2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost – Click above for high-res image gallery

When gas prices hit $4 per gallon in the past, pickup sales suffered as a result. We have to wait until April sales are released to know how much truck sales have been hurt by the latest spike at the pump, but it's clear that the Ford F-150 is getting a big boost from its turbocharged V6.

Automotive News reports that 36 percent of all F-150s are equipped with the optional EcoBoost V6, which costs between $750 and $1,750 depending on the model. What's more, the EcoBoost model is reportedly accounting for 40 percent of all F-150 orders, and there is currently a scant 13-day supply of the boosted trucks.

Traditionally, full-size truck buyers have been more inclined to opt for larger V8 engines, but the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 appears to have changed some minds. The mill's V8-like 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque means that capability won't be compromised, while fuel economy rises by up to 20 percent. The Environmental Protection Agency gave the boosted F-150 a 16 mile per gallon city rating and a 22 mpg rating in highway driving.

At the same time, Ford claims a maximum tow rating of 11,300 pounds with an EcoBoost-equipped F-150, depending on the model configuration. For comparison's sake, F-150s that come with the 411-hp, 6.2-liter V8 can also tow 11,300 pounds, but fuel economy tops out at only 18 mpg in highway driving.

With the EcoBoost F-150 off to a rousing start, the next big question is whether the boosted V6 has staying power in the event gas prices drop back down to more normal levels. We'll have to wait and see, but with power and capability that matches other trucks in the F-150 lineup and a significant fuel economy savings, we can't see why not.


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Photos copyright ©2010 Jeremy Korzeniewski / AOL and Ford Motor Company

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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