by Jonathan Elfalan, Road Test Manager
Where Did We Drive It?
February was a busy month for our 2018 Ford F-150 workhorse. We made multiple trips to the inland and coastal regions of Northern California, picking up car parts in Sacramento and transporting a two-wheeled hitchhiker to a weekend track gathering in Monterey.
Our F-150 is cut out for such work, with its quiet, spacious, well-appointed cabin and ride quality that's softer and less taxing than that of your typical full-size truck. And with 36 gallons of fuel onboard, you can cover a lot of ground between pit stops.
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
Ah, new love. I've heard that the brain activity of those who are newly smitten with a mate resembles psychosis. We're just in the getting-to-know-you phase with our 2018 Ford F-150 Lariat FX4, and while I don't think any of us are clinical, we're enamored with our new addition. I mean, we can transport a massive flat-screen television — upright! — in the crew cab right before the Super Bowl. How can you not love something that will do that for you?
We started driving the F-150 during the last week of November, while December served as a good break-in month of mostly local driving, and the extended miles started piling on in January. We're already sold on the new 10-speed automatic transmission, the truck's ride comfort, the comfortable seats, and the convenient storage nooks. And the big crew cab's easy driving demeanor means it'll be a popular choice among our editors whether they live in the wide-street world of the 'burbs or the narrower lanes of dense Los Angeles.
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.