DEARBORN, Michigan — Ford today disclosed the official Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy ratings for its radically redesigned 2015 F-150 full-size pickup truck. While the fuel-efficiency benefit of reducing as much as 700 pounds from the market's best-selling pickup is significant, the F-150's anxiously awaited fuel economy performance isn't quite as extreme as some may have expected. It also does not allow Ford to claim outright leadership in full-size pickup efficiency.
The most fuel-stingy configuration of the 2015 F-150 will be rear-wheel-drive models fitted with Ford's all-new 325-horsepower 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, achieving a combined 22 mpg (19 city/26 highway) fuel economy rating. Ford compares that performance with a combined 19 mpg (16 city/23 highway) for the Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup with two-wheel drive and a slightly more powerful 5.3-liter V8 and a combined 17 mpg (15 city/22 highway) for a two-wheel-drive Ram 1500 powered by a 5.7-liter V8.
The 22 mpg combined fuel economy for the most efficient 2015 F-150 falls just 1 mpg short of the combined rating for the Ram 1500 fitted with a 3.0-liter six-cylinder diesel engine, rated at a combined 23 mpg (20 city/28 highway). Ford insists, however, that the comparison isn't apples-to-apples, as the diesel engine is a more expensive upgrade than the $495 Ford charges for the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6. More importantly, at current fuel prices, the diesel-engine Ram costs $449 more to drive over 15,000 miles.
Comparing the two-wheel-drive, 2.7-liter six-cylinder version of the new 2015 F-150 to the six-cylinder-powered, two-wheel-drive Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500, the F-150's combined 22 mpg beats the combined 20 mpg (18/24) of the Silverado and combined 20 mpg (17/25) for the Ram.
But V8 engines remain important to buyers of full-size pickups, and the weight loss for the 2015 F-150 lineup has produced a gain (albeit slight) for models powered by the carried-over 5.0-liter V8. Ford says a two-wheel-drive version of the 2015 F-150 delivers a combined 18 mpg (15/22). That compares with a combined 17 mpg (15/21) for the 2014 F-150.
The base engine for the 2015 F-150 lineup is a new 3.5-liter V6 that generates 282 hp and 253 pound-feet of torque. In two-wheel-drive configuration, Ford says the 3.5-liter engine is EPA-rated at a combined 20 mpg (18/25), essentially no better than equal to the combined 20 mpg (18/24) for the 2015 Chevrolet Silverado and combined 20 mpg (17/25) for the 2015 Ram 1500.
Also carrying over for the all-new 2015 F-150 is the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that develops 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque; its combined fuel economy rating is 20 mpg (17/24). That compares with the same engine's combined 18 mpg (16/22) in the steel-bodied 2014 F-150.
Four-wheel drive currently comprises roughly 70 percent of full-size pickup sales, however, and adding the ability to drive all four wheels impacts fuel efficiency, although in the case of Ford's new F-150, generally only to the tune of about 1 mpg.
For the 2015 F-150, adding 4WD drops fuel economy for the base 3.5-liter V6 from a combined 20 mpg (18/25) to a combined 19 mpg (17/23). For the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, fuel economy moves from a combined 22 mpg (19/26) to a combined 20 mpg (18/23) with 4WD. Adding 4WD to 2015 F-150s with the 5.0-liter V8 drops the combined rating from 18 mpg (15/22) to a combined 17 mpg (15/21), while the rating for the new pickup fitted with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 declines from a combined 20 mpg (17/24) to a combined 19 mpg (17/23).
Ford has claimed record levels of customer interest in the 2015 F-150 and Raj Nair, Ford group vice president of global product development, added today that the new truck is "being loaded on trucks as we speak," and is en route to dealer showrooms. "Sometime next week, there will be a customer in a 2015 F-150," Nair promised.
Edmunds says: The all-new 2015 delivers meaningful improvements in fuel economy compared with the previous model and its Chevrolet and Ram competition, but maybe not the radical boost some had expected.