• Op/Ed: Owner’s Perspective – Ford F-150 5.0L Coyote vs. EcoBoost

    2011 ford f-150 v8 5.0 liter off-road

    Editor’s Note: We recently received this email from an owner of a 2011 Ford F-150 XLT Supercab 4×4 with the 5.0L V8 engine. At TFLtruck we do not publish long term truck reviews, so we thought you might find this one owner’s experience helpful when purchasing your next pickup.

    This is a 2011 Ford F-150 XLT Supercab 4×4 with the 5.0L V8 engine bought brand new back in August of 2011. It has the chrome, convenience, and off-road packages. An XLT with the off-road package is the same as an FX4 packaged F-150, but a FX4 has a nicer interior as well as different decals on the exterior of the truck. With this package, I have off-road tuned shocks, skid plates, and a 3.73 electronically locking rear differential. The color is dark blue pearl with a two toned silver bottom.

    Why did I go with the 5.0 liter engine versus the famous Ecoboost engine?  Several reasons factored in to the decision. First, I wanted this exact truck with these options. When I saw the truck, I knew that it was the one for me, regardless of what engine it had in it. I could not afford any of the higher trim packages at the time so I knew I had to settle with the XLT.
    5.0 liter v8 coyote ford engine

    Second, I took a considerable amount of time researching the EcoBoost, and at that time, there were little real world tests or reviews out there. Although Ford’s torture test videos were impressive, there was something that I just didn’t like about the twin turbo V6. To me it just didn’t seem like an engine that should go in a 6,000 pound truck. It didn’t have that grunt of a V8 and the low gurgle at idle. But, it was definitely fast. And who doesn’t like to go fast, right?

    Finally, the reason I chose the 5.0 was the test drive.  I was blown away during the test drive. Yeah it gets all of its power in the higher RPM ranges, but what V8 doesn’t?  The 5.0 has an impressive exhaust note that is similar to the mustangs. The intake note you hear when the engine really starts running up the RPM range is just awesome. And last but not least, I could not tell that much of a performance difference between the EcoBoost and 5.0. Therefore, I didn’t see it worth the extra premium cost to get the Ecoboost versus the 5.0. It just didn’t make sense to me at the time.

    ford f-150 xlt

    Looking back now at my decision on the engines, I don’t ever wish I had the Ecoboost. I have two family members that have EcoBoost F-150’s and a coworker that also had one. The two family members are both are fairly pleased with them.  The one complaint I hear from them concerning the EcoBoost is the MPG. The MPG’s are not near what Ford advertises them to be. In my 5.0, an average tank runs in the low 18’s for MPG’s, which includes city and highway driving. In their EcoBoost trucks, an average tank runs 15-16 MPG’s. When I am cruising down the interstate running 75 mph, I can easily get 19.4 – 19.5 MPG. Ecoboost? Not so much. Seems like with the Ecoboost, you really have to feather the gas pedal to get any decent MPG.

    My coworker traded in his EcoBoost for two reasons. The first reason was he didn’t get good MPG. He said no matter how he drove, he could never get over 14 MPG. The leveling kit and slightly larger tires didn’t help either. Next, he had a problem with the engine shutting off during rainy weather. He investigated this problem online, and found out many others were also having issues. So much so that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened up an investigation on Ford F-150s with the EcoBoost concerning the exact issue that my coworker had. I have not heard much else about NHTSA’s investigation. Now in saying all of this, I am not bashing the EcoBoost engine. I understand there are a large number of people who have not had any problems with it. I do think it is a great start of an era of different type of engines for trucks. We are already seeing the new Chevrolet’s take note of the direct injection that Ford seemed to start off. We are also starting to see other manufacturers start coming out with engines other than a V8 such as Nissan and Dodge coming out with a light duty diesel engines. They see the market that F-150 was filling with the EcoBoost engine, and they wanted a piece of the pie as well.

