2015 Ford F-150 Long-Term Road Test - Wrap-Up

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,237
edited September 2016 in Ford
image2015 Ford F-150 Long-Term Road Test - Wrap-Up

We bought a 2015 Ford F-150 and drove it some 35,000 miles in just over 16 months to see how the new aluminum-bodied pickup truck would hold up.

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  • atlgaxtatlgaxt Member Posts: 501
    Unfortunately a 35,000 mile test does not answer the question of how a 2.7 liter twin turbo with twice the specific output of a comparable V8 will hold up in the long run. Today people buy trucks with the expectation of getting at least 250,000 to 300,000 relatively trouble free miles out of the drivetrain. Even if you don't plan on keeping a truck the 10 to 15 years it will take to accumulate that mileage the fact that you can resell one with 100,000 to 150,000 miles on it for a strong price allows people to spend $40,000 to $50,000 on a new truck. I might be wrong, but I don't see how a small twin turbo engine making 130 hp per liter will last 300,000 miles doing "truck stuff". Add the fact that this engine does not get better real world economy as compared to a V8 and it makes a person wonder why take that risk.
  • darthbimmerdarthbimmer Member Posts: 606
    I agree with what @atlgaxt is getting at. The 5.0L V8 is likely to be a better choice for the long term than the 2.7L turbo. It's simpler and thus less likely to break and less expensive to fix. And even if you don't need the higher tow rating yourself, it'll be easier to resell the truck with that higher tow rating plus the reliable nature of a NA V8.
  • 500rwhp500rwhp Member Posts: 99
    I can't imagine the average consumer not going for the 3.5 ecoboost, which delivers much more power and real life equal or better gas mileage. The 3.5 ecoboost is a very proven engine as well, after being around for 5 years now.
  • rkelonrkelon Member Posts: 17
    being an engineer, I bought the V8, the 6.5 bed, and without all the doodads,..I do have the bed lights a bed extender and running boards, and put on after market wheels on my crewcab FX4. I like the truck.
  • geezermikegeezermike Member Posts: 22
    NEXT, at the very least, a short term test of the 2018 10speed 2.7 to see if more gears makes any difference in mpg -- is it still lots of boost with no Eco. Then the 2018 5.0 with the 10speed, to see if the MPG is still about the same as the 2.7. The 8 speed did so many good things for the Ram; I hope Ford did not mess the 10 speed up.
  • gregsfc1gregsfc1 Member Posts: 29
    What Edmunds has proven to me is just how you can't go against physics and just how bad this great engine can be as a fuel saver if you configure it to do as poorly as possible. And I understand what Edmunds was trying to do. They chose a truck like what most buyers would buy, but just because the average buyer chooses a monster truck that's geared like it's pulling something even when it's not, it can't beat physics, it can't match the mpg test machine, and is not the fault of Ford Motor Company. No matter what the EPA test may or may not reveal, you can't get the most extreme configuration as is possible with any turbo charged gas engine, give it 4WD; give it the highest possible gearing ratio, give the highest trim level that Ford will let you choose with this engine, and then add a few more options and expect anything besides their result. So it comes down to this...if they are getting only 17.1 mpg with the 2.7L Ecoboost; and they are truly driving a mix of city and highway at speed limits, and I believe they probably are; then this truck is staying on boost way too much and is way under optimized for what this engine can achieve. And how do I know that? because I've measured mine for 2 1/2 years, tank-to-tank, hand calculated, trip meter corrected, and my small version of this truck, standard cab, 2WD, short bed, with 3.31 gearing, XL trim with 101A option package has achieved an average of 24.1 mpg; a high measurement at 26.5; and a low at 21.7. I've never measured city only, but I'd suspect it would hit 20; I 've never done a highway-only measurement with an empty bed, but I suspect that it would average throughout the year, around 25.5; slightly beating the city estimate and slightly falling short to the highway estimate. My returns are very consistent and predictable. It does it tank after tank. I drive conservatively except for the few times I've had to show other pickup owners how slow they are compared to me and my light-weight truck when they try to race by me as if I'm a slave to being slow. The 2.7L Ecoboost can absolutely save fuel over any gas-powered pickup truck ever built so far. I know. I've driven most all of them since the 80s. Driven them in the same manner; along the same routes. Not only that, but this power train can result in a far truer real world mpg versus the estimate than many others of the past, especially from Ford with those previous-generation V6s and V8s with four forward gears. Ford makes different engines for a reason, and just because they'll allow one in a big monster truck with this engine, does not mean that it's a good choice from a fuel economy standpoint, as Edmunds found out.

    Now just to touch on those who still are trying to insist on the crazy idea that a turbo charged gas engine is inherently unreliable for a pickup truck with no real life data to back up those claims.

    2.7L Ecoboost vs. 5.0 Ti-VCT vs 3.5L Ecoboost MY2018

    Torque: 400 @ 2750 vs 400 @ 4500 vs 470 @ 3500. Advantage 2.7L Ecoboost. In fact, the newest 5.0 has now gone from an average peak torque RPM in the segment for V8s (previously 3850), which was, even then, inferior to either Ecoboost from 2015-2017, to the highest of any naturally-aspired choice compared to any brand in the segment. Great for drag racing, but sort of worrisome to have this kind of specification in a work truck. By contrast, the 2.7 is damn-near diesel like. So especially those who drive easily for daily driving and commuting, light-load work, as a half-tons are designed to do anyway, and for those who take care of their trucks, and accelerate modestly for maximum mpg like I do, the 2.7L, with 90% torque as low as 1900 RPM, this engine will likely need to turn the least revolutions over time with equal gearing and curb weight of any of the engines, save the upcoming diesel. Big advantage here is 2.7L Ecoboost; hints towards high durability as long as it's a good design in other respects, and of course anyone who speculates on those other respects is simply being biased for no good reason.

