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GM bests Ford's EcoBoost V6 fuel efficiency without complex, expensive turbochargers

Ford has spent a great deal of time and money developing and marketing its EcoBoost family. The company makes a wide variety of EcoBoost engines (which is basically a fancy name for turbocharging plus direct injection) ranging from a 1.0-liter three-cylinder to a 3.5-liter V6.
 
Ford's efforts have paid off, as sales of the naturally aspirated V6- and EcoBoost V6-equipped F-150s have outpaced those of the V8 models. And all along the way, Ford has thumbed its nose at the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra, stating how its EcoBoost V6 gets V8 performance and V6 fuel economy.
 
GM, however, is hitting back today with the announcement that its new 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 engines manages to produce 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. While the horsepower number compares favorably with the EcoBoost V6 in the F-150, it's down quite a bit in torque. GM says that in 4x2 trim, the EcoTec3 will be good for 23 mpg highway; checking off the 4x4 option box will result in 22 mpg on the highway.


2014 Chevrolet Silverado
 
Both of these numbers are 1 mpg better than the EcoBoost F-150. In fact, it matches the fuel economy of Ford’s naturally aspirated, 3.7-liter V6.
 
“Silverado’s available 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 gives customers the best of both worlds,” bragged Jeff Luke, executive chief engineer for the Silverado. “Customers get the proven power and dependability of a V-8 truck engine, with better fuel economy than a leading competitor’s smaller turbocharged V-6.”


5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 engine
 
GM's decision to go the "tried and true" route may pay off in the end. Recent reports have suggested that while many manufacturers seem to ace the EPA's tests with turbocharged gasoline engines, most consumers aren't able to match the sticker numbers in the real world.

The Ford Atlas Concept previews the nexxt generation F-150
 
GM’s fun in the mpg sun, however, likely won’t last long. Ford is reportedly looking to trim up to 700 pounds from the next generation F-150, which will go a long way towards improving fuel efficiency. Ford showcased the use of active aero technology on its Atlas truck concept (which no doubt is a precursor to the next generation F-150), which boost highway fuel efficiency by 2 mpg.

Sources: General Motors [1], [2]



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Ram 1500 still wins...
By Philippine Mango on 4/1/2013 7:23:04 PM , Rating: -1
I think the best truck of this generation will be the Ram 1500 with the 3.6L engine and 8 speed transmission, start stop. I feel Ford and GM are pulling too many tricks to ace the fuel economy tests while the Fiat owned Ram 1500 takes actual steps that will improve fuel economy both in testing and in real world. If they made the Ram 1500 smaller or weigh significantly less, I could see that truck getting 30mpg on the EPA test cycle. Some hypermilers have managed to eek out 40mpg on the new Ram 1500 with the 3.6L engine!




RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By SeeManRun on 4/1/2013 7:36:05 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If they made the Ram 1500 smaller or weigh significantly less, I could see that truck getting 30mpg on the EPA test cycle.


If you make it weigh that much less it loses the ability to tow. Sure you can make a smaller more efficient truck, but then it isn't competing with the real half tons. The trick is to keep capability the same (tow nearly 11,300 lbs) with about a half ton payload while saving fuel.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Flunk on 4/1/2013 11:51:23 PM , Rating: 3
Realistically, they need to build a decent 1/2 tonne pickup with less towing capacity. Most of these things never need to tow 11,300 lbs. I'm not saying that they shouldn't build ones that can but that if they made a lighter one with a bit less torque people who don't need to tow huge things could save a bunch on initial purchase and gas.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Flunk on 4/1/2013 11:52:13 PM , Rating: 2
I feel I should mention that I drive a vehicle that's rated to tow 0 lbs so maybe I don't understand.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By tat tvam asi on 4/2/2013 12:15:45 AM , Rating: 3
Variable cylinder management makes more sense for trucks. Even a basic manual shut down of cylinders will go a long way in saving gas.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Argon18 on 4/2/2013 12:33:35 PM , Rating: 2
Your argument is flawed, because "gas" doesn't make sense in a truck. Hauling or towing or offroading does not require horsepower or high revs - the reasons to chose a gasoline engine.

Hauling, towing, and offroading require torque, and lots of it. There's a reason in most of the world, you cannot buy a gasoline truck. They only come in diesel, because that's what makes sense for a truck.

