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2018 Ford F-150 diesel: Quiet with no clatter, asterisks

July 12th, 2018 9:06 pm

2018 Ford F-150 diesel: Quiet with no clatter, asterisks

From Automotive News, Jun, 26, 2018 @ 12:00 am

"New to Ford's lineup this year is a diesel-powered F-150, a first for the pickup. A 3.0-liter Power Stroke engine rated at 250 hp and 440 pound-feet of torque is found under the hood. The diesel engine is available on the three highest F-150 trims — Lariat, King Rang and Platinum — for retail customers. Here's a roundup of reviews of the diesel F-150 from the automotive media."

"Forget the customary 'for a diesel' qualifier, as we can say the 3.0-liter Power Stroke is just straight-up quiet. Other than a small amount of telltale diesel clatter at startup, there's little indication that the engine within forgoes spark ignition in the process of combustion. Obviously, standing directly in front of the truck's grille or popping the hood will reveal the engine's true nature, but in terms of NVH at the helm it sounds far more like a mild-mannered gasoline V-6 than a heavy hauler.

"We sampled a few different trims and configurations equipped with the diesel, starting off with a King Ranch SuperCrew 4x4 with 700 pounds of landscaping supplies in the bed. Step-off is as confident as you would expect from an engine with 440 lb-ft of torque available at just 1750 rpm and coupled to a 3.55:1 rear-axle ratio, but you don't get the same redline-chasing rush offered by the 2.7- and 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6s. Navigating the circuitous two-lane Highway 72 west of Broomfield, Colorado, to an elevation of more than 8800 feet above sea level presented little challenge for the diesel. The 10-speed automatic transmission in its Normal mode — Sport, Eco, Tow/Haul, and Off-Road modes also are available — performed almost imperceptibly. Then again, with 10 cogs to choose from there's not a lot of real estate in between the ratios. The ride was remarkably smooth, controlled, and quiet. Slipping the shifter into its manual mode allowed us to select a gear for optimum engine braking while rolling down the mountain; sadly there is no exhaust brake, ruling out the possibility of indulging our inner 10-year-olds with a quick and noisy game of 'big rig nearly out of control' while enjoying a dance with gravity and momentum."

-- Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver

"With its low 1,750-rpm peak torque and 10-speed transmission, my 3.0-liter diesel effortlessly towed a 3-ton trailer. It delivered power more smoothly and predictably than the higher-strung, twin-turbo V-6. It's the V-6, not diesel, that boasts best-in-class 13,300-pound towing capacity. The Power Stroke is content with 11,400 pounds of capacity. If you want to pull a house, let Ford show you the heavy-duty aisle.

"Through the Rocky Mountain foothills, the 3.0-liter Power Stroke was whisper-quiet. So quiet that if I did a blindfold test (not recommended at 60 mph), I couldn't tell it was a diesel without reading the 4,500-red line tachometer. Even under the cane, the Power Stroke sounds like a gas V-6. Contrast that to my old 2003 Ram 2500 that sounds like a cement mixer."

-- Henry Payne, The Detroit News

"Yes, diesel trucks are certainly useful workhorses, but when it comes to daily driving they can be less responsive than gas engines. Dip into the throttle of most truck diesels and you wait a beat (or sometimes a few beats) before something, anything happens. Ford's 3.0-liter Power Stroke significantly reduces that turbo lag. And the responsiveness of the powertrain improves further when the transmission is toggled over to sport mode."

-- Ben Stewart, Autoweek

"The 3.0-liter engine makes 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque, mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Towing an empty 5,040-pound horse trailer, the F-150 accelerates with adequate pace, and the 10-speed transmission -- tweaked specifically for this diesel application -- keeps the truck in the heart of its torque band. With the trailer behind me, I have no trouble keeping my speed while climbing a 7-percent grade, and on the way down, the diesel engine kicks into lower gear so only light braking is needed to keep me at a steady 55 miles per hour."

-- Emme Hall, Roadshow by CNET

"The first thing you'll notice about the Power Stroke in the Ford F-150 is that it's not noticeable at all. The 3.0L diesel engine is incredibly quiet thanks in part to engine tweaking, a tuned elastomeric damper on the front of the engine, a die-cast structural oil pan, and significant insulation on and around the engine. The Power Stroke 3.0L could be easily mistaken for a gas engine from the inside or outside of the truck. However, there will be no mistaking the low-end torque of the diesel engine once you lay into the throttle. It accelerates with authority." -- John Cappa, Four Wheeler

"The diesel is ostensibly aimed at people doing regular towing of a decent-sized boat or camper. With a maximum towing capacity of 11,400 pounds, I expected it to have more guts than it did for towing. But the Power Stroke struggled to maintain speed with a trailer weighing just more than half its max tow rating up hills that I would best describe as moderate grades. The engine also lacks an exhaust brake function, either automatic or manually activated, something Ford engineers told me they believe the baby Power Stroke doesn't need as it wouldn't provide much benefit since it's a relatively small engine. That idea confused me a bit, given that GM includes a Tow/Haul-mode-triggered exhaust brake function on the 2.8-liter Duramax four-cylinder diesel found in the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon that works quite well when towing a load. The Ford F-150 Power Stroke may not be a Ford Super Duty in terms of purpose, but one would think that buyers opting for the F-150 diesel might expect it to have some similarities in towing with its bigger brother."

-- Aaron Bragman, PickupTrucks.com

"Off-road, where speeds are low, all that torque, multiplied by the transfer case and optional locking rear differential, makes crawling and climbing hills a breeze. Just as it is for tight parking spaces, the optional 360-degree camera system is a godsend in rough terrain, allowing you to peer over the crest of a hill and see low obstacles you want to maneuver around.

"Most remarkable, though, is the diesel's refinement. As I so gracelessly pointed out to my co-driver, it's very quiet in the cab and outside, too. There's that trademark diesel growl under moderate to hard acceleration, but it sounds far away. There's just a hint of diesel clatter under load, but at idle, you barely even hear it running, and then the automatic engine stop/start kicks in. There's a small vibration in the cab as the engine restarts, but it's more than tolerable. Off and running, it's nearly as smooth as a gasoline engine, no easy feat."

-- Scott Evans, Motor Trend

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