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F-150 2.7L EcoBoost 4x4 vs. Ram 1500 EcoDiesel 4x4 vs. Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71 4x4
Motor Trend
By: Scott Evans
January 2015


Pickup trucks are so ubiquitous, so common on American roadways that we tend to take them for granted. They're hugely important vehicles, both to consumers and their manufacturers, and they make up a significant percentage of vehicles on the road. If the Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado were brands instead of individual vehicles within a brand, they'd both be among the top 10 best-selling auto brands in the country, and that's without counting the Silverado's GMC twin. Ram wouldn't be far out of the top 10, and its sales are on the rise.

Trucks are also among the most versatile vehicles you can buy. They tow and haul, and they also commute and road trip. They can be everything from a stripped-out work truck with manual windows and door locks to a leather-stuffed special edition that costs as much as a full-size luxury sedan. They carry anywhere from two to six passengers in a mind-boggling number of cab, bed, and wheelbase configurations. To its owner, a truck can be a tool, a commuter vehicle, and a luxury car all rolled up in one. Fully aware of the weight these vehicles carry with their builders and their buyers, we brought together the big three: Chevy, Ford, and Ram. Each has launched an all-new model within the past five years stuffed with significant updates based on volumes of customer research. Each brand is confident that its truck represents the best answer to the truck customer's competing needs in towing, hauling, fuel economy, and comfort. From Chevrolet, the Silverado 1500 LTZ with 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V-8. From Ford, the F-150 Lariat with 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6. From Ram, the Ram 1500 Outdoorsman with 3.0-liter EcoDiesel turbo-diesel V-6. We drove them well over 1,000 miles through California and Arizona empty, loaded, trailering, in cities, on highways, and in the mountains to determine which is the best all-around truck. Before that, though, we pored over customer research from multiple sources in order to understand how truck buyers in this class actually use their vehicles so that we could base our judgment on their needs.

Full article available at link.
 

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I just read it. The Ram won. Sigh.

The Ford came in a close second, though.

You know why I hate rams? It's evil-looking grille. It screams "I'm an @$$ hole! "
 

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The article won't load now. But either way, overwhelmingly actual consumers are gonna love the All New Aluminum 2015 F-150.

Not able to read the article, did they jack up the options on the F-150 in an attempt to absorb the $4k price premium for the diesel engine? And how did they resolve the $24 per tank of diesel fuel premium?
 

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Neither. They used a mid-level club cab for performance and mileage testing against fully pimped crew cabs from the other two-which makes the loss to the Ram a bit more substantial than meets the eye.
 

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Interesting comparison and results, but then again, this is MT. Not as much street cred as say a R&T or Truck Trend or the like. I will wait for their write-ups for a real review that is worth the paper/electrons used.

But scanning quickly through it, the Ford sure got great props in many if not most areas. Power to spare, especially towing. Great steering. Firmer ride, which is what you want in a truck. 360 camera "should be on every truck." much larger fuel tank for long cruising. Great fuel economy without the huge Diesel fill up expense either - yikes. Imagine when prices go back up. And lets not forget Diesel engine option costs. And that Ram is exactly 1,055lbs more than the Ford. Helllooooo bertha!! Are some of the gains due to less weight in the Ford? LMAO, yeah, that was kind of the point.

Anyway, one of the weak links that is obvious for the Ford, and a new more-than-8 speed is not that far away. Not that Ford customers will be suffering in the mean time. And wow, did GM phone that one in or what.

Ouch
 

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Interesting comparison and results, but then again, this is MT. Not as much street cred as say a R&T or Truck Trend or the like. I will wait for their write-ups for a real review that is worth the paper/electrons used.

But scanning quickly through it, the Ford sure got great props in many if not most areas. Power to spare, especially towing. Great steering. Firmer ride, which is what you want in a truck. 360 camera "should be on every truck." much larger fuel tank for long cruising. Great fuel economy without the huge Diesel fill up expense either - yikes. Imagine when prices go back up. And lets not forget Diesel engine option costs. And that Ram is exactly 1,055lbs more than the Ford. Helllooooo bertha!! Are some of the gains due to less weight in the Ford? LMAO, yeah, that was kind of the point.

Anyway, one of the weak links is obvious for the Ford, and a new more-than-8 speed is not that far away. Not that Ford customers will be suffering in the mean time. And wow, did GM phone that one in or what.

