The Ford F-150 pickup truck has been America’s best-selling car for 30 years and best-selling truck for 40 years. The 2018 Ford F-150 models build on 2015’s big switch to a military-grade aluminum-alloy body and boxed steel frame, adding power and convenience — and tech smarts.
Ford comes back in 2018 with the same seven F-150 model as in the 2017 F-150 lineup, with prices ranging from $27,380 to a high of $60,520. The 2018 lineup has new and upgraded gas engines, but the biggest power plant news is a 3.0L Power Stroke turbodiesel engine. Other changes include design tweaks and a raft of new productivity, driver assistance, and infotainment tech goodies.
What’s new for 2018
U.S. sales figures just released for the 2017 calendar year show Ford’s F-Series pickups continue as the best-selling truck as well as the top-selling vehicle of all types. Ford’s F-Series unit sales increased, as did #2 Chevrolet Silverado and #3 Ram 1500, which both maintained their sales rankings from 2016, but the Ford trucks also increased their market share among the top 11 truck models while the Silverado and Ram pickups slipped a bit in market share.
In the 2017 calendar year, which includes sales regardless of model year, Ford sold 896,794 F-Series trucks, 75,995 more than 2016’s 820,799 unit sales. The F-Series numbers compare to the Silverado’s 585,864 sales in 2017, up from 574,876 in 2016. Ram sold 500,723 pickups in 2017 and 489,418 in 2016. Overall of the 11 top-selling pickups, which accounted for 2,822,868 trucks, Ford’s 31.77 percent market share is 1.28 percent greater than 2016, while the Silverado’s 20.75 percent share is down 0.60 percent and the Ram 17.74 percent share dipped 0.44 percent from the previous year.
It’s interesting to note that even the third-best selling truck, outsold the top-selling car, the Toyota Camry at 387,081 units and the best-selling crossover/SUV, the Toyota Rav4 with 407,594 sales in 2017.
Ford just announced the long-awaited availability of the F-150 diesel engine for the 2018 lineup. Final pricing isn’t set, but dealers will start taking orders mid-January for the 2018 F-150 with the new 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel for delivery this spring. The highly anticipated turbocharged engine is rated at 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque, with hoped-for EPA fuel economy estimates of 30 mpg in highway driving.
The peak 44o lb-ft of torque kicks in at just 1,750 rpm for towing and heavy load hauling. The engine is paired with Ford’s 10-speed Select Shift automatic transmission calibrated for the low-end torque and is rated at 11,400 pounds of towing and 2,020 pounds of payload capacities. The diesel engine will be available with 4×2 and 4×4 2018 F-150 Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trim SuperCrew cabs with 5.5-foot or 6.5-foot beds and SuperCab trucks with 6.5-foot beds.
Only 50 people will have the chance to write checks for $350K plus at select Ford dealerships or direct from the upfitter for the Hennessy VelociRaptor 6×6. Hennessey adds a drive axle, two amped up turbochargers, and much, much more to the already impressive F-150 Raptor. The VelociRaptor’s 600 horsepower and 602 pound-feet of torque with, up from the Raptor’s 450 hp and 510 lb-ft, set you up to rule the desert.
Meanwhile, the stock F-150 keeps racking up honors. On November 27, Motor Trend named the Ford F-150 the 2018 Motor Trend Truck of the Year (TOTY). This win, which was for the whole line, matched the 2018 F-150 XL, Lariat, Platinum, and Raptor against other trucks and Ford nailed the win. Last year the Ford Super Duty — the F-250 and F-350 trucks — won the 2017 TOTY award.
On November 28, Kelly Blue Book announced the 2018 F-150 and the new 2018 Ford Expedition both won Kelly Blue Book Best Buy Awards. This win is the fourth year in a row for the F-150, beginning the year Ford took the big chance in using aluminum in place of many steel structural and body components.
In response to a request from Digital Trends, Autotrader provided information about millennials’ new vehicle purchase preferences. Autotrader didn’t give DT the actual sales figures, but a rank ordering of the top 50 vehicles millennials currently buy, based on information from lenders. The list was similar both in the models and in rank to overall U.S. purchases with two exceptions — heavy-duty pickup trucks and minivans.
Most notably, on the same list where the Ford F-150 was in the top position in sales, Autotrader reported the Ford F-Series HD trucks scored eighth place. Accordingly, we’ll update this article with 2018 Ford F-250 models and prices when Ford launches the new models of the “Ford Super Duty” line.
