You’d think that after bringing an aluminum body to the full-size pickup ranks just 3 years ago, ford would be done with the F-150 for a while. But the light duty f-series didn’t become America’s long time number one selling vehicle by staying the same year after year. So, it’s no real surprise that ford has unleashed an updated F-150 for 2018.
To be fair, as far as updates go, the 2018 Ford F-150 is far from comprehensive; but Ford is out to give you many more choices when you go in to buy one.
Having already brought a lot new to the full-size truck segment over the last few years, with a choice of EcoBoost engines and features such as trailer back-up assist…
…this year, Ford brings a new 3.3-liter naturally aspirated V6 engine to replace the 3.5-liter, as well as a new 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, and an updated 5.0-liter V8; along with wider availability of their 10-speed automatic transmission, and making auto stop/start standard with all engines.
But bigger than all of that is a first-time 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke diesel option that will be arriving soon, with 250-horsepower and 440 lb.-ft. of torque. It will also achieve 30 mpgs on the highway, according to Ford; and will pull 11,400-lbs. of trailer.
We just got back from sampling the new Power Stroke in Colorado. First impressions? It’s a quiet oil burner for sure, both outside the vehicle and inside.
With tow mode engaged, it had no problems towing a 3-ton horse trailer. Uphill grades still require a downshift or two from the 10-speed automatic, but we were steadily increasing our speed as we were climbing.
It felt even better around town without the trailer, instant torque is always a good thing as far as we’re concerned; and this little Power Stroke delivers plenty of it, in a very refined fashion.
Regardless of powertrain, all ‘18s get an updated exterior with a new billet-look grille, revised front and rear bumpers, new tailgate, and upgraded lighting; as well as fresh trim and wheel options. All keeping it arguably the toughest looking rig among the big-3.
For testing here at home, our Lariat Sport SuperCrew was sporting the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, and it packs a serious performance punch. Horsepower stays the same as last year at 325, but torque takes a healthy leap from 375 lbs.-ft. to 400; with all of it delivered well below 3,000 RPM…
…and delivering us to 60 in just 5.7-seconds. There’s explosive power off the line; so much, that we had much better success launching in four-wheel-drive to get traction.
Shifts are quick and tidy, with power delivery staying consistent throughout the 14.3-seconds it took us to complete the ¼-mile at 99 miles-per-hour. Those times are just a few tenths off the last SVT Lighting we tested back in 2001. Such numbers were crazy for a pickup truck at that time, now they’re just commonplace.
Handling has changed a lot in a little time as well. The clunky disconnected feel you expect in a pickup has been replaced with blazingly fast steering, confidence inspiring grip, and minimal body roll.
Braking performance is excellent as well; just 108-feet is all it took to bring this heavyweight hauler to a stop from 60.
Away from the track, the ride has gotten smoother, but not quite to Ram-level of plushness. Here, the F-150 still feels like a truck, just a very comfortable one.
Capabilities continue to escalate in the ongoing battle for pickup supremacy. As of right now, the F-150 is tops in towing at 13,200-lbs., thought that’s with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and 2-wheel-drive.
Changes inside for ’18 are relatively minor, just some new seat and trim materials for most trims including our Lariat.
Bigger updates for available safety systems, now including adaptive cruise control with full stop-and-go functionality and Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the new 2.7-liter EcoBoost are 19-City, 24-Highway, and 21-Combined. That’s only slightly worse than average for all vehicles, with an Energy Impact Score of 15.7-barrels of yearly oil use combined with 7.0-tons of CO2 emissions.
As for pricing, you can spend as little as $29,100 for a base Regular Cab XL, though most people will spend somewhere in the 40’s for their F-150. Our 4X4 SuperCrew Lariat Sport stickered for just over $50,000; and for the really big spenders, King Ranch and Platinum trims are higher still.
While the Ford F-150 has maintained its place as the number one selling vehicle in the U.S. for 35 years, 2018 looks to be a year where they’ll face their toughest competition ever. All-new trucks from Chevrolet, GMC, and Ram are clearly designed with the express purpose of challenging Ford’s supremacy. Not to mention the increasing presence from import branded rigs Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan. It will be an interesting sales year for sure; but ultimately, one that we think will continue to see the Ford F-150 riding high.
Engine: 2.7 liter
Torque: 375 lbs.-ft.
0-60 mph: 5.7 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.3 seconds @ 99 mph
EPA: 19 mpg city / 24 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 15.7 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 7.0 tons/yr