2019 Ford F-150 SuperCrew Power Stroke Review - Strokin'

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
Fast Facts

2019 Ford F-150 4x4 Lariat SuperCrew Power Stroke

3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 (250 hp @ 3250 rpm, 440 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm)
Ten-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive
20 city / 25 highway / 22 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
11.8 city / 9.3 highway / 10.7 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
24.1 (observed mileage, MPG)
Base Price: $49,580 US / $54,449 CAD
As Tested: $70,100 US/ $78,349 CAD
Prices include $1,595 destination charge in the United States and $2,000 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared.

I’ve never owned a truck. Over my two-plus decades of driving, I’ve shopped for trucks new and used, but have always stopped short of stroking a check for something with a bed for various reasons big and little. Typically I needed something with more interior space, more lockable cargo space, or more comfort — but one thing always holding me back was fuel economy. Traditionally, trucks aren’t particularly efficient.

However, modern diesel engines can yield impressive economy, which is why we’re beginning to see them trickle into the half-ton range of pickups from each of the Detroit Three. Ford, long the sales leader in the segment, has given the Power Stroke treatment to this F-150, and we were curious if it improves an already impressive truck.

We have a number of our regular readers who, before reading anything else — occasionally in lieu of reading anything else — go directly to the Fast Facts information box to pass judgement upon the vehicle in question. Indeed, there are two numbers that will dilate pupils, furrow brows, and warm up keyboards across the vast sea of B&B commentariat. So, let’s address them right here.

First, of course, is the sticker price. From a base price of just under fifty thousand dollars, my Lariat-trimmed turbodiesel rings the register with more than twenty thousand dollars worth of options. Let’s break down some of the big-ticket options:

  • Equipment Group 502A $7050 — Lariat trim, blind-spot monitor with trailer monitoring, remote start, B&O sound system, heated steering wheel, and second-row heated seats
  • 3.0-liter V6 Turbo Diesel $4000
  • Power Running Boards $995
  • Twin-panel moonroof $1495
  • Voice-activated navigation $795
  • Trailer tow package $995
  • FX4 off-road package $905
  • 20” six-spoke painted alloy wheels $1295
  • Technology package $1195 — 360-degree camera
  • Spray-in bedliner $595

That’s a ton of goodies atop an already pricey truck. Certainly there is some fluff in these prices for the incentives that always crop up, but my goodness. Just once I’d love to see a vehicle in the press fleet with steel wheels, vinyl floors, no satellite radio, and the good engine.

Anyhow, many of these options are lovely to have, and are arguably worth the price asked — and, as usual, I’ll sort out how I’d spec my Power Stroke F-150 at the bottom of the page. I’ve no doubt that Ford will easily move these trucks, no matter the price. I just lament that I can’t buy a stripper truck for ten grand anymore. Off my lawn, and all that.

[Get Ford F-150 pricing here!]

The other big number is the as-tested fuel economy of 24.1 miles per gallon. I spent a bit of time at highway speeds, but most of my driving was my usual 35-55 mph suburban boulevard and rural two-lane, and the big truck didn’t gulp the fuel like even my minivan does. I’d love to spend more time with the Power Stroke to see what kind of real-world numbers it’d manage over several tanks, but I easily beat the 22 mpg combined estimate without even trying.

Without looking at the badges, you’d be hard pressed to know this was a diesel. It’s basically silent on the inside, with barely any clatter noticeable from the outside. I’ve spent some time with many modern direct-injected gasoline engines that sound more diesel-like than this 3.0 V6 oil-burner.

The 10-speed automatic feels perfectly suited to this engine, keeping the low-revving V6 in the heart of the powerband with quick, nearly imperceptible up-and-downshifts. Driving the F-150 was effortless. Other than being mindful of the sheer size (again, I normally drive a minivan) squirting into a gap in traffic or ahead of a dawdling hybrid at a merge was a breeze.

It’s telling, however, that the Max Tow package for the F-150 requires the 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost gas V6, rather than this diesel engine. As my tester was equipped — 3.31 rear gears (electronically locking), 145-inch wheelbase, 4×4 Supercrew — the truck is rated for 10,300 pounds. The same size 4×4 truck with the Max Trailer Tow package (EcoBoost, 3.55 gears) can handle 12,700 pounds. 2,400 pounds can make a difference, but if your hauling needs aren’t to Max Tow levels, diesel fuel economy tends to remain higher than gas when towing. That could make a difference in the long run.

I could very easily live with this truck. The interior on this mid-grade Lariat isn’t super plush, but it’s comfortable in all the right spots. The front seats are heated and cooled — you’d be surprised at how often my bride would heat her seat while I cooled mine — with the aforementioned optional rear seat heating coddled the tweens. The ride was a touch firm from the 20-inch wheels and off-road focused FX4 package, but it wasn’t objectionable. There was no cowl shake or other untoward noise when nailing expansion joints or speed bumps at inadvisable speeds.

