Ford set to offer diesel F-150 truck

By TIM SPELL

Motor Matters

Ford introduces a freshened, more-capable 2018 F-150 pickup truck. Set to go on sale this fall, the F-150’s headline grabber is an improved five-powertrain lineup, highlighted by a first-time diesel-engine offering.

“Our customers have asked for a diesel and we have responded,” said David Filipe, F-150 vehicle line director. “We’ll have it available in the first quarter of 2018.”

Specification details on the 3.0-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel haven’t been announced. Filipe said the engine will be mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission, and will be a Ford designed and engineered powerplant.

“The 3.0-liter will be designed and new for the F Series to meet its full truck durability standards,” he said. “It will be made in the U.K.”

Four gas-fueled engines will accompany the diesel. These include a 3.3-liter V-6, 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 and 5.0-liter V-8.

Ford developed a new direct-injection 3.3-liter V-6 as its entry-level F-150 engine. Despite its lower displacement, air intake and exhaust system tuning enable it to match the output of the outgoing standard 3.5-liter V-6 while delivering improved fuel economy. Partnered with a six-speed automatic transmission, the 3.3-liter produces 282 horsepower and 253 pound-feet of torque.

The second generation of the 2.7-liter EcoBoost gets a horsepower and torque boost via optimized airflow and fuel-system technologies. Contributing to output efficiency is dual port and direct injection, and the reduction of internal friction. The 2.7-liter is paired with Ford’s segment-first 10-speed automatic transmission.

EcoBoost efficiency also is offered in a 3.5-liter version, mated with the 10-speed automatic transmission. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost receives some upgrades, but is “all and all the same engine as 2017,” Filipe said. Asked if the output will mirror the 2017 engine’s 375 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque, he said, “We’re always trying to stretch numbers.” (power numbers aren’t available at this time).

The naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 gets a horsepower and torque boost by optimizing intake and exhaust airflow. Power figures aren’t available, but the output is expected to be just north of the 2017 version’s 385 horsepower and 387 lb.-ft. of torque. The 10-speed automatic transmission will be bolted to the 5.0-liter for the first time.

Auto Start-Stop is standard across the range. This feature contributes to reduced fuel consumption and emissions during city driving.

As with the 2017 F-150s, the engines team with a weight-saving aluminum-alloy body and high-strength-steel fully boxed ladder frame to improve towing efficiency and payload ratings. While these advantages remain the same, there are substantial exterior cosmetic changes.

“We have a full 360-degree visual differentiation,” said Bryan Bell, F-150 marketing manager. “There are big changes in the front — it’s much wider looking, with new headlamps, new grille, new bumpers and new fascia, which really give it that tougher, more-Super Duty look.”

Grille design varies with trim levels and appearance packages. Mesh patterns change and the F-150’s signature horizontal twin-bar treatments range from black, to body color, to chrome.

On the flip side, designers deeply carved the tailgate, top and bottom, giving the spoiler a more-prominent look and creating a wide frame for giant “F-150” lettering stamped across the bottom.