Putting a gasoline engine in a truck, is like putting a diesel engine into a Ferrari - it's silly and pointless and goes against the goals of the vehicle.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Spuke on 4/2/2013 1:06:23 PM , Rating: 2
Gas or diesel works well in trucks. Also, you need to read up on what hp and torque is cause clearly you don't understand the relationship at all.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By BRB29 on 4/3/2013 9:08:08 AM , Rating: 2
That's true for the rest of the world except the US. We don't have diesel at every gas station and especially in the city. Some people don't use trucks for work and therefore it doesn't tow or haul much most of the time.
For some people, they just want to be able to haul the camping gear, sports equipment and the family on a trip. Some people wants it because they are single, have a motorcycle, and move frequently due to their job.

There's a lot of reasons why a gasoline truck exist.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Spuke on 4/2/2013 12:45:49 AM , Rating: 2
NO! Quite frankly I'd rather drive a 1/2 ton that can tow that much than weight drive a 3/4 or 1 ton. The lighter trucks perform and handle better than the heavier one's. The newer F150's can tow most bumper pull trailers (aka travel trailers) and some of the lightweight 5th wheels now. And with these new engines, they won't run like crap pulling that weight nor will they get super crappy fuel economy either. Not to mention they're WAY cheaper to own. I have a 3/4 ton diesel and its replacement will be one of these new 1/2 tons. Because of the new capabilities I don't need the 3/4 ton anymore.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Philippine Mango on 4/2/2013 8:37:14 AM , Rating: 2
You want a 1/2 that tows as much as a 3/4 or 1 ton but isn't those things? I don't think that makes any sense as that's really what defines those vehicles... In essence, there has been so much power inflation that these 1/2 ton vehicles are effectively 1 ton vehicles of two decades ago... Why can't we have 1/2 vehicles of two decades ago, today, but with the improvements of today? i.e if it took a 5 liter engine to make 150hp for that 20-30 year old 1/2, why not sell a truck with a 2 liter engine today that still makes the same or slightly more power? not everyone needs a hulking truck.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Spuke on 4/2/2013 10:29:34 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
not everyone needs a hulking truck
Exactly why I'd prefer a 1/2 ton to my present 3/4 ton. Save the 3/4 tons (and larger) for the heavy duty loads. Most of us can get by easily on todays 1/2 tons for truck duty. We ARE talking about truck duties right? And if YOU want an even lighter duty truck, those are already available.

I'll give you some examples of my previous/present requirements:
1. Tow horse trailer
2. Haul eight bails of hay
3. Pull a lightweight 5th wheel

Since I don't have the 5th wheel anymore, a 1/2 ton with a long bed will meet these requirements easily. And if they had the present F150 in 2009, I would've bought that instead of my 3/4 ton.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By spamreader1 on 4/2/2013 11:59:33 AM , Rating: 2
That's not necessarily true. The ability to tow includes the ability to stop and handle things like tongue weight. The max tow weight is a combination of things. For campers, light weight 5th wheels, and "bumper pull" which aren't typically pulled by bumper instead it's a class III receiver hitch, generally work fine as long as you have weight distribution hitches and electric trailer brakes. Without them the 1/2 ton can't do it, where a true 3/4 or 1 ton could (depending on the size of the trailer of course) as it has heavier axles, springs, shocks, etc.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By robertgu on 4/2/2013 6:35:43 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, there are alot more components which 3/4 and 1 ton trucks have over 1/2 ton trucks than engine power. Sure 1/2 ton trucks of today have engine power today which were usually the realm of its bigger stable mates, but the ability to safely tow the weights reserved for ¾ and 1 ton is not easily replicated even when mitigated with things like weight-distribution hitches and trailer brakes.

Typical ¾ ton trucks can tow 10,000 to 16,000 lbs. The ½ ton trucks might have the engine power to tow that but definitely does not have the weight, axle, brakes, etc to safely handle that weight.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By lagomorpha on 4/2/2013 6:37:41 AM , Rating: 3
They already have trucks that have less towing capacity than 1/2 ton, they're called light trucks. Why people buy the trucks with towing capacity they will never use doesn't make sense to me but there are a lot of morons in the market.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By BRB29 on 4/2/2013 7:45:32 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, realistically there's a big market for a lighter truck with better MPG. I don't want a cheap small truck like a Ford Ranger either. If you have not noticed, Toyota had bumped their Tacoma to the size of their old Tundra.

