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Besides its new 3.0-L diesel option, the 2018 F-150 gets a new 3.3-L gasoline V6 and various exterior front-end changes to better differentiate models within the series.

2018 Ford F-150 diesel aims to beat 30 mpg

With two key 30-mpg enablers for F-150 already in production—an aluminum body structure and 10-speed transmission—Ford Truck Engineering now brings the final piece of the technology puzzle: a 3.0-L turbodiesel.

Combined with standard stop-start, the first-ever diesel-powered F-150 will be shooting for an EPA fuel economy rating that exceeds 30 mpg—the Holy Grail for full-size trucks—when it enters production later this year as a 2018 model.

Ford announced the long-rumored diesel F-150 on Jan. 8, ahead of its Detroit auto show press conference. The news comes soon after CEO Mark Fields said the company will build a hybrid-electric F-150 in the 2020 time frame.

The 3.0-L PowerStroke V6, based on Ford’s proven ‘Lion’ family developed in-house for group use when Ford owned Jaguar Land Rover is currently offered in Range Rover models. The 84 x 90-mm bore/stroke engine features a compacted-graphite iron (CGI) cylinder block and aluminum DOHC heads. It is expected to enable the Dearborn automaker to claim best-in-class fuel efficiency for its highest-volume and most profitable model. The diesel will also be a significant step toward getting F-150 into federal CAFE compliance for MY2025, which mandates a minimum 30-mpg highway/23 city rating for vehicles with a minimum footprint of 75 ft2 (7 m).

Presently FCA’s Ram 1500 with optional 3.0-L V6 turbodiesel and 8-speed ZF automatic is the class leader, rated at 27 mpg highway/20 city/23 mpg combined. No midsize diesel or gasoline pickup currently sold in North America achieves 30-mpg highway, either.

Ford’s most fuel-efficient 2017-model F-Series is the standard-payload 2wd with 2.7-L twin-turbo EcoBoost gasoline V6 and 6-speed automatic, rated at 25 mpg highway/19 city. Trucks with the 3.5-L twin-turbo gasoline V6 and 10-speed 10R80 automatic co-developed with GM, are rated at 25 mpg highway/18 city.

New 3.3-L gas V6, more ADAS functionality

Complementing the diesel is an all-new, standard 3.3-L direct-injected, naturally-aspirated gasoline V6. Ford engineers expect it to achieve an SAE rating of 282 hp (210 kW) and 253 lb·ft (343 N·m), same as the incumbent 3.5-L V6. There’s also a “second generation” 2.7-L EcoBoost V6 with lower internal friction and improved robustness.

The 5.0-L V8 also benefits from “significant upgrades for power and torque” according to Ford, with details to come. The V8 also will be paired with the 10R80 transmission for the first time.

2018 F-150s receive new grilles, headlamps and bumpers aimed at differentiating the various models within the series, along with six all-new wheel designs from 17 in to 22 in.

Ford claims the F-150’s available adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, and available pre-collision assist (automatic braking) with pedestrian detection, are segment-first and class-exclusive features for 2018.

Also new is an available embedded 4G LTE modem to turn the truck into a Wi-Fi hot spot and connect up to 10 mobile devices simultaneously.-150 will be built at Ford’s Dearborn and Kansas City (MO) assembly plants.

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