The 2017 Ford F-150 full-size pickup truck gets a slight fuel-economy bump this year, via the addition of a new 10-speed automatic transmission and an updated 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V-6 engine.
Equipped with this powertrain, the 2017 F-150 is rated at 21 mpg combined (18 city, 25 highway) with rear-wheel drive, and 20 mpg combined (17 city, 23 highway) with four-wheel drive.
That's an increase of 1 mpg in each category for the rear-drive models, compared to the previous-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and six-speed automatic.
Combined fuel economy rises 2 mpg for four-wheel drive models, which also rise 1 mpg in the city and highway categories.
At the same time, output of the 3.5-liter V-6 increases to 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque—improvements of 10 hp and 50 lb-ft over the previous-generation engine.
The new engine features both both direct and port fuel injection, along with numerous upgrades like new turbochargers and an electronic wastegate.
The 10-speed automatic transmission was co-developed with General Motors, and is the first of its kind in mass production.
It features a wider gear-ratio spread than the previous six-speed automatic, and Ford also claims to have developed more sophisticated software to manage the higher number of gears.
The 10-speed is also the first transmission in a Ford production vehicle not to employ cast-iron components. It uses a combination of steel, aluminum, and composite alloys instead, to save weight.
Beyond F-150 variants, it's been suggested that Ford will also deploy the 10-speed in upcoming redesigned versions of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator large SUVs.
GM's first application of the new transmission will be in the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
In addition to the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, Ford will continue to offer a 2.7-liter turbocharged EcoBoost V-6, as well as naturally-aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 and 5.0-liter V-8 options.
A six-speed automatic will remain the only transmission option for these other engines.
For now, the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup truck will likely remain the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, which uses a 3.0-liter diesel V-6.
It achieves a best of 24 mpg combined (21 mpg city, 29 mpg highway) in rear-wheel drive HFE (High Fuel Efficiency) form.
But Ford is widely believed to be planning a diesel version of the F-150, and later on, a hybrid model as well—as pickup trucks must do their part to raise average fuel economy for each of the truck-heavy domestic makers.