To the surprise of no one in particular, truck buyers usually believe that more is better. On that note, Ford has announced two big changes to give 2017 F-150 buyers more. The first is a new second generation 3.5L Ecoboost V6. This one makes 450 lb-ft of torque, beating the Ram Ecodiesel at its own game, and by 30 lb-ft, while power remains the same at 365 hp. The new engine features some significant changes over the old, the biggest of which is dual injection. This means that the Ecoboost 3.5 has a direct injection nozzle inside each cylinder, but each cylinder also has a conventional intake port injector. Ford claims that this improves power and emissions, but it should also help avoid the direct injection engine issue of carbon buildup on the back of the intake valves. There are also new turbochargers with a lighter turbine wheel and electronically activated wastegates. Valvetrain changes, including hollow camshafts, have lead to a 2 kg reduction in weight.
The new engine will have auto stop-start as standard, increasing fuel savings while stopped. It's also set up to not stop the engine when in four wheel drive, or while towing.
Behind the new Ecoboost V6 will be an all-new 10-speed transmission. Yup, that's right, ten. Ford is the first manufacturer to go all the way to 10 speeds. It is also the first Ford transmission to not use any cast-iron parts, in order to save weight. The new transmission uses wider total gear spacing to improve highway fuel economy, but also help maintain the tow rating while using lower rear axle gear ratios. The new transmission will also have a tow/haul mode as well as a sport mode. One of those two modes will probably be more useful than the other. At least at first, the new 10-speed will only be available on the 3.5L Ecoboost engine.
A higher horsepower version of the 3.5L Ecoboost will see duty in the 2017 Ford Raptor later this year. The 10-speed is the result of a joint venture between Ford and GM, and will first see duty with the General in the 2017 Camaro ZL1. The 3.5L 10-speed combination should become available as an option later this year.