    2014 ford f-150 interior dash

    I do light towing with my truck, pulling an ATV with other various hunting gear on it. I get pretty good gas mileage pulling this 1,600 lb load (just about 16 MPG). I have taken the truck off-road some and it has never hesitated to get me out of a sticky situation. The traction control in these trucks is phenomenal. I plan on keeping my truck for as long as I can. The supercab serves my wife and I well and even if we decide to have kids one day, it still has plenty of room for little ones.

    I am very happy with my 5.0-liter F-150, and wish that review sites including TFLtruck.com would start doing reviews of the 5.0.  The 5.0 has very similar numbers to the new 2014 Silverado and their new 5.3L engine. I would be very interested to see how the two engines compare when it comes to a 0-60 MPH test and a towing test. I also wish that Ford would just once, create a commercial for the 5.0. The only commercials I see are for the Ecoboost engines and also, sometimes to advertise higher MPG numbers of the 3.7L V6.


    Take a look at this TFLtruck video from Ford proving grounds:

    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

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    20 thoughts on “Op/Ed: Owner’s Perspective – Ford F-150 5.0L Coyote vs. EcoBoost

    1. I really appreciate you guys posting this article! A buddy of mine has actually just bought a new FX4 with the 5.0 L engine, and I forwarded this to him. I myself am not a Ford truck fan, but the way in which this author described his experience was very refreshing! He gave an honest opinion without all the usual dramatics associated with truck owners. And he called for a very fair test between his truck style and the Chevrolet. I myself am a soon to be 2014 Sierra Denali with the 6.2 L owner, and I certainly would like to see more of the realistic comparisons that you fine gentlemen at TFL Truck display!

    2. Ben,

      Roman, & Nathan don’t choose the 5.0L V8 for the Ike Gauntlet tests for a reason. Yes, for people like you that just get groceries with their F-150 that 5.0L V8 may be powerful enough. However, pull 10,000 lbs up the Ike Gauntlet and you would be pretty embarrassed at all the people honking at you to get in the third lane and get the hell out of the way. For a starter truck the 5.0L is a fine choice. But for real world work, the EcoBoost is the only choice. By the way, not a single person in my entire cirlce of friends and family have had this “ecoboost cutting out” problem. I haven’t had it once and live in Florida where I’ve driven through rain so hard that you couldn’t see 1 foot in front of the truck and that is pulling 6,000 lbs and it never cut out once. For the few people that have experience it, Ford had a fix for those early engines. It was an intercooler issue not an engine issue.

      By the way, my Ecoboost 4×4 gets 22 mpg at 75 mph all day long.

      I would rather have a car than own a F-150 5.0L. But hey I’m not bashing it, just simply stating that in my world it doesn’t even exist.

      1. The Ike Gaunlet tests could be done with the 5.0 as the towing limitations are well within range. 9,500lbs max for the properly setup F150 5.0L. If 10,000lbs is going to be something I tow regularly, where real world work is done (your words), then that is where I’d go for an F250 or 2500HD. EcoBoost engines are a powerful engine but this is Ford’s new baby so they have to hold it on a pedalstal. The 5.0 in the Mustang puts out more than Ecoboost. I wonder why? (End sarcasm).

        1. They wouldn’t use the 5.0 because it would fall on it’s face. It will not pull at altitude any where near what an ecoboost will do.

          1. Thanks for the reply, J. I’m confident that the 5.0 would do just fine. Especially after seeing the Chevy 5.3 with 3.08 gears make it up. If I want a truck for just torque, I’d get a diesel. Thanks

      2. Jeremiah, I was told by TFL that they do not usually get to pick their test vehicles, it’s whatever the manufacturer gives them to test. So that is their reason that they’ve never tested the 5.0 because Ford or other manufacturers do not send them one. Also, the Ecoboost cut off problem in rainy weather is not fixed. Owners who have had the problem and have had all the TSBs performed and new CAC’s installed are still having issues. It’s all over the internet. I don’t really have anything else to say. It was just my opinion.

