The 2012 Ford F150 4x4 XLT EcoBoost: a 20+mpg on a long highway trip
This was my second time testing the 2012 Ford F150 4x4 with the EcoBoost V6 engine but this time, I was in an XLT model as opposed to the FX4 model that I had months back. While driving the F150 FX4, I put the EcoBoost V6 through the rigors of real truck life – including towing, hauling and battling rough, unpaved roads – through all of which the EcoBoost performed beautifully. The ability to perform these truck tasks by this relatively small twin turbocharged engine has been questioned by numerous skeptics but in the long run, the EcoBoost proved that it can do anything that the V8 options in any modern half-ton pickup can do. The other big test for the EcoBoost V6 is offering the impressive fuel economy that Ford claims so with this EcoBoost F150, rather than towing, hauling and playing in the mud, we took a 700 mile trip from Michigan to Pennsylvania – giving a us a great chance to test the real world fuel economy measures of the EcoBoost’d F150. During this drive, I made regular gas stops along the way to test the actual fuel economy figures based on gallons of gas used and miles driven.
My reviews generally start with a look at the interior and exterior design but since we have tested a similar truck in the past, my review of this 2012 Ford F150 4x4 XLT EcoBoost begins with the drive impressions from the turbocharged half ton pickup. The EPA claims that the F150 in this configuration yields an impressive figure of 15 miles per gallon in the city, 21mpg on the highway and a combined figure of 18mpg. My drive from Detroit to Pittsburgh took me through a variety of highway driving conditions beginning with the dense, construction-obstructed traffic of Detroit’s I75 to the long, open, flat Ohio Turnpike to the hilly Interstate 79 through Pennsylvania heading into Pittsburgh.
During the early stages of my trip, the 2012 Ford F150 4x4 with the EcoBoost V6 was averaging less than 14 miles per gallon when dealing with the frustrating stop and go traffic on I94 and I75 around the Detroit area. This presented what were essentially the worst aspects of city driving as we moved in bursts of about a quarter mile at a time, reaching speeds only in the mid 30s before being forced to lurch back to a stop. This went on until we were well south of Detroit and as we neared the Ohio Turnpike, our fuel economy figures were hovering around a disappointing 16 miles per gallon but I am admit that my frustration with the stupid traffic caused me to drive in a manner that was less than idea for achieving great fuel economy.
Once I got onto the I280, heading towards the Ohio Turnpike, the fuel economy figures on the on board vehicle computer improved considerably and by the time I had spent an hour cruising along the wide open vastness of the northern Ohio plains, the fuel economy of the 2012 Ford F150 EcoBoost had climbed up into the expected combined fuel economy range of 18 miles per gallon. More importantly, I found that when cruising at the 65mph speed limit on the traffic-free Ohio Turnpike, the trip computer stated that I was getting around 21-22 miles per gallon. During this long run across northern Ohio, I also made a stop to check the actual fuel economy figures and the on-board computer was very accurate – with my test truck getting 21 miles per gallon. I should point out that while cruising on the highway, when the speeds climbed up into the 75-80mph range, fuel economy figures dropped into the range of 18-19mpg so those with a lead foot in an area with a higher speed limit may have a more difficult time hitting those 21mpg figures. By the time that I got to the PA/Ohio border, my EcoBoost F150 was averaging slightly over 18 miles per gallon.
The highway drive through Pennsylvania contained more road driving but unlike the Ohio Turnpike, I79 through PA has far more hilly terrain combined with increasing traffic that knocked down the fuel economy of the 2012 F150 EcoBoost a bit. The speed limit fluctuated between 55 and 65 miles per hour but the hills decreased the fuel economy into the range of 17-18 miles per gallon. By the end of my 370 mile drive, my actual fuel economy figure for the drive was 17.8 miles per gallon. That is a shade under the 18mpg figure stated by the EPA but considering the amount of traffic and terrain that I encountered on the drive – I was very impressed with the real world fuel economy figures of the EcoBoost’d 2012 F150 XLT.
Once I got to Pennsylvania, I had a chance to test the fuel economy figures around town and in a very rural setting, the 2012 F150 EcoBoost got better than the 15mpg advertised by Ford and the EPA…and I wasn’t driving gently. However, the area in which I was visiting had very few causes to stop so there was almost no stop and go driving during my test sessions in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh. While in PA I also had a chance to deal with some messy unpaved roads and the 2012 F150 XLT performed just as well as my FX4 test truck.