Stuck in the Middle: 2018 Ford F-150 3.0L Power Stroke Diesel
The Good: Decent Fuel Economy, Comfortable Commuter, Quiet Diesel Engine
The Bad: Spendy Price Tag, Cheap Feeling Interior, Odd Place in the Market
It comes to no surprise that Ford carries a variety of engines in the F-150 to support all ranges of consumers. Now, they’ve added another to go with their mid-cycle refresh for 2018. Their “new” 3.0-liter Power Stroke Diesel.
After a little research, Ford’s newest 3.0L diesel engine isn’t as new as we thought. It comes from across the pond where it was a shared entity between Peugeot, Citroën and Land Rover. However, with a little bit of remodeling and structuring with some compacted graphite-iron casting, a forged crankshaft and updated turbocharger – it’s basically a whole new engine.
Ford has done a fairly decent job refining this diesel for the common consumer – at first start-up – unless you’re standing next to the it, there really is no signature that this is a diesel. Performance figures at first glance may not seem all that impressive, reading 250-horsepower scores lower performance than most of the engines in its line-up – but the 440lb-ft of torque is where it really matters. Rowing through 10-forward gears, the diesel is fairly quick and hauls along just fine without any struggles. Despite jogging through so many gears, the transmission handles all that torque effectively and efficiently without hesitation. Despite having multiple drive modes and a manual drive function, there isn’t much to play with considering the RPM’s max out at 5,000 and the gear ratios are so tightly wound that you couldn’t fit an engage shift point in even if you tried.
Naturally, towing is where the diesel feels at home. And with our tester carrying a 3:55 axle, it has a capacity of 11,400lbs of haul ready capabilities. Springing for the smaller axle only allows for around 10,100lbs. Here in lies a tiny problem. Option for the Diesel is a tad bit expensive, in the Lariat, it’s a $4000 upgrade over the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6; in the King Ranch, replacing the V-8 carries a $3000 more price tag, and in the more executive listed Platinum, like the one in this review, with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, the diesel comes with a more comparable $600 difference.
When it comes down to cost per towing, the diesel carries an advantage over the 2.7-liter EcoBoost; the 5.0-liter V-8 on the other hand has a towing capacity of 10,400lbs and the 3.5-liter EcoBoost can carry 13,500lbs, while the 3.0-liter Power Stroke Diesel fits right in the middle with 11,400lbs. This is where the diesel carries a drawback. It fits right in the middle of the two segments that can haul a good amount of weight when push comes to shove. The diesel will have no problem towing a large load, but there is a level of confidence that follows the 3.5 EcoBoost.
In term of fuel efficiency, the diesel comes out a rising star. Around town, we saw an average of 18 miles-to-the-gallon. After our 200 mile loop that included a fair amount of hills, it return a positive investment of 24 MPG’s. It is claimed in the non-four-wheel drive variant, it can achieve upwards to 27 mpg on the highway. After 450 miles, we managed to see a combined average of 22 mpg – coming extremely close to the EPA figures.
2018 didn’t just include a new engine option. It featured an array of stylish updates that make the F-150 even more attractive. With an updated front end, polished 2-bar grille and large impressive headlights; the F-150 is making a classy statement. Our highest possible Platinum trim came with a hefty price tag to boot nearing the $70,000 range. With features like massaging seats, upgraded Bang & Olufsen sound system, updated start/stop adaptive cruise and integrated Wi-Fi system – this F-150 Platinum is one sparkly diamond on wheels.
Being stuck in the middle is no fun. This diesel is fighting a battle against its own kind. While there are rumors that RAM will release their diesel 1500 sometime in the near future, the demand for a full-size diesel is targeting a small market. Where we find the F-150 diesel fits in, is the more everyday life and daily driving – it gets better fuel consumption than any engine in its line up and with the ability to tow 11,400lbs, it’s the ideal truck to have for those in case of moments you need to haul something.