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Last Friday was perfect in Romeo, Mich.

The bright blue sky was sprinkled with fluffy cumulus clouds, the crisp air mixed of summer and winter, and Ford F-150s were painlessly pulling 10,000-pound trailers.

Ford Motor Co. has no plans to stop with its revitalization program, and the F-150 has quietly undergone its biggest powertrain overhaul in 62 years. Gone are the venerable 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter V-8s — engines that have powered F-150s for years.

A new cast of blocks are under the hood of Ford's trucks, including a 3.7-liter V-6, a 5-liter and 6.2-liter V-8, and the crème 'd le crème 3.5-liter twin turbo direct injection V-6 known as EcoBoost.

I've always savored the irony that Ford has gotten away with creating a 365-horsepower, 420-pound-feet of torque V-6 and been able to market it as something environmentally friendly. That's awesome. That engine should qualify for tax rebates, too.

The idea, of course, is the engine earns its eco-friendly chops because it is a V-6 powerful enough to replace a V-8. In fact, Ford does just that with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine — providing more power than the 5-liter V-8. It's lighter and likely more efficient.

Efficiency is important for truck buyers, said Doug Scott, Ford's truck marketing manager.

"It's the No.1 unmet need in the segment," he said during a truck presentation last week.

Indeed, it is, but that doesn't necessarily mean truck customers are going to think a V-6 with a couple of turbo chargers bolted to it - should cost more than a V-8.

Truck buyers are a fiercely loyal bunch of consumers, just ask Toyota Motor Corp. - a company that thought it could sell pickups like they were Camrys and now has a billion dollar plant in Texas not pumping out hundreds of thousands of full-size trucks.

But truck buyers are also loyal to the number of cylinders under the hood and it's going to be a hard sell to convince truck buyers to downsize.

If they were ready, Ford might have a V-6 in its 2010 lineup, which it doesn't.

One way Ford may convince truck buyers to jump into these big trucks with an EcoBoost V-6 is the same way it is convincing me: Let them drive it.

The near-instantaneous torque on this truck approaches unreal.
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