Ford’s F-150 pickup truck has been America’s most popular vehicle for several decades running and it owes a lot of its success to delivering what drivers want when they sit behind the wheel. Among the many features that are offered on recent models is the ability to switch driving modes from one style to another with the push of a button.
By restricting the throttle and altering the gear-shifting schedule, the F-150’s Eco Mode can reduce fuel consumption under certain conditions. It also has the capability of monitoring driving habits and “learning” how to optimize fuel efficiency when this feature is activated.
One of the available driving options is Eco Mode, which is supposed to provide maximized fuel efficiency. There are a few things you should know about Eco Mode, including how it works and how to use it properly. The essentials are covered below so keep reading.
How Does Eco Mode Work on a Ford F-150 and How To Use It Properly
To assist drivers as they navigate their F-150 through any number of different driving scenarios, Ford engineers have designed an intuitive system that can adjust how the vehicle drives in order to adapt to changing conditions. One such option is known as Eco Mode and as the name suggests, it tailors the truck’s performance to optimize fuel economy.
The idea behind this technology is that by doing things like shifting into higher gears more quickly and programming the fuel injectors to measure out just what is needed by the engine at any given moment, the vehicle will operate more efficiently and consume less gas.
As far as engaging Eco Mode in an F-150, the process is simple and straightforward. Here’s how to do it:
- The truck’s engine must be running in order to enter into the driving mode menu
- Depending on what type of shifter is in the truck, either pressing the button at the end of a column shifter lever or pressing the “DM” button on a center console shifter, will bring up the driving mode menu
- Select the “Eco” driving option and then confirm by pressing the “OK” button on the steering wheel controls
- An “Eco” icon illuminated on the driver’s instrument cluster will confirm that Eco Mode has been engaged (source)
In a matter of seconds, an F-150 can be transformed from a powerful workhorse to a fuel-efficient commuter vehicle with hardly any effort at all.
Here’s a video from Ford showing how to use the different drive modes:
What Does Eco Mode Do on a Ford F-150?
The main objectives of Eco Mode on a Ford F-150 are extending the driving range as much as possible while maximizing fuel efficiency throughout a journey in which this feature is engaged.
This is achieved by controlling the fuel injectors (which affect the throttle) and adjusting the manner in which the gears shift. Generally speaking, Eco Mode dampens the F-150’s acceleration overall and also puts the truck into higher gears faster as this promotes fuel economy.
Ford’s engineers have also enabled Eco Mode to “learn” (source) how to make itself more effective by:
- Analyzing driving habits, including speed, gear shifting, and braking patterns
- Monitoring the length of trips (e.g., how short or long they are)
- Evaluating these driving factors with an eye toward maximizing fuel efficiency
Thus, when properly used, the Ford F-150’s Eco Mode does not provide a lesser driving experience, just a smarter, more efficient one.
Does a Ford F-150’s Eco Mode Save Gas?
Driving habits are as unique as the people they belong to, which is one of the main reasons why it is difficult to peg any hard numbers to the benefits of the F-150’s Eco Mode. Certain drivers are naturally lead-footed, meaning that they stomp on the accelerator pedal under just about any driving conditions.
There is also an important distinction to be made between city driving and traveling on a freeway. Fuel efficiency will naturally be far less in bumper-to-bumper traffic than on flat straight-away cruising at highway speeds.
With all that being said, however, drivers expect only one thing from Eco Mode and that is to save gas. Generally speaking, with this drive mode engaged, an F-150 can be expected to consume 20% less gas compared to the other driving modes.
While a 20% reduction in fuel consumption (source) is an appealing number, it is important to keep in mind that actual results will most certainly vary from driver to driver and that realistically, this figure represents a best-case scenario under the most ideal circumstances.
Is It OK To Turn On Eco Mode All the Time on a Ford F-150?
While the desire to maximize fuel efficiency at all times while driving is certainly understandable, it may not be the best option for every situation. Keeping in mind that the Ford F-150’s Eco Mode works by restricting the throttle and adjusting the gear shifting, there can be a noticeable difference in how the truck drives when Eco Mode is engaged.
For instance, the acceleration may feel less responsive and somewhat dulled compared to other driving modes, and some features like four-wheel drive are disabled in Eco Mode.
Thus, it may not be a good idea to have this option turned on all the time, such as in these common scenarios:
- Accelerating to get onto freeways
- Passing a slower vehicle
- Navigating through hilly or mountainous areas
- Driving on unpaved roads
- Traveling in adverse weather conditions, such as rain or snow
Conserving fuel and maximizing efficiency is never a bad idea but there is a time and place (source) for driving an F-150 in Eco Mode and it is important to understand when it should and should not be used.
The other 7 driving modes (including sport, tow/haul, slippery, deep snow/sand, mud & ruts, and rock crawl) are available for their own reasons so it would be wise to utilize them when needed.
The moral of this story is that while using Eco Mode properly should result in extended driving range and some savings at the gas pump, the flip side is that having it engaged at the wrong time can result in a lack of power and responsiveness when special performance is very much needed.
Ranking as the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. for going on four decades does not happen by accident. It is a rare feat that requires an unwavering commitment to craftsmanship. But along the way, there must also be continuous innovation and it is in this area that the F-150 has proved its worth.
Take, for instance, the multiple driving modes offered to drivers to best suit their needs on any particular journey. Included among these is Eco Mode, which, when used properly, can maximize fuel efficiency while doing its small part to conserve the planet’s precious resources.