Diesel engines have been the power source of choice for heavy duty and workhorse trucks since such trucks have existed. The fact is, diesel engines provide more torque at lower RPMs for the equivalent amount of engine compared to regular gasoline-powered motors. Thus, if you want to haul a lot of stuff, you typically go diesel.
There’s more to diesel than just torque of course, like their great thermal efficiency and tendency to have more durable motors, but it’s the high torque that is most relevant to pickup trucks.
Ford has had a 6.7-litre Power Stroke Diesel on their Super Duty trucks for many a year, so when it came time to make a smaller turbodiesel for the F-150, Ford tapped the very same team to make it happen.
Using the same compacted-graphite iron block material and forged steel crankshaft as found on the F-150's 2.7-L EcoBoost V6, and then slapping a turbocharger on it for even greater road efficiency, you get the Ford F-150 Power Stroke Diesel pickup.
Ford should have called it the Power Stroke Turbodiesel, but that sort of takes away from the impact of the word Diesel. That and turbodiesel is more of a European term, while plain old diesel sounds much more like a pickup truck.
The engine itself is a 3.0-L turbodiesel with 250 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. Ford maintains class-leading payload with a towing capacity of 11,400 lbs and a suspension that can endure 2,020 lbs in the bed and cabin.
Right after torque, fuel efficiency is the top reason to get a diesel. Ford uses a pair of variable geometry turbo injectors which operate at 29,000 lbs per square inch to squeeze as many miles as they can from each drop of diesel fuel. Combined with Ford’s now legendary 10-speed automatic transmission, the F-150 Power Stroke gets another class leading statistic of 22 mpg city and 30 mpg on the highway.
Besides the 10-speed and the switch to Diesel fuel, Ford also packs the Power Stroke engine with stop/start technology so as to not burn gas while idling. They also recalibrated the 10-speed gearbox to better take advantage of the Power Stroke’s torque curve and even select gears non-sequentially, grabbing the best gear for the job depending on what the driver needs done.
Getting the Power Stroke diesel doesn’t come cheap--unless you’re a fleet owner. For private citizens, you’ll need to shell out for at least the Lariat trim before the 3.0-L turbodiesel becomes available. Corporations and business owners can get it on base-level F-150s for a lot less.
It also doesn’t come on the regular cab chassis, so you’ll need to buy either the crew cab (SuperCab, in Ford parlance) or the extended cab to make the Power Stroke happen. If you opt for the regular crew cab you’ll need to shell out for the 6.5-foot bed, and for the extended cab you can go for either the 5.5 foot or the 6.5-foot bed.
Front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive are both compatible with the Power Stroke diesel.
The good news is that the Lariat trim comes with a ton of standard features. On the outside there are automatic headlights, rain-sensing window wipers, fog lamps, LED box lighting, heated and auto-dimming side mirrors with memory adjust, and a rearview camera with dynamic hitch assist.
On the inside, you get 10-way adjustable seats with memory slots, dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, and remote keyless entry.
You can go for more of course, but you’ll be shelling out for optional extras or going up to the King Ranch or Platinum trims.
The cheapest Power Stroke F-150 you can buy is a Lariat SuperCab 4x2 with a 6.5-foot bed at $45,015. Going up to the 4x4 adds an additional $3,425 to the price, while opting for the SuperCrew 4x2 with a 5.5-foot bed brings the price up to $47,375. Which isn’t exactly a cheap price for diesel efficiency.
On the other hand, there aren’t many other options for a diesel-powered pickup. Chevrolet is still working on their diesel Silverado (due out sometime in 2019), while Ram has a 1500 pickup with a 3.0-L EcoDiesel V6 starting on their Laramie trim. That’s a bit cheaper at $39,635, but you’re also getting a lot less truck. Power is 240 hp and 420 lb-ft, towing is 10,340 lbs, and mileage is a far less impressive 17 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway.
It seems a little bizarre to price the Power Stroke F-150 above the entry-level point considering its vastly improved fuel efficiency, but diesel is still a relatively rare commodity in the US that is still catching on. If you can afford it, the Power Stroke F-150 is definitely an option to consider for trading a bit of horsepower for even more torque and incredible mileage.
The only downside is finding a diesel pump.