DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. is taking the 2011 F-150 pickup on the road for a seven-city drive program to compare its redesigned engines to those of competitors.
The automaker expects at least 20,000 people to drive the pickup during the program, which runs from Sept. 25 to Nov. 19. Sales of the 2011 F-150 start late this year.
The drive program, “Built Ford Tough Roundup,” is for consumers, fleet customers and dealers in Dallas, Houston, Detroit, Atlanta, Orlando, Los Angeles and Aberdeen, Md., which is near Baltimore.
“We know that once people get into the 2011 F-150 and experience the four new engines that they're really going to be sold on them,” Mark Grueber, F-150 marketing manager, said in a statement. The 2011 F-150's lineup of new engines includes: a 3.7-liter V-6 will be standard; a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 with turbocharging and direct injection will be optional. Two V-8s, a 5.0-liter and a 6.2-liter, will also be offered, the automaker has said.
Ford said today the EcoBoost will be available in 90 percent of the 2011 F-150 pickups.
Ford says the new lineup will be 20 percent more fuel-efficient than the current lineup of three V-8s. Currently, the standard engine is a 4.6-liter V-8 that gets 19 mpg on the highway.
But getting pickup buyers to desire a V-6 engine over the popular V-8 will be a challenge for Ford marketers, Grueber said in a July interview. Ford last offered a V-6 in the 2008 F-150.
To sign up for a chance to drive the 2011 F-150 in one of the seven cities that the drive program will visit, consumers can go to www.driveF150.com .
Ford also will offer drives of its full car and truck lineup next month at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.
Sales of the pickups with three of the four engines begin in December. The EcoBoost will be available in the first quarter of 2011.