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Old 11-04-2012, 05:38 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Turbocharged Cars Don’t Live Up to Fuel-Economy Hype Says Consumer Reports




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Vehicle quality was not the only thing making news when Consumer Reports unveiled the results of its latest reliability study in Detroit earlier this week. Amongst the issues highlighted by the consumer publication were real world fuel economy and forced induction engine technology.

In particular, the watchdog organization took issue with downsized, turbocharged engines, citing efficiency and reliability issues with certain engines during real-world testing.

Currently, automakers are in a race to the bottom, slashing engine displacement and bolting on boost to help meet ever-stricter fuel-economy standards. Brands like Hyundai and Ford are seen to be leading the charge with turbocharged powerplants in mainstream products like the Sonata and Fusion.

“Engine downsizing is the biggest driver for turbocharging, along with direct fuel injection,” said Tom Grissom, Director of Business Development for BorgWarner Turbo Systems. He said they’re essential to giving smaller engines the performance characteristics drivers need.



BorgWarner sees big growth potential for turbos in North America. Grissom said, “the U.S. is fundamentally a gasoline-fueled passenger car market.” As automakers downsize engines they will have to turn to turbos. Europe’s vehicle fleet is already predominantly diesel powered, which means turbochargers are already on most engines there.

Bosch Mahle Turbo Systems, another major supplier of turbochargers to car manufacturers, projects that by 2019, 45 million turbochargers will be used in passenger vehicles annually.
LAB RESULTS, NOT THE REAL WORLD

Part of the discrepancy noted by Consumer Reports and documented anecdotally in AutoGuide reviews may come from the fact that so called “window sticker” fuel-economy numbers provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are achieved through tests done in a lab, rather than on the street.

In the EPA test cycle vehicles are strapped to a chassis dynamometer, their drive wheels positioned on a series of rollers. The energy it takes to spin these rollers can be adjusted to simulate extra vehicle weight or wind resistance.

Once a vehicle is securely mounted on the dyno, a professional driver takes it through a series of simulated routes, accelerating and braking according to the standardized test schedule. Fuel economy ratings are determined by measuring the amount of carbon exhausted out the tailpipe. Obviously this methodology doesn’t work with electric vehicles.

Since 2008 the test has been amended to include additional variables, things like higher driving speeds, cold temperatures and air conditioning usage. These tweaks help the EPA test more accurately reflect real-world performance.

When contacted to see if new changes should be incorporated to close the gap between as-tested fuel economy and real world fuel economy on turbocharged cars, the EPA did not immediately respond. But given Hyundai and Kia’s recent trouble in this area, things may change in the future.

On paper the downsized-turbocharged formula really works to improve fuel economy. New-vehicle shoppers see bigger numbers on window stickers, but this is not something the folks at Consumer Reports found in their testing.

CHEVY CRUZE, FORD F-150 SINGLED OUT

Two examples cited are the Chevrolet Cruze compact car and the Ford F-150 pickup, both of which offer optional force-fed engines. Jake Fisher, the Director of Auto Testing at Consumer Reports said that even with downsized, turbocharged engines “[they deliver the] same fuel efficiency as their normally aspirated counterparts.” This calls into question the fuel-economy improvements automakers have made the last few years.


“EcoBoost had virtually the same zero to 60 time and 15 miles per gallon as the V8,” Fisher said of the F-150. This is not exactly a ringing endorsement of blowers and direct injection, given their added cost and complexity.

These engines have also proven to have reliability issues. According to Fisher, when it first came out, “the Mazda CX-7 turbo had a lot of problems… but they ended up working them out.” Also, “in previous years the WRX and other turbocharged Subarus were below average in reliability.”

Even premium brands have had some trouble in this area. Fisher said, “there were some early problems with BMW’s 3.0-liter turbo engine.”
Under-hood troubles can impact quality scores, but there are other factors to consider. Turbocharged powerplants are often found in higher-trim models. Typically these vehicles are delivered with extra options, which means there are more things to go wrong.

EPA standards are the law of the land so automakers follow them to the letter. As for the Chevy Cruze’s performance in Consumer Reports’ testing, Tom Read of GM Technology and Powertrain Communications said “based on their drive schedule they may have come up with something different from the EPA numbers.”

“The EPA numbers we report on are clearly better with the 1.4 turbo – 26/42 [miles per gallon] with the eco model versus 26/38 with the 1.8,” Read said.


Richard Truett, Powertrain Communications Manager at Ford echoed these sentiments. He said “a lot of it depends on how consumers use it” and “we’re discovering that people really enjoy the turbos.” In other words, buyers like the rush of acceleration they offer.

