Ford's new EcoBoost V6 engine is available in the Taurus, Explorer and F-150. The engine uses a combination of turbo charging and direct fuel injection to produce more power from a smaller, more fuel-efficient motor. A recent test by Consumer Reports has found that the EcoBoost application in the F-150 provides drivers with another benefit: increased towing capability.

The report found that the F-150 with the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost, which costs an extra $750, does not differ greatly from the F-150 with a standard 5.0-liter V-8 engine in many aspects. Without towing, the 0-60 mph test found the EcoBoost engine winning by a mere tenth of a second, while the 45-60 mph test again went to the EcoBoost by two tenths of a second. In terms of fuel economy, Ford claims EcoBoost engine averages 1-mpg city/2-mpg highway better than the standard V8. As tested on Consumer Report's own track, both engines averaged 15-mpg.

The most important difference between the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost and the 5.0-liter V8 is the towing capacity. The EcoBoost model provides much more torque than its larger counterpart, and includes a standard trailer brake controller. Both engines were tested by being hooked up to a 7,500 lb trailer and measuring the towing capacity under various driving conditions, including winding two lane roads, steep hills, and a regular highway.

The results of the towing test found that the EcoBoost engine went 0-60 mph in 16.2 seconds, while the larger V8 took 17.8 seconds. Likewise, the EcoBoost accelerated from 45-60 mph in just 10.1 seconds, while the V-8 took 11.3 seconds. While these numbers do not appear to be significant, every second counts when you are trying to merge from an acceleration lane onto the interstate. Ford's EcoBoost actually can be compared to more heavy-duty, professional grade, three-quarter ton pickups in terms of towing capability. The towing test found that both trucks averaged 10 mph when towing a 7,500 lb payload.

For consumers who plan to use their truck to tow a camper, boat, or trailer, the V6 EcoBoost may be the best option. In addition to slightly better fuel economy, the towing performance is unparalleled. However, if the vehicle will not be used to pull any type of payload, consumers may want to save the $750 and stick with the 5.0-liter V8 version.

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Cliff Turner has been an automotive enthusiast ever since high school, where he developed a passion for cars while working for the local Saturn/Hummer dealership. When he isn't writing, he is busy earning his Juris Doctorate at John Marshall Law School in Atlanta.

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