Ford F150 enthusiasts have been awaiting the Power Stroke diesel engine in a half-ton pickup for years, maybe decades and it is finally here! True Power Stroke diehards may be disappointed by the seeming lack of power compared to the earth-shattering torque of the 6.7-liter engines in the HD series. Ford light-duty loyalists will like the smooth performance and excellent fuel economy. A few months ago we reviewed the King Ranch edition with the same engine and transmission. You can find that article on our website.
The F150 has been Ford’s bread a butter vehicle for many years and continues due to those qualities that attract buyers; good performance, excellent ride, quality interior comfort, and outstanding resale value. The last major update was in 2015 when Ford remade the truck and launched the controversial Military Grade aluminum body. The bold move to the unconventional metal didn’t hurt sales as the F150 remains the most popular selling vehicle in America.
Ford F150 with Gasoline or Diesel
Our test truck was the 2018 F150 Lariat model with the new Power Stroke 3.0-liter turbo diesel. Lariat is the mid-entry in the Ford Pickup lineup priced at $41,420. Add the $4000 diesel option and a spray in bed liner for another $495. This makes the Ford F150 Lariat a pricey pickup at almost 46 thousand, but it does come well equipped with most of the goodies we like. Our test vehicle had the “500A option package” meaning basically nothing above the base Lariat in electronic or decorative options.
The diesel performance was very good with smooth acceleration on par with the gasoline engines offered. It suffers a bit in the tow rating compared to the 3.5 liter Ecoboost. The Power Stroke can haul 11,400 pounds whereas the EcoBoost pulls a stunning 12,200. Not that this will make much difference to the average driver; anyone towing such a load would want more than a 5000-pound pickup under it. All the F150 series except the 3.3-liter engines have a 10-speed automatic transmission. The new diesel cranks out 325horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, while the high-performance gas powered 3.5 liter EcoBoost garners an impressive 450 horses and 510 pounds of torque. Any of the engines do a decent job of getting the F150 down the road and which engine you choose should be dictated by your needs.
Fuel Economy and Towing
Fuel economy on the Power Stroke is rated at 22 city, 30 highway and 25 miles per gallon combined for the 2 wheel drive version. Our week-long road test was very close to this with an overall average of 24.7 mpg. However, the economy drops drastically with a trailer behind. Our test truck was only rated for 5000 pounds of towing with the base trailer hitch, and legally less than that without a brake controller, but with a 3500-pound boat trailer behind the mileage fell to low 20’s and high teens. Towing results will vary depending on the weight and configuration of your trailer.
The diesel is amazingly quiet, and you could soon forget you were powered by diesel fuel. Even at enclosed drive-thru windows, we had no problem talking with the attendant. Road noise, or rather lack of noise, is similarly impressive with little intrusion by the outside racket or diesel power plant. Idle din is further improved by the automatic stop/start function cutting the engine off at stops under most circumstances. This technology also improves fuel economy by as much as 8% depending on which engine you choose and your driving habits, see this video for more about that.
The Ford F150 Lariat base audio system provided high-quality sound in the hushed cabin, but for audiophiles, the Bang and Olufsen system will reproduce concert quality with 1000 watts and 10 speakers. The Bluetooth connection hooks up your smartphone or MP3 player for phone calls or endless entertainment choices. Ford’s Sync 3 system is easy to use with large displays for all the features and controls, and most controls are duplicated with buttons or knobs. Navigation and Sirius Traffic are available, and currently, Ford has a great rebate on them.
Ride quality is as good or better than most sedans due to the excellent suspension and the dampening effect of the weight. Driving is comfortable in the standard leather-trimmed seats with just enough bolster to keep your behind centered in harder turns. The combination of seat adjustments and moveable brake and throttle pedals makes it possible for almost anyone to find just the right perch to feel in control. A leather-wrapped steering wheel tilts to give you a clear view of the gauges and a stress-free arm position. Decent sized power adjustable and folding side view mirrors, enhanced by built-in convex mirrors to improve blind spot visibility, provide a clear picture of what’s beside the truck.
The F150 is designed for up to 6 passengers with the 60/40 front seat but, rear seat legroom is tight in the SuperCab at 33.5 inches. That’s about the same as the average economy class airline seat. Rear legroom in the SuperCrew is much better, within a fraction of an inch of what the front riders enjoy at over 43 inches. Split rear seats can be locked in the up position exposing the flat rear floor, making storage easier with no driveline hump to work around.
A base Lariat comes with the 2.7-liter turbo engine, heated and cooled leather-trimmed power seats, Sync 3 with an 8-inch screen and Sirius Satellite Radio with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Power widows and steering, adjustable pedals, keyless entry and start, cruise control and a trailer hitch are all included. Other options include blind spot monitors, parking assist, adaptive cruise control, emergency braking assist, an assortment of wheels and trim, navigation, moon roof, and various running boards. Adding all of the available options can quickly run the F150 Lariat into the 60 thousand dollar range.
A visit with Marcus Warren at Helfman Ford, our local Ford retail expert, revealed that our test truck was not a popular selection with only one other similarly equipped Lariat in Texas. After looking at the invoice for this Pickup, Marcus thought it could sell at about $42,000. The more popular optioned Lariat has the 502 Trim pack in either 2 or 4 wheel drive and lists for 61 or 66 grand respectively. Marcus told us that there are always discounts and that on these higher-end vehicles the dealer does have some room to negotiate.
F150s come in six trim levels and the special Raptor edition. Pricing starts at $28,155 for the XL and tops out with the Limited model base price of $67,135 plus whatever you add on to that premium trim.
The Ford light-duty truck design is a bit dated at 5 years old and is due for a remake next year to stay competitive with the refreshed Ram and Silverado, but it is still an excellent choice for those needing a pickup for anything from work to luxury transportation.
For complete specifications and more about the F150 lineup look here.