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2018 ford F-150

Ford's immensely popular F-150 pickup boasts a segment-exclusive aluminum body that improves both fuel economy and towing/payload capacity. It's as capable as it's ever been but it's evolved with the times to become smarter, more refined, and more efficient.

Recent Changes
For the latest model year, Ford added a turbodiesel engine to the F-150 lineup.

Overview
Some buyers need a truck like the F-150 to perform serious work day in, day out. Others simply need a capable, rugged form of transportation that's also comfortable and luxurious. Impossible to satisfy both with one vehicle, you say? Not so. There are thousands of ways to configure and option out the truck in order to make it the ideal ride for these two types of buyers, and anything in between.

The list of available body styles includes Regular Cab (with two doors and a three-passenger capacity), SuperCab (with an extra pair of rear-hinged doors doors and a five- or six-passenger capacity) and SuperCrew (with four conventional doors and a larger cabin with space for up to six passengers). The Regular Cab and SuperCab variants can be had with 6.5- or 8-foot beds, while the SuperCrew features a choice of 6.5- or 5.5-foot beds. Dizzy yet?

The lineup also includes seven trim levels named XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited, and Raptor. These range from work-minded trucks with cloth seats and vinyl floors to upmarket luxury models that rival executive sedans from Germany in terms of opulence. Options are numerous, too.

Although criticized by rivals, Ford's decision to go aluminum helped make the F-150 up to 700 pounds lighter than its predecessor. This helps the truck tow up to 11,400 pounds and haul about 2,000 pounds when equipped with the diesel engine.

As mentioned above, what the F-150 looks like inside varies greatly depending on the trim level selected. All of them feature the same basic cabin layout with several storage bins, no shortage of cup holders, and a three-spoke steering wheel. Ford's touch screen-based SYNC infotainment system is offered on most trim levels.

Under the Hood
Ford offers the F-150 with five different engines. The base 3.3-liter V6 makes 290 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 265 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm. Next up is a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 rated at 325 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. Buyers can also order a 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo six with 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque on tap.

The last six-cylinder option is an all-new 3.0-liter turbodiesel. The first-ever F-150 diesel comes with 250 horsepower and a stout 440 pound-feet of torque. It also delivers up to 30 mpg on the highway, meaning it's both the towing and the efficiency champ of the F-150 family.

Finally, those who can't live without a V8 can order a 5.0-liter that pumps out 395 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. The eight-cylinder rounds out the lineup -- for now. Ford recently confirmed plans to expand the lineup with a hybrid model in the coming years.

The 3.3-liter six shifts through a six-speed automatic transmission. All others benefit from a 10-speed automatic. Rear-wheel drive comes standard on most trim levels, and Ford offers four-wheel drive at an extra cost.

Occupant Safety
Every F-150 comes standard with dual front, front side, and full-length side curtain airbags. Traction and stability control systems also come standard. The list of options includes electronic driving aids like adaptive cruise control with a stop-and-go feature, pre-collision assist, and pedestrian detection.

Key Competitors
Although there tends to be a great deal of brand loyalty in the full-size pickup segment, potential F-150 buyers willing to entertain other options should consider the sturdy Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and the Ram 1500, a model which boasts a refined ride thanks to coil-spring rear suspension design. The Toyota Tundra is also a worthy rival thanks to its strong engine options.