    Compression ratios: 10.3:1 vs. 12.1:1 vs. 10.3:1. Advantage Ecoboosts equally. All of these were raised with their last reworks, but the NA engines were drastically increased, and this super-high compression for a spark-ignition engine in a truck, at least, does not hint towards longevity when applied to all-aluminum engine blocks. These NA engines are now near motorcycle territory for compression ratios. Doesn't prove they won't be durable, but is somewhat concerning on paper.

    Construction material: part GCI block vs. all aluminum vs all aluminum. Advantage 2.7L Ecoboost. GCI is cheaper than aluminum which results in more bang for the buck for the customer; meaning that Ford can offer more value for this engine to counter the extra costs of twin turbo charging and that's exactly what they've been doing. The result: We can get it for $1K premium over the base engine and $1K cheaper than the revvy 5.0L V8; and more than $3K cheaper than the bigger EB. Also, GCI is heavier than aluminum but due to it's smaller displacement and smaller turbos than the big EB, it still weighs slightly less than the 5.0 and considerably less than the 3.5L EB. Lastly GCI is much stronger than aluminum, as this material is used in diesels with over 18:1 compression ratios. So imagine how well this material can conceivably hold up to a modest 10.3:1 compression ratio.

    FE estimate: 20/26/22 vs 17/23/19 vs 18/25/21. Advantage 2.7 and both Ecoboosts equally considering the performance and capability advantages of the bigger Ecoboost. Ford does have the highest FE, non hybrid V8, but just barely; as GM's 5.3L can be configured to reach 16/23/19 for 2018. Both Ecoboosts are far ahead of all pickup truck engines currently, the 3.5L even beats the others' base NA V6s. But if you don't need that extra boost from the 3.5, and you want to save more than $3,000 on a lower trimmed truck, especially if you're choosing one of the mid-level configurations where the 2.7L can stay off boost more often to reach it's potential mpg, the 2.7L Ecoboost may be a good choice. the 2.7L is not only the full size truck king for fuel economy, barely beating out it's sister base engine by virtue of a higher city rating, it meets or beats all gas-powered trucks in the market, including 4 cylinders with 6 speed manual transmissions in mid sized trucks. For example, the stripped, base model Toyota Tacoma with a four cylinder engine produces a peak of 159 horses and 180 ft-lb torque and gets a lower FE estimate than the standard duty, 2WD F150 with the 2.7L Ecoboost that more than doubles those numbers in a larger truck line. And this is Toyota's most economical pickup by far. The 2.7 also beats any Nissan Frontier pickup variant, any Honda Ridgeline, and is on par with GM's base four cylinder in their smallest and least capable truck.

    When one looks at how easy this small engine makes usable power, it's low running RPM capability during periods of empty and light-load driving; it's value-laden price premium; it's sturdy design architecture; it's top-rated fuel economy estimate, and it's on-par-with-any-engine reliability track record so far; it seems to be the best choice for those with modest-duty needs in a half-ton pickup for the price. If for instance, you compare the 2.7L Ecoboost to the new base engine available in the lower trim levels, for $1K, you get four more gears mated to it; you get 35 more peak horses that are available 1500 revolutions lower on the tachometer; you get 135 more ft-lb torque available at 1250 RPM lower on the tachometer; and you get an estimated 1 mpg increase in the city rating comparing each in their most economical form and even higher advantage in 4WD and heavy package choices.
  • gregsfc1gregsfc1 Member Posts: 29

    NEXT, at the very least, a short term test of the 2018 10speed 2.7 to see if more gears makes any difference in mpg -- is it still lots of boost with no Eco. Then the 2018 5.0 with the 10speed, to see if the MPG is still about the same as the 2.7. The 8 speed did so many good things for the Ram; I hope Ford did not mess the 10 speed up.

    In the small, light-weight configurations, I can't imagine how four more gears can help, because it stays in the meat of the band already for unladen driving, and that's where this engine can really shine as a fuel miser. With six gears, I can accelerate, even on a 2-3 percent grade at an acceptable clip, and it'll shift around 1900 RPM in normal mode. It'll hold 6th gear on a 5% grade (with no head wind) at 59 mph. At least in a sub 4200 lb version of this truck with this engine, the added torque down just bit lower on the tachometer like has been done with the 2018 model could conceivably help just a tad more, but fifty more gears wouldn't help my truck.

    Might help with larger configuration with bigger wheel/tire combinations, etc.; but this engine is still not going to be optimized with all that added weight, drag, and roll resistance. The best place for this engine, at least for a fuel economy improver, is in the smaller, lighter configurations with high gearing with light utility needs. You know...like a half-ton truck or what one used to be.
  • gregsfc1gregsfc1 Member Posts: 29
    I forgot to mention, I recently started driving a Ram 1500, 4WD, crew cab with the Penstar V6 at work. Pretty refined power train overall, but I noticed compared to my little Ecoboost, that you can really tell the difference in the shift points, even as the Ram has two more gears than mine. To accelerate at a reasonable clip, it will continually climb to 2500 RPM or so, at least until I reach 6th gear or so, but with my lighter and more torquey truck, it'll shift below 2000 every time unless I punch the accelerator and take off.
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