Texarkana, TX 87° Sun H 92° L 75° Mon H 92° L 71° Tue H 84° L 62° Weather Sponsored By:

Ford F-150 Diesel

Ford F-150 Diesel

A stroke of genius? Not quite

May 12th, 2019 by Bill Owney in Opinion Columns

Thanks to the addition of a high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, the 2019 Ford F-150 Limited is the most powerful light-duty pickup in America

"Look," said the nice man who dropped off a 2019 F-150 powered by Ford's new, 3.0-liter, Power Stroke diesel, "815 miles to empty."


I was more than impressed.

My itinerary that week included a 500-mile round trip to Granbury, Texas. I was downright tickled at the thought of making the journey without jamming a debit card into a fuel pump. I think the nice man was taken aback when my beautiful, brown, bedroom eyes suddenly morphed into crass, green, flashing dollar signs.

Long story short, it didn't really work out. Between the speeds on Texas interstates—do 80 or pull off to the shoulder—and gale-force headwinds on the outbound leg, I had to buy 20 bucks worth of diesel to the truck's 36-gallon tank to finish the week, but I discovered that Ford has added a silky smooth and quiet diesel to its stable of six F-150 power plants.

This is the first diesel-powered, light-duty F-150, and if you're thinking it's just the bill for some heavy-duty towing, with a little improvement in fuel economy kicked in, you might want to heed the wisdom of Lou Holtz: "Not so fast, my friend."

Thanks to the addition of a high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, the 2019 Ford F-150 Limited is the most powerful light-duty pickup in America.

Thanks to the addition of a high-output 3.5-liter...

Multiple reviewers are questioning the Ford diesel's towing capacity. It seems to stick at 55 mph hauling up a grade but they sing praises of its fuel economy ratings of 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway/25 mpg combined. For the record, that bests the 27 mpg highway rating for the Ram Ecodiesel, which is available in the Classic editions, but not in the redesigned 2019 new Ram.

I got about 21 mpg on the way out, but better than 23 on the way back. For the week, the diesel Ford returned a little more than 21 mpg. That's nearly identical to the standard 2.7L Ecoboost. Ford levies a $4,000 upcharge for the diesel, and only makes it available on Lariat trims and above, so we're talking trucks in the $45,000 to $60,000 range.

Don't take these numbers as the last word on this by any means. Testers on highways with enforced 65 mph limits have, indeed, attained 30 mpg. If Ford later puts this engine in lighter work trucks, or in the new Ranger or Bronco, we could see some head-turning numbers.

Stay tuned.


European bred

The genesis of Ford's diesel is a power plant in jointly developed a number of years ago with PSA Peugeot Citron, the Lion turbodiesel. It is jointly produced in Ford's Dagenham Engine Plant in England alongside one now being impressively employed by Land Rover.

Ford's diesel engineering team added critical upgrades that should help ensure longevity. A forged crankshaft and purpose-designed main and rod bearings should help it attain EcoBoost-type reliability.

A variable-geometry turbocharger helps the engine accelerate as smoothly as many a large-bore naturally aspirated engine. Fuel is picked up through duel fuel filters and delivered via a common-rail, direct injector running at up to 29,000 psi.

The heads are aluminum and the block is compacted-graphite iron.

The manual calls for 150,000-mile service intervals on the timing belt. A 5.4-gallon exhaust aftertreatment fluid supply should be good for 10,000 miles.

The engine turns out 250 horses and up to 440 pound-feet of torque, which is almost identical to Range Rover's Td6 diesel.

Thanks to the addition of a high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine, the 2019 Ford F-150 Limited is the most powerful light-duty pickup in America.

Thanks to the addition of a high-output 3.5-liter...

Torque is what matters most in trucks because that's the force that gets pickup and payload moving forward. Channeled through Ford's brilliant 10-speed automatic transmission, the energy is delivered more smoothly than the skin of a perfect peach. Put in the optional 3.55 rear end, and it is tow-rated at up to 11,400 lbs.

On the other hand, horsepower does matter. The diesel-powered F-150 is slow off the line, zero to 60 comes just short of eight seconds, 60 to 80 comes in another six to seven seconds, and 80 to 100 takes another eight or nine seconds. Plan passing carefully.


It's a Ford

Other than noting that diesel clatter is nearly nonexistent, there is little else remarkable about the diesel-powered F-150.

It's been five years since Ford put the truck through a redesign, and it shows its age. The interior is nice, indeed plush, but not as well-designed and user-friendly as Ram's, but still nicer than Silverado and Sierra.

The ride is bouncy—we hear Ford may move to multi-link rear suspension like Ram in the next generation—but this is not news to Ford fans, who are tickled pink with a truck that rides and handles like a truck.

After all, the F-150 has been the best-selling truck in the land since Ronald Reagan was in office, and probably will be until he returns.


Bottom line: The diesel-powered F-150 is a good, but not great, truck. If its debut is an indicator, however, real greatness may lie in the engine.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com