Why do I want this? I just want to be able to carry some stuff around. A lot of carptenters and similar profession in the cities/suburbs wants these trucks. They don't need to haul 11,000 lbs. Anything that can carry tools, some supplies and haul 3000-6000 lbs will work.
As a regular consumer that just want a good truck that can carry my sports equipment, furniture, camping equipment and whatever I need to carry + kids. An F150 with with better mpg and less towing capacity makes a whole lot of sense.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Spuke on 4/2/2013 10:39:34 AM , Rating: 2
You haven't been looking at Tacoma's then. I had an old Tundra (2004) and the new Tacoma is NOT the same size. A lot of people see the 4WD Tacoma's with the Prerunner option. If you really need a simple, light duty pickup, skip all that and get a regular cab or access cab, 2WD, 4 cyl truck. But if you need to haul 3000-6000 lbs, you're gonna have to get a 1 ton pickup. Hauling and towing are the same thing and require the same "reinforcements" to frame, suspension and tires. Same physics at play for both. When you're towing, you ARE hauling a portion of your trailers weight in the truck. That's why you see different weight maximums for bumper pull trailers vs 5th wheel trailers. You can put more weight directly over the rear wheels (5th wheel trailer) than you can hang off the back (bumper pull).


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By BRB29 on 4/2/2013 3:26:38 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, it was a typo. I meant towing when I said hauling. As for hauling, I don't need anything past 1.5k lbs. My brother in law does carpentry, landscaping and some construction and he never had to haul anything that heavy. His truck bed is used mainly for tools and some small supplies. Remember this is in the city, the logistics are done by someone else and projects are usually large scale. Even with individual homes, the supplies are always delivered by the supplier. The only time he has to tow anything heavy was his trailer of heavier tools for small scale construction. That thing doesn't weight more than 4000 lbs packed. Larger equipment are normally rented and delivered to site also.

As a regular consumer who just want a truck to be versatile and go on camping trips or sporting trips, I have no need for huge hauling or towing. Anything that can haul about 2k and tow about 6k is more than enough for me.

I'm just saying there is a market if Ford makes a much lighter truck wit higher mpg. My needs are not extraordinary and I'm sure there's plenty of people share the same mindset.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Spuke on 4/2/2013 6:34:56 PM , Rating: 2
A Tacoma would fit those needs IMO. You'll need a fairly stripped truck to get the 1400 lbs hauling but towing 4000 lbs shouldn't be an issue, especially around town. I've towed a 2600 lb car on a trailer before with a 4 cyl Tacoma. It wasn't bad at all. If you have to have a Ford, they don't offer any light duty trucks at the moment. Honestly, the F150 isn't a monster, Just get the 3.7L V6 and keep the options to a minimum.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Argon18 on 4/2/2013 12:23:30 PM , Rating: 2
What they need is to split the models into two categories, since there are really two separate usage patterns for truck buyers.

Some folks buy a truck because they tow a large boat, or horses, or race cars, or whatever. These are the folks that *need* the towing capacity, and the inevitable weight that comes with that.

Then there are the folks that buy a truck simply for day to day suburban utility. Moving a love seat, or a washer and dryer, or picking up some mulch from the hardware store. These people do not tow anything, ever. These people usually live in a suburban neighborhood, with a HOA that forbids trailers anyhow, so they have nothing to tow even if they wanted to. Also in this category are the wash-n-shine macho guys, who never haul anything, never tow anything either. They bought a truck because it makes the feel like a big man on the road. They have a loud stereo and loads of chrome truck accessories, but they use the truck purely for commuting to work, as an "image" thing.

These needs of these two groups are very different, yet they buy the same vehicles. The manufacturers should cater to these groups separately, with vehicles tailored to their usage patterns.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Spuke on 4/2/2013 1:12:08 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What they need is to split the models into two categories, since there are really two separate usage patterns for truck buyers.
They're already separated into categories, it's just that people CHOOSE to buy the 1/2 tons instead of the lighter duty trucks. Also, none of you seems to understand that hauling and towing go hand in hand. They are the same thing. What makes a truck haul 2500 lbs also gives it the ability to tow 11,000 lbs. You can't have one without the other.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By DiscoWade on 4/1/2013 7:48:09 PM , Rating: 2
Has Dodge fixed their transmission problems yet? A friend of mine had a Dodge Ram truck and at 50,000 miles the transmission started to act up. Before I would be willing to consider a Dodge I want to be sure on the reliability. Can anyone tell me if Dodge has improved?


