F-150’s new Power Stroke diesel is the first full-sized pickup to get 30 mpg

By Jim Prueter

(July 26, 2018) How hot is the Ford pickup? Every 30 seconds, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, a new Ford pickup is sold. Keep in mind, with dealerships closed during the middle of the night and on certain holidays those numbers are even more spectacular.

Further, last year marked the 41st consecutive year Ford has been the best-selling pick up in America, with 896,764 F-Series trucks sold. It’s been the best-selling vehicle of any kind in the United States 35 consecutive years. If lined bumper to bumper, they’d stretch over 4,000 miles. That’s all the way from New York to Los Angeles and half way back again.

With that impressive record Ford isn’t about to yield any best-in-class or performance metric to the competition, not even the trend-setting Ram EcoDiesel’s fuel economy and acceleration performance. For years, F-150 customers have been imploring Ford to bring back a diesel, especially since Ram successfully began offering one in 2014. Therefore, it was a natural for Ford to introduce their all-new 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel for 2018. And it’s nothing short of an absolute gem.

With this introduction, Ford has made what was unthinkable only a few years ago: a pickup that gets a 30-mpg highway fuel economy rating from the EPA, along with 22 mpg city and 25 mpg combined. However those numbers only apply to the rear-wheel drive SuperCab trim level besting, the 2018 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel’s 27-mpg highway estimate for both two-and four-wheel-drive variants.

Ford only offers the new Power Stroke diesel on its three highest F-150 trim levels: Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum. Ford says the diesel powered F-150 will account for roughly five percent of retail sales. It’s available with either a 5.5-foot or 6.5-foot cargo bed.

The Power Stroke 3.0-liter V-6 diesel engine delivers 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque, besting the only other diesel offering in the full-size segment, the Ram 1500. It also will have best-in-class payload capacity among diesel offerings at 1,940 pounds, and it can tow up to 11,400 pounds. Again, best-in-class performance. The Power Stroke is paired with a tuned version of the 10-speed automatic transmission first offered last year.

The Power Stroke costs an additional $4,000 on the F-150 Lariat over its standard 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine, and $3,000 more over the standard 5.0-liter V-8 on the King Ranch and Platinum trim F-150s.

We drove a well equipped Platinum series F-150 Supercrew 4x4 finished with a gorgeous ruby red metallic clear coat paint with the cabin trimmed in black leather and real wood inlays. In addition to the new Power Stroke availability, Ford made a few mid-cycle revisions to the interior, primarily interior color options and choice of materials.

Our Platinum included more standard and optional extras, including the integrated 110-volt/400-watt power inverter in the front and rear, 360-degree camera, active park assist, 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, pro trailer backup assist, first and second row heated seats and cooled front driver and passenger seats, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel column, Ford’s Sync® 3 Connect, remote start, blind-spot warning with cross-traffic alerts, curve control, Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, and much more.

The driving experience is the best of any full-sized pickup we’ve tested. And we have driven them all. The Platinum F-150 is incredibly easy to drive, maneuver and handle. The Power Stroke diesel is unbelievably quiet and smooth. The engine was originally designed by Ford for Land Rover and is still used in that product. It’s impossible to distinguish it from Ford’s gas EcoBoost V-6s.

The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, which is still based off the previous generation Ram, is Ford’s Power Stroke its only direct competitor. Ram recently introduced its terrific new 2019 1500, but for now it is only offered with its notable 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. The 2019 Ram 1500 equipped with the EcoDiesel is expected to begin production this summer and is rumored to include electric stop-start technology. Chevrolet has announced it will join both Ford and Ram with an inline-six diesel available early next year in its all-new 2019 Silverado.

Bottom line is that if you frequently tow a moderate sized load, like a pair of jet skis, ATVs, small boat or snowmobiles, you’ll be more than satisfied with the new Power Stroke diesel. However, buyers who frequently tow more than 6500 pounds will most likely be more satisfied with the performance from the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, or will move up to the F-250 Super Duty with its standard 6.2-liter, 385-horsepower V-8 with 430 lb-ft of torque at a starting price of just $33,150.

Vital Stats
Base Price:  $60,910
Price as Tested: Not Available
Powertrain: 3.0-Liter 250-hp Power Stroke V-6 Turbo Diesel with a 10-speed automatic transmission
Fuel Economy: 22-mpg City – 30-mpg Highway -25-mpg Combined
Seating: 5

Crash Test Results: Overall 5 out of 5 star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a Top Safety Pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Competes With:
Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
Chevrolet Silverado (2019 model available early 2019)

Fab Features
Excellent fuel economy
Class leading towing and hauling capacity
Supremely quiet cabin with a comfortable ride