Some marriages are made in heaven. The 2017 Ford F-150's pairing of its new 10-speed automatic transmission with its revamped 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 is such a holy union.
While higher-gear transmission have traditionally been reserved for European luxury sedans, Ford's application of the gearbox to its leading seller is so inspired a choice that it almost feels inevitable.
As we pointed out in "High-Gear Transmissions: How Many Gears Are Enough?," such a move is a way to add fuel efficiency without sacrificing power. And, of course, this truck is a towing monster.
The transmission, which was jointly developed with General Motors, will be offered in several other nameplates, including the 2017 Expedition and 2018 Lincoln Navigator. The engine and transmission can also be found in the new F-150 Raptor (albeit with a much higher power rating).
Power output increases 10 hp to 375 hp and 50 lb.-ft. to 470 lb.-ft. of torque.
What's remarkable about this truck is the way it can quickly shift through four or five gears depending on how much you lean on the accelerator. The first gear is short, which allows more engine power to move the pickup, and the higher gears are tall, which provides better fuel consumption at highway speeds.
When paired with the rear-wheel-drive system, the F-150 can attain 25 mph in highway driving. The F-150 4x4 can achieve an EPA-rated 23 mpg on the highway.
Other engines offered with the 2017 F-150 include the base 3.5-liter V-6, 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 EcoBoost, and 5.0-liter V-8. Those carryover engines continue to be paired with a six-speed automatic.
Ford has also evolved its stop-start system, which is more responsive and accurate to pedal input.
We tested out the F-150 4x4 SuperCrew with the 145-inch wheelbase and the 5.5-foot bed. Our test model would retail for $52,105.