NAIAS 2017: 2018 Ford F-150 Shows Off New Face, Diesel and Gas V6 Engines

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Jan 09, 2017

    I'm glad to see the front end get a restyle. The current one is ugly.

  • Madman2k Madman2k on Jan 11, 2017

    Looks good. Hopefully they fixed the design of the door latches - some of the 2015+ F150 doors get looser with time and no longer line up or close all the way, allowing wind noise into the cabin and grime into the door jam. Mine is included, unfortunately - been to the dealer to have them adjusted once and it needs it again a few months later.

  • MaintenanceCosts "But your author does wonder what the maintenance routine is going to be like on an Italian-German supercar that plays host to a high-revving engine, battery pack, and several electric motors."Probably not much different from the maintenance routine of any other Italian-German supercar with a high-revving engine.
  • 28-Cars-Later "The unions" need to not be the UAW and maybe there's a shot. Maybe.
  • 2manyvettes I had a Cougar of similar vintage that I bought from my late mother in law. It did not suffer the issues mentioned in this article, but being a Minnesota car it did have some weird issues, like a rusted brake line.(!) I do not remember the mileage of the vehicle, but it left my driveway when the transmission started making unwelcome noises. I traded it for a much newer Ford Fusion that served my daughter well until she finished college.
  • TheEndlessEnigma Couple of questions: 1) who will be the service partner for these when Rivian goes Tits Up? 2) What happens with software/operating system support when Rivia goes Tits Up? 3) What happens to the lease when Rivian goes Tits up?
  • Richard I loved these cars, I was blessed to own three. My first a red beauty 86. My second was an 87, 2+2, with digital everything. My third an 87, it had been ridden pretty hard when I got it but it served me well for several years. The first two I loved so much. Unfortunately they had fuel injection issue causing them to basically burst into flames. My son was with me at 10 years old when first one went up. I'm holding no grudges. Nissan gave me 1600$ for first one after jumping thru hoops for 3 years. I didn't bother trying with the second. Just wondering if anyone else had similar experience. I still love those cars.