2018 Ford F-150: First Impressions

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By Aaron Bragman

Ford always has had a tricky task when updating the F-150. It's the most popular vehicle in the country by sales, selling hundreds of thousands of units a year — approximately 550,000 in 2016 alone — and retaining its title as the best-selling pickup for 40 straight years. So when it's time to update the half-ton pickup truck, Ford's only willing to go so far for fear of alienating those millions of loyal buyers.

The last big change was a drastic one in 2015 when the F-150 went to an almost entirely aluminum body. Since then, there have been some minor updates to the powertrain. For the 2018 model, debuting at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we've seen the biggest styling change to the truck since the 2015 redesign. Some of these design changes are meant to bring the F-150 more stylistically in line with the look of the new 2017 Super Duty, and I'm pleased to say that they work quite well.

The original horse-collar-style grille on the 2015 F-150 always looked a little too imposing to me. It made the truck seem ungainly and tall, but the new grille and headlight designs on the F-150 are much more horizontally oriented, giving the truck a lower, wider, more planted look.

There are new grille designs for each of the F-150's seven trim levels; higher trims get the "twin I-beam" design and lower trims and some Sport packages get a large mesh opening with "nostrils." But even these seven designs can be modified with paint and coatings to create much greater differentiation between trim levels. Enthusiasts will likely amuse themselves by learning the different ones and playing "spot the Platinum" when these trucks hit the streets in the fall.

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At the rear of the truck, there's a massive new F-150 logo stamped into the tailgate sheet metal on lesser trim levels, probably a nod to Toyota and Ram, which have been stamping nameplates and huge logos on tailgates for a couple years now. On Lariat and higher trim levels, that stamped logo is replaced by a plastic applique trim piece. The F-150 logo was removed for those trims, a Ford designer said, because it looked too busy with the applique and trim level script.

There isn't much to talk about inside, as the only visual changes are the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the Sync 3 multimedia system, some new leather colors on the higher trims, new seats for the King Ranch and a new B&O Play premium audio option.

As to the new additions under the hood, we're stoked. However, we'll have to wait a bit longer to see just what kind of improvements the new powertrains will feature. The all-new base 3.3-liter naturally aspirated V-6 seems small for a truck this size, but Ford insists that it's an advanced engine with the same power and torque as the outgoing 3.5-liter V-6, but with better fuel economy. The one we all want to drive is the new turbo-diesel 3.0-liter, but that's not arriving until nearly nine months after the 2018 F-150 hits dealerships in fall of 2017.

The new look for the 2018 F-150 is subtle but attractive, creating a better-looking pickup than the one it replaces. With a 10-speed automatic transmission and powerful turbocharged engines across most of the lineup, it should be just as appealing to drive.

Manufacturer images

 

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Comments

Lionel/Cummins/Scott, Don't bother bringing your F150 Slim Jims because FCA is brining something for you to snap into.

BANG!!!!!!

https://youtu.be/-1ygpO-OrME?t=1m22s

The press release is on the FCA media site. But still not on PUTC??? What the hec?

10spd auto, more power, more modern engines, small displacement diesel option, and some tech do dads all very cool.

Mid model styling refresh, a highly subjective topic but overall already appears to be well received.

7 different grills? Come on.

10spd auto, more power, more modern engines, small displacement diesel option, and some tech do dads all very cool.

@Clint

Agree! Now all Ford has left to do is sell more trucks than GM each year.

And for those criticizing Ford's ride you need to remember some owners prefer a pickup truck that does work versus one that drives like a car. There's enough soft riding half tons out there to choke a soccer mom.

Posted by: Ken | Jan 8, 2017 9:38:53 PM

Nice excuse, it don't handle "work" any better as seen in the Texas Truck Showdown 2016: Max Towing story.

http://special-reports.pickuptrucks.com/texas-truck-showdown-2016-max-towing.html


http://cars.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451b3c669e201b8d1939fa5970c-pi

Wow!.... I am just floored. That Lariat/KR is, no contest, one of the best looking truck designs of the last decade or two. I always though the 09-14 being my second favorite. I always thought the 15-16 was a little too much Tonka truck, but this is one case where a little makeup and jewelry actually made this truck just about perfect.

Now, only 6 years until I can snag one used... hopefully my 5.4 hangs on that long.

Looks like a Lincoln, probably still rides just like a Ford.

They claim that the 3.3 has the same power of the 3.5, that's not saying much, but I'm sure you'll sell a lot of fleet trucks 4x2 short bed that will never hook up to a trailer that's over fifteen hundred pounds.

The bar across the grille killed it. Look at the raptor, no bar... gorgeous.

The new grill is 50% improvement. Now if they get rid of that last two horizontal bars people could own one without being embarrassed.

10spd auto, more power, more modern engines, small displacement diesel option, and some tech do dads all very cool.

