2015 F-150 Fuel Economy Ratings Disappoint
UPDATE: Ford contacted me to ask me to clarify a few things about my post. Specifically:
- Ford couldn’t help the timing of the announcement. Evidently, the EPA figures weren’t available until Thursday night, and Ford was in a bind to get the numbers out ASAP as trucks are hitting the ground any day now.
- Ford never said that their goal was 30mpg. I presented this as fact, but I should clarify – it was my understanding based on some people I’d spoken to that Ford’g goal was 30mpg…Ford never said that. My 30mpg statement below came off as fact and it shouldn’t have.
- Ford’s Mike Levine pointed out that the new 2.7L Nano EcoBoost V6 has a low asking price (it’s a $495 option), as well as excellent towing and payload ratings for the price and fuel economy.
My only response is to item #1. It’s truly incredible that the EPA would release the 2015’s certified fuel economy numbers so that they’d have to be published the Friday before Thanksgiving.
The original article continues below ###
Many people in the PR business believe that Friday afternoon is the best time to release bad news to the press…especially near the holidays. Guess what time Ford chose to release the fuel economy figures for the 2015 F-150?
Despite the extensive use of aluminum in the 2015 F-150, the truck’s fuel economy improved only slightly.
How 2015 F-150 Fuel Economy Shakes Out
When you look at the following table, you see that Ford’s aluminum body made little difference on fuel economy. Here are the highlights:
- The base 3.5L V6 F-150, for example, gets nearly the same fuel economy rating as the more powerful 3.6L and 4.3L V6s from Ram and GM
- The 5.0L V8 is 1mpg worse than GM’s 5.3L, but it does offer an extra 30hp
- The tiny new 2.7L “Nano” is a solid performer compared to both base V6 and small V8 competitors, but it falls far short of the rumored 30mpg goal Ford had in mind.
- Ram’s EcoDiesel wins the fuel economy competition, and while it’s expensive, it’s a diesel with 420 lb-ft of torque.
|Highway MPG||City MPG||HP||TQ|
|2015 Ford w/ NA 3.5L||25||20||282||253|
|2015 Ram w/ Pentastar 3.6L||25||17||305||269|
|2015 GM w/ 4.3L||24||18||285||305|
|2015 Tundra w/ 4.6L||19||15||310||327|
|2015 GM w/ 5.3L||23||16||355||383|
|2015 Ford w/ 3.5L EcoBoost||24||17||365||420|
|2015 Ford w/ 5.0L||22||15||385||387|
|2015 Tundra w/ 5.7L||18||13||381||401|
|2015 Ram w/ 5.7L||22||15||395||410|
|2015 GM w/ 6.2L||21||15||420||460|
|FANCY FUEL SIPPERS||-||-||-||-|
|2015 Ford w/ 2.7L Nano V6||26||19||325||375|
|2015 Ram w/ 3.0L Diesel||28||20||240||420|
Why These Ratings Should Be Considered A Failure
For years, Ford has been talking about “game changing” F-150 fuel economy, made possible by dramatic weight loss. Yet the numbers clearly show that the F-150’s weight loss only made an incremental difference…in most cases, just a couple miles per gallon.
Is a couple of miles per gallon bad? Not at all. As a percentage, a 2mpg improvement on an 18mpg overall rating is greater than 10%. But consider:
- GM managed to get similar improvements with old-fashioned steel and pushrod engines. No aluminum, no rivets, no adhesive, and no fancy twin-turbos.
- Ford doesn’t have a lot of levers left to pull. Most automakers view “dramatic weight loss” as a big deal. Ford’s done it, and it didn’t take them very far.
Ford didn’t hit the fuel economy rating they needed to grab headlines (30mpg). They also didn’t manage to beat the most fuel efficient engine (the Ram EcoDiesel). And while the 2.7L Nano V6 is a compelling motor – offering V8-like performance and V6 fuel economy – most truck buyers know that EcoBoost engines don’t get the advertised mileage.
Ford made a big gamble on aluminum, and the gamble doesn’t seem to have paid off. Considering the money spent – and the risks inherent in building a truck from a combination of steel and aluminum – this is a failure.
What Will Ford Do Next?
Ford can still squeeze more mileage out of the F-150 with an 8 or 9 speed automatic transmission. They can make more aerodynamic changes, and find some incremental improvements here and there that will probably all add up to another couple miles per gallon. But that will make their trucks about as fuel efficient as a small diesel in a Ram 1500.
Of course, the Ram 1500 hasn’t been “lightened.” Neither have the trucks from Toytoa or Nissan. What might Ram – or Toyota or Nissan – be able to do when they invest in lightening their trucks? And what about GM’s rumored baby diesel, due out in 2016? Might that be the truck that hits 30mpg, a number that’s sure to impress the general public?
It says here that Ford’s aluminum F-150 gamble is off to a bad start…which is probably why Ford didn’t release the F-150 fuel economy numbers until Wall Street started their weekend.
Filed Under: Auto News