ten years, when people have had a chance to push these engines as far as they can, it might be a different story.

    Ford has a tendency it seems to make poor decisions on products that are strong. For instance, when Ford offered the Ranger back in the 80s, it shook up the small truck market. Where before we had cheap, Japanese imports (and their Domestic Name-Plates), Ford introduced a small, efficient, inexpensive pickup that met a lot of people's needs. They did their first major redesign in 1992 or 1993. And after that, let it slowly die over the next 20 years. Meanwhile, they bemoaned the fact that they were losing market-share and sales to GM, Toyota, Nissan, Isuzu, and Dodge. Why is that? Because they all came out with newer designs, eventually migrating to mid-size trucks. They didn't invest in the Ranger for 20 years and expected their clientele to be happy about it. So they went somewhere else. If they'd spent the money in 2002 or so to come out with a new design, they'd still have a strong following. But instead, they tried for force their customers to buy stripped down F-150s that were a bigger profit margin.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 14,896
    @daryleason,
    I get what you are saying, the Escape could never tow like the Explorer.
    My point is that you can get very good mileage with Ecoboost engines.
    With 3 people and luggage, the Escape is never underpowered and gets much better fuel mileage.
    I still love my 91 Mustang GT, bought new.

    Also, regarding the Ranger, Ford makes more money selling the F150, so how are they wrong in that decision as a profit oriented corporation?
    If it was such a bad decision, the market for competitors smaller pickups would be bigger, but it's still small compared to full size.
    2019 Lincoln MKZ Reserve 1, TBD
  • allthingshondaallthingshonda Posts: 878
    edited October 2015

    @allthingshonda, Putting the Edmunds F150 on a dyno is a great idea. Thing is, Ford is basically giving away the 2.7 compared to the upgrade cost for the 3.5 Ecoboost and 5.0 V8.

    Exactly. If Ford stated the real power numbers no one would option for the more expensive engines. On paper the 2.7 is the weakest of the engines, although not by much compared to the 5.0 V8.

    There will be a big difference when the next generation 3.5 EB is dropped into the F-150. Ford has not released numbers yet but since it will replace the 6.2 V8 in the Raptor it's going to have more power than the current 411 horses the V8 puts out. When that happens Ford will probably state the 2.7's real numbers since the gap between the 2.7 and 3.5 will be much greater. The 5.0 V8 may become the base engine with the 3.5 NA V6 relegated to fleet customers only.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    edited October 2015
    @explorerX4

    First...love Mustangs. I'm a fanatic about them. If my wife had someone tell her I was out running around in a Mustang with a hot woman, I'd be in trouble because that meant I was buying another car without talking to her about it...but I digress.

    What I was actually getting at on your vehicle choices was that you were comparing apples to oranges. If you'd replaced your vehicle with the exact same thing, body and everything, with only the EcoBoost being the difference, I could support the fuel economy difference of 50 percent a lot better.

    As for the market share of competitor's smaller trucks & Ford's motivations...First, I'd like to point out that the Ranger didn't really HAVE any competitors towards the end. Dodge (now Ram) had the Dakota, which was a mid-size. GM discontinued the S-10/S-15 and went with the Colorado/Canyon, which is a mid-size. Isuzu re-badged a Dodge as the Raider. Mistusbishi re-badged the Colorado as the "Hombre." Toyota & Nissan went to the Mid-Size platform as well with their products. The problem with the mid-size trucks, as much then, as now, is that pricing wise, you were very close to the ball-park of what you were paying for the Full-Size trucks. You were also fairly close to the length & width of the Full-Size trucks. Put a 2003 Dakota next to a comparable 2003 Ram & see how close they match up. If I was looking at a mid-size truck, priced at near a Full Size, I'd go with the Full-Size as well. Which is my point. The market isn't competitive because the consumers aren't really there but because the manufacturers abandoned it to focus on other markets. The consumers were forced to find an alternative. I'd even be willing to posit that part of the huge increase in sales for vehicles that are currently called "CUV"s & "XUV"s are in large part because of the death of the small truck market. The Ford Ranger, when Ford was actually investing money in developing it, was a class leader in volume of sales. Ford had a line-up of best sellers in the late 80s & early 90s. F-150, Taurus, Mustang, & Ranger. Even the Escort & Crown Vic (thank you rental fleets & emergency services) were pretty high. But what did Ford do? In the late 90s they went with the PlaySkool Design Theory for the Taurus, moved it to a larger platform, & abandoned the clientele that were buying them. That one worked out so poorly that they killed the Taurus and replaced it with the Five Hundred. Only the consumers had no clue about the meaning of "Five Hundred" (you'd have to be a 60s gearhead to get it), and so brought back the Taurus name...pretending the bubble version didn't exist. Something similar happened with the Ranger. They stopped investing in the Ranger pretty much completely around 2002. I remember each year, checking Edmunds' "Future Vehicle List" WAITING for the new Ranger to come out, so I could get one. I held onto my 1994 Ranger until 2001, because I really wanted the next generation Ranger. I didn't want to buy the "current" bodystyle, only to miss out on the next year's redesign.

    I'm actually hopeful about GM's Colorado/Canyon experiment that's going on currently. I'd love to see them succeed. But I'm afraid they won't. Because they're too close to the full-size in terms of price & dimensions. Perhaps Ford will re-evaluate what's going on in the market place. But I doubt they will. I would like to point out though...if they really are trying to produce cars that will boost their CAFE numbers, a legitimately small pickup (Ranger-Size) with an EcoBoost 4 cylinder would do two things. Provide a small truck to the market that sell & improve their averages. So long as they kept the price reasonable. And if it was built to quality (build quality, not necessarily features), they'd lead to a rebirth of Ford loyalists. I'm a good example. The Ford Ranger was my first vehicle. I got it brand new. I like both Ford & GM. But I have a fondness for Ford's because of that Ranger.
  • I think the fact the engine was overfilled with a GALLON of oil may have had an impact on the fuel economy. It probably did. many owners are reporting getting mid 20s on a regular basis on long trips with the 2.7 ecoboost in a supercrew 4x4. This forum is up to 72 pages with the only complaints being that the fuel economy isn't always as good as the computer says it is. http://www.f150forum.com/f118/2-7-mpg-performance-284018/index72/
  • The name DEFINATLLY should have been something else. During this time people were buying into the whole "green/eco" thing. Everything from car manufactures to literally anything sitting on a retail shelf, had something to sell you that was "green". Ford should have looked ahead to see this was just another dumb trend. Even Boeing quickly saw that naming their new plane the "7E7' was just short sighted and later gave it the proper name 787. Ford really missed the opportunity to name this engine something that would be thought of, years from now, with respect. Instead they choose to engineer a really powerful engine and literally name it.....economy boost.

    I hope I'm wrong but I don't think we'll be seeing these pickups 10 to 15 year from now, still running strong with 250,000+ miles on them like we do the chevy small block 5.7s and 5.3s, without major preventative maintenance. I just bought my 2015 F 150 with the Coyote 5.0 and haven't looked back, especially with the new HP numbers nearing 400.

    The Eco Boost is a good engine, but a V6 will never be able to do with sound, what a V8 has always done so well, and that's.......Turn heads.
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