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2015 Ford F-150 Towing MPG

Friday, February 27th 2015. | 2015 Ford F-150, Reviews

Ford’s 2015 F-150 engine line-up is very interesting from an efficiency point of view. Depending on your specific needs for your truck, you may be surprised by the engine I would recommend to you. I already did an article on which engine best fits your needs, but today I want to specifically, get a little more in-depth on the mpg aspects of each engine, especially when it comes to loaded vs unloaded. We have 4 options when it comes to the 2015 Ford F-150:

  • 3.5 Liter Base V6 with 283 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque
  • 2.7 Liter EcoBoost V6 with 325 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque
  • 5.0 Liter Coyote V8 with 385 horsepower and 387 lb-ft of torque
  • 3.5 Liter EcoBoost V6 with 365 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque

Depending on what you need your truck for, you might be surprised which engine comes out on top from an efficiency standpoint. I think there are two basic categories of truck buyers. Let’s take a look at those first. Then we’ll move on to some other discussion points.

2015 Ford F-150 Extended Cab

2015 Ford F-150 Extended Cab

Let’s start with someone who tows frequently, someone who most of the time will have a trailer hitched to the back of his or her pickup truck.
In this case I’d recommend either the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6 or the 5.0 liter Coyote V8, even if that trailer only weighs 3 or 4,000 pounds. Why? The 2.7 liter may be rated more efficient by the EPA, but those tests are done with a truck that does not have a trailer behind it, as soon as we hitch up a trailer, roles reverse, in a recent test pickuptrucks.com did the 3.5 EcoBoost and the 5.0 V8 got 11 miles per gallon towing a trailer weighing almost 7,000 pounds, while the 2.7 liter EcoBoost only managed 9.8 miles per gallon with a 4,200 pound trailer. Imagine if the 3.5 or the 5.0 would’ve been towing a 4,200 pound trailer, I bet the numbers would be even further in their favor.

2015 Ford F-150 Towing Heavy Steel Pipes

2015 Ford F-150 Towing Heavy Steel Pipes

Now let’s look at someone that tows an occasional load, but most of the time their truck is a daily driver.
Now the EPA numbers start to make more sense. I would definitely recommend the 2.7 liter EcoBoost. In those same tests from pickuptrucks.com the 2.7 liter really shines, getting 23.8 miles per gallon, leaving the 3.5 and the 5.0 in its dust with 18.5 and 17.3 miles per gallon respectively. That 23.8 miles per gallon really helps the daily driver out on their commute. While still having the power to do the occasional towing and hauling job, when properly equipped this engine has a respectable max-tow rating of 8,500 pounds. It should be noted that the 23.8 mpg figure would be in ideal conditions, but the 2.7’s mileage should still be comfortably over what the 3.5 or 5.0 get unloaded.

2015 Ford F-150 Towing an Airstream

2015 Ford F-150 Towing an Airstream

What about the 3.5 liter V6?
In my opinion this truck is only worth looking at in regards to large fleet purchases where ease of maintenance and simplicity are an absolute priority. The 2.7 liter is only a $495 option, with that money you are buying so, so, so much more capability, just take a look at our article on towing capacities, or look above at the horsepower numbers. On top of that its MPG ratings are slightly better.

Conclusion; Loaded vs. Unloaded MPG
The point I am trying to get across, is that depending on your needs one engine may be better than the other, even when the EPA numbers say otherwise. That’s because the EPA only does unloaded testing, which does you no good at all if your truck has a trailer hitched to it much of the time that it’s on the road.

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  • nope

    The PUTC numbers were clearly incorrect, there is zero chance the 2.7L actually returned 23.8mpg on their test loop (which was in and of itself woefully isnufficient to generate much in the way of meaningful data). They state it themselves in their article that they were “unable to confirm” the F150 mileage. The translation is they just made it up, which, since PUTC has a long history of pandering to Ford, is not surprising.

    • Owen

      I did notice they were “unable to confirm”, does this mean they simply read what the display stated? I definitely think low 20’s are possible with the 2.7EB and in ideal conditions 23.8 is also possible. I will admit that in the real world I’d expect 19 – 21 average out of a 2.7 on the highway.

      Considering that, the point this article is making is still valid, the 2.7 is a great engine for those that don’t tow every day.

      • nope

        I certainly agree that 23.8 is doable in an ideal setup, just that PUTC screwed up their test, which is obnoxious. They also clearly screwed up in that test with the Colorado, which I have personally spent time with (buddy has a new one) and it won’t get anywhere near what they reported. The 2.7 looks perfect on paper, particularly given the F150s recent weight decrease, we should see within a year how it does in the real world via fuelly and other reporting services. It will unfortunately share the problem that all turbo/gasoline engines have, which is that they must run rich under boost to keep things cool and to keep the cats happy. New low sulfur gasoline should help somewhat with this, but the 3 way cat is a limiting component that just can’t be worked around. If gasoline engines could run as lean as diesel engines do and could be “throttled” via fuel injection events ecoboost (and other equivalent) engines would be the bees knees.

        As it is I am impressed that Ford has managed to get the performance that they have out of them. If the ecoboost is step 1 in attempting to implement their bobcat concept or to adding a water/meth setup (really hard to do on gasoline engines b/c water tends to foul plugs) then the ecoboost engines will be unstoppable.

        • Owen

          It certainly shows in the MPG numbers, under high boost, this little engine uses more fuel than I thought possible, haha. But I think that’s absolutely fine, I don’t think many people intend to do full time towing and hauling with this engine.

          The performance they got out of it is astounding in my opinion, check out this dyno comparison to a GM 5.3:

          As for running water/meth, I know hundreds, if not thousands of people already do this on the 3.5 EcoBoost with incredible results, we’ll be featuring a truck soon that is putting down some incredible power.

          • nope

            I’m glad water/meth has been working for people. Perhaps newer generation sparkplugs don’t have as much of a fouling problem as older ones (although I have no idea what would’ve changed to help prevent this). Are people changing plugs substantially more often while using water/meth injection? What ratio are they using to inject. An ecoboost motor (including this 2.7L) if reprogrammed to take advantage of it should not only put down tremendous power but get tremendous mileage with a good reliable water/meth setup. It will also take care of the stupid valve coking issues they suffer from (as all DI engines do).

          • Owen

            I’ve seen as much as 100%, but I think a 50/50 mix is most common and tends to be recommended by tuners. The truck that’ll be featured soon, I believe it’s running 75M/25W mix and also running on E30.

            I haven’t read much about the efficiency implications of methanol, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you manage to keep your foot off of the skinny pedal that you’d pick up some efficiency.

            As for spark plugs, I shall have to ask. But judging from the fact that I haven’t seen anyone make a big deal about it, I’d say they aren’t fouling them like crazy.

            I am very very curious to see what sort of power increases we’ll see from dyno-tuning a 2.7 EcoBoost, I know LET, 5-Star, Unleashed and Livernois are all set to have something soon.

          • nope

            The efficiency gains *can* be huge since you can run more boost without having to run rich. Let’s a gasoline engine function much more “diesel” like. The other bane of water/meth systems is that most consume fluid at an enormous rate, I will be curious to see what these systems are consuming per gallon of fuel.

          • Owen

            From what I’ve found, it doesn’t look like running meth is particularly efficiency-centric on an EcoBoost, it tends to only run in at certain boost levels. I think for an EcoBoost the main benefits are its intake cleaning properties and the increase in power (when properly tuned for).

            From what I read these systems don’t consume a whole lot in daily driving situations, as the 3.5 EcoBoost engines don’t see a whole lot of boost in those situations.

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