by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing
What Did We Buy?
The 2018 Ford F-150 does not represent a complete redesign, even though it does look slightly different behind its handsome new grille and headlights. Normally, that alone is not enough to provoke a second look at a vehicle we've already hosted in our long-term fleet. But the truck segment is no longer as stagnant as it once was, and the 2018 F-150 offers a collection of unseen improvements and new features we wish we'd had access to when we bought our 2015 Ford F-150 long-term test vehicle.
Since then, the 2017 F-150 debuted an improved turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 — two versions, in fact, because the off-road Raptor variant received a high-output version — and a 10-speed automatic transmission. This year Ford has made similar upgrades to the turbocharged 2.7-liter V6, and the 10-speed is now standard on everything except the 3.3-liter V6 base engine (which is also brand-new this year). Fuel economy ratings are up, as are power, torque and maximum towing capacity.
Except for disappointing real-world fuel economy, we were big fans of the original direct-injected turbo 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 we had in our first truck. It made a healthy 325 horsepower and 375 pound-feet of torque and was rated at 20 mpg combined (18 city/23 highway). This revised 2018 version uses port and direct fuel injection, and the turbochargers are made from alloys that can resist higher temperatures. The upshot is 325 hp, a full 400 lb-ft of torque, and a rated fuel economy that's 1 mpg higher across the board. We had to have one.