According to Truett, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 offered in the F-150 can deliver superior fuel economy to the company’s the 5.0-liter V8 engine “if you use the turbos smartly.” He also said you can’t have your cake and eat it too; you have to keep a light foot on the throttle to maximize efficiency.
Lower-than-expected real-world MPG numbers don’t appear to be dissuading buyers from opting for boosted pickups. Truett said as of last month “EcoBoost alone is about 42 percent of F-150 sales,” adding “it’s exceeded all expectations of sales and performance.”

Summing things up, Read offered some advice, “no drive schedule can be perfect to simulate what a customer is going to get, but [EPA scores are] better than ever as an indicator of what a customer is going to get.” As always, you mileage will vary.
http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2...r-reports.html
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:36 AM   #2
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These sorts of complaints are always such crap. If you keep your foot out of the turbo then you get better mileage. This is arguing essentially that we need slow unresponsive cars and then we will get better fuel economy. The EPA tests are fair. Maybe people don't get those results, but to simulate that one would have to have different testing procedures for turbos that take into account variances in driver behavior in response to the engine (torque changes etc).

(Yes I read the 0-60 part that said they were the same and got the same economy in the real world).
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:52 AM   #3
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It seems to me there isn't any news here unless the reader was uneducated to begin with. Physics apply when generating power, regardless of how it is accomplished.

Quote from the article: "Part of the discrepancy noted by Consumer Reports and documented anecdotally in AutoGuide reviews may come from the fact that so called “window sticker” fuel-economy numbers provided by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are achieved through tests done in a lab, rather than on the street."

The driver's influence on any car's gas milage is substantial, this will always be an issue with the EPA fuel milage numbers. Possibly they are trying to indicate that driving habits are even more impactful on Turbo cars than NA...? (which we all know)... and if so they had a round about way of stating it.
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Old 11-04-2012, 11:16 AM   #4
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I don't think they're doing the right comparisons. The smaller engine + turbo often has more usable torque than the less expensive, port injected and naturally aspirated option.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:30 AM   #5
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With the advancements in off power fuel delivery And cylinder deactivation, the larger engines are getting just as efficient at idle and cruising as the smaller turbo engines.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:46 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by mhoward1 View Post
With the advancements in off power fuel delivery And cylinder deactivation, the larger engines are getting just as efficient at idle and cruising as the smaller turbo engines.
VW is using cylinder deactivation along with a turbocharging now.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:26 AM   #7
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My Mazdaspeed3 gets WAY better mileage than what's on the sticker, including my autocross time.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:42 AM   #8
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News Flash:
Eating 4000 calories of healthy food will make you fat!
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:32 AM   #9
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Gasp, there's no such thing as free power?



Improvements in combustion efficiency (e.g. DI), aside....it simply takes a given amount of power to accelerate a car at a given rate, maintain a given car at speed, etc. Without a large discrepancy between the overall efficiency of a the turbocharged engine vs. a larger N/A powerplant (which is there isn't), resulting mileage will be pretty darn close all other things being equal.


"It's not what you drive, it's how you drive it"


****, i think I just quoted Clarkson....
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:25 AM   #10
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I figured we would be hearing this - people getting bad fuel economy numbers with their turbo engines. Turbos make it too tempting to mash that pedal.

My TDI is the first turbo I've owned, and I drive more like a jackass in this dog than any sports car I've ever owned or driven. Especially when it's nice out, windows down, maybe a hillside or jersey barrier to reflect the wooshing sound back into the cabin like I'm in some 9 sec. 0 to 60 rally-car touge monster.
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:25 PM   #11
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thermal efficency of TC engines can potentially be better than NA engines because they use the recovered exaust energy for some "free" compression work. THis is great for part throttle and continous loading.

However, under agressive use the thermal efficency is lower than NA because they run rich open loop fueling to prevent detonation and High EGTs.

Turbo engines when done appropriately are great for EPA tests and being driven how people should drive to optimize mpg. However, most everybodies foot is a little heavier than optimum.


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Old 11-06-2012, 01:31 PM   #12
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This is why i hate consumer reports, they are a NEWS source trying to sell magazines. This is not the first time their so called "experts" screwed up a comparison.

You can't compare the 5.0 engine to the ecoboost. The 5.0 engine is a car engine, and sucks for towing. Doesn't have the low end grunt making peak torque at 4250rpm, and the epa estimates only make the ecoboost 1mpg better than the 5.0. So they are going to average nearly the same.

