The 2015 Ford F150 Should Yield Ford's First Half Ton Diesel Pickup
For years now, many people considering a Ford F150 have been hoping to see a diesel engine in the half ton truck lineup as advancements in diesel technology could allow an oil burning F150 to offer very similar working capabilities (hauling, towing) to that of the stronger V8 engine options while still offering incredible fuel economy. For example, the new EcoDiesel in the 2014 Ram 1500 is the most efficient engine option across the entire half ton truck segment in the US while still allowing those fuel friendly pickups to tow nearly as much as the powerful 5.7L Hemi. A mix of fuel economy and power from a diesel powered F150 is exactly what those Ford fans want to see, but the company’s concern about a lack of interest in this premium engine package has caused Ford Motor Company to curb past plans to develop a new half ton diesel mill.
Some consumers suggest that Ford should just throw the PowerStroke from the Super Duty lineup in the F150, but that engine is far too heavy for a half ton truck while also being far too expensive. This was the same reason why Chrysler’s Ram brand avoided dropping the popular Cummins Turbo Diesel from the Ram HD lineup into the Ram 1500. Instead, Chrysler developed the EcoDiesel V6 that does for Ram owners exactly what Ford owners hope to see from a diesel F150 and while some people in the industry will say that there isn’t enough demand for a diesel half to pickup – the fact that all 8,000 of the first production run of EcoDiesel Rams were spoken for in less than 3 selling days is proof that the demand is most certainly there. Having seen the early interest in the EcoDiesel Ram, Nissan was quick to announce that their Titan would soon offer a smaller Cummins V8 and rumor has it that Toyota will offer a similar diesel engine in the Tundra.
With Ram already offering a half ton diesel truck and both Nissan and Toyota expected to follow suit shortly, that leaves only Ford and General Motors without a light duty, inexpensive diesel pickup. GM has resolved that problem by launching the next generation Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon with an even smaller diesel mill – but what about Ford?
I spoke with a member of the Ford engineering team a few years back who explained to me that the Motor Company had been working on a small turbo diesel around the same time that the automaker was developing the current 3.5L EcoBoost V6. Around that same time, fuel prices went through the roof and with diesel costing quite a bit more than even the highest grade gasolines; Ford decided that the benefits of a diesel F150 would not outweigh the cost to purchase that engine option or the cost to feed it. At that point, Ford shelved the F150 diesel project to focus on what this engineer considered to be far more lucrative directions – and the success of the EcoBoost V6 in the Ford F150 shows that the automaker made the right decision. The EcoBoost quickly became both one of the most powerful and one of the most efficient engine options of any half ton truck so at that time – it looked like Ford didn’t really NEED a small diesel for the F150.
The problem for Ford is that with the introduction of the 2014 Ram 150 EcoDiesel, the EcoBoost’d F150 is no longer the most efficient high end half ton truck engine so all of the marketing claims about the 3.5L EcoBoost being the most efficient truck and also being able to pull as much as any other F150 are seemingly out the window. The new 2.7L EcoBoost V6 will likely make the F150 the most efficient half ton truck in the segment but that motor will not offer the hard working capabilities of the bigger EcoBoost or Ram's new small displacement diesel. Because of that, Ford will have to go back to the drawing board to grab some bragging rights with the 2015 F150 and a small, efficient turbo diesel engine is exactly what needs to come off the that drawing board to put the half ton Ford pickup back atop the segment. The only problem with the diesel F150 is that without the project currently in motion – it could take the company a couple years to get an oil burning half ton F Series into dealerships around the country. Fortunately, the amount of time between the launch of the Ram EcoDiesel and the future diesel F150 should allow Ford to come up with a diesel engine that will best Chrysler’s half ton diesel so Ford truck buyers who wait will likely be rewarded with one of the most powerful and most efficient trucks on the market.
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