Being on top doesn’t mean a company can take its customer base for granted. Not satisfied with basking in the goodwill generated by the F-150’s best-selling status, Ford Motor Company has unveiled a refreshed 2018 model and a host of new hardware upgrades.
While the upcoming F-150 sports an evolutionary facelift, it’s what’s under the hood that stands to tempt a new range of buyers.
The most obvious change to the updated model is its new face, now featuring two broad chrome bars splitting the grille horizontally, eating into headlight territory in the process. Filling the gulfs within the grille is a helping of egg-crate bars, while the headlights and bumper see their own design alterations. If you really feel the need to stand out, those bars come body-colored in Lariat trim — at least, in Sport Package guise.
Those changes also find their way to the rear, where a sculpted tailgate and revised taillights continue the theme of renewal. New wheel designs are on tap, ranging from 17 to 22-inches.
Under the hood, Ford has ditched the base 3.5-liter V6 in favor of a new direct-injection 3.3-liter V6, which should make the same 282 horsepower and 253 lb-ft of torque as its predecessor. Meanwhile, those diesel rumors of the past several years proved entirely correct. For 2018, Ford will offer a 3.0-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel V6.
Though the Blue Oval hasn’t released power figures just yet, the motor is likely based on the Lion V6 used by Jaguar Land Rover. In the automaker’s Range Rover line, that td6 engine makes 254 hp and 440 lb-ft. Knowing Ford’s competitive streak when it comes to pickups, there’s no chance that the new diesel’s output would ever undercut that of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Ram EcoDiesel. Still, that shouldn’t be a concern. Even if unchanged from its European applications, the mill’s horsepower and torque already tops the Ram’s.
Ford has chosen to spread the upgrades around to its existing engines. The 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 now sports the same dual port and direct fuel-injection system as its larger EcoBoost sibling, along with the next-generation turbo V6’s friction-reducing upgrades. Expect modest increases in horsepower and torque, as well as fuel economy. Meanwhile, the stalwart 5.0-liter V8 gains an unspecified power boost.
Helping the model achieve greater gas mileage across its lineup is an expanded availability of the 10-speed automatic transmission jointly developed by Ford and General Motors. While some Ford aficionados might disapprove, a start/stop system becomes standard on all trims.
On the tech front, the 2018s adopt a segment-first adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability. Pre-Collision Assist and Pedestrian Detection systems also come aboard for the ride, potentially reducing metal-on-metal and metal-on-flesh encounters and easily making this the safest Ford pickup to date.
The upgraded trucks should begin rolling into dealer lots this fall.