The Silent Revolution: Drag Racing Ford, Chevy, and Dodge Half-Ton Pick-Ups


Before last week, I’d never been to the drag strip.

Not to race, not to watch, not even to just check it out. So when Ford asked me if I’d be interested in drag racing their new line-up for F-150s against some select competition, I wrestled my way out of bed way before noon and drove to Castrol Raceway in Nisku to check it out.

There, I found a silent revolution.

Ford put on this whole shin dig to promote the F-150′s four new engines, as if they needed promotion. The F-150 was the best selling vehicle in the country last year, and that was with a bunch of engines that were nearly as old as I am.

Two of the four new engines are also found in the Mustang; they are the 3.7L V6 and 5.0L Coyote V8. As you may recall, when I took the Five-Point-Oh Mustang down to Red Deer, I found the engine to be a bit too polite for my liking, so I was looking forward to seeing if that character would change in the transplantation process.

The other two engines are a 6.2L V8 and a heavily-modified 3.5L EcoBoost. Don’t confuse this EcoBoost as a tweaked version of the mill found in the Taurus SHO, as I initially did. With 365hp and 420lb-ft of torque, the EcoBoost in the F-150 tows and hauls like the 6.2L while providing fuel economy that is scarily close to the 3.7L.

Up against this formidable row were a 5.3L Chevy Silverado and a 5.7L Dodge Ram.

After tootling around Nisku, Devon, and Spruce Grove while towing 6,000lb trailers, we got down to the business of drag racing.

The light “tree” that Castrol uses on its drag strip sets the perfect reaction time at 0.500 seconds, much to my confusion. This was apparently an older style, and newer ones are zeroed. So let’s count down my runs in order of their 1/8 mile elapsed times. Reaction Times (RT) are also noted. A “redlight” is achieved when the driver jumps the start light.

6. Ford F-150 3.7L: RT=0.198

5. Chevrolet Silverado 5.3L: RT=0.380

4. Ford F-150 6.2L: RT=0.349

3. Ford F-150 5.0L: RT=0.572

2. Dodge Ram 5.7L: RT=0.565

1. Ford F-150 3.5L EcoBoost: RT=0.680

Despite the slowest non-redlight reaction time, the EcoBoost still crushed the other 5 trucks in the drag race. Using two smaller turbos that provide no discernible lag in boost, Ford has brought forced induction to the pick-up truck market and trumped everything else in the process.

The EcoBoost engine is easily the best all-around engine on the pick-up truck market today, of that there is little question, but any character that a pick-up engine might provide is exchanged for its refinement and seamless power. There’s no gruff growl, no brusque bark, and no husky howl.

The future of half-ton trucks is EcoBoost. ¡Viva la revolución silenciosa!