Ouch
why is Ford taking so much time with a 8+ speed transmission? almost every automaker has one and Ford only 6 speed
 

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why is Ford taking so much time with a 8+ speed transmission? almost every automaker has one and Ford only 6 speed

"We have a 10-speed transmission in development with GM," said Raj Nair, Ford global product development chief. Nair declined to comment on timing, but the transmission is expected to arrive near the end of 2016 for the 2017 model year.

Ford also continues work on a hybrid F-150.

"We anticipate sometime this decade we will have a hybrid pickup," Nair said.

So it looks like the new F-150 will have full model year and a few months, which gives time for all plants to up to full production, before a new 10 speed transmission is launched.

Also, other automakers have 8-speed transmissions because they buy them from third parties for a short term advantage. Ford/GM are making their own 10-speed and 9-speed for long term advantage.
 

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All I know is that if I had invested billions of dollars on aluminum bodywork and tiny, hyper-boosted gas engines only to see it trumped in its first comparo outing by a five year-old design packing a small diesel I'd be firing people left and right. Whatta disaster.

...full disclosure: I own a Ram. Yes, it IS that good. And then some.
 

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I recall how Ford was the first automaker to proliferate 6 speeds across the board, where much of the competition was still using mostly 4 and 5 speed. Some of those automakers simply jumped from 5 to 8 speeds. Like bloggin mentioned, more gears are coming. It sounds like it will be timed with at least one significant engine upgrade as well as many minor upgrades as well for truck.
 

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Looking at the article and numbers only a FOOL would think the Ram had some kind of runaway victory that FORD should even be concerned about. However I must consider the source of such foolish claims.
 

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Finally able to read the article. Here are a few points that stood out:

MT spend a whole lot of time trying to justify why they wanted the Ram to win their 'extremely subjective and biased' test:

Starting out they state:

"From the outset, you can see a small(BIG) problem: One of these trucks is not like the other. The only F-150 with 2.7-liter EcoBoost available for our test was this Lariat SuperCab, a mid-grade model that retails for roughly $7,000 less as-tested than the nearly top-trim Ram and Silverado."

So right off the bat they will be testing a lower trim level 2015 F-150 and trying to 'imagine' what it would be like if it was a nearly top trim level(which will be quieter and slightly heavier and ride differently) like the other trucks while testing. Which they can't do because all they will be able to 'feel' is the experience of the lower trim level model where the sounds and experience will be different.

Then they write:

"As the test data at the end of the story shows, the F-150 is a screamer. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine feels wildly more powerful than its official ratings suggest. It sprints off the line as if competing in a NASCAR Truck Series race. "

And they state the Silverado was 'nearly' as quick as the F-150, and the 'slower' Ram 'felt' quicker? First admitting the F-150 weighed 1,100 less than the Ram, but then after driving the big heavy trucks, complaining that the F-150 felt light.

Then more about the Ram:

"The Ram's class-exclusive, optional air suspension rode the best and the truck felt confident and responsive in turns. It wasn't quite as quiet inside as the Chevrolet and it wasn't as fast as the Ford, but it was the truck we agreed we'd want to drive on a regular basis. But we would prefer a faster steering rack."

But wait.....the Ram is not as quiet as the top trim level Chevrolet. Note: they were testing a lighter weight mid trim level F-150, so they can't speak of the naturally heavier upper trim level model quietness and ride quality. While at the same time they complain of the Ram steering being slow. But it's the one they would drive on a regular basis, when they compare with a lower trim level F-150.

Win: F-150

Then hauling 1,000 lbs:

"The all-powerful Ford didn't seem to notice the weight at all when accelerating, and the Ram seemed only 'vaguely' aware of the load(meaning that it was struggling and even slower). The Chevy felt like it was working harder and every move required more throttle pedal than before. The Chevy also didn't ride any better or worse, but its floaty, under-damped body motions were exaggerated slightly. The Ford's ride was less affected, though the bumps in the road became more noticeable, even if they were handled well by the suspension."

So even when loaded with 1,000 and weigh almost as much as the Ram when empty, the F-150's ride is still unaffected. This is what Ford was talking about by dropping the weight going with aluminum, but MT missed this point entirely.

Win: F-150

Now it's the 12 mile, 6 degree grade:

"Once again, the Ford felt unencumbered and skipped up the hill as if the weight wasn't there. Objectively, the time it took to jump from 50 to 70 mph nearly doubled(notice how they used 'less than doubled" when talking about the Ram) compared to passing when empty and on flat ground, but you wouldn't know it by feel alone.

The Ram likewise felt unburdened, and though it had the longest passing time, the difference was also less than double(so not nearly doubled?).