Also related to Ford’s HD pickups, and as further evidence of the line’s popularity, two Ford F-250s won custom truck awards at the 2017 SEMA show in Las Vegas. BDS Suspension‘s 2017 Ford F-250 SD126 was Best in Show in the Monster category, and Icon 4×4 won the Restoration Best in Show award with its 1965 Ford F-250 Six-Pack.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2018 F-150 crew cab and extended cab versions the 2017 Top Safety Pick award for crashworthiness when equipped with optional front crash prevention. To earn the award, a vehicle must get an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and good or better ratings for driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front side, side, roof strength, and head restraints. The IIHS rated the base halogen headlights and optional LED headlights poor, which kept the F-150 from earning the even higher-rated Top Safety Pick+ award.
Our reviewer took a test drive in the 2018 Ford F-150. After sorting through the bewildering assortment of options, we towed a 7,500-pound load and barreled along a route drive route, and found the truck more than capable of handling the task.
Ford announced EPA-rated gas mileage numbers for the 2018 F-150 in early May, and the numbers look pretty good: The new F-150 has an EPA estimated rating of 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined, in the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 configuration. It’s just 1 or 2 miles per gallon more than last year’s models, but moving brawny vehicles with the muscle of an F-150 isn’t easy — and improving on it is harder still. Besides, every extra mile means money in your pocket.
Ford has also announced maximum towing capacity for the 2018 F-150s, which is 13,200 pounds when properly configured. The max you can pull varies, however, depending on a slew of factors including engine, trim level, cab style, box length, rear axle ratio, and whether the truck has two-wheel or four-wheel drive. You can configure any of the trim levels to pull 13,200 pounds except the Raptor, which is limited to 6,000 pounds with a SuperCab and 8,000 pounds with a SuperCrew style cab.
The magic combination to tow 13,200 pounds with your 2018 Ford F-150 XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, or Limited truck requires the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, a SuperCrew cab and a 6.5-foot box, 3.55 rear axle ratio, and two-wheel drive. If you’re a 4×4 trucker, the towing maximum with everything else the same drops just a bit to 13,000 pounds.
Engines and transmissions
F-150s Ford offers five gasoline engines for 2018 F-150s, plus 3.0L Power Stroke diesel coming later in 2018 for truck owners with extra-serious towing needs that call for the diesel engine’s extra big helping of torque.
All F-150 engines now have Auto Start/Stop engine tech to save fuel: Come to a complete stop and the engine cuts out. Take your foot off the brake and the engine starts back up.
The base engine for the Ford F-150 XL and XLT is new for 2018. The twin independent variable cam timing (Ti-VCT) 3.3L V6 develops 290 horsepower and 265-foot-pounds of torque. The 3.3L V6 is paired with an electronic 6-speed automatic transmission with three driving modes: Normal, Tow-Haul, and Sport.
Ford F-150 Lariats come with the 2.7L EcoBoost V6 with 325 hp and an impressive 400 lb-ft of torque plus Ford’s electronic 10-speed automatic transmission. Moving up to the fancier pickups, the F-150 King Ranch and Platinum come standard with the Ti-VCT 5.0L V8 with 395 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. The top-end Ford F-150 Limited model has one engine choice, the second-gen 3.5L EcoBoost V6 with 375 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque.
Serious desert racers need serious power, which clears the way for the only engine for the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor. The Raptor’s twin-turbo, intercooled DOHC, 24-valve, 3.5L EcoBoost V6 with port fuel and direct injection puts out 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. The 10-speed automatic transmission has two modes in the Raptor: Normal and Tow-Haul.
The 2018 F-150s have a broad selection of standard and optional smart tech features. Some features help you be more productive like a standard rear camera with Dynamic Hitch Assist to help you hook up a trailer. Ford SYNC 3 with SYNC Connect works with FordPass, a mobile device app that lets you find your truck in a parking lot, check the fuel, lock, unlock, and start the truck, and even check fuel prices while you’re traveling.
An 8-inch dashboard LCD is standard on the Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited models and lets you monitor trip, vehicle, fuel economy, towing, and off-road displays. Ford now has an optional remote tailgate release operated by an inside door switch or the truck key fob, for hands-free SUV tailgate opening.
Four cameras are used with the optional 360-degree camera with a split-view display. You can use this feature for a bird’s eye view of the surroundings while backing into tight spaces — this adds another level of precision to the Dynamic Hitch Assist.
