Can the smaller V6 outmuscle the mighty 5.0 V8?

Once upon a time, the most powerful gas-powered pickup truck was simply the one with the biggest engine. Diesels with turbos have been around awhile, but Ford’s twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 has shaken the petrol-pickup world in recent years with its promise of copious power and increased fuel efficiency. It’s one thing to compare the engines on paper, and yet another to conduct straight-line performance tests. The Fast Lane Truck took the V6-versus-V8 question to new heights – literally – with a towing comparison up and down a mountain road.

In the red corner for this competition is a 2019 Ford F-150 EcoBoost, while the gray corner holds a 2019 F-150 packing a 5.0-liter Coyote V8 under the hood. In the spirit of transparency, it’s not entirely an apples-to-apples comparison, as the EcoBoost is equipped with four-wheel-drive and a 3:55 rear axle ratio. The V8 only turns the rear wheels – providing a weight advantage of roughly 700 pounds – and it uses a taller 3:15 rear axle ratio.

Of course, the engines are different as well, with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost producing 375 horsepower (280 kilowatts) and 470 pound-feet (637 Newton-meters) of torque. The 5.0-liter V8 has a bit more power with 395 hp (295 kW) but less twist at 400 lb-ft (542 Nm) of torque. Both trucks, however, have the 10-speed automatic transmission.

The parameters of the test are simple. Each truck tows a trailer with 8,900 pounds of ballast (in this case, water tanks) up and down the same stretch of highway, which peaks at 11,158 feet. The road stretches eight miles with a seven percent grade; going up the trucks are evaluated on ability to maintain the 60 mph speed limit, and how much fuel is used in the process. Going down the mountain, the trucks are evaluated by how well each can maintain speed automatically through engine braking. The more times the driver has to hit the brakes, the lower the score.

We will let the video spell out all the details, but here are a few spoilers. Both trucks had no problem making the climb, even though turbocharged engines fare better at higher altitudes where the air is thinner. Both required plenty of braking intervention on the way back down, but there was a clear winner between the two. And yes, both burned a crazy amount of gas in the process, but again, there was mileage champion and that result might surprise you.

Source: The Fast Lane Truck via YouTube