2015 Ford F-150 EcoBoost vs. 2015 Chevy Silverado V8 +Video
The American truck market is a vast and vibrant landscape. Gone are the days of limited offerings where buyers had to settle for something that wasnít exactly what they wanted. Todayís trucks offer variety, versatility, specialized packages and customizable options, and that holds true whether youíre looking at a smaller mid-size truck for recreation/utility or a larger heavy-duty model that can pull 20,000-pound loads on the ranch or job site. Whatever job or activity you have in mind for your truck, thereís a good chance you can find exactly what you want.
Yet of all the trucks available to consumers, itís the full-size half-ton models that sit right in that sweet spot. These are the trucks that are expected to do everything fairly well, whether you are pulling a trailer, carrying the family, traversing off-road terrain or helping your buddy pick up his futon off the sidewalk outside of his now ex-girlfriendís apartment. Within this extremely competitive segment there are a number of great options, but only the two we have here can lay claim to being the last two North American Truck of Year (NATOY) recipients. The award, which is voted on by a large pool of automotive journalists, is presented every year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Chevroletís all-new Silverado won the award in 2014, and this year, Fordís all-new 2015 F-150 took home the hardware. We wondered which one of these gunslingers would win a head-to-head duel, so we've brought them together to find out.
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If youíre wondering where the other trucks in class are in this test, keep in mind a duel by definition can only have two participants. The honest answer is that not all of the trucks were available. We had planned to include the Ram EcoDiesel in the test as well, as this trio represents the most fuel-efficient offerings in the class, thanks to new engine technology. But since we couldnít get the truck in time, we plan to pit this shootout winner against it in the coming months. For Toyota fans wondering why there's no Tundra TRD Pro in this comparison, forget about it. The TRD Pro is a specialty off-road package that doesn't really fit the theme here, but we will be comparing it to the similarly equipped Ram Rebel that will be released later this year. Nissan fans well know that the Titan's long overdue redesign is coming next year, so weíll wait Ďtil then to see how it stacks up in the class.
So getting back to this gun fight, the Chevrolet Silverado reloaded its chamber in 2014, and it had been a long time coming since the last overhaul was in 2007. Last yearís all-new Silverado featured a new exterior with straight lines and a sharper exterior to give it a bold, stout stance. Inside, the Silverado was updated with a clean new dashboard layout featuring an 8-inch touchscreen parked in the center that uses GMís MyLink infotainment system. Chevy also placed a smaller 4-inch screen on the instrumentation panel just between the speedometer and tachometer for trip info, fuel consumption and more. The brawny styling was paired with three significantly updated Ecotec3 engine options that include a 4.3-liter V6, 5.3-liter V8 and a 6.2-liter V8, all of which are based on Chevyís latest small-block engine design. These Ecotec3 motors are designed to offer improved fuel efficiency through the use of direct injection, cylinder deactivation and variable valve timing.
*We do not recommend exceeding the legal speed limit, but when performing our acceleration trials the speed governor on the Chevy hampered its 1/4-mile performance.
Chevy didnít stop looking to improve the Silverado after 2014, however, and the key addition for 2015 is its optional Hydra-Matic 8L90 eight-speed transmission. This new transmission, which is only available on the 6.2-liter V8, helps provide a wider gear spread in its 7.0 overall gear ratio while taking up the same space and weighing about the same as the 6L80 six-speed automatic. The higher first gear is designed to improve starts with a full bed or while towing a heavy trailer. The numerically lower rear axle ratio is also designed to reduce engine rpm on the highway for a smoother drive with improved fuel economy.
In 2015, Ford fired a big shot at the truck market by bringing in material that is new to full-size truck bodies: aluminum. Although aluminum has a long history of use as body material in other automotive segments, Ford set out to prove that its use would not hamper the F-150ís toughness; instead, the lighter package would retain truck strength while allowing for more payload and towing capacity by reducing the gross vehicle weight of the truck. The all-new aluminum body was not the only change, however, as Ford also engineered a new fully boxed, ladder-style frame that features 23 percent more steel in its construction for a total of 77 percent high-strength steel. That's more steel than the previous chassis used, but Ford says it simply used the material in a more efficient manner, and it actually shaved off an additional 60 pounds compared to the previous model.
Arguably Fordís biggest gamble is not so much what the truck gained, but more so what it ultimately lost Ė and this time we donít mean its weight. Ford decided to drop its big 6.2-liter V8 from the lineup in 2015, instead relying on an upgraded six-shooter pistol in its 3.5-liter dual-turbo EcoBoost V6 as its flagship motor Ė the same engine that will power the Raptor when it returns in 2017 and the Ford GT supercar (and will produce 600 hp in the latter application). Ford will offer four engine options for the F-150, including the aforementioned 3.5L EcoBoost V6 (365 hp, 420 lb.-ft.), a 5.0L V8 (385 hp, 387 lb.-ft.), a naturally aspirated 3.5L V6 (283 hp, 255 lb.-ft.), and an all-new 2.7L EcoBoost V6 (325 hp, 375 lb.-ft.). With no mid-size Ranger offering in the U.S., Fordís variety of engines options should offer something for nearly everyone in its full-size F-150.
So in this head-to-head shootout both gunslingers are packing different pistols under their hoods, but each truck has its site aimed at the heart of the truck market, and regardless of how they get there, we just want to know which one hits closest to the mark.
Chevy Silverado vs. F-150 Shootout Shortcuts
Engine, Performance Testing