Available driver assist features include Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, a Lane-Keeping System, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go tech including full stops and starts in traffic, and BLIS, a Blind Spot Information System that not only signals when another vehicle is in a blind spot, it also detects cross traffic for the truck and for a trailer when one is attached.
Cab choices, box length
The Regular cab, available only on XL and XLT models, has two doors and seats three people. The SuperCab and SuperCrew each have four doors and seat five or six people, depending on whether the front has bucket seats.
SuperCab rear doors are rear-hinged, a style called “suicide doors” on 1960s Lincoln Continentals because exiting backseat passengers had nothing between them and oncoming traffic. Yikes! The SuperCab has the widest opening to the truck cab when both front and back doors are open; it’s available only with XL, XLT, Lariat, and Raptor models. Except for the Raptor, which only comes with a 5.5-foot box, the other three models can be ordered with the longest 8-foot box.
The SuperCrew style also has four doors but the rear doors are front-hinged, like a passenger car. The SuperCrew Style is only available with 5.5-foot and 6.5-foot boxes but can be ordered with all seven F-150 models.
Box length choices for Ford F-150’s are driven by storage needs. Boxes are available in 5.5-foot, 6.5-foot, and 8-foot lengths, all rounded to the nearest half foot. All boxes are 50.6-inches wide between wheelhouses and 21.4-inches high. Cargo volume (with nothing sticking up above the truck box walls is 52.8 cubic feet for the 5.5-foot box, 62.3-cubic feet for the 6.5-foot box, and 77.4 cubic feet for the 8-foot box. You can’t have the best cab for passengers with the highest capacity box; the SuperCrew cab and 8-foot box can’t be ordered on the same vehicle.
Which Ford F-150 is best for you?
Ford carries over the same seven models as in 2017. For every model except the Lariat, which has a $180 price drop, the 2018 prices increased from $270 to $520. There are three “standard” models, the F-150 XL, XLT, and Lariat, with starting list prices ranging from $27,380 to $40,685. Three fancy versions including the F-150 King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited models start from $51,080 to $60,200. The desert racer 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor now has a $49,785 starting price. In all cases, even with the $60,200 top-of-the-line F-150 Limited, you can drive up the prices quickly if you don’t show restraint checking option boxes.
2018 Ford F-150 XL, XLT, and Lariat
Contractors, farmers, sports enthusiasts, people who pull boats, campers, and other trailers — and even commuters who prefer a truck to a car are all hot markets for the less-fancy Ford F-150s: the XL (starting at $28,375), XLT ($33,965), and Lariat ($40,685).
Note that the words “less expensive,” are not in the previous paragraph. You can easily configure a Lariat to a list price north of $60,000 without going for shiny big wheels and special edition seats. Even a 4×4 XL with a SuperCrew cab and a 5.5-foot box gets up to $37,340 before adding any tech, and that’s without power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, rear window defroster, or even a trailer hitch.
So let’s take a look at the “standard” 2018 Ford F-150s.
The F-150 XL base model starts with 4×2 drive, the 3.3L V6 engine with a 6-speed transmission with auto start/stop, and a 23-gallon fuel tank. Inside you’ll find cloth seats, manual single-zone AC, AM/FM stereo but no CD, automatic headlights, and a 2.3-inch productivity screen. The XL also comes standard with a rearview camera with dynamic hitch assist, electronic stability control, and curve control.
Moving up to the F-150 XLT, you’ll find the standard equipment includes Ford SYNC with AppLink, a single-CD player added to the radio, power door locks, chrome bumpers and grille, fog lamps, power adjusting, manual-fold side mirrors, and power windows.
The F-150 Lariat raises the basic work and family truck ante significantly. The Lariat brings the following features to your garage: the 2.7L EcoBoost V6 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch machined aluminum wheels, leather-trimmed, power, heated and ventilated front seats with driver memory, the 8-inch productivity screen, push-button start, power-adjustable pedals with memory, woodgrain interior trim accents, a cargo lamp, LED box lighting, heated power side mirrors with memory and power everything mirrors can have, a tailgate LED, perimeter anti-theft alarm with a passive anti-theft system, and a class IV trailer hitch.
