2018 Ford F-150: Monthly Update for April 2018
by Jason Kavanagh, Senior Road Test Engineer
Where Did We Drive It?
In April, our long-term 2018 Ford F-150 towed a crummy race car, helped an editor clean out a storage space, and served commute duty. It's this versatility that defines the F-150.
But the big pickup also nearly drove one of our editors insane, resulting in a maintenance visit to see if the issues that led to said editor's psychological state of affairs could be identified. The service team found nothing and the insanity triggers remain unresolved.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Our long-term F-150 continues to substantially underperform relative to its window sticker. This is somewhat surprising given the updates applied to this second-generation 2.7-liter EcoBoost. With its ability to operate at higher exhaust gas temperatures than the first-generation engine, we expected the second-generation 2.7-liter would not require as much fuel enrichment during high-load operation. This ought to, we surmised, result in better real-world fuel economy.
But we're finding that this 2018 Ford F-150 delivers exactly the same real-world fuel economy as our former 2015 F-150 equipped with the previous-gen EcoBoost engine. Go figure.
Average lifetime mpg: 16.9
EPA mpg rating: 21 combined (19 city/24 highway)
Best fill mpg: 18.9 (an earlier "short fill" situation was identified when preparing this update; hence the lower number compared to prior updates)
Best range: 620.5 miles
Current odometer: 11,459 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
A visit to the dealer this month addressed regular maintenance. We also inquired about the truck's tendency to trigger an early pump shut-off when refueling and its trailer disconnect warning. (See comments in the logbook below.)
This 10,000-mile service included 6 quarts of oil, a filter and tire rotation, and cost us $44.31, including $10 in fuel to troubleshoot the refueling issue. No culprits were identified for the above issues.
"The F-150's ride quality is generally quite good, but L.A.'s choppy freeways are its Achilles' heel. The regular spacing of bumps just seems to set up a resonance at speed, making for a jiggly ride. If you want to keep feeling good about the weight you've lost recently, I would recommend not driving an F-150 at 65 mph from Van Nuys to Long Beach on I-405." — Will Kaufman, associate staff writer
"I have mixed feelings about the coat hanger-like radio antenna on our F-150. It constantly hits signs in parking structures or nearby tree branches. On one hand, this lets me know if I can clear a low entryway, but I also worry about long-term damage to the antenna itself. I wonder if one of those shark fin-style antennas would be a better fit, or would it be more difficult for an otherwise tall truck to enter tight structures?" — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor
"Our 2018 Ford F-150 has a 10-speed transmission that feels incredibly smooth. You don't often notice what gear it's in unless you're looking at the handy transmission indicator. Located in between the gauges, it's a handy way to see what the transmission is doing. I'm not sure if this has any practical use or if it's just Ford showing off its new tech. But either way I think it's cool." — Ron Montoya
"I cleared out my 10-by-10-foot storage space this weekend. It was mostly boxes of books and a few pieces of furniture, but there was also an 8-by-12-foot rug from my mom's old house. If it hadn't been for the rug, which is longer than the bed, I could've done the whole thing in two trips.
"But would it be worth the inconvenience of either opting for a longer bed, making the already too-long-for-L.A. truck even longer, or of giving up the big SuperCrew cabin for more bed? I was able to pack a lot in the rear of the cabin, so it's still usable cargo space.
"Either way, the truck was unfazed by my loads. It accelerated, rode and handled with only barely perceptible differences, even loaded down with The Riverside Chaucer (1,327 pages) and The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism (2,800 pages)." — Will Kaufman
"Two things about this truck very nearly drove me insane during this trip where I towed my jalopy from L.A. to Sonoma and back. The first pertains to refueling. Three times now it has been a royal pain to refuel, triggering the pump's shut-off in a hypersensitive manner. To avoid having the pump shut off, I had to gently squeeze the handle a hair. Filling this thing's 36-gallon tank this way takes a dog's age. Arrrrrgh! There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to when it's difficult to fill because subsequent fill-ups were uneventful." — Jason Kavanagh, senior road test engineer
"Here's where my sanity was truly tested: the truck's trailer disconnect alert. I'm experiencing PTSD just thinking about it. Nearly every time I touched the brakes or used the turn signal on this 1,000-mile round trip, it would sound an audio alert ('BOOLEELOO!') and flash up one of three 'errors': Trailer Disconnected, Trailer Connected, or that one or another trailer light was not working. Again, this would happen nearly every time I touched the brakes or turn signal. Think about that.
"Now think about how this situation would wither a man's mental constitution into limp, vacuous tissue paper. 'BOOLEELOO! BOOLEELOO! BOOLEELOO!' FOR A THOUSAND MILES. There was no problem with the lights (I checked). I've towed this trailer with a dozen other vehicles, all without issue. The hitch ball was greased and functioning properly as a ground. The four-pin connector was tight and secure (and greased). I checked all of these things multiple times. There would be stretches where it would act normally. Then, just when I thought it was fine, 'BOOLEELOO!' I'm dead." — Jason Kavanagh