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Tow Vehicle Shootout: V-8 or V-6
We put the F-150 4x4 SuperCrew EcoBoost XLT and F-150 4x4 SuperCrew SVT Raptor to the test by towing 7,500 pounds of fueled-up and geared-up Four Winns SL262 through some of California's heaviest freeway traffic and most difficult mountain roads.
Towing a boat uphill usually nullifies window-sticker mileage claims. This was the case in our test. Although the EcoBoost V-6 is rated at 15 mpg city, 21 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined, it netted 7.74 mpg while towing the big Four Winns and its tandem-axle trailer.
For consistency we drove the same route the same way with both trucks, starting with full tanks, filling up at the same gas station at the midway point, and then topping off at the same pump at the finish. Yet, the EcoBoost V-6’s number was almost exactly duplicated by the V-8 Raptor, which hit the 7.62 mpg mark during its turn with the Four Winns. This reality likewise differed from the Raptor’s 11 mpg city, 16 mpg highway and 13 mpg combined window-sticker estimates. These results do not typecast the Fords as unusually thirsty, because we’ve experienced 8 mpg towing averages on other trips with other big trucks and boats. The numbers reflect the workload. City traffic, steep grades and acceleration runs aren’t easy.
Besides fuel economy, towing range and required fuel grade are also important. Both trucks can use 87-octane regular unleaded, which is good — although fine print in the Raptor brochure shows that its 6.2-liter V-8 requires premium gas to make maximum power. Both trucks have 36-gallon fuel tanks. Thus our test gives the EcoBoost V-6 a towing range of 279 miles and the V-8 Raptor a 274-mile range. We call it a tie.
However, towing economy is only part of the truck ownership experience. Daily-driver mode can be more important. Here the EcoBoost V-6 clearly wins, with an EPA-estimated 4 mpg better city fuel economy, 5 mpg better highway, and 4 mpg better combined fuel economy than the V-8 Raptor.