|Base engine||3.3L Ti-VCT V6||3.3L Ti-VCT V6||2.7L EcoBoost V6|
|Base torque||265@4,000 RPM||265@4,000 RPM||400@2,750 RPM|
|Transmission||6-speed automatic||6-speed automatic||10-speed automatic|
|Fuel||Regular gas||Regular gas||Regular gas|
|Fuel capacity (gallons)||23||23||23|
|Fuel economy, 4×2||22 mpg combined||22 mpg combined||22 mpg combined|
|Fuel economy, 4×4||20 mpg combined||20 mpg combined||21 mpg combined|
|Maximum towing weight||13,200 pounds – properly configured||13,200 pounds – properly configured||13,200 pounds – properly configured|
|Cab styles||Regular, SuperCab, SuperCrew||Regular, SuperCab, SuperCrew||Regular, SuperCab, SuperCrew|
2018 Ford F-150s King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited
How fancy do you want to get? That’s the question Ford F-150 shoppers choosing an upscale pickup will have to answer. One caution while looking at these luxury trucks with big price tags: it’s not inconceivable you might get a better overall price by buying a King Ranch ($51,600 starting list price), Platinum ($54,155), or Limited ($60,520) than if you loaded up an XLT or Lariat with options and packages.
Starting with the F-150 King Ranch, in addition to the Lariat’s features you’ll get the 5.0L V8 engine, two-tone exterior paint, a powerful B&O Play premium audio system, remote tailgate release, wheellip moldings, power outlets front and rear, a lot more interior leather, a steering wheel with memory and electronic locking, leather bucket front seats that are heated and cooled, heated rear seats, reverse sensing, remote start, a universal garage door opener, and a voice-activated touchscreen navigation system with SiriusXM traffic and travel links.
The F-150 Platinum has 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, genuine wood interior trim, LED mirror-mounted spotlights, power-deployable running boards with SuperCrew cabs, side mirrors with an auto-dimming feature, a window wiper de-icer, the BLIS blind spot and cross traffic system, and inflatable second-row safety belts.
You won’t leave too many unchecked boxes on the option sheet with the F-150 Limited — though have no fear, you can still spend more. Notable extra features on the lineup-leading include the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine, a twin panel moonroof, even larger 22-inch polished aluminum wheels, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, Ford’s lane-keeping system, and seats, side mirrors, and windows with more power features than you’d want to have to remember for a test.
|Base engine||5.0L Ti-VCT V8||5.0L Ti-VCT V8||3.5L EcoBoost V6|
|Base torque||400@4,500 RPM||400@4,500 RPM||470@3,500 RPM|
|Transmission||10-speed automatic||10-speed automatic||10-speed automatic|
|Fuel||Regular gas||Regular gas||Regular gas|
|Fuel capacity (gallons)||23||23||26|
|Fuel economy, 4×2||19 mpg combined||19 mpg combined||21 mpg combined|
|Fuel economy, 4×4||18 mpg combined||18 mpg combined||19 mpg combined|
|Maximum towing weight||13,200 pounds – properly configured||13,200 pounds – properly configured||13,200 pounds – properly configured|
|Box lengths||5.5 to 6.5-foot||5.5 to 6.5-foot||5.5-foot|
2018 Ford F-150 Raptor
There’s no kidding around with the 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor, but that’s not to say it lacks fun. As long as your idea of fun includes off-road performance and desert racing, Ford’s Baja-inspired pickup has the chops to ensure you have a great time.
The Raptor is available in SuperCab or SuperCrew cab configurations, but the engine and transmission, box size, and drivetrain are fixed. All Raptors are equipped with the H-O 3.5L EcoBoost V6 and 10-speed transmission, 4-wheel drive, and a 5.5-foot box.
Additional off-road performance features include high-output, off-road Fox Racing Shox, a long travel suspension, a 4.10 front axle with Torsen differential and a rear 4.10 axle, torque-on-demand transfer case, and 17-inch cast aluminum wheels with 315/70 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires. The Raptor also has Ford Performance aluminum scuff plates, a hood with air extractors, and performance bumpers front and rear.
The Raptor’s unique look includes an interior unlike other models, flared front fenders with air extractors, cast aluminum running boards, and heavy-duty skid plates under the front and the engine. Unless you live or work in locations inaccessible by normal vehicles, the Raptor is better positioned as a sport truck than as family or work transportation.
|Base engine||HO 3.5L V6 Ecoboost|
|Base torque||510@3,500 RPM|
|Fuel capacity (gallons)||26|
|Fuel economy, 4×4||16 mpg combined|
|Maximum towing weight||6,000 to 8,000 depending on cab style|
|Cab styles||SuperCab, SuperCrew|
Update: Added data on Ford F-Series’ continued sales dominance in 2017.
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