By Aaron Bragman
Competes with: Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500, GMC Sierra, Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra
Looks like: Super Duty light
Powertrains: Standard all-new 3.3-liter V-6 with a six-speed automatic transmission; optional 2.7-liter V-6 EcoBoost, 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost, 5.0-liter V-8 or turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6, all with a10-speed automatic; rear-wheel or four-wheel drive
Hits dealers: Fall 2017
The 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit seems to be the place to see the latest updated versions of the country's best-selling vehicles this year, as Ford is taking the wraps off of its refreshed full-size half-ton pickup. The 2018 Ford F-150 debuts here this week with some new styling, new wheels, new leather colors, a couple new features and perhaps most significantly — a new optional diesel engine.
The biggest changes come to the front of the F-150, which sees its grille, bumper and headlights replaced with newly styled versions. The horse-collar look is gone, replaced by what Ford calls a "twin I-beam" grille (not to be confused with the old twin I-beam suspension found under the front of every Ford Ranger and Explorer in years past).
While the 2018 doesn't add new trim levels, the designers worked hard to differentiate the trims that already exist. So now there's a very different look between "low-series" trims XL, XLT and the STX Appearance Package, and the "high-series" trims of Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited. Seven new grilles have been tooled up, but even more variations can be created via paint, chrome and plating options.
New headlights with an updated "double C-clamp" LED profile replacing the larger one-piece units seen on the current F-150; that LED is duplicated in the taillights.
New wheels ranging from 17 to 22 inches are available, depending on trim level.
Out back, a new tailgate with a stamped F-150 logo comes on lower trims, while three new appliques are used on higher trims without that stamped-in identifier.
Inside, not much has changed. The shapes are the same, but high-level trims get some new leather color options and the King Ranch gets new seats. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now compatible with the available Sync 3 multimedia system, while a premium B&O Play audio system is now available, the first appearance of the system in a Ford product. Aside from these slight changes, the interior remains the same spacious, airy cabin that it has been.
Under the Hood
There are a variety of powertrains available for the F-150, starting with a new base engine and transmission combination. An all-new 3.3-liter V-6 gas engine replaces the previous 3.5-liter motor, mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission. The combination reportedly delivers the same power and torque as the outgoing V-6, but with better fuel economy (exact numbers will be released closer to the on-sale date, according to Ford). Up from that are an optional twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 EcoBoost, a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost or a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 engine, all mated to the 10-speed automatic transmission (the six-speed is for the 3.3-liter V-6 only). Ford is promising more power and torque across the range, while maintaining or bettering fuel economy for each engine.
New to the lineup will be a light-duty turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6, used in some of Ford's European vehicles, also mated only to the 10-speed automatic. No fuel-economy numbers were made available for this engine yet as it is still pending EPA certification, but Ford did say that this motor will not arrive until summer of 2018.
Full stop-and-go ability has been added to the F-150's optional distance-keeping cruise control, enabling the vehicle to brake itself to a stop in traffic and start up again. Available precollision sensing assist with a pedestrian detection function warns the driver of an impending collision before acting autonomously to brake the vehicle if need be.
Ford says the 2018 F-150 will appear in dealerships in the fall of 2017. To check out our first impression, click here.