2015 Ford F-150 Explored in Depth

2015 Ford F-150 Explored in Depth

Ford has completely redesigned its wildly popular F-150 pickup for the 2015 model year. This tough truck made its global debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

LIGHTing The Way

The company is taking an enormous chance with the new F-150. Breaking with tradition they’ve switched to an aluminum body in an aggressive bid to cut mass and save fuel. Traditionally the widespread use of this lightweight metal has been exclusive to top-dollar luxury cars like the renowned Audi A8.

Ford Audi

The end result of this innovation and hard work is jaw dropping. Company representatives claim they’ve reduced the truck’s curb weight by 700 pounds. The overwhelming majority of that reduction, about 500 pound’s worth came out of the body. Engineers were able to take about 130 pounds out of the truck’s powertrain and an additional 70 out of the frame, which is now 77 percent high-strength steel, up from just 23 percent in today’s F-150.

2015 Ford F-150 Frame

A heavily revamped engine lineup also accompanies the new body. Ford’s immensely thirsty 6.2-liter V8 has been left to the brand’s Super Duty trucks. This means the popular and torque-rich 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 should serve as the top offering. A familiar 5.0-liter V8 will still be available.

Beyond these changes there’s a new base engine. The F-150’s current entry-level powerplant is a 3.7-liter V6, but since the 2015 model is so much lighter they’ve been able to downsize that to a 3.5-liter six-shooter to further increase fuel economy.

SEE ALSO: Ford Reveals 2015 F-150

Even with the dip in displacement “we’ll still deliver better acceleration” said Doug Scott, truck group marketing manager at Ford. Additionally Scott said it should be “the most efficient F-150 ever,” though he declined to share any fuel economy estimates.

All-New EcoBoast V6

Aside from its groundbreaking aluminum body, this truck also features a brand-new EcoBoost V6. According to Scott it’s a “whole new engine family” and the 2015 F-150 is the first application.

Ford-2.7-Liter-EcoBoost-V6-Engine-01.jpgThe powerplant displaces a diminutive 2.7-liters and is designed to maximize fuel economy. “In our view it broadens the F-150 lineup,” Scott said. The engine is meant for customers that like the versatility and ride height of a pickup but don’t need massive towing capability.

Aside from direct fuel injection and turbocharging, the engine also comes with standard stop/start technology to further improve efficiency. But the company appears to have made one curious engineering omission when it comes to saving gasoline.

Paradoxically while the 2015 F-150 has an aluminum-intensive body the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost actually features an iron block. We all know ferrous metal is considerably heavier than aluminum, why would they go with such a material when they’ve bet the farm on lightweight metal for huge portions of the pickup?

While company spokes-folks wouldn’t comment specifically on this material choice, they did mention that a portion of the new engine’s block is made from an advanced metal called compacted graphite iron, CGI for short. This stuff has numerous advantages compared to either gray or ductile cast iron. Chiefly it has higher tensile strength and greater wear resistance. These benefits allow for much thinner, lighter castings ostensibly with no sacrifice in durability.


“We’ve been very smart where we’ve used CGI” Scott said by “putting the material in the appropriate place.” Other parts of the engine are constructed of aluminum.

Of course CGI is more expensive to cast and machine than regular iron but its additional strength and lower weight can offset these drawbacks. Ford already uses the material in its 6.7-liter PowerStroke diesel engine that’s available in the Super Duty line of trucks.

Still, iron is an unusual choice considering the rest of the company’s Duratec V6 engine family is constructed of aluminum. But metallurgy isn’t the only area where this engine differs from its stable mates.

Engineering Intricacies

Ford-2.7-Liter-EcoBoost-V6-Engine-05.jpgWhile supposedly a completely new architecture the 2.7 appears to borrow a few features from the company’s dated 3.0-liter V6. Like this engine and the company’s Modular V8s roller-followers actuate the valves instead of flat tappets; additionally the arrangement of its timing chains mirrors the old 3.0-liter V6, with one staggered in front of the other.

Borrowing traits from the 3.5-liter family it’s got cast-iron camshafts instead of hollow steel tubes with pressed-on lobes. Variable valve timing on the intake and exhaust cams, coil-over-plug ignition modules and complexity-reducing integrated exhaust manifolds round out the top-end.

Moving to the block it’s got piston-cooling jets to keep unwanted heat at bay, a variable-displacement oil pump for greater efficiency as well as fracture-split main bearing caps, supposedly the first application of this innovation. Like the valve covers, its oil sump appears to be made from plastic. All told the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 looks like a curious mix of old and new.

2015 Ford F-150 EcoBoost Engine Close Up

Manufacturers love to brag about how thoroughly they torture test their products and this powertrain is no exception. Among other rigorous trials Ford has subjected the new engine to some 240,000 starts and stops over 900 test hours. They’ve run it at peak load for 17 straight days and even conducted more than 1,000 consecutive extreme-temperature shocks that take the powerplant from minus 25 degrees to 235 degree. They even tested it in the grueling Baja 1,000 race… cleverly without anyone’s knowledge.

Output Estimates

Ford-2.7-Liter-EcoBoost-V6-Engine-06.jpgOf course Ford has not released any output figures for the new 2.7-liter engine but we can extrapolate what they might be by comparing it to the larger 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. In the F-150 this powerplant puts out 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, pretty stout numbers.

Doing the math that works out to about 104 ponies and 120 units of torque per liter. If we multiply these figures by 2.7 we arrive at about 281 hp and 324 lb-ft, numbers that are comparable to a midrange V8.

Could this new EcoBoost engine be Ford’s lower-cost, gasoline-powered response to the Ram’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel? That powerplant puts out somewhat similar numbers, 240 hp and 420 lb-ft. With its lightweight new body could the 2015 F-150 meet or exceed the Ram’s performance and efficiency?

