Back in 2011, Ford unveiled four new engines for the F150 platform to replace the outgoing 4.6-liter and 5.4-liter V8 power plants. Releasing an entirely new lineup of engines for the F150 was a risky and bold move by Ford, especially for the twin turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 which was not only a new engine for the F150, it was actually the representation of an entirely new idea for full sized trucks.
Fast forward to 2014, and the EcoBoost moniker has been branded as a symbol that represents low displacement, high power output, good fuel economy, and something that buyers ask for by name when they head out to go purchase an F150. Ford’s gamble with EcoBoost-powered F150s was so successful, that they even introduced a slightly smaller 2.7-liter EcoBoost as more of a “base option” for the redesigned 2015 F150 which now means that 50-percent of the F150’s available power plants are actually EcoBoosts.
Knowing that the people have spoken and they like the EcoBoost options, the big question remains, will the next Raptor be EcoBoost powered? Rumored to be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show taking place mid-January 2015 in Detroit, Michigan, the 2016 F150 Raptor could very well fill the huge void that was left when the 2014 Raptor ceased production. The first generation Raptor, powered by a 6.2-liter V8 was a fuel-hungry beast – and there was quite a large percentage of the population that wished it was powered by the 3.5-liter EcoBoost. Now that the 6.2-liter V8 has been discontinued in the F150 lineup, the only real options are the 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V8 or the 3.5-liter EcoBoost. But what if there were more options?
As it turns out, there is actually a more powerful version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost that flew in under the radar this past year. Available as the only motor option on the 2015 Lincoln Navigator, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 cranks out 380 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque – which is considerably higher than the F150’s 365 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque figures. The Navigator version of the EcoBoost is known to really get the Navigator up to speed in a hurry, quite a feat considering the added size and weight of the truck. This type of additional power-on-tap is essential for the added weight Raptors carry around due to the 4×4 system, beefy shocks, skid plates, and 35-inch tires.
Will this be the next power plant for the 2016 F150 Raptor? We happen to think there’s a good chance because of the public demand and the push for better MPGs across entire brands. A slightly dumbed-down version of the 6.2-liter V8 is still available in the Super Duty, but it seems unlikely for Ford to build the 6.2 into a next-gen Raptor as it would be the only F150 to carry that engine – and it’s still a gas guzzler which goes against Ford’s rebranding. Adding even more fuel to the fire, what if Ford just bolted a supercharger onto the 5.0-liter V8 already equipped in the F150?
As of right now, we can only speculate what motor will end up powering the next-gen Raptor. While no one knows for sure just yet, check back soon when we cover the North American International Auto Show, and hopefully, a 2016 F150 Raptor release!