Mid model styling refresh, a highly subjective topic but overall already appears to be well received.

7 different grills? Come on.

Posted by: Clint | Jan 9, 2017 6:19:34 AM

Non of the above is going to help Ford in the mid size truck market. Ford is going to have to offer hugh incentives to keep moving F-150's as newer converts to trucks are choosing mid size.

"Why cant we get the 302hp 3.7 V6 in the Mustang?"

The previous generation had the 3.7 V6 engine. The current generation switched to the normally aspirated 3.5 along with the new body style.

Front looks ugly and the I hope Toyota sues them for stealing their Tailgate design.

Yawn....

Mike Levine ‏@mrlevine 1h1 hour ago

The all-new Ford Ranger will be tailored to the needs of North American customers with unique front styling, engines and features.


https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C1vA6CsXEAEw7M4.jpg

Do I see grill shutters in the 7th picture - close up of the grill

The Honda Ridgeline has won the North American Truck of the year for 2017. I guess Ford's new Superduty is not so impressive after all. LOL!

Is it me or, depending of the angle, it looks like a Dodge Durango ?

Don't like the rear bumper....back into something or get hit from behind and there goes the rear quarter panels...the older wrap arounds at least didn't crush the rear sides so bad...you couls punch them in a couple inches and they never rippled the side panels

at pj... The F series is the best selling fullsize truck in America for over 40 years. Sorry you need to to add in other models. Best selling full size truck really is where its at and Ford OWNS that stat...

The other only important stat is who has and how hasn't gone bankrupt?... GM owes its existence to socialist pitty because it couldn't hack it in the real world.

at pj... The F series is the best selling fullsize truck in America for over 40 years. Sorry you need to to add in other models. Best selling full size truck really is where its at and Ford OWNS that stat...

The other only important stat is who has and how hasn't gone bankrupt?... GM owes its existence to socialist pitty because it couldn't hack it in the real world.

@clint

Counseling is available in most parts of the country. Don't fail to take advantage of help that might be already available to you. Ford is number 2.

GM sells more trucks than anybody else

@clint

Counseling is available in most parts of the country. Don't fail to take advantage of help that might be already available to you. Ford is number 2.

GM sells more trucks than anybody else


Posted by: papajim | Jan 9, 2017 2:52:23 PM

Practice what you preach, the MEDIA HEADLINES say otherwise.

A GM150 or GM1500 Truck, where can I buy that bucket?

The 2 bar grilles on the Fords above looks like they took the Chevy emblem and turned it into a complete grille. Those words are of the opinion of others and I agree.

Ford is gonna own the media cycle for another 15 months. Maybe Toyota can poke their heads in a bit with a Tundra update on occasion. Ram/GM will need more special editions to stay relevant.

The other only important stat is who has and how hasn't gone bankrupt?... GM owes its existence to socialist pitty because it couldn't hack it in the real world.
Posted by: Clint | Jan 9, 2017 1:44:24 PM

You must be too young to remember when Ron Reagan had to help save Ford from bankruptcy in the 1980's after they were about to get forced to recall 20 million shoddy transmissions. Ford's CEO begged Reagan to prevent the fed from forcing them to perform the recall because it would bankrupt them. Instead of fixing deadly defect all they had to do is mail out stickers to avoid liability. Sure saved Ford billions of dollars.

Ford is gonna own the media cycle for another 15 months.

Posted by: DudlyDoRight | Jan 9, 2017 3:06:49 PM

Well they need to do anything they can to distract the press from all the safety defects the feds are investigating or are currently being forced to recall.

"Ugly grill alert..."--Posted by: oxi | Jan 7, 2017 11:27:14 PM


Looks better than it has over the last 15 years.

To the people commenting about the na 3.3, as a fleet manager with 100 trucks on the road, we are moving away from na v6 to 5.7 hemisphere due to cost of ownership and fuel savings. We are barely making 150k turn in point on the v6. We will be taking the turn in point to 200k with the 5.7.

Grille shaped like a Chevron looks like a GM bow tie.
what were they thinking.
Hope the ecco boost is now reliable the last one was horrendously unreliable hope the 10 speed is too

"Ugly grill alert..."--Posted by: oxi | Jan 7, 2017 11:27:14 PM


Looks better than it has over the last 15 years.
Posted by: Road Whale | Jan 9, 2017 5:37:14 PM

Amen! lol

certainly looks better than the 3rd gen Tacoma's update too. And the Tundra for that matter.

As usual, Ford is copying Tundra's theme. Lately, no one seems to have an original idea. The photo is a rip-off of the Tundra 1794 edition.

@HemiV8 - "Following Rams Eco diesel Lead"

No.

I'm sure Ford can build a diesel that doesn't cheat emissions.

The 5.0 V8 is the one to own.
Most engine overrun braking for towing.
Most power. {not counting the Raptor}
Most engine oil.



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