While I’ve routinely picked on Ford for the way it’s been using its EcoBoost technology—focusing more on power than on efficiency—it looks like the automaker may be changing its tactics, at least when it comes to the 2012 Ford Explorer.
Up until now, EcoBoost engines in the U.S. have been used in two basic applications. In vehicles like the Ford Taurus and Ford Flex, as well as the Lincoln MKS and Lincoln MKT, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 plays the same role a V8 normally would, as the premium extra-power engine option. Thus, looking at the Ford division products, it adds roughly 100 extra hp and lb.-ft. of torque to the bottom line of both the Flex and Taurus, delivering 365 hp/350 lb.-ft. of torque in the Taurus and 355/350 in the Flex. The EcoBoost advantage comes from the fact that this power increase doesn’t affect fuel efficiency. The Taurus remains at 17 mpg city/26 mpg highway, the same marks it gets with its naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 263 hp/249 lb.-ft. of torque, while the Flex’s AWD fuel economy is also unchanged at 16/23.
And a similar—but much more successful—play is being run with the Ford F-150, where the EcoBoost V-6 is tuned up to reach 365 hp/420 lb.-ft. of torque while delivering 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway. To put that into context, that’s a few more ponies than you get with the F-150’s 5.0-liter V-8, which delivers EPA ratings of 15/21, and it’s just 14 lb.-ft. of torque less than you get with the massive 6.2-liter V8 that’s EPA-certified at 13/18.
Now, it’s no doubt a heck of an achievement to be able to marshal all that power while still getting 22 mpg on the highway, but at the end of the day, it’s still 22 mpg, a mark. But that’s where the 2012 Edge is supposed to come in.