Instead CR should have compared the ecoboost to the 6.2l engine. The ecoboost wins hands down in fuel economy. It also tows better at altitude, and has 90% of it's torque at 17000rpm with full torque at 2500rpm. It's a total beast, so yes you can have your cake and eat it too. Tow over 11000lbs, and get the same fuel economy as the lower model engines.

Last edited by gggplaya; 11-06-2012 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 11-06-2012, 09:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by gggplaya View Post
This is why i hate consumer reports, they are a NEWS source trying to sell magazines. This is not the first time their so called "experts" screwed up a comparison.

You can't compare the 5.0 engine to the ecoboost. The 5.0 engine is a car engine, and sucks for towing. Doesn't have the low end grunt making peak torque at 4250rpm, and the epa estimates only make the ecoboost 1mpg better than the 5.0. So they are going to average nearly the same.

Instead CR should have compared the ecoboost to the 6.2l engine. The ecoboost wins hands down in fuel economy. It also tows better at altitude, and has 90% of it's torque at 17000rpm with full torque at 2500rpm. It's a total beast, so yes you can have your cake and eat it too. Tow over 11000lbs, and get the same fuel economy as the lower model engines.
Like the ecoboost isn't a car engine? It was released in the Taurus/Lincolns before the F150--yeah, yeah, it was "changed" for truck duty. Yeah right.

But if it revs to 17,000 rpms, you are right, it is the most amazing engine evar!

All of the towing test I have seen show that it uses MORE fuel than comparable NA engine cause it is constantly in boost--and generating a lot of heat... .
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:12 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by daveyboy View Post
Like the ecoboost isn't a car engine? It was released in the Taurus/Lincolns before the F150--yeah, yeah, it was "changed" for truck duty. Yeah right.

But if it revs to 17,000 rpms, you are right, it is the most amazing engine evar!

All of the towing test I have seen show that it uses MORE fuel than comparable NA engine cause it is constantly in boost--and generating a lot of heat... .
The Taurus version of the 3.5l ecoboost has a different size turbo charger, completely different head, cams, different exhaust manifold and tuning. It generates full torque at 3500rpm. So your comparison is not apples/apples saying it's the same engine in the F150. So yes, the F150 ecoboost is a truck engine because the engineers designed it to produce torque as low as possible. Only the main block is the same as the taurus.

17000rpm is a typo, it's pretty obvious to anyone with car knowledge that i meant a low 1700rpm.

As far as towing goes with the F150 ecoboost vs the 6.2l or 5.0, towing MPG is a wash for most F150 buyers. For someone that tows an RV once a month, it doesn't make a difference. You get crappy fuel mileage with all 3 engines, so the difference between 10mpg vs 12mpg is moot if you only do it a few times a year. Even diesels gets crappy fuel mileage towing 10000lbs. The consumer reports didn't test any towing either, which they should have. Because each customer is different, mileage during towing would make a difference to the ones that tow heavy loads everyday. But most people that tow heavy loads daily for their business, or full time rv people, almost always get a diesel.

FYI i normally tow with a diesel, but i have friends with rv's that tow with an ecoboost and a hemi 5.7l(also a car engine put into a truck). The ecoboost is absolutely phenomenal as a tow vehicle, tows like a diesel and doesn't feel like much is behind you. it has plenty of torque at all engine speeds. The hemi likes to rev, it's annoying to me, but it gets the job done. There is some lag while waiting for the revs to climb, and plenty of down shifting. The hemi was also constantly falling behind at altitude in Yosemite even with a much lighter RV than the on the ecoboost.

Obviously i never said the 5.0 or 6.2l can't tow. They can, and are obviously rated to do so. But the turbo ecoboost does a better job in my experience and opinion. Towing mpg is a consideration to factor in when buying a vehicle, but also towability is another factor to consider. Plus when not towing, you get the mpg of the 5.0L the other 98% of the time you drive the vehicle.

Last edited by gggplaya; 11-07-2012 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 11-07-2012, 01:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gggplaya
The consumer reports didn't test any towing either, which they should have. Because each customer is different, mileage during towing would make a difference to the ones that tow heavy loads everyday.
Uh, but CR did test the Ecoboost while towing:

Quote:
Towing capacities vary by wheelbase, axle ratio, and drivetrain. But with most variations, the EcoBoost V6 is rated to tow several hundred pounds more than the 5.0-liter V8. The V6 is rated for 8,200 pounds, and the V8 is rated for 7,700 pounds. While pulling our 7,500-pound test trailer, the V6 truck took 16.2 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph, which is competitive for this class; the V8 required 17.8 seconds. The optional integrated trailer-brake control works well.
(might not work without login) source: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/m...ginMethod=auto

If you're saying they didn't provide separate mpg figures for towing and unloaded, ok, fine.
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:29 PM   #16
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Uh, but CR did test the Ecoboost while towing:



(might not work without login) source: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/m...ginMethod=auto

If you're saying they didn't provide separate mpg figures for towing and unloaded, ok, fine.
I don't have a login for CR, and for good reason.