The Chevy, though, felt seriously weighed down. Passing took a whole lot of throttle, and even then its passing time more than doubled

Win: F-150

Then they attach trailers:

"Once hooked up, we did a bit of acceleration testing to replicate those hairy freeway entry moments. As you might expect, the trucks all performed about the same subjectively, but slower. The Ford still felt and was the quickest."

No.....the F-150 was already proven to be the quickest by their own tests.

And here is where they get desperate for the Ram....."The Chevy felt the slowest and most labored, but was actually the second-quickest. The Ram felt quicker than the Chevy even though it wasn't." They just couldn't bring themselves to say that the Ram was the slowest of all three trucks entering a freeway.

Win: F-150

Now backing with a trailer:

"The Ford was easier to see out of and responded better thanks in part to its power and quick steering, but its tall, skinny side mirrors kept losing the parking space.

The Ram shone brightest with its ample outward visibility, abundant low RPM torque, and wide side mirrors that never lost the parking space."

"Each carried a flaw in one test or another, but given only one truck to tow with regularly, we'd pick the Ram for its ease of towing, backing, and its ride quality."

So the Ford has the power and quick steering, while the Ram 'shone brightest' with it's 'abundant' low RPM torque and bigger size mirrors. Wouldn't the slow steering they already identified have an impact on the backing maneuver in the Ram? Also, the F-150 at the the same high trim level also has the 360 degree camera so backing would be a breeze, which MT mentions later in the article that every truck needs this class exclusive feature of the 2015 F-150.

Win: F-150

And it's with fuel economy where MT really start dancing:

First we get this: "Given the recent trend of diesel fuel being more expensive than gasoline (the nationwide average difference is 58 cents/gallon as of this writing"

Then after a lot of noise about their own Real MPG, we get to what really matters: "though paying off the EcoDiesel's $3,120-$4,770 price premium would require time"

With all the calculations they did to justify why they liked the diesel Ram better with their own unscientific mpg test, they just could not bring themselves to calculate how many years it would take to cover the $4,770 diesel engine premium along with a consistent .58 cent per gallon diesel premium.

This is the math problem that won't go away for diesel.

Even in the diesel loving MT subjective article where they wanted the Ram to win so badly, the F-150 with 2.7L EcoBoost offered faster straight-line acceleration, effortless hauling, more towing power, faster towing/passing acceleration, quicker steering, better maneuverability, class exclusive 360 degree cam for best visibility with backing parking, all starting at minimum $2,600 less than the slower, heavier, less responsive Ram EcoDiesel, and the F-150 comes without a .58 cent per gallon fuel premium for the life of the truck.

Winner: 2015 F-150
 

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Bloggin, you hit it on the bullseye. The article was clearly biased, before I finished reading the article I knew the Ram would win the comparo.
 

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It read like MT had their winner in mind before they even drove a single truck, and then just looked for reasons to support it. That's called bias. And the fact they were looking to disprove the Ford's FE claims alone is a clear indicator of what a waste of time this read was.
 

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Finally able to read the article. Here are a few points that stood out:

MT spend a whole lot of time trying to justify why they wanted the Ram to win their 'extremely subjective and biased' test:

Starting out they state:

"From the outset, you can see a small(BIG) problem: One of these trucks is not like the other. The only F-150 with 2.7-liter EcoBoost available for our test was this Lariat SuperCab, a mid-grade model that retails for roughly $7,000 less as-tested than the nearly top-trim Ram and Silverado."

So right off the bat they will be testing a lower trim level 2015 F-150 and trying to 'imagine' what it would be like if it was a nearly top trim level(which will be quieter and slightly heavier and ride differently) like the other trucks while testing. Which they can't do because all they will be able to 'feel' is the experience of the lower trim level model where the sounds and experience will be different.

Then they write:

"As the test data at the end of the story shows, the F-150 is a screamer. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine feels wildly more powerful than its official ratings suggest. It sprints off the line as if competing in a NASCAR Truck Series race. "

And they state the Silverado was 'nearly' as quick as the F-150, and the 'slower' Ram 'felt' quicker? First admitting the F-150 weighed 1,100 less than the Ram, but then after driving the big heavy trucks, complaining that the F-150 felt light.

Then more about the Ram:

"The Ram's class-exclusive, optional air suspension rode the best and the truck felt confident and responsive in turns. It wasn't quite as quiet inside as the Chevrolet and it wasn't as fast as the Ford, but it was the truck we agreed we'd want to drive on a regular basis. But we would prefer a faster steering rack."