        1. That is correct. We would like to test a 5.0-liter F-150 through the Ike Gauntlet, but so far – Ford has not provided one.

      3. Jeremiah I hope that you don’t believe the nonsense you post. The Coyote V8 would do just fine in the Ike Gauntlet. The ecoboost would outperform it, simply because the test is done at extreme altitude. At sea level the two engines would perform nearly identically in said test. You cherry picked your example in an attempt to over-promise on the ecoboost’s capabilities.

        You think that the Coyote is only good enough for a “starter truck” and the ecoboost is needed for a “real world work truck”? GTFO. You have obviously never had a “real world” work truck and are clearly ignorant of that even means. All half tons fall on their face in “real world” work situations, but, in the rare situation where a light enough work load warrants a half ton, who on earth would choose a more complicated FI motor over a simpler and cheaper NA motor? *Maybe* someone who works at altitude, which is a good (and one of the only) reason to buy a FI motor.

        Nobody cares about your anecdotal experiences with the ecoboost, the intercooler *obviously* has problems. It was not “only” early engines that suffered from this problem, and it is not entirely clear that Ford has fixed the problem. Moreover dealing with the problem was handled about as poorly as company could handle it. Denying the problem existed, prescribing all sorts of absurd fixes that did nothing, and now by limiting intercooler efficiency they think they may have a “win”. God news for you pal, lowering the efficiency on the intercooler is *not* usually something you want to go out of your way to do. You wrote “it was an intercooler issue not an engine issue”. What a ridiculous statement. The intercooler is a mission critical piece of the FI system of the engine. Without one you do not have a functional form of the other. You can try to deflect and distract all you want. This was (and possibly still is) a MAJOR problem and screwup on Ford’s part.

        You do NOT get 22mpg at 75 mph “all day long”. That is an outright lie, and you look like a fool making a claim like that. You *might* have gotten 22mpg at 75 *once* (while going downhill with a tailwind).

        In summary you can be fan boy all you want. But know that when you post garbage like the above we can all see you for what you are. A pathetic little fanboy who does his best to lie to convince others that his fetish is the be all end all.

    3. Surprised this person didn’t notice any performance difference between the 5.0 aand the ecoboost. My experience was the opposite. Also the 5.0 liter had no real world data as it too was a new engine in 2011. Sound to me this person just like the sound of the v8 apposed to the quiet cabin. To each his own. I have 25,000 miles on my ecoboost and average 16 5 mpg in town and 19-20 on the highway with the same 3.73 rear end. These engines are not in the same league when performance is the game.

    4. Andre,

      Thanks for posting this article. This was refreshing. I’m 27 and I just bought a F150 XLT CrewCab with the 3.55 rear end. It has the tow package (not max tow pkg) and chrome pkg. I love it. I am the first person in my family to own a Ford. My family are all GMC owners. My truck is rated to tow 7,700lbs (ford website) and I have pulled my sisters 27ft travel trailer (6,800 dry) and I haven’t had a problem. It pulls great and easily gets up to speed on entrance ramps on hwy. My main commute is to work and back and I get 17.2 mpg. The fasted road I get on is 45mph in my daily commute. I test drove the Ecoboost at the dealer and I couldn’t tell a difference by just driving the truck not pulling anything. A guy who lives near me works for a Ford dealer and after a couple conversations with him I decided to go with the 5.0. One thing he brought up was gas mileage. He said you might see a mile at most on difference between the two. The next thing he mentioned is that the ecoboost runs better with 91 octane. He tells ecoboost owners all the time to run 91 octane in the turbo charged motor and you’ll feel a difference (especially when towing.) I am very happy with my truck at this point. Like Ben, I wish you would include a 5.0 in your tests, especially Ike Gaunlet. I love your reviews and please keep up the good work.

