In May, Ford sold more F-150 full-size pickups with V-6 engines than traditional V-8 power plants.
The new 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo gasoline direct-injection V-6 engine made up 41 percent of F-150 retail sales in May, up 4 percentage points from April. Sales of the new 3.7-liter naturally aspirated six-cylinder were 14 percent of retail, for a total F-150 six-cylinder engine share of 55 percent, beating sales of F-150s equipped with the new 5.0-liter V-8 and 6.2-liter V-8 mills.
What's stunning about this news is the extremely high take rate for Ford's new six-cylinder engines. Toyota's and GM's V-6 sales are in the single-digit percentages.
What’s likely driving the small-displacement adoption in Ford's big trucks? Gas prices are more than a dollar higher than last year’s prices, at $3.77 a gallon for regular octane fuel, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
A two-wheel-drive EcoBoost F-150 carries EPA ratings of 16/22 mpg city/highway but can also tow up to 11,300 pounds when properly equipped — the same as the Ford F-150’s large-displacement 6.2-liter V-8 that's rated at 13/18 mpg. That makes the EcoBoost attractive to new-truck buyers looking for the right combination of power and frugality.
EcoBoost is also priced aggressively. It’s $1,750 more than the F-150’s entry-level 302-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6, $750 more than the midrange 360-hp, 5.0-liter V-8 and $1,245 less than the premium 411-hp, 6.2-liter V-8.