But wait.....the Ram is not as quiet as the top trim level Chevrolet. Note: they were testing a lighter weight mid trim level F-150, so they can't speak of the naturally heavier upper trim level model quietness and ride quality. While at the same time they complain of the Ram steering being slow. But it's the one they would drive on a regular basis, when they compare with a lower trim level F-150.

Win: F-150

Then hauling 1,000 lbs:

"The all-powerful Ford didn't seem to notice the weight at all when accelerating, and the Ram seemed only 'vaguely' aware of the load(meaning that it was struggling and even slower). The Chevy felt like it was working harder and every move required more throttle pedal than before. The Chevy also didn't ride any better or worse, but its floaty, under-damped body motions were exaggerated slightly. The Ford's ride was less affected, though the bumps in the road became more noticeable, even if they were handled well by the suspension."

So even when loaded with 1,000 and weigh almost as much as the Ram when empty, the F-150's ride is still unaffected. This is what Ford was talking about by dropping the weight going with aluminum, but MT missed this point entirely.

Win: F-150

Now it's the 12 mile, 6 degree grade:

"Once again, the Ford felt unencumbered and skipped up the hill as if the weight wasn't there. Objectively, the time it took to jump from 50 to 70 mph nearly doubled(notice how they used 'less than doubled" when talking about the Ram) compared to passing when empty and on flat ground, but you wouldn't know it by feel alone.

The Ram likewise felt unburdened, and though it had the longest passing time, the difference was also less than double(so not nearly doubled?).

The Chevy, though, felt seriously weighed down. Passing took a whole lot of throttle, and even then its passing time more than doubled

Win: F-150

Then they attach trailers:

"Once hooked up, we did a bit of acceleration testing to replicate those hairy freeway entry moments. As you might expect, the trucks all performed about the same subjectively, but slower. The Ford still felt and was the quickest."

No.....the F-150 was already proven to be the quickest by their own tests.

And here is where they get desperate for the Ram....."The Chevy felt the slowest and most labored, but was actually the second-quickest. The Ram felt quicker than the Chevy even though it wasn't." They just couldn't bring themselves to say that the Ram was the slowest of all three trucks entering a freeway.

Win: F-150

Now backing with a trailer:

"The Ford was easier to see out of and responded better thanks in part to its power and quick steering, but its tall, skinny side mirrors kept losing the parking space.

The Ram shone brightest with its ample outward visibility, abundant low RPM torque, and wide side mirrors that never lost the parking space."

"Each carried a flaw in one test or another, but given only one truck to tow with regularly, we'd pick the Ram for its ease of towing, backing, and its ride quality."

So the Ford has the power and quick steering, while the Ram 'shone brightest' with it's 'abundant' low RPM torque and bigger size mirrors. Wouldn't the slow steering they already identified have an impact on the backing maneuver in the Ram? Also, the F-150 at the the same high trim level also has the 360 degree camera so backing would be a breeze, which MT mentions later in the article that every truck needs this class exclusive feature of the 2015 F-150.

Win: F-150

And it's with fuel economy where MT really start dancing:

First we get this: "Given the recent trend of diesel fuel being more expensive than gasoline (the nationwide average difference is 58 cents/gallon as of this writing"

Then after a lot of noise about their own Real MPG, we get to what really matters: "though paying off the EcoDiesel's $3,120-$4,770 price premium would require time"

With all the calculations they did to justify why they liked the diesel Ram better with their own unscientific mpg test, they just could not bring themselves to calculate how many years it would take to cover the $4,770 diesel engine premium along with a consistent .58 cent per gallon diesel premium.

This is the math problem that won't go away for diesel.

Even in the diesel loving MT subjective article where they wanted the Ram to win so badly, the F-150 with 2.7L EcoBoost offered faster straight-line acceleration, effortless hauling, more towing power, faster towing/passing acceleration, quicker steering, better maneuverability, class exclusive 360 degree cam for best visibility with backing parking, all starting at minimum $2,600 less than the slower, heavier, less responsive Ram EcoDiesel, and the F-150 comes without a .58 cent per gallon fuel premium for the life of the truck.

Winner: 2015 F-150

Thanks for the recap bloggin. I too tallied up a lot of wins and accolades for the Ford, and wondered how they came to their conclusion. Clearly, as we all know, they are all good trucks, and the MT just expressed a preference, not necessarily a winner.
 

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There's one glaring oversight with the new F-150 that is largely the reason for the disparity in models tested. You can't get the 2.7L EcoBoost engine with anything higher than the Lariat trim level. This also means you miss out on much of the new technology like LED headlamps and 360 degree camera.

