For the first time ever, America’s most popular pick-up and best-selling vehicle overall is now available with a diesel engine. The Ford F-150 got redesigned for 2018, and the diesel engine is one of the additions. It makes sense as diesel engines offer power and efficiency—exactly what you want in a pick-up. The diesel is only expected to account for about five percent of all F-150 sales. But when you consider how many are sold, that will add up to quite a few.
The diesel engine is available on the Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trims, with either a 5.5-foot or 6.5-foot bed, and SuperCab trucks with a 6.5-foot bed. Fleet buyers who use their truck for work can get the diesel engine on all F-150 trim levels with SuperCrew 5.5-foot or 6.5-foot bed configurations and SuperCab trucks with a 6.5 foot bed. The engine is available with rear- or four-wheel-drive.
The King Ranch trim starts at $51,930 and adding the diesel engine is $3,000.
For now, the only other pickup available with a diesel engine is the Ram 1500. On the way is the new Chevy Silverado.
The ritzy King Ranch trim has attractive two-tone brown leather seating and King Ranch badging, complete with the squiggly brand actually used at the real King Ranch. The Super Crew configuration seats five passengers in two very roomy rows of seating.
The King Ranch Diesel is powered by a 3.0-liter Power Stroke turbo V6 diesel that’s built in Great Britain and similar to the engines in several Jaguar/Land Rover models. It makes 250 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque, paired with Ford’s new super-smooth 10 speed SelectShift automatic transmission.
The engine is very quiet. So much so that you probably won’t notice you’re driving a diesel. It has plenty of smooth power so accelerating on the freeway is a piece of cake. The F-150 Diesel drives like a smaller vehicle; it’s easy to forget that you’re behind the wheel of a huge beast that’s about 17 feet long and weighs more than 5,000 pounds. That is, until you maneuver in busy city traffic or try to fit into small parking places.
EPA ratings for my King Ranch tester are 20 mpg city and 25 mpg highway with a combined rating of 22. I got 23 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. On trips between Portland and Salem, I easily got 30 mpg while driving on I-5.
All engines in the F-150 have standard auto stop/start to enhance fuel efficiency. It is fairly noticeable as the engine switches on and off.
The F-150 King Ranch diesel can tow up to 11,400 pounds when properly equipped. Other pickups can tow more, but this is enough for many toys, trailers and boats. Factor in the better fuel economy and the diesel makes sense for many buyers. The Super Crew has a payload of 1,720 to 1,900 pounds, depending on the model, with the diesel engine.
Getting into the F-150 is easy, thanks to the power running boards that lower when the passenger doors are opened. The boards automatically rise up when the doors are closed so they’re not in the way when not in use.
The interior is very posh and roomy. Seats are supportive and comfortable and passengers in both rows of seating enjoy tons of head- and legroom. Even three taller adults will be comfortable in the second row. There’s so much space that you may feel as if your passengers are in another zip code! The moonroof gives the cabin an even airier feel.
The King Ranch trim has lots of standard equipment including remote start, push button start, rearview camera, satellite radio, trailer brake controller, eight-inch touchscreen with Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system, voice-activated navigation, 10-way power driver and passenger seats, heated and cooled front seats, heated back seats, 110V/400W outlet, leather-wrapped steering wheel and memory driver seat.
The SYNC 3 system is user-friendly, whether you’re using the touchscreen or voice commands. There are also buttons and knobs for many functions. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay make it easy to connect your smartphone. The SYNC 3 system automatically updates when connected to Wi-Fi.
Lots of driver assistance technologies are available including adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, 360-degree camera system, rear parking sensors, and active park assist (a nice feature to have when trying to parallel park this large truck!).
Of course, if you have a pick-up you’re going to carry stuff in the bed. Ford’s optional BoxLink system uses moveable cleats so you can use tie-downs to secure your cargo. You can also get an integrated tailgate step and stowable loading ramps. The cabin has lots of interior storage including a large box in the center console and a flat floor under the rear seats for additional storage.
America’s most popular pick-up is now available with a diesel engine
Excellent combo of power, towing capability and fuel efficiency
King Ranch trim provides many luxurious touches
User-friendly SYNC 3 infotainment system
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard on this trim
King Ranch trim is spendy
Other pick-ups can tow more
My tester starts at $55,655. Preferred Equipment Group 601A King Ranch Series is $3,780 and includes the tailgate step, BLIS with trailer tow monitoring, inflatable rear safety belts and power-deployable running boards. White Platinum Metallic paint is $595. The Diesel engine is $3,000. The 3.55 electronic lock RR axle is $470. King Ranch chrome package is $1,995. Twin panel moonroof is $1,295. Adaptive Cruise control, StopGo and Pre-collision technologies are $1,250. Trailer tow package is $995. Power telescoping mirrors are $250. The FX4 Off-Road Package is $770. Foldable pickup bed extender is $250. Technology Package is $1,395. Wheel well liner is $180. Tonneau cover-soft is $525. Spray-in bedliner is $495. Destination fee is $1,395 bringing the grand total to $74,295.
The F-150 is already so popular and adding a diesel engine gives another reason to like it, especially for buyers who want a pickup with plenty of power, towing capacity and good gas mileage. And buyers who want an upscale version will be pleased with the hoity-toity King Ranch trim.