How much does fuel economy matter for pickup owners? Ford Motor Co. is concerned that its new aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 pickup coming this fall might not be able to beat Chrysler Group’s Ram 1500 and claim best-in-class fuel economy.

Ford officials said the new F-150 -- which would need to deliver better than 28 mpg on the highway to top the Ram with its EcoDiesel engine -- will deliver better fuel economy and greater towing and hauling capability than the current steel-bodied truck. But when it comes to questions about the redesigned F-150’s estimated fuel economy ratings, says Ford sidesteps them.

“Very rarely do you own all of the [best-in-class] claims all of the time,” said Doug Scott, Ford’s truck group marketing manager.

“Stay tuned,” was all he said when asked whether the F-150 will top the Ram.

Scott, speaking at a media preview of two of the F-150’s four engines at Ford’s Dearborn, Mich., test track, said: “You want to be best in class all the time, but the marketplace is very competitive.”

Bob Fascetti, Ford’s powertrain chief, said the company’s new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine exceeded Ford’s fuel economy targets, but he would not divulge what the truck’s EPA ratings are expected to be. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost will debut in the 2015 F-150.

The F-150 likely will be able to top the Ram’s 28 mpg highway rating when Ford replaces the current six-speed automatic with a new 10-speed automatic it is developing with General Motors. That gearbox could be ready for the 2016 model year.

Fascetti said the 2.7-liter EcoBoost will generate 325 horsepower and 375 pounds-feet of torque, while the entry-level 3.5-liter nonturbo V-6 will be rated at 283 horsepower and 255 pounds-feet of torque.

The F-150’s new 3.5-liter base engine is slightly less powerful than the F series’ current base 3.7-liter V-6 engine, which is rated at 302 horsepower.

The 2.7-liter engine -- the smallest displacement engine available in a full-size truck -- will be able to handle a 2,250-pound payload and haul 8,500 pounds.

Scott says the new F-150 will offer some of the industry’s best power-to-weight ratios. 

To illustrate that point, Ford drove a 2015 aluminum-bodied F-150 onto a scale and an identical 2014 model with steel body onto a similar scale. The 2015 truck weighed 732 pounds less.