Ford makes the assumption that customers who want a fancier trim level truck will also want a bigger engine. This is likely a fair assessment, but it seems that the 2.7L EcoBoost would be more than capable of powering any F-150. For those who don't require the extra performance of the 3.5 EcoBoost, it should be possible to have both the most luxurious features and best fuel economy.
 

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http://www.autonews.com/article/20141125/BLOG06/141129916/ford-s-payoff-from-aluminum-bet-still-years-away

Investors might be a little concerned at how Ford is spending its money.

Ford dropped billions of dollars redesigning the aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150. Then it spent at least a billion more perfecting a high-speed aluminum riveting and bonding production system, and retooling its plants.

Ford has said, and continues to say, that fuel economy is the No. 1 unmet need of its truck buyers.

Despite the hefty investments to transform the 2015 F-150, the pickup’s fuel economy barely budged, we learned last week, even though the new truck is up to 700 pounds lighter than the old one.

GM, on the other hand, has developed a low-cost aluminum welding system that joins sheets of aluminum together on the same production equipment already in use in its plants. GM’s cost to switch to aluminum compared with Ford’s: pennies on the dollar. And this technology is here now.

GM has been quietly rolling out the new system, installing welded aluminum parts now on the Corvette, Cadillacs, trucks and SUVs.

Mark Reuss, GM’s product development chief, says the company can reduce weight and meet its fuel economy obligations without having to follow Ford and build entire vehicle bodies out of aluminum, which is more expensive than steel.

And in the fuel economy race, Chrysler zipped by both GM and Ford by simply installing a diesel engine in its Ram pickup. Ram owns the fuel economy crown at 28 mpg highway and likely will for at least another year.

So, Ford investors might be wondering what’s going on over in Dearborn.

I’ll tell you: Ford is doing something rare in this industry by planning for about 15 years down the road. Ford’s senior leadership is getting the company poised to remove strict fuel-economy standards from its list of things to worry about. There will be short-term financial pain now as Ford’s costs to build the F-150 rise and profits shrink.

But we in the media, and those ever-expectant analysts in the financial community, are often guilty of not seeing the whole, long-term picture. We have a short attention span, and we want instant results now. Because the new F-150 failed to claim segment leadership in fuel economy, you might think Ford failed to deliver the goods. It didn’t.

Let’s look at this from a long-range viewpoint: It took major guts to transform the industry’s top-selling vehicle from steel to aluminum. Ford could have played it safe and stuck with steel, and no one would have noticed. It would have been business as usual.

Ford certainly has the resources -- and the hardware -- to undertake a fuel-economy moon shot and roll out the F-150 with an eight- or nine-speed automatic transmission and a diesel engine and at least 30 mpg. Ford makes a powerful 4.4-liter turbo diesel V-8 in Mexico for Land Rover. A smaller version of that engine could have -- and still might -- have gone into F-150.

And, like Chrysler, Ford could have licensed a transmission with more than six speeds from German supplier ZF.

Here are two reasons why that didn’t happen: First, it would have presented Ford with a daunting engineering challenge to build the new F-150 with all-new powertrains. Ford kept the same six-speed transmission as last year and rolled out one new engine, the 2.7-liter V-6. The rest of the F-150’s powertrains are lightly modified versions of last year’s components.

Second, it would have caused major sticker shock among F-150 customers. Many well-equipped models of the new F-150 are now close to $40,000. You can spend over $50,000 and close to $60,000 for the top-of-line loaded King Ranch and Platinum models.

Ford has to take it slow, acclimate customers to higher prices, allow dealers time to learn how to repair aluminum and make sure all the new electronic technology in the truck performs flawlessly.

Going slow with the powertrain technology that would have vaulted the F-150 past the Ram was the right thing to do. In about a year, a new 10-speed automatic transmission that Ford is co-developing with GM will be available. And, because of the high-volume parts shared with GM, Ford will have an advantage over Chrysler on costs.

As for a diesel engine, Ford is right to wait on that as well. European and U.S. emissions standards are going to become more closely aligned in 2016, forcing diesels sold in Europe to adopt much of the same emissions equipment as diesels sold here. That will drive down component costs for such things as the selective catalytic reduction system that injects urea into the exhaust to reduce oxides of nitrogen, or NOx.

The fuel economy race -- like that of quality -- is never ending. Sure, the 2015 F-150’s EPA ratings disappointed a lot of people, and Ford tried to slip the bad news under the door on a Friday before a holiday -- in a pretty cheesy move.

But don’t bet against Ford. The F-150 pays the bills at the company.

You can reach Richard Truett at [email protected].
 
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