Ford's V6 F-150 is one sweet treat
We like surprises. Like discovering Ben & Jerry's latest frosty concoction, Schweddy Balls, tastes much yummier than the name might suggest. Or the surprise of jumping behind the wheel of Ford's V6 EcoBoost-powered F-150 pick-up and discovering it has all the muscle and might of a big V8. Hell froze over in the big truck community when the boys at the blue oval announced that V6 power was replacing V8 as the new 'volume' engine for the world's best-selling truck. It was a gutsy move – up there with switching Charlie Sheen with Ashton Kutcher on "Two and a Half Men." Gutsy but ultimately inspired.This is one terrific engine. Boosted by twin turbos, this 3.5-liter six-banger packs an impressive 365-horsepower and positively Schwarzenegger-esque 420 lb-ft of torque. Biceps like that are responsible for giving the F-150 V6 its best-in-class 11,300-pound towing capacity, and best-in-class 3,060-pound payload. It's great on gas too with an EPA average of 16 mpg city and 22 highway. Factor in the new 36-gallon fuel tank they've introduced for 2012, and you could theoretically go for close to 800 miles on a single tank. I've just spent a week with the latest F-150 4x4 Supercrew Platinum, a $47,720 bundle of leather-lined luxury, though you can get into a new F-150 for under $23,000. While V8 power is still very much on offer with F-150 – the gutsy 5.0-liter from the Mustang is a gem – it's hard not to love this new EcoBoost six. Mash the throttle and it pulls like an Amtrak locomotive, with 90 percent of its torque on tap from just 1,700 rpm. And it's quiet and super-refined too. Just like that Schweddy Balls ice cream, this was one surprising and delightful treat. Tampa-based auto writer Howard Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.