The race to improve fuel economy, especially among 1/2-ton pickup trucks, has become intense. Manufacturers are pulling out all the stops to increase fuel economy without sacrificing performance.
ForConstructionPros.com reported that the push has led to recent innovations in the form of new engine platforms with integrated fuel-saving technology; more aerodynamic chassis with both passive and active aerodynamic devices; more sophisticated multi-speed transmissions; and weight savings through careful material choices. Electric power steering to reduce parasitic loads on the engine, aluminum hoods to save weight and other fuel-saving technologies are also making inroads into the latest-generation pickups.
Perhaps the biggest selling point for a pickup truck remains the powerplant, and the new offerings in the 1/2-ton market are a radical departure from the previous generation. Turbocharging, cylinder deactivation, variable valve timing and direct injection are all becoming commonplace as pickup manufacturers strive to boost fuel economy. There is more than one way to squeeze extra efficiency out of the engine.
Different companies are taking different approaches. Ford offers a choice of options for its 1/2-ton pickups, with a 3.7-liter V6 and a 5.0-liter V8 that both offer twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) technology. This creates precise, variable timing control of both the intake and exhaust camshafts to optimize power, performance and fuel economy. There is also a 6.2-liter V8 available.
But the premium offering leading the charge for Ford’s 1/2-ton pickups is the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 — it offers power comparable to a naturally aspirated V8 with the fuel economy of a smaller displacement engine. The EcoBoost is fundamental to Ford’s strategy to provide technologically advanced, high-output, smaller-displacement powertrains that deliver both optimal performance and fuel economy.
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