From the mailbag: Is it time to get rid of my V8 pickup truck?

I recently came across a frantic email from a reader named Tom who owns a 2016 Ford F-150 Lariat. Tom writes:

Hey guys, 

Long time reader here, you have an awesome blog! I am a proud owner of a 2016 Ford F-150 Lariat, it’s got all the options and currently sits at just under 63,000 miles. The truck has the 5.0L V8 motor which I truly have enjoyed and come to love, however recent gas prices are making me cringe. A couple of months ago, my local Ford dealer was hounding me to trade my truck in. With gas expected to rise even higher, I have great concerns that this truck is starting to cost me a lot more than maybe a more efficient newer truck would. Do I need to trade this thing in? Is it worthwhile for me to go down to a V6 or hybrid truck? I am open to options and have no brand loyalty at this point. 


Tom, as a fellow F-150 5.0L V8 owner I feel your pain. You are right, gas prices are absolutely silly at this point and if the media is right, they are going to get downright ridiculous. Should you get rid of yours solely based on gas mileage? Well that depends. 

In terms of power, V6 motors have come a long way. I mean 10 years ago, V6 engines in pickup trucks were considered slow and not as capable as the V8 motors. But times have greatly changed thanks to the rise of turbocharged engines. If you are looking at possibly staying with a Ford truck, they have their EcoBoost engines which include a turbocharged V6 motor. It produces an impressive 365 horsepower and 420lb feet of torque, which are numbers that are not far off from the coyote motor.

But aside from power, let’s consider what you use the truck for. Are you just daily driving this thing without much of a payload? Do you tow? Depending on what you do with the truck might swing you back to the V8 side or it might actually push you more to the V6. For example, sticking with the F-150 lineup, the EcoBoost V6 is rated for towing up to 11,300 pounds which is actually about 1,300 pounds more than it’s V8 counterpart.

Then consider maintenance and reliability. Most V8 motors in pickup trucks are fairly simple to work on engines. They usually have straight forward designs and do not really require a ton of knowledge to work on. However, V6 motors are usually more complicated and have more moving parts such as turbochargers. This can make the V8 motor sometimes more reliable than the V6 motor. One thing is for sure, you won’t have to spend as much on maintenance as you would with a V6 motor.

Finally, let’s talk about fuel economy. There is no doubt that the V6 motors will always get better fuel economy than their V8 counterparts. At the same time, don’t be shocked if the fuel economy isn’t that much better. If you are doing lots of highway driving, you honestly are probably not going to see that much of a difference. If you are doing more city driving, than a V6 based pickup truck might be more for you.

Hopefully that helps!