Ok they did test towing but it's completely idiotic because they have the lowest rear end ratio in the ecoboost. 3.31 is for the buyer who only tows a garden utility trailer or simply doesn't ever tow with their truck and wants the best possible unloaded mpg. For people that tow on occasion or moderate 3-5klbs loads, they would get the 3.55 rear end. For people that tow often or heavy loads >5klbs you would get the 3.73 rear end.

The fact that they would do comparisons in towing using the worst possible rear end to tow 7500lbs is beyond me. Shows you how flawed this test is using max tow ratings by optioning the trucks with different rear end ratios in an effort to make an apples to apples comparison is just silly. It's called "consumer" reports, and any buyer knowing they'll be towing 7500lbs more than a few miles is going to opt for the 3.73 rear end with either engine. With those rear's they chose, they should have used a more realistic weight like 3-4000lbs.

An yes, i would like to see the towing mileage and unloaded mileage in the report. Consumers can make better decisions knowing how often they use the truck for either situation. They would opt for the engine based on their lifestyle.
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:22 PM   #17
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Dumb. TC engines do seem to vary more based on how they're used than NA do but it still seems the better route to go. I don't see many naturally aspirated 450hp AWD cars that get mid 20s mpg, and my TDI consistently does 15-20% better than what it's rated for as well.
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Old 11-07-2012, 07:46 PM   #18
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The Taurus version of the 3.5l ecoboost has a different size turbo charger, completely different head, cams, different exhaust manifold and tuning. It generates full torque at 3500rpm. So your comparison is not apples/apples saying it's the same engine in the F150. So yes, the F150 ecoboost is a truck engine because the engineers designed it to produce torque as low as possible. Only the main block is the same as the taurus.

17000rpm is a typo, it's pretty obvious to anyone with car knowledge that i meant a low 1700rpm.

As far as towing goes with the F150 ecoboost vs the 6.2l or 5.0, towing MPG is a wash for most F150 buyers. For someone that tows an RV once a month, it doesn't make a difference. You get crappy fuel mileage with all 3 engines, so the difference between 10mpg vs 12mpg is moot if you only do it a few times a year. Even diesels gets crappy fuel mileage towing 10000lbs. The consumer reports didn't test any towing either, which they should have. Because each customer is different, mileage during towing would make a difference to the ones that tow heavy loads everyday. But most people that tow heavy loads daily for their business, or full time rv people, almost always get a diesel.

FYI i normally tow with a diesel, but i have friends with rv's that tow with an ecoboost and a hemi 5.7l(also a car engine put into a truck). The ecoboost is absolutely phenomenal as a tow vehicle, tows like a diesel and doesn't feel like much is behind you. it has plenty of torque at all engine speeds. The hemi likes to rev, it's annoying to me, but it gets the job done. There is some lag while waiting for the revs to climb, and plenty of down shifting. The hemi was also constantly falling behind at altitude in Yosemite even with a much lighter RV than the on the ecoboost.

Obviously i never said the 5.0 or 6.2l can't tow. They can, and are obviously rated to do so. But the turbo ecoboost does a better job in my experience and opinion. Towing mpg is a consideration to factor in when buying a vehicle, but also towability is another factor to consider. Plus when not towing, you get the mpg of the 5.0L the other 98% of the time you drive the vehicle.
I was trying to point out that I think it is completely unfair to call the ecoboost a "truck engine" because certain peripheral items are changed from the original car application--but then call the 5.0, the Hemi, etc "car" engines.

Based on your own logic, the 5.0 and Hemi are truck engines too since they do not run the same camshaft(s) etc, and are tuned for truck duty... .
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Old 11-07-2012, 08:27 PM   #19
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I was trying to point out that I think it is completely unfair to call the ecoboost a "truck engine" because certain peripheral items are changed from the original car application--but then call the 5.0, the Hemi, etc "car" engines.

Based on your own logic, the 5.0 and Hemi are truck engines too since they do not run the same camshaft(s) etc, and are tuned for truck duty... .
Nope, that's not my logic. Ford did those changes in an effort to offer low rpm torque. They succeeded and it's an engine capable of truck duty, heavy payloads and towing. It's a truck engine because it has a truck's low end torque curve. The fact they were able to design an engine that could operate at both ends of the spectrum with two totally different torque curves is quite remarkable. It's truly both a truck and a car engine platform. It was designed from the beginning to go into both vehicles, and the engineers hit their mark. Just because it was first released in the taurus doesn't make it a car engine. it takes years to get an engine and vehicle down the pipeline and out into production.

