What is the big deal with the 2017 Ford F-150 that goes on sale in the fall of 2016? It gets a completely redesigned 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine and a new 10-speed automatic transmission. The updated powertrain means that the 2017 truck will be quicker off-the-line and more efficient down the road. Exactly how much quicker and how efficient will it be? This information has not yet been released, and we did not have an opportunity to drive the new powertrain combination.
The second generation 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 is new from the bottom up and inside out. It uses high-tech materials to remove weight from the valvetrain and the turbochargers. It has a new fuel delivery system that employs both direct and port fuel injection. The resulting output number for what Ford calls the “base 3.5-liter EcoBoost” is 365 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. While the maximum horsepower remains the same, the torque figure grows by 30 lb-ft from the previous generation of the twin-turbo V6.
All this power means nothing if it cannot get to the ground, and the new 10-speed automatic transmission is the crucial next link in the updated powertrain. This transmission has a lower first gear and more closely spaced gear ratios to improve off-the-line acceleration and keep the engine within its optimum rpm ranges for power or efficiency. It has 6 forward “under-drive” gears, 7th direct-drive gear, and the top three “over-drive” gears.
Ford did collaborate with General Motors on the design of the transmission, but neither company specifies which components each company customized or tuned for different applications. Chevrolet chose to unveil their version of the 10-speed automatic transmission in the high-performance 2017 Chevy Camaro ZL1.
A tweaked version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and the 10-speed automatic transmission will also be used in the upcoming 2017 Ford Raptor. Ford calls the Raptor version of the engine “high output”. Ford did not announce the specifications for the Raptor version of the engine. Ford also did not comment on the future availability of a turbo-diesel or electric hybrid powertrain options for the F-150.
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