The Sync3 8.0-inch touchscreen still isn’t the most responsive infotainment system I’ve used, nor are the graphics the most attractive, but it’s intuitive and works reasonably well. Thankfully, many of the typical audio controls and nearly all of the HVAC controls can be managed with large knobs and buttons below the screen — great when wearing gloves.

Here’s where I’m going to save a boatload of theoretical cash when I build my theoretical F-150 Power Stroke: I’m abandoning four-wheel drive. The snow is almost never so bad around here that I’d need extra driven wheels — a limited-slip differential would be all I’d need. My imaginary truck would be a relatively stripped XLT 4×2 SuperCrew, with the 302A luxury package at $4,345 (chrome appearance package, heated power front seats, and remote start), $995 for the trailer tow package, and $725 for the XLT power equipment group (110v outlet in the dash, LED box lighting, and power-slide rear window). Add another $595 for the spray-in bedliner and $420 for the locking rear end, and I’ve a great, fuel-efficient truck for $52,085 delivered.

A diesel engine might be what it takes to get me into a proper truck. This Power Stroke-powered F-150 takes an already great truck, and amplifies it.

[Images: © 2020 Chris Tonn/TTAC; build-and-price screenshot via Ford.com]

Chris Tonn
Chris Tonn

Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.

More by Chris Tonn

Comments
Join the conversation
5 of 92 comments
  • Thelaine Thelaine on Jan 28, 2020

    I will be very interested in how the Wrangler's little diesel will hold up when they introduce it in the near future. More off-road crawling torque and vehicle range are always welcome.

  • Mopar4wd Mopar4wd on Jan 28, 2020

    There are people who just like diesels. I think today you can tune gas to behave a lot like a diesel so a lot of the edge is gone. For years I wanted a diesel truck but never bought one. Now with emissions I'm not sure I would want a new one. For the HD trucks the diesel resale value kind of makes up for the initial hit making the diesel more palatable but I have seen ecodiesel halfton rams selling at 3-4 years old at very little premium (1-2K) over the hemi ones. That said while combing thru various forums etc looking for common threads on modern diesels, the little baby duramax seems to have a really good rep 5 years in and makes a used one kind of temtipng.

    • See 2 previous
    • Gearhead77 Gearhead77 on Jan 30, 2020

      "I think today you can tune gas to behave a lot like a diesel so a lot of the edge is gone." Some truth to this. My last car before my VW Golf was a '16 Chevy Cruze with the 1.4T. Mated to the 6 spd automatic and tuned for low end torque, it felt much stronger than its 135hp/135tq rating around town. I live with a lot of hills, so torque is welcome. My '17 Golf is the same way, with the 1.8T tuned for low end power, but it is a 5 speed manual. On the highway at anything above 60mph, I can set the cruise and not have to downshift from 5th except for the steepest hills. At 70 or more, I don't have to downshift at all. Mileage isn't bad 33mpg all highway, but I know the TDI VW's were easily in 40's in the same condition. But, then there was the "unpleasantness"... I remember Toyota's "value leader" experiment with the 150hp 2.7 four in the Sienna minivan. Having had a Sienna SE for 3 years, I would rather have had a turbo 4 with around 250hp and 250 torque tuned for low end, than the 296hp/ 250 torque of the 3.5 V6, but with peaks of around 6000 and 4300 rpm's respectively.

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X As much problems as I had with my '96 Chevy Impala SS.....I would love to try one again. I've seen a Dark Cherry Metallic one today and it looked great.
  • Susan O’Neil There is a good reason to keep the Chevrolet Malibu and other 4 door family sedans! You can transport your parents and other somewhat handicapped people comfortably and safety! If someone can stand and pivot you can put them in your car. An armrest in the back seat is appreciated and a handle above the door! Oh…and leather seats so your passenger can slide across the seat! 😊Plus, you can place a full sized wheelchair or walker in the trunk! The car sits a little lower…so it’s doable! I currently have a Ford Fusion and we have a Honda Accord. Our previous cars were Mercury Sables-excellent for transporting handicapped people and equipment! As the population ages-sedans are a very practical choice! POV from a retired handicapped advocate and daughter! 😊
  • Freddie Remember those ads that say "Call your doctor if you still have...after four hours"?You don't need to call your doctor, just get behind the wheel of a CUV. In fact, just look at one.I'm a car guy with finite resources; I can't afford a practical car during the week plus a fun car on the weekend. My solution is my Honda Civic Si 4 door sedan. Maybe yours is a Dodge Charger (a lot of new Chargers are still on dealer lots).
  • Daniel J Interesting in that we have several weeks where the temperature stays below 45 but all weather tires can't be found in a shop anywhere. I guess all seasons are "good enough".
  • Steve Biro For all the talk about sedans vs CUVs and SUVs, I simply can’t bring myself to buy any modern vehicle. And I know it’s only going to get worse.
Next