Dodge tried to do the same with the Hemi but didn't do anywhere near as good a job. The torque curve is still very car like and the engine really needs to rev to do the same duties. Like i said, it needs to downshift far more often, lags as it tries to get up into it's power band and the engine loves to stay in those high revs trying to climb a small grade. It's not going to hurt the engine and it's capable of doing so, but again, not the ideal truck engine. If they made the stroke longer, it would have more low end torque and the power band would be more ideal for truck duty. But then that would require a completely different block/engine altogether and the engine would suck for car performance.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:03 PM   #20
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Nope, that's not my logic. Ford did those changes in an effort to offer low rpm torque. They succeeded and it's an engine capable of truck duty, heavy payloads and towing. It's a truck engine because it has a truck's low end torque curve. The fact they were able to design an engine that could operate at both ends of the spectrum with two totally different torque curves is quite remarkable. It's truly both a truck and a car engine platform. It was designed from the beginning to go into both vehicles, and the engineers hit their mark. Just because it was first released in the taurus doesn't make it a car engine. it takes years to get an engine and vehicle down the pipeline and out into production.

Dodge tried to do the same with the Hemi but didn't do anywhere near as good a job. The torque curve is still very car like and the engine really needs to rev to do the same duties. Like i said, it needs to downshift far more often, lags as it tries to get up into it's power band and the engine loves to stay in those high revs trying to climb a small grade. It's not going to hurt the engine and it's capable of doing so, but again, not the ideal truck engine. If they made the stroke longer, it would have more low end torque and the power band would be more ideal for truck duty. But then that would require a completely different block/engine altogether and the engine would suck for car performance.
I guess we just see things differently then.

If the ecoboost was such a remarkable "truck" engine, it would be in the F250/F350, but it is not--probably for "truck" reasons... . Yet the Hemi is used in an HD application.
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:24 AM   #21
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I guess we just see things differently then.

If the ecoboost was such a remarkable "truck" engine, it would be in the F250/F350, but it is not--probably for "truck" reasons... . Yet the Hemi is used in an HD application.
Fords marketing strategy is different than Dodges, and many people would love to see the Ecoboost in the F250/350. But the fact is, the F150 is overlapping F250/2500HD territory. If you purchase the Max Payload and Max Tow package, you can tow 11,500lbs with 2400lbs of payload. That's insane for a 1/2 ton pickup. The Dodge 2500 can only do about 100 more lbs of payload and 1000 more lbs of towing.

A good example of a truck engine is the Nissan Titan. Nissan designed the engine specifically for truck duty. It's an engine that was never designed to go into any cars and is only used in the Titan and Armada. While i personally haven't towed with it, my mother owns an armada and i have driven it on numerous occasions. I think it would do well in towing, and every review you read from user tow experience raves about how well this engine does while towing. The 5.6L nissan V8 makes 385lbs of torque at 3400rpm and the torque curve itself is flatter than dodge or fords offerings. Dodge's hemi reaches peak torque at 4000rpm and has a very steep torque curve, Fords 5.0 makes peak torque at 4500rpm and the 6.2l at 4250rpm.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:45 AM   #22
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Truth is that in the hands of an average driver...ie non-car enthusiast, it may not make a difference. I can get 27-28mpg in 50/50 highway/city driving in either of the cars I drive most if the time (boosted eclipse and Evo) while my wife struggles to get 21-22 in same conditions (she also does not drive either car much to be fair).
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Old 11-08-2012, 01:43 PM   #23
tachrev
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Turbo's are awesome for towing.

To some extent, they provide more power/boost based on LOAD, not RPM. I think the Ecoboost F150 is a great idea, as long as they where able to keep it reliable.
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Old 11-10-2012, 01:24 AM   #24
arghx7
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eh, I agree that the Ecoboost 3.5 is more of a "truck engine" in concept with its torque band and the fact that its car sales volumes are low.

Maybe Chrysler just didn't bother making a 5.7L hemi fully optimized for low-end torque on a truck application.

Saying Nissan's 5.6 is a "truck engine" is partly true, but there is a version for a car (Infiniti M56) that uses direct injection and the VVEL system found in the 370Z.
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:46 PM   #25
brainfreeze
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Ecoboost F150 owners report 12mpg towing, spirited r on the go driving 15 mpg.
So whats the big deal? My guess the turbo motor will not last well as Ford has little experience with turbos. Have to ask my Ford Mech friends how it's holding up.
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