Ford explains why offering the F-150 with a V8 still makes sense

It's outgunned but not outclassed

2021 Ford F-150
2021 Ford F-150
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Ford is taking the hot-selling F-150 into hybrid territory for the first time, but it's not planning on phasing out the V8-powered model anytime soon. It explained that there is still a strong demand for the eight-cylinder engine.

"There is still a customer for the Coyote V8. The EcoBoost [V6] has done so well; almost 60% of our lineup is the 2.7-liter or the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, so it's widely accepted now. But, there's still a customer that wants the V8," said Craig Schmatz, the F-150's chief engineer, during an interview with Muscle Car & Trucks.

On paper, the 5.0-liter V8 looks like a hangover from a different era. It produces 400 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, so it's outgunned by the aforementioned PowerBoost hybrid (which posts figures of 430 and 570, respectively), and it returns worse gas mileage. Ford pegs the V8's fuel economy at 17 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined with rear-wheel drive, compared to 24, 24, and 24 for the electrified model.

And yet, its appeal remains relatively strong. Schmatz pointed out Ford has gone to great lengths to keep the Coyote relevant, notably by adding cylinder deactivation and variable displacement technology. "It's still a very capable powertrain," he said. It can tow up to 13,000 pounds when it's properly equipped, which is more than the PowerBoost but less than the bigger EcoBoost, and it rules the payload chart with a 3,325-pound capacity.

Ford didn't reveal what's next for the V8 but hinted it's not out of ideas yet.

"We're always able to get a little bit more out of [the Coyote]," Schmatz concluded.

Ford will continue developing V8s in the coming years, too. Canadian union Unifor revealed the firm will soon build a new eight-cylinder with 6.8 liters of displacement in Windsor, Canada. Unverified rumors claim the engine will power the next-generation Mustang due out in 2022, and it could find its way to the 14th-generation F-150. 

Ram, one of Ford's arch rivals, came to a similar conclusion earlier in 2020. It argued its market research shows its customers are still excited about V8s, especially when they're supercharged to 700-plus horsepower.

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