eeFord trucks have been known for their exceptional performance and reliability for decades. So it’s no surprise that the 2019 Ford F-150 has become one of America's best-selling and formidable trucks today. It offers an impressive amount of advanced features and a wide array of customization choices inside and out, making it perfect for an extremely diverse group of customers.
Tailoring your truck can be a daunting task but if there’s anything that you should essentially keep your most undivided attention to, it’s choosing the best engine for your specific desires. With that said, experts and car enthusiasts, all agree that there are two perfect engine choices for all F-150 owners: the 3.5L Turbocharged EcoBoost V6 and the 5.0L Ti-VCT V8. The only tricky part is choosing which is which.
As to what’s the finest between the two, there can really be no straight answer. Both engines deliver top-grade performance and exceptionally high reliability but each has distinct features to meet anyone’s wants and needs. In short, it depends on several things and mainly on your preference. Here, we will look at both engines based on several factors like power, fuel efficiency, reliability, and overall maintenance cost. This will help you decide which of the two is the right fit for you.
So, why don’t we take a closer look at these two instead and see what may be the best for your truck?
What is V8?
The Coyote 5.0-liter V8 or “Ti-VCT” V8 for the F-150 has been one of the most trusted engines of all time. Usually referred to as the “Five-Oh”, this engine is a naturally-aspirated powerhouse. Most muscle car enthusiasts go with the saying “there's no replacement for displacement” and this V8 engine shows just that. Made with a bigger frame than most pick-up truck engines, this bad boy can tow up to its own weight and even some more with the help of proper equipment. With this, hauling your fridge, TV, and even a sound system is no problem. Do you need to carry materials and heavy load? No problem.
Not only that, if you’re inclined, you can also run it on propane or compressed natural gas. This is made possible by its PFDI technology, so you don’t have to worry about alternating fuel types. With high horsepower and torque, this can be driven with ease even on rocky uphill climbs. And through a 10-speed automatic transmission, you can switch up on driving either the rear or all four wheels. It’s a tried and tested strong engine that’s definitely a safe zone for all pick-up truck owners.
Pros & Cons
Coyote 5.0-liter V8 is an undeniably legendary engine with unparalleled power. It offers one of the best cargo capacities for pick-up trucks. One hitch is probably that these proficiencies all come at a high price. Not to mention that while it isn’t necessarily inefficient when it comes to fuel consumption, there are other options just like EcoBoost contemporaries that provide better management when it comes to this. Overall, it’s a good and reliable engine that one can use on the road without worrying about technical problems.
Who should opt for this engine?
If you plan on using your truck for heavy payloads, then this might be the perfect engine for you. It guarantees a great overall driving experience of a naturally aspirated engine. So, if you’re not one to be very particular in terms of fuel consumption, you can give this one a try. Those who plan to use it for a construction business where you need to be hauling heavy things may opt for this more.
What is EcoBoost?
As the first EcoBoost engine to be put in F-150, 3.5-Liter EcoBoost V-6 has proven over the years to be reliable in terms of its torque and unrivaled towing power. With a 10-speed automatic transmission, the engine can handle both two-wheel and four-wheel drives with ease. Compared to naturally aspirated engines, this one brings more power and less fuel consumption with its powerful combination of direct fuel injection and forced induction. All without sacrificing its top-grade performance and even minimizing emissions of harmful substances to the air.
And while it utilizes the EcoBoost turbocharger technology, it ensures higher output by amplifying the displacement. With an engine like this, you won’t even have to worry about delivering heavy payloads with the right equipment. These engines are well-devised to handle unleaded fuel. However, they’re also made to respond and adjust well even to higher octane levels. It’s an inexpensive upgrade that brings impressive efficiency. EcoBoost has all you need: a strong power, impressive torque, and trailering reliability.
Pros & Cons
3.5L EcoBoost V6 offers a highly competitive engine performance in the market today. It’s a power unit made to handle the highest maximum cargo capacity for F-150. Not only that, but it’s also made to be more eco-friendly and fuel-efficient for today’s economy. This EcoBoost is a top seller and it comes with a reasonable price. With its essential turbocharger, this engine ensures top-grade power like no other. It can go hundreds of thousands of miles without breaking down even once. However, this is not capable of Flex Fuel and so, if you’re keen on that, this can be a dealbreaker.
Who should opt for this engine?
If you are environment-conscious and are keen on efficient fuel consumption, this is definitely a great investment. This is perfect for those who love long travels and don’t want to worry about a thing about even just a single breakdown on the road. It is a go-to engine for those who are looking for great power and towing capability. It is also great for hobbyists that go off-road for their trails. The list goes on and on!
If you’re still a bit confused on what to choose between the two, here’s a more in-depth guide on each engine’s power and performance.