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Philippine Mango on 4/1/2013 7:53:32 PM , Rating: 2
This is using a Fiat transmission and engine design so hopefully dodge reliability doesn't apply here... Aside from coil springs, dodge trucks have mostly sucked but this one seems very promising. Can't believe this truck weighs 5300lbs! If it lost 1000lbs, that'd be a major improvement! For some perspective, the Toyota Tundra weighs 4200lbs!


By Brandon Hill (blog) on 4/1/2013 7:58:43 PM , Rating: 2
Uhh, the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is a Chrysler design. The 8-speed transmission is designed by ZF with Chrysler modifications.

The new diesel is made by the Italian company VM Motori. Not sure where you're getting your info...


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/1/2013 8:00:11 PM , Rating: 2
Uh Fiat? As bad as Dodge's reputation for reliability is, Fiat's is probably worse.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By superflex on 4/1/2013 9:46:54 PM , Rating: 4
Fix It Again Tony


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By dj LiTh on 4/2/2013 3:50:06 AM , Rating: 2
Fix It Again Tomorrow


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By OutOfTouch on 4/1/2013 8:12:39 PM , Rating: 2
Not exactly, 4500 pounds. That is also only the regular cab short bed.

http://www.toyota.com/tundra/features.html#!/weigh...


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Manch on 4/2/2013 3:44:13 AM , Rating: 2
The Ramtrucks ahvent seen a chassis update in a long time. Of the three, it is definitely the inferior one. Coil springs and their latest gimmick...airbags put the nail in the coffin for anyone that wants a truck with decent capabilities. Tundras don't compete either. There chassis is just as bad if not worse than the dodge.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By djc208 on 4/2/2013 11:53:07 AM , Rating: 2
This comment makes no sense. Ford and Chevy both still use leaf springs in the rear, that tech has been around since the horse and buggy. Front suspension has evolved but mostly by incorporating more car-like attributes (coil springs, torsion bars, A-arms, all old school car tech).

The ladder frame might be built with different technologies but other then to loose weight or increase strength it's the same basic concept since the beginning.

Tractor trailers use air bag suspension all the time, so there doesn't have to be any reduction in capabilities with air. Coil springs underpin trains and many military vehicles. It's not in what it uses, it's in how it's used. Last I checked Dodge was one of the few actually trying something different.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Manch on 4/3/2013 2:27:12 AM , Rating: 2
and leaf springs are used for good reason. Dodge sacrificed towing capability when it switch to coils in the rear. All ladder frames are not created equal. The newer Ford and Chevy Chassis are much stiffer and stronger than the Dodges.

Tractor Trailer airbag systems are also a lot more stout. You're right, there doesn't have to be, but with Dodges record I'll bet money there is.

How they are using these things, it's giving them less towing and hauling capacity.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Bad-Karma on 4/2/2013 4:33:31 PM , Rating: 2
Air bags are highly useful in maintaining load control. A lot of people who actually tow heavy loads and campers on a regular basis tend to have aftermarket airbags installed. Many of these systems offer left & right as well as front to back balancing.

I have bags on both my F550 & F450 for moving cattle/horses supplies or my 36' fifth wheel camper. Even with dual rear wheels, without those bags the trailer tends to push and roll the truck when going through turns. The truck is attempting to turn while the trailer's momentum still wants to go straight. This gets eally noticeable at highway speeds in a turn. Those bags help keep the weight more distributed evenly across the chassis & suspension.

I don't know how good of quality Dodge's system is, but the fact that they've included something that can sometimes cost a few grand is nice. Besides, ever look at a big rig? They use a combined bag and air shock system that has been integrated into a single unit to help maintain load control.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By Manch on 4/3/2013 2:34:21 AM , Rating: 2
I think airbags are great, but I do not see the setup Dodge is using as any good. When they started talking about the airbag system in tere truck, it wasn't about towing capacity, load balancing, it was about having a comfortable ride, fuel efficiency, and entry/egress.

I'm not skeptical of airbags, I'm skeptical of Dodge's in General.


RE: Ram 1500 still wins...
By BRB29 on 4/2/2013 7:11:51 PM , Rating: 2
Air bags can be electronically controlled on the fly. If a good system is implemented it can adjust according with load to keep your truck balanced and drive better.
When you are driving your truck at high speed on the highway, the air bags can lower your suspension so that you get better mpg also.
The problem with air bags is that it's not widely used so it tends to cost more. Leaf springs may be ancient but it's light and easy to implement. It's also pretty cheap. Coil springs with shocks are costly and can suffer from fatigue quicker. It's slow progress but if you replace your springs and shocks at around 100k, you'll feel the difference in how much it degraded over time.


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