      P.S.- your review of both 5.0 and Ecoboost helped my decision too. Thanks again

    5. Why is this engine even compared to the 5.0 liter? It is more equivalent to the 6.2 liter, in fact it produces more torque than the 6.2 in the normal operating rpm range. It gets much better mpg than the 6.2 and slightly better mpg than the 5.0.

    6. In all this discussion/debate about MPG and towing capacity , no one has mentioned long term reliability . If you plan to keep your truck for the long haul , I would go with the coyote 5.0 litre . Sure the twin turbo 6 has gobs of torque , but what happens when the turbos go ? I can predict it won’t be cheap to rebuild two turbo chargers . Meanwhile the Coyote will still be running when the body rots off it with regular oil changes .

    7. I have been looking for a 5.0 tow test also. I have a 2013 xlt 5.0 supercrew and have pulled a couple heavy loads or atleast heavy to an average joe and my truck has done great. I love having the integrated brake controller. the only add on I did was the OE towing mirrors. great great truck.
      love the exhaust note!

    8. After two engine failures in my EcoBoost I got rid of it – that was the result of 28 significant condensation events. I can take ANY F150 Ecoboost made 2011 through 2014, and when driven “at” dew point for 6 hours it will hydro lock guaranteed. Sometimes the damage is minor, clogged cats, fouled/damage plugs, reduced MPGs, clogged up throttle body, and frozen intercooler. Sometimes it is major, bent rods, thrown rods, bent valves, and cracked blocks. This is all dependent upon the amount of water ingested and/or the amount of time water is ingested. The ECU does not protect the engine or power train from damage. The ECU is only able to detect 3 out of 10 “mid-level” water ingesting events. Both very minor events and the more extreme, large volume of water, and sudden events are not detected and/or fail to respond quickly enough to prevent major damage. There is no environmental test chamber in the world that can even remotely come close to testing for that type of driving condition. In its current form the F150 Ecoboost cannot be driven for any length of time “at” dew point, and when over ridding weather conditions are present engine failure will result. This has absolutely “nothing” to do with humidity.

      I am only commenting on the above because of the effect of the condensation issue and its effect on MPGs. I was able to take “my truck” on a 3 day 1,500 miles trip with speeds between 70 to 75 and got 23MPGs for the trip. During the next month my truck had three minor condensation events that damaged the cats and plugs again; then the “exact” same trip was taken it only got 16MPGs for the trip in the same weather conditions. The loss of MPGs came with lack of power; it was not be restored until the truck went in for repairs again and another two weeks in the shop again.

    9. Well I can say this from my experience. I own a 2013 Ford Ecoboost 4×4 Mawtow SCab. I average 17mpg which is what the sticker says. I can average 21mpg on the freeway. I often average 20mpg. I have averaged as much as 25mpg on a 300mile road trip but it was under ideal conditions. It all depends on how you drive. The later 2013 ecoboosts have a completely different intake plumbing, blow off valve, and turbos. They now run turbos that are larger, they moved the blow off valve to the CAC & it’s now electric. This allows the blow off valve to expel water from the CAC. Problem solved. It would have been wise for ford to do this with the 11 & 12’s as a recall but I guess that isn’t cost effective. There are also millions of these trucks on the road & the ones that have had an issue is a small comparative number. More f-150’s sold than anything else, more eco-boosts sold than any other single engine in the f-150. So of course if there is a problem with the older ones it will be all over the internet even if it’s a small minority. I had heard about this before I bought my truck. I honestly believe Ford fixed the issue. Otherwise I wouldn’t have bought my 2013. I haven’t had any hint of an issue yet. Still runs great.

      1. “There are also millions of these trucks on the road & the ones that have had an issue is a small comparative number.”

        Where exactly do you get your statistics from? I’m guessing you are referring to the ecoboost engine generally (Flex, Escape, Explorer, etc) when you say millions? There are not millions of F150’s with the ecoboost engine on the road.

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