Of course these figures are little more than rough estimates so don’t be surprised if Ford’s official numbers are significantly different. But aside from output, we wonder, will this engine fit under the new Mustang’s hood? That could be an interesting combination.

GALLERY: Ford 2.7-Liter EcoBoost Engine


Discuss this story on our Ford forum

  • Daniel Gomez

    I really thinking bout getting this truck with a 2.7 eb… I wonder if it will be offered in crew 4×4 around $37k

  • DeadArmadillo

    I think they really need to consider a small diesel. And bringing the Ranger back wouldn’t hurt either.

  • Yep, need a diesel. I drive a F350 6.7, love it and would buy a 150 if it had an economical diesel power plant. Bring it…

  • sanfordandsons

    If they can make the smaller 2.7EB so that is does not have problems like the 3.5 EB had at its outset, I would buy the smaller engine. I would rather not have a diesel. I had a 2013 KR 250 and got horrible milage, about 12.3 then went back to a 150 3.5EB. The other problems with the newer SD trucks is the EPA mandated ReGen of the exhaust filter that wastes 2 mpg of diesel. Even VW’s diesel have to use the ReGen fluid. At nearly $28 for 2.5 gallons, the cost of the piss water will add up quickly adding more expense to operating a diesel. Diesel is never going to be a cost savings at the smaller engine sizes with the cost of diesel and the cost of ReGen fluid, even at 40 mpg it will never be cheaper to use than gas.

  • sanfordandsons

    The Ranger never got better gas milage than did the V6 F150. That is why they got rid of it. Ford has figured the cost of operating the V6 (not the EB V6) was cheaper in the F150 plus you have lots more room and a better ride. You’ll never see another small or mid-sized truck from Ford.

  • Brent Christensen

    That 2.7 sounds perfect for a Ranger. But not for a “real” truck. What they describe in this article is the engine for a “fake” truck. One that people drive back and forth to the office with a paddle board or a mountain bike in the back and thats it. I still haven’t given up my ’95 PowerStroke 7.3, but I have been waiting for the next generation of the F150 to up the ante just a bit on the 3.5EB so I could finally get rid of it for boat-towing duty. Looks like Ford is moving in the opposite direction, unfortunately, and I’ll be keeping the smelly, noisy (but lovable) 7.3… 🙁

  • Greg

    I’m not certain where you got your information, but having owned a 1997 F150 (4.2L V6) and a 1999 Ranger (3.0L V6) I can tell you the fuel economy was a great deal better in the Ranger. I also worked for a national auto service chain and can tell you the last generation of Ranger with the 2.3L DOHC four cylinder and the SOHC 4.0L V6 would both run circles around a V6 F150 of comparable years. The 2012 Ranger won International Truck of the Year (unanimous vote).

    Gas mileage didn’t kill the Ranger. The prospect of losing F150 sales to a mid-size truck killed the Ranger.

  • sanfordandsons

    I have a 1991 Ranger with a 2.8 V6 and I can tell you it only gets 18 on a good day going down hill. My 2013 f150 EB SCREW which is 2500 pounds heavier gets 20.4. With the new EcoBoost engine there is no need for a Ranger, I know its not comparing similar years, but Ford doesn’t care what people think about their models they only care how cheap they can build the car/truck and sell them. Ranger has never been a great seller in the small truck market compared to Toyota. When I bought my son a Ranger when he graduated from college in 1995, he barely got 18 mpg and it did not have but 3500 towing rating. Best Truck is a meaningless rating to me, this year the Ram was picked for C Reports best truck. Would YOU buy a Ram?

  • Jakewwa

    EcoBoost vs EcoDiesel: Besides the specification battle, I want to know what it is like towing uphill for a long duration of time. I want to know speed, heat/cooling, fuel MPG, efficiency, and what is easier on the engine.

    I also want to know more about the transmissions.

  • SilentBillyBob

    I work internationally, and some of our work trucks are Diesel Ranger 4WD crew cabs. I would LOVE to have one of those over here as a farm / hunting beater.
    They never break, and are pretty frugal on the fuel, too.

  • SilentBillyBob

    Call, write & bug the piss out of your congressman.
    Small diesels are all over Europe, and are very clean, efficient and powerful.
    European companies simply do not want to deal with the certification Nazis to meet US import restrictions.

  • Eric Gildersleeve

    I want to know what happened to the advertisements about the 2015 F150 that would have an all new Diesel engine. Ads stated it would be the same as the 8 cylinder cut in half so parts would be mostly interchangeable and take a reliable engine and put in an all new truck.

    I will never buy another Gasoline engine if at all possible. I am even considering an electric lawn mower over a gasser. Gasoline is not as stable or practical as older fuel and lifespan is horrendous.

    If the F150 had a Diesel engine like they were hinting at we would be first in line to buy one. I love my 2000 F250SD 7.3L and would like to junk the POS 2007 Taurus. My truck actually gets better fuel mileage than the V6 in the Taurus.

  • reality

    The discussion about old engine technology reeks of a lack of understanding. The CGI block has very little in common with the ‘cast iron’ they compare it to, and as briefly mentioned is a new technology that is both more expensive and very different from ‘old cast iron’. It is a technology that, to date, only Ford has employed in mainstream vehicles, at higher cost to the manufacturer. I will spare the details, but this is brand new, not old technology, and combines better strength to weight than both cast iron and aluminum. Hence the all-new engine. Also, Ford has already announced that a diesel will be in the engine lineup after the initial release. But yes, this engine should be the closest in comparison to the diesel fuel economy.