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4.6L F-150 vs. 3.0 Taurus

Howdy ya’ll!

No I’m not talking about a drag race between an f-150 and a taurus. I actually have a '96 Taurus which has been a good car, it has almost 170,000 miles on it which almost 100,000 is what we’ve put on. It still runs great but my family is growing and my wife is too used to her '99 Expedition so when she gets in my car, she feels like she’s in a sardine can, which I’m starting to feel the same way. I don’t like how low i sit going through drive throughs at restaurants (obviously not 5 star restaurants-ha ha ha) bank drive throughs and so forth. My work vehicle is a E-350 van, so it’s like a truck too. What I’m most dissappointed in is mileage. I drive 75 miles round trip during a work week. i avg. about 20 mpg give or take a couple of gallons. Once, on a full tank and for the entire tank i drove 55 on county (paved) roads and 60 on interstate. What did I get? A whopping 26 mpg! I like big cars and got interested in Crown Vics, the newer ones. But my wife shot that idea down saying that she’s not old and asking me if I’m 60 yrs old yet. May arguement is that it’ll be bigger, faster, and get relatively same mileage. she doesn’t care. I told you that story to ask you this question.

I am now looking at F-150s. For the amount of driving I do, i don’t need a 5.4 triton motor. I was looking at ones the have a 4.6 liter and some with V6 motors. For heavy hauling on a trailer I would use my wife’s truck, but it’d be great to have a truck with a bed. Now, the million dollar question.

What kind of mileage should i expect out of a 1997-2003 F-150 Supercab 4.6L auto short bed and with less than 150,000 miles?

I known some Mustangs have these 4.6L and I know they could easily get 30 which I wouldn’t doubt, my 5.0 mustang got good gas mileage. Now for a truck, i know 30mpg is out of the question. a V6 could possibly get better mileage but I’ve always felt that a 6cyl truck is a waste (except for Dodge diesels). Even if I get a little less than my Taurus in mileage, the room, comfort, and hauling capacity far outweighs it all. would a 4.6 get a little better than 5.4? I know the towing capacity will be slightly less, but I’m not hauling a boat or anything. If anything I’d haul furniture (for desparate friends) yard debris, rock/dirt (in small capacities) and may even use it on road trips if it gets a little better mileage than my wife’s Expedition.

Now she’s really getting excited. She loves all these Ford trucks. I’ve found some great trucks online for pretty decent mileage. For the way I treat vehicles (I drive like an old man) mileage isn’t too much of a concern. What’s also not much of a concern is working on these trucks. I’ve already got a manual for her truck and what I would get would be covered by that book as well. I’ve very fimilar with RWD vehicles which is what I’ve always had except for this Taurus. I’m not really wanting to get rid of the Taurus. It’s such a good car and would make a nice 3rd vehicle just in case. I’ve always had three cars since Junior year in high school.

let me know some stats, personal experience and or some nice unbiased opinions.

Thanks, ya’ll are the greatest.


My parents have a 1997 F-150 with the 4.6L, it’s a 4x4 regular cab, long bed. It has about 90k on the clock, and gets about 14-15 MPG in mixed driving, and about 18 MPG on the highway. My brother has 2001 F-150 with the 4.6L, its also a 4x4, but it’s a supercab/shortbed. He gets about 13-14 MPG around town and about 19 MPG on a full highway run (300 miles). The 1997 has 3.55 gears and the 2001 has 3.31’s.

It’s all weight and aerodynamic drag…Crown Vics, with the same engine, routinely achieve 26-28 MPG on the road…Mustangs, over 30…

My Mustang has the 4.6L as well, and a supercharger, and 4.10 gears. I get about 18-20 MPG around town and about 23-24 on the highway. When it was stock I could get 27 MPG on the highway, though mileage around town was about the same.

thanks for the great info! that’s actually pretty good for a 4WD to get almost 20mpg. I wonder what a 2WD would get? most of my driving is 55mph on paved county roads before i get to the Interstate. On that sometimes I will stay at 60 in a 70mph.

i’m not too particularly interested in a 4WD, but ironically, the past 2 winters we’ve seen heavy heavy snow. I used to have a jeep and missed the 4WD. But my wife’s Expedition doesn’t have 4WD and we’ve managed just fine. Honestly, if it’s too heavy of snow to get out, I think we all should just stay in!!

Do you or anyone else have an idea of what a 2WD could get? if there’s not much difference, it may actually be worth it to have something with 4WD.

thanks SO much for ya’lls help!!
take care

The difference in fuel economy for a 97-03 F-150 with the 4.6L, 2WD vs.4WD is about 1-2 MPG overall. Frankly, I don’t know why people forgo 4WD in trucks and SUVs, you’ve already resigned yourself to getting pretty poor fuel mileage anyway. Reliability isn’t much of an issue anymore between the two and if you ever plan on selling the truck/SUV at some point, 4WD often command as much as a premium as the price difference between the 2WD and 4WD models was when they were new.

Out of curiosity, when was your last tune-up for your Taurus?

I have a 97 with the 12-valve 3.0L (there were 3 engines available for this generation of Taurus, and two of them were 3.0L, so it helps if you tell us how many valves you have). I normally get 20-21 mpg in exclusively city driving and 29-30 mpg on the highway. Last tank I got 24 mpg in exclusively city driving. I don’t know why.

It isn’t phenomenal gas mileage, but for a mid-90s midsize sedan, it wasn’t bad. Certainly a heck of a lot better than you’ll get out of a truck.

You picked it right with the Grand Marquis or the Crown Vic. Women have their own standards and we men can’t always change such points of view. I would guess that the F-150 could get 22 or better on a long drive. Your driving might get 19.

Look on the fender or bumper. Now Ford was redesigned its five hundred and re-branded it as the 2008 Ford Taurus. Kawasaki Atvs