Ford Motor Company rolled out their refreshed 2018 F150 at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and while the new look of the half ton F-Series pickup was the main attraction for most attendees, the bigger news with the 2018 F150 is the arrival of the long-awaited diesel engine option. After spending the past few years (if not longer) speculating on the future of a diesel F150, Ford offered only the most basic details on their newest half ton engine, leading to more speculation – like the piece that you are reading right now.
What we know is that the 2018 Ford F150 will have an “all-new 3.0-liter PowerStroke diesel engine, designed, engineered and tested in-house and paired with the 10-speed automatic transmission”. We don’t get any further specifications, so we have no idea how much horsepower or torque this engine will offer, but do two things:
1. The 2018 Ford F150 diesel will be marketed to compete with the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, so the Motor Company will likely work to make their small diesel engine more powerful and more fuel efficient than the Ram diesel.
2. Ford Motor Company designed the 3.0L diesel V6 at use in the current Land Rover portfolio, so while the diesel engine in the 2018 F150 is said to be all-new, we know what Ford has been capable of in the past when designing small diesel engines.
2018 F150 Diesel –vs – Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
The most fuel efficient half ton truck sold in America right now is the Ram 1500 powered by the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6. That engine provides the Ram 1500 with 240 horsepower and 420lb-ft of torque while achieving 21mpg around town and 29mpg on the highway (rear wheel drive models only), so those are all figures which the Ford will plan to beat with their 2018 F150 diesel.
Basically, we can bet that the benchmark for the Ford trucks engineering team when building the 2018 diesel-powered F150 are 240 horsepower, 420lb-ft of torque, 21mpg city and 29mpg highway. Fortunately for Ford and prospective buyers, the Motor Company should be able to achieve these numbers with their all-new 3.0L PowerStroke diesel V6. I believe this because the company already builds an engine for the US market with more horsepower and torque for the current Ranger Rover.
Ford’s Current 3.0L Diesel V6
Ford Motor Company has never offered an engine like this in the F150, but the automaker already builds a 3.0L turbo diesel for the current Range Rover. That engine is part of a partnership between Ford, Peugeot, Jaguar and Land Rover, so some variation of a small Ford V6 diesel is offered in a collection of vehicles from those brands in a collection of global markets.
In the US, Land Rover uses a 3.0L diesel in the Range Rover which delivers 254 horsepower and 443lb-ft of torque, so even if Ford transplanted that engine into the 2018 F150, they would already have a power advantage over Ram.
Also, in the four wheel drive Range Rover fitted with an 8-speed automatic transmission and a curb weight of right around 4,700lbs, the current Ford-built 3.0L diesel offers fuel economy numbers of 22mpg in the city and 28mpg on the highway. Figure that the 2017 F150 4WD curb weight varies from 4,300lbs to 5,000lbs (not including Raptor), so depending on the cab and bed configuration chosen, the 2018 F150 should be a relatively similar weight to the Range Rover. If the new diesel F150 offers the same fuel economy numbers as the Range Rover, Ford would have the advantage in the city, but the Ram would have an advantage on the highway.
What we are not considering is the new 10-speed automatic transmission, which will be the standard gearbox behind the new 3.0L PowerStroke V6. The Range Rover hits 28mpg on the highway with an 8-speed transmission and four wheel drive, while the most fuel-friendly new F150 will have a 10-speed transmission and rear-drive. With that in mind, the same 3.0L diesel from the Range Rover in a new, rear-wheel drive F150 with a 10-speed transmission would likely offer better power and fuel economy than the comparable Ram 1500.
The New PowerStroke 3.0L V6
So if Ford already builds a 3.0L V6 for the US market which offers more power and (in theory) similar fuel economy to the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, why is the automaker building an all-new engine?
Well, a great deal has changed since Ford first started building these engines for Land Rover back in 2004, so the odds are good that with new technology, Ford’s engineers can and will create a new 3.0L PowerStroke diesel which will not just beat the Ram EcoDiesel – but it will also beat the 3.0L V6 diesel that Ford builds for Land Rover. By applying new technology to the current 3.0L turbo diesel V6, Ford will likely squeeze out more power while also making the engine more efficient.
In other words, Ford is building a new 3.0L PowerStroke diesel for the 2018 F150 so that they have an even better engine than their current offering for Land Rover. Ford could use the Land Rover diesel and they would likely be able to offer slightly better figures than the Ram EcoDiesel, but with this new PowerStroke – the Motor Company is likely looking to claim the title of America’s most fuel-friendly half-ton truck by an even bigger margin.