Horsepower and Torque
These two engines reign supreme against other Ford machines out there. A 3.5 Ecoboost is an engine made with power and performance, able to deliver 375 horsepowers (HP) with a torque production of 470 lb-ft while the naturally aspirated V8 is capable of producing 395 HP and produces a torque of 400 lb-ft.
The V8 is clearly a torque powerhouse. It offers immense support for people who need a reliable truck that can produce such horsepower despite not offering much for fuel-efficiency. But the 3.5 Ecoboost wouldn't just take a backseat either. While not as powerful as the V8, it makes up for it in other aspects such as fuel economy and towing capacity.
A 3.5 Ecoboost has a towing capacity of up to 13,200 pounds, an increase from 12,100 pounds, while the V8 can hold up to 10,100 pounds. Both F-150s having a 3.55 rear axle, the 3.5 Ecoboost 4×2 long bed has 17,000 pounds of gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) while the 5.0 V8 stands at 14,900 GVWR.
Suffice to say, the 3.5 Ecoboost wins this round.
Fuel Efficiency and Alternative Fuels
All 2019 F-150s use E15 fuels while V8 engines can use high octane fuels of up to E85 which does nothing for fuel-efficiency. When properly equipped, the 3.5L Ecoboost has 18 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway while the F-150 5.0L V8 has 17 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway.
Despite being the engine that has the highest maximum towing capacity in all F-150s, the 3.5L Ecoboost has an impressive fuel economy, although unlike the 5.0 V8, it's not equipped for Flex Fuel capability. And if that doesn't sound good for you, then you're better off with the V8 instead.
If you live in an area that's blessed with ethanol, you may want to look for E30 fuel. This top-performing fuel is more inexpensive than regular unleaded. There are aftermarket tuners who have tried the E30 in their Ecoboost engines and found that to work for them despite it not being Flex Fuel, so you may want to give it a shot. For the 5.0, you can convert your engine to run on propane or compressed natural gas (CNG) using a CNG/Propane Gaseous Engine Prep Package to make it more fuel and cost-efficient.
The year 2019 is a good year for the F-150 in terms of the number of recalls. According to Consumer Reports, this truck was at the peak of its game, having had relatively little reports of powertrain recalls even in the few years prior. There was a small number of 2018 3.5 Ecoboost that were recalled due to some factory defects in the cylinder heads which affected around 22 vehicles.
Even then, most National Highway Transportation Agency (NHTSA) recalls for F-150s that were made in 2015 to 2019 were not even due to engine failure. There is absolutely no doubt that those who opted for this truck a few years back are still enjoying and making use of it.
If there were any notable instances of recalls related to lapses in the engine, it would be the issue with some 2015-2019 models that had block heaters installed, and it didn't just affect Ecoboost or V8 engines. Units that have been recalled were pulled out due to corrosion in the cable splice connector. Having said that, there is a greater risk of catching fire. If you plug the heater in and corrosion was present, it might short circuit, which may overheat or melt the wiring.
Maintenance and Repair Costs
Since the 5.0 V8 engine is naturally aspirated, there is no doubt that it's way less complicated than its predecessor. So it's practically easier to maintain a V8 and may cost less in replacement parts and you won't need to pay a lot of money to replace two turbochargers at once. If you are worried about money, then this may be right up your alley.
Common problems reported with 3.5 Ecoboost engines include intercooler condensation in 2011-2012 units and some damage to the timing chain due to worn-out oil. Ford has taken care of the carbon-buildup issue on the intake valves, so that’s something to ease a Ford truck owner’s burden.
This sums up the comparison between The Ecoboost and the V8. After tackling the power, efficiency, reliability, and possible repair costs, the one that stood out the most is the V8. The V8 holds more leverage on reliability, displacement, and sturdiness. It’s also simpler to maintain since it’s not as complicated as the other one. The V8 is also convertible so it can run on propane or compressed natural gas (CNG) which provides another option if you want to keep the fuel costs at a minimum. On the other hand, the 3.5 Ecoboost is the better choice for when you need a fuel-efficient truck that can carry a heavy load in tow at a steady pace. The 3.5 Ecoboost is also best for those looking for more power and longer drives that can travel thousands of miles without breaking down and needing repairs.
Every American who knows why Ford has remained a constant choice for buyers, and choosing a good truck is, at the end of the day, based on the performance and reliability of its engine. Ford trucks are all Built Ford Tough, making them one of the most reliable, and high-performing vehicles on Earth. It’s no wonder this company has stayed afloat in the market for many years.
If you're on the market looking for a truck to take you places, consider your engine choices based on your needs. While they may look the same on the surface, there are loads of other things that need your attention so that you can identify which ones will best suit your needs. Also, consider the efficiency in time and cost when making your purchase. While one may be more expensive on the price tag, it may mean that you won't have to make as many trips to repair shops and won't need to replace parts as often as the other, so it might mean you save a great deal of money in the long run.