Before jumping into this, I must admit to not having taken any pictures of this pickup. It was just placed into service in the fleet where I work and the door decals would have been distracting and not very pertinent. What is pertinent is how the engine in this truck is already starting to change mindsets.
Not that long ago, having a 2.7 liter engine in a half-ton pickup would have been greeted with snide remarks and belly-laughs. At 2.7 liters, it is exactly half the displacement of the 5.4 liter that was the de facto V8 in Ford pickups for a very long time. However, this 2.7 liter V6 pumps out more horsepower than many versions of the 5.4 ever thought about.
This particular pickup had all of 420 miles on the odometer. The supervisor at the location, a serial pickup owner named Darren, was highly skeptical about this pickup when it was being ordered. He had been assigned a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado extended cab with a 5.3 liter and was wanting to have a similar replacement. Upon second thought, “highly skeptical” is understating things.
Let’s face it; many pickup owners in the United States are accustomed to and want V8 power. Darren is no exception. It’s reliable power, the engines are easy to work on, and you know what to expect. There is comfort and familiarity in all three of those traits.
When I went to Darren’s location earlier this week, the new F-150 was sitting out front. He had been away from work for an extended period and was just laying eyes on it for the first time that day. My standing offer was I would trade him my ’07 Silverado for his new F-150 if he didn’t like it. Of course, I was saying all sorts of things to dissuade him from liking it, such as telling him the all aluminum body was created from all his old beer cans.
After attending our meeting, we went and drove the F-150.
Remember this is a two-wheel drive fleet grade pickup. Vinyl seats, roll down windows, manual locks, and a radio, not a sound system. It was a very basic crew cab pickup. Looking in the glove compartment I found the window sticker. While it read $35,000 I knew my employer had paid nowhere near that amount.
The first thing that struck me about the 2.7 liter F-150 is how quiet it is. You hit the starter and the entire pickup reminds one of the smoothness of a sewing machine – little to no engine noise and no burble from the exhaust. While the air conditioner sounded like a jet preparing for takeoff, the only engine noise one hears is under moderate to heavy throttle. Getting onto the highway Darren took off gingerly; he soon had to stop for a turning car, which prompted him to nail the throttle.
Upshifting at 5,000 rpm, I could see the ice slowly starting to crack. I asked him if he had ever had a pickup that revved so freely. “No; the little bastard has pretty good get-up-and-go.”
He and I both appreciated the indicator on the dash that shows what gear the six speed automatic is in. I’ve seen similar on late-model F-250’s, but not on an F-150 until now. It is a welcome touch.
A few miles down the road, Darren stopped and we swapped places. Adjusting the seat, I find my only nit is the steering wheel is a little too high for my tastes, even when adjusted all the way down. While far from a deal breaker, it could be annoying during extended drives. It is likely the higher trim level versions will have power seats that can be adjusted to negate this phenomenon.
Getting on the highway, I found the 2.7 to be quite eager in power delivery. While the power was ample but not to the point of overwhelming a person, it was confident and belied its diminutive displacement. After slowing down for turning traffic, the transmission often downshifted from fifth gear to second or third – it did what it needed to do without any bogging down and this engine loves to rev. Even at 70 mph on a two-lane road, this engine still seems like it’s loafing.
With the all aluminum body of these new F-150’s, Ford has been advertising curb weights as being up to 700 pounds less than similar body styles of the previous generation and according to Ford’s website the curb weight for a two-wheel drive F-150 Super Crew starts at 4,471 pounds. This pickup is undoubtedly very close to this weight, which is only 150 pounds more than a Ford Taurus SHO and within one pound of a new Honda Odyssey EX. Having less weight to tote around undoubtedly helps the 2.7 liter accomplish its mission.
The fuel mileage on the instrument cluster stated the pickup had achieved 22 mpg to date. How that varies over time, driving type, and load remains to be seen. In this application, Darren’s F-150 will cover many miles in a day, but these miles will be accumulated by an abundance of three to ten mile trips, have highly variable loads, with the miles supplied by various drivers.
I encouraged Darren to attach a trailer and see how it did. So far, he has reported no dissatisfaction, even going so far as to state more of these F-150’s needed to be purchased as time goes on.
If Ford has been able to win the attentions of a die-hard V8 user, it shows they have developed a very good engine.
For squeezing 325 horsepower out of this engine, all with an EPA rating of 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, I would say Ford has nothing to worry about.
Note: All pictures liberated from Ford’s “Build Your Own” section of their website.