New engine and transmission improve power, performance and fuel economy.
Mark Phelan/Detroit Free Press

Ford’s F-150 full-size pickup will get a significant boost in power and performance thanks to a new transmission and engine. The 2017 F-150 – on track to retain the title of America’s best-selling vehicle for a 40th straight year — will have an all-new Ecoboost V6 and an industry-first 10-speed automatic transmission when it arrives in dealerships in October.

The transmission is very refined delivering imperceptible shifts in heavy, rush hour traffic and fast, crisp shifts under heavy acceleration. It’s teamed with an all-new 3.5L twin-turbo V6 that develops 375 hp and 470 pound-feet of torque – up 10 hp and 50 lb-ft, respectively, from the engine it replaces.

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In addition to smooth shifts and fast acceleration, the engine and transmission combo helped a 2017 F-150 leave its 2016 equivalent in its dust pulling a 9,900-pound trailer up a 7% grade at Ford’ proving ground in Romeo, Mich., just north of Detroit.

The 2017 F-150’s maximum towing capacity is unchanged at 12,200 pounds, but the new drivetrain should deliver better performance and fuel economy. EPA fuel efficiency figures for the drivetrain are not yet available.

The V6 engine is all-new, despite having the same displacement as its predecessor. New features include stop-start to shut the engine off when idling at a stop, and a tandem of direct and port fuel injection. New turbochargers have greater volume, lighter turbine wheels and higher boost pressure for quicker response.

The engine is the second generation of Ford’s Ecoboost V6. It’s built in Cleveland. A high-output version will power the F-150 Raptor off-road racing truck that goes on sale later in the year. A more heavily modified and even more powerful version of the engine will power the $400,000 Ford GT super car when it goes on sale.

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The engine and transmission are available in all F-150 models and trim levels. The option adds $2,595 to the cost of the base engine.

The transmission has three overdrive gears. Ford builds it in Livonia and is likely to use it across its pickup line and in the Mustang in the future.

The F-150 is on track to be America’s best-selling vehicle for the 40th consecutive year.

Contact Mark Phelan: mmphelan@freepress.com or 313-222-6731. Follow him on Twitter @mark_phelan.