First Drive: 2018 Ford F-150 3.0L V6 Power Stroke Diesel

After much anticipation, Ford Motor Company finally released a half-ton truck into the diesel market. While they obviously still offer the larger 3/4 and 1-ton trucks, these are only a smaller, yet still capable, option. Today, we were fortunate enough to test drive a 2018 Ford F-150 King Ranch with the 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke engine, thanks to our friends over at Ford Groves, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.Before we offer our opinion on the new model, first, let’s cover the specifications on the engine in this truck. This being the new Power Stroke engine, it is intercooled and turbocharged with a ball bearing variable geometry turbo and air-to-air intercooler. It has a direct injection, high-pressure common rail fuel system that’s fed by the low-pressure fuel tanks in the fuel tank.

It may only look like a bunch of plastic, but under there is an ultra-quiet diesel engine that pulls like a big rig and has the power of a V-8.

This dual overhead camshaft engine is equipped with four valves per cylinder, hydraulic lifters, and cogged and toothed timing belt. Filled with its 6.5 quart capacity of oil, the engine only weighs 501 pounds. As for the emissions, it does contain an EGR, DPF, SCR, and uses diesel exhaust fluid. This small package packs a punch with 250 horsepower at 3,250 RPM and a torque rating of 440 ft-lb at 1,750 RPM. The fuel economy on these trucks is averaging 25 mpg with a 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

Ford offers 14 different color options on these 2018 F-150’s but the white platinum, in my opinion, looks the best. We would like to see some other colors to test that theory including White Gold, Ruby Red, and Ingot Silver.

At A Glance

After entering the Ford Groves lot, we could see our badass piece of machinery waiting for our voyage. The slick pearl white paint stood out in the sea of vehicles on the lot. What we didn’t know was the package the truck was equipped with, King Ranch. If you don’t know, the King Ranch package on anything Ford is second to none.

The King Ranch had 18-inch machined aluminum King Ranch branded wheels and Goodyear Wrangler tires. Not only does the truck look good on the outside, it has some pep to its step too.

The engine is backed by the 10R80 10-speed automatic transmission co-developed by General Motors. The resulting powertrain combination provides a practical and reasonable balance between performance, fuel economy, and capability.

When it comes to the pickup truck, the verdict on whether or not to go diesel is generally a simple question. Do you tow trailers or haul heavy loads on a regular basis? There is no way to mimic the low-end torque of a diesel engine with a gasoline model, therefore, the diesel is the obvious choice. Although the torque is going to be great, the as good or better fuel mileage is a huge bonus.

To match perfectly with the chrome accents of the truck, the Ford, Power Stroke, and King Ranch badges all had to match.

Mileage And Interior

Ford ruffled some feathers with their announcement of this new model with this engine claiming 30 miles per gallon on the highway. But, those numbers only apply for the two-wheel drive trucks and we’re here with the premium package. These are still rated for 25 mpg highway, 20 mpg city, and a combined average of 22-mph which is obviously impressive for a small full-size truck that is towing capable.

Note: To compare, the 2018 Ram EcoDiesel (4×4 models’) earns 20-mpg city and 27-mpg highway combining to a 23-mpg average which is trailing the 3.0-L Ford.

The interior on the Ford trucks, as some of you may already know, is incredibly nice. Even in base model pickup trucks, the controls and options that are available in them have a very modern feel. In this King Ranch, it was clear that this is the only option to go with. Between the air conditioning in the seats, touchscreen display controlling the dual-zone climate control, listening to the B & O Play premium audio system, and built-in massage captains chairs, this truck had it all.

We weren’t in this truck for long, but the entire time spent with the truck, we didn’t want to give it back. The new 2018 Ford pickup trucks have a very homey feeling and they literally have every feature imaginable. Oh, and for the winter months, the steering wheel is heated.

There may be nice interiors out there, but this has to be at the top of the list in quality. Inside the truck with the new B&O Play option, the 10 total speakers inside have crisp concert sound for the windows down music up situations.

“It sounds like a truck stop out here” is a common term used for diesel trucks. The noisy rattly sound coming from a diesel engine day’s are, at least for this model, over. This 3.0-liter Power Stroke is uncharacteristically quiet and without popping the hood or standing near the engine bay, you wouldn’t be able to tell what it had. With the engine revealed though, you can tell that is definitely not a spark plug engine.

Although the 250-horsepower may sound sluggish, it’s 440-lb/ft of torque is what everyone is really after when looking at these new half-ton pickup trucks.

Decision

When you’re looking to buy a pickup truck, and hauling is in your itinerary, there are many options of vehicles and different factors that will apply when buying. What are you hauling? How heavy are you hauling? What is your budget? What options are you looking for? To me, the Ford F-150 is an outstandingly built piece of machinery, but it comes with a price.

With an MSRP of $70,300, we are looking at our options considering the full-size trucks are in the same vicinity as that or cheaper in some situations. The half-ton diesel truck will market those who aren’t wanting the extra large truck and don’t need the huge power every single day. Although this would make for great farm hand alongside the 3/4 and 1-ton trucks, but it has its limitations. Keep in mind, the price tag on this specific truck is a King Ranch model with all the bells and whistles, but you get the point.

This turbo-diesel truck is comfortable highway cruiser empty or loaded. The gobs of torque and power moves the truck along at a relatively low rpm and without shifting gears too often. This is a great buy for anyone looking to work and still hold some definite luxury.

Overall, the truck gets an A. The truck had a ton of pep, the ride quality was beyond nice, comfortability of the interior was above par, and the truck just looks killer. We can’t wait to try out the 2019 Ford pickup’s to see what they’ve come out with next. Big thank you to Ford Groves of Cape Girardeau for allowing us to test drive this beauty and we look forward to working with them in the future. For the best price on your new F-150 diesel, check out their website.

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About the author

Artie Maupin

Artie Maupin is from Southeast Missouri and has an extreme passion for anything diesel. He loves drag racing of all kinds, as well as sled pulling competitions.
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