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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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RE: Favorably ?
By Spuke on 4/2/2013 1:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
You get a big rush of power which is annoying a lot of times when you want linear power.
No turbo car built in the last 20 years gives a big rush of power. Do you know how a turbo works?

RE: Favorably ?
By 91TTZ on 4/2/2013 5:11:25 PM , Rating: 2
He's right. I'm very familiar with how turbos work and I'll admit that they give a big rush of power.

When you see a car without that rush of power it's usually because they're artificially limiting the power in order to give a "smoother" power delivery.

Turbochargers use centrifugal compressors, and centrifugal compressors have a nearly exponential flow increase as RPM increases. This differs from a positive displacement supercharger or naturally aspirated engine which has a linear increase in flow as RPM increases.

RE: Favorably ?
By Spuke on 4/2/2013 5:44:38 PM , Rating: 2
But that's all controllable with the right foot. He implies that turbo's are inherently out of control and incapable of getting smooth power delivery. I say BS. I have no such nanny controls on my vehicle and power delivery is very smooth all controllable with ye ole right foot. Same with my wife's BMW (with the new 4 cyl).

RE: Favorably ?
By EricMartello on 4/2/2013 6:14:58 PM , Rating: 2
No turbo car built in the last 20 years gives a big rush of power. Do you know how a turbo works?

Yes, the turbine needs to accelerate or "spool up" before it's able to generate boost. The spool up duration is perceived as "lag", where the engine feels sluggish, followed by the boost where you feel a surge of power.

Your statement is backwards; it was this power surge that kept average consumers away from turbos since it had a tendency to surprise complacent drivers, causing them to lose control or feel like the vehicle was going out of control.

Modern turbos have been able to reduce lag and provide a more linear delivery of power, making the car more user friendly.

RE: Favorably ?
By sprockkets on 4/2/2013 7:56:03 PM , Rating: 2
The current Kia SUV does just that, either is sluggish or out of control.

Read about it at C&D.

RE: Favorably ?
By M'n'M on 4/3/2013 8:48:23 AM , Rating: 2
It's all in how the turbo is sized and tuned. Lot's of truck use turbos where the boost comes on early in the RPM range and with little lag. As a general rule you don't make max HP with such a setup. Cars aiming to have some sporting credentials may use a system that's intended to maximize power which means you've got to have exhaust flow which in turn means RPMs and WOT. Add in a large turbo (which takes time to spin up) and you've got the sudden-surge-of-power when-I-didn't-expect-it "problem".

I think most cars today lean towards the less boost, wide torque band side of things than cars of yesteryear did. My 93 MR2 leaned more towards the peakier, max power side.

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