The age of the V8-powered large pickup may be coming to a close. In the full-size pickup market - once dominated by displacement and cylinders - more than half of all Ford F-series pickups are sold with one of two V6 engines: a 3.7-liter V6, and the automaker's highly-efficient 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged "EcoBoost" powerplant.

According to Ford, the two V6s combine for a shocking 80 percent market share of all V6-powered full-size pickups. The popular Chevrolet Silverado makes up 12 percent of the market, while the GMC Sierra, Dodge Ram and Toyota Tundra combine for less than 9 percent. But that may change as other automakers take note of Ford's success with V6 power - especially with its EcoBoost engine.

"Both of our new V6 powerplants are changing the way customers think about truck engines," said Doug Scott, Ford's truck group marketing manager. "The 3.7-liter has more horsepower than two of the three V8 engines we offered in last year's F-150. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine[...]is in a class of its own - no one has anything even remotely close to this engine."

The EcoBoost powerplant uses turbocharging to its advantage, combining V8 brawn with traditional V6 fuel economy. Delivering 365 horsepower and a hardy 420 pound-feet of torque, the engine is considerably more powerful than rivals' 8-cylinder powerplants. It's also capable of a best-in-class 22 miles per gallon, and can tow more than 11,000 pounds. 

To maximize both horsepower and fuel efficiency, Ford's EcoBoost engine family combines turbocharging with fuel-saving direct injection, engine downsizing, and several other eco-minded technologies. The automaker plans to soon expand its EcoBoost technology to the midsize Explorer and Edge SUVs, which will be capable of up to 30 miles per gallon with the system. 

Ford sold nearly 50,000 units of its F-series in July, making it the most popular vehicle in the United States. The automaker says its EcoBoost V6 accounted for 40 percent of its volume, while the 3.7-liter V6 took 16 percent of sales. Other engine options, including a popular flex-fuel 5.0-liter V8 and the F-150 SVT Raptor's high-performance 6.2-liter V8, accounted for the remaining 44 percent of the truck's sales.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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