How fast and efficient is the 2017 Ford F-150 with the Gen2 3.5L EcoBoost V6 and the 10-speed automatic transmission? This is precisely what we set out to find out during a first drive opportunity near Dearborn, Michigan and Ford’s Michigan Proving Grounds. The first findings were surprising.
The 2017 Ford F-150 upgrade is focused on the seconds generation 3.5L EcoBoost V6 and the new 10-speed automatic transmission. Otherwise, you will not be able to tell a 2017 truck from a 2016 counterpart. Exterior and interior appearance, trim levels, and options carry over from the 2016 model year.
The Gen2 3.5L EcoBoost V6 builds on the block of the same displacement with new components and dual (direct and port) fuel injection. The are two injectors per cylinder, new turbochargers, and engine management software to produce 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm. The engine is bolted to a 10-speed automatic transmission, which Ford co-developed with General Motors. Both companies are very protective of the facts about which components or designs are shared and which are unique to each company. However, Ford specified that transmission control logic, physical case, mounting plate, and more are unique to the F-150.
After about 60 miles on Michigan highways, side streets, and several acceleration and high speed runs at the Michigan Proving Grounds, I went away impressed with smooth and seamless gear shifts. I tried the transmission in regular drive mode, tow/haul mode (when I challenged Kent “Mr.Truck” Sundling to a quick uphill towing test), and sport modes. My first impression of the engine’s power delivery and transmission performance is very positive. The truck feels powerful, there is still engine sound augmentation that makes the twin-turbo V6 sound more deep and throaty. The transmission is happy and quick to change gears. At times, I would not even notice that the truck shifted gears. However, the transmission gear display in the main gauge cluster always displays the gear you are in. I did not notice the transmission “hunting” for gears, but I also did not go up or down any significant grades.
The Gen2 3.5L EcoBoost V6 and the 10-speed automatic transmission will be available in all F-150 trim levels, from the base XL to the top-of-the-line Limited. The may be cab or bed length configuration that are not available with the new power-train duo, but Ford is looking to offer this maximum-tow engine/transmission in as many configurations as possible.
Payload and towing capacities for the 2017 truck remain the same as with the 2016 model – the maximum towing rating is 12,200 lbs.
I performed two impromptu 0-60 MPH tests at the proving grounds, one in a 2016 F-150 crew cab 4×4 King Ranch, and one in a similarly equipped 2017 King Ranch. The results were interesting close or nearly identical. The SoloDL GPS device clocked the 2016 truck at 6.91 seconds and the 2017 truck at 6.86 seconds. Both runs were performed in 2WD mode and with two people in the truck. Ford engineer told me that they tested the 2017 truck with an average 0-60 MPH improvement of 0.2 seconds. I tried a couple more runs, but could not improve on the 6.86 sec time.
Next, Mr.Truck and I performed two impromptu mixed loop MPG tests between the Michigan Proving Grounds in Romeo, MI and the Detroit Zoo. Don’t ask why we chose the Zoo. We ran about 38 miles in the 2016 truck with a final trip computer reading of 20.0 MPG. Later, we did the return trip (although via a slightly shorter route) in the 2017 truck and got a reading of 21.2 MPG. This was not a rigorous test and we were not able to verify the numbers at the fuel pump due to time constraints. However, the 2017 truck showed a clear advantage in fuel economy. EPA and Ford did not provide the MPG estimates for the 2017 EcoBoost/10-speed truck.
The 2017 Ford F-150 should reach dealerships in October of 2016.
Check out my first drive review below: