What the critics say
The 2018 Ford F-150 Diesel
Ford’s light-duty pickup has enjoyed a 35-year run as America’s best-selling vehicle for a reason: “It keeps trying new things.” Team Ford’s latest gift to truck nation is a diesel engine—the first offered in the F-150’s history—and the turbocharged Power Stroke V-6 is “a potent little powerhouse” that delivers significantly improved fuel economy (30 mpg on the highway in a 4x2 model). It’s also remarkably smooth and quiet for an oil burner.
“As you’d expect, there’s a ton of bottom-end torque,” and on paper, a 4x2 with a regular cab can tow 11,400 pounds. But hitched to a 6,500-pound trailer, our four-door SuperCrew strained to climb hills and pass at highway speeds. It burns less fuel than its gas-powered siblings, but budget watchers should note that the diesel engine can be had only in higher-end trims, unless you’re a fleet buyer.
A gasoline engine would fare worse towing on highway hills, and besides, “efficiency is the goal here, not pulling-power supremacy.” If you regularly tow moderate loads over long distances—say, a pair of snowmobiles—the diesel will burn much less fuel and in the long run could save you money. Beyond that, “there’s no denying” that the F-150 diesel is “a polished performer.”