When I got my driver’s license, GMC Truck and Coach was building America’s first V-6 powered pickup (pretty much America’s first V-6, period). At that time (1963) it was customary for most pickups to have V-8 power, and to think of a six-cylinder pickup was to think of a cheap pickup. That was unless it was a GMC, thought to be a premium brand with its huge V-6s and lots of torque. I remember farmers bringing their GMC’s into Grant, Nebraska, and chugging around town running errands and rounding up supplies.
Now, 55 years later, Ford Motor Company has moved to V-6 power for their best-selling pickup lineup (both gasoline and diesel). When I picked up Ford’s 2018 F-150 for this test, I was anxious to experience the V-6 that they employ in these vehicles. My loaner was powered with a 3.0 liter diesel engine with turbocharger and 250 horsepower at 5,000 rpm. Torque for the unit was 420 lb. ft. @ 2,500 rpm, enhanced by installing the turbochargers and direct fuel injection. Ford adds a sound enhancer to the V-6, and thus the driver gets the sound of a V-8 upon acceleration – this one enjoyed it. A ten-speed SelectShift automatic (console shifter) was also on hand.
The F-150 was the Lariat edition (M.S.R.P. – $62,955.00 with all options and freight), the middle of the road offering of their five models. Quite fancy it was, with two rows of heated leather seating, navigation, Bang and Olufsen audio system, blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, oversized moonroof, tailgate ladder with grab bar, trailering package, electric sliding back glass, heated steering wheel and Lightning blue tri-coat metallic paint. Additionally, the pickup had a FX4 off-road package with locking rear axle, hill descent control, skid plates and tuned front and rear shock absorbers.
With such equipment, it would seem as if the Ford F-150 would not impress on the highway. That was not the case, as ride, handling, road noise and guidance were all on target. Visibility in this truck will surprise a person, and hats off to Ford for putting the scallops in the driver and passenger glass for peeking under the exterior mirrors.
Styling has been a hallmark of Ford pickups for a long time, and the company has enjoyed the number one rung on the sales ladder for over three decades. For 2018, the vehicle has been restyled, but the big news is the aluminum alloy now used to produce the cab and box. Ford calls it “high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy” and it shaves between 500 and 70o lbs. off of the weight of the unit. Thus, the fuel economy (I got 21.8 mpg), acceleration, and load capacity are all enhanced. This Ford F-150 Supercrew has quite a range of capabilities.