It’s been 3 years since America’s best selling truck was redesigned from the ground up. But that doesn’t mean Ford has rested on its laurels. Retaining the title requires constant attention. Over the last two years, Ford has delivered. So what has changed since we drove an F-150 Platinum in 2015?
In 2017, Ford completely redesigned the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 that sits atop the F-150 lineup. The engine was thoroughly reworked with a new block, port and direct injection, new turbos, and a new cooling system. That’s largely because Ford also uses this engine to power the monstrous F-150 Raptor. In “pedestrian” form, the new EcoBoost V6 produces 375 hp and 475 lb-ft torque, slightly more than before. 2017 also saw the introduction of Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission. For 2018, that 10-speed is now standard with all engines except the entry-level 3.3L V6.
Visually, the 2018 F-150 get’s a revised front end features new headlights and a broader front grille that help make the truck appear wider. The hood and front fenders remain unchanged from last year, but the 2018 styling definitely differentiates itself. Each F-150 trim has a unique grille design, allowing a well-studied Ford fanatic to decipher every truck without having to read the fender badges. We didn’t have any problem with the 2017 design, but seeing a 2018 F-150 on the road immediately makes the previous grille design seem dated.
Ford was nice enough to send us Limited truck # 0007. The Limited Trim is essentially a special edition that incorporates all the same features as the Platinum, but is only offered on years the truck is refreshed. While production isn’t limited, each truck is numbered with a plaque on the center console. In addition to the numbering, the Limited has a unique grille design, wears unique 22-inch polished aluminum wheels, and features a unique blue leather interior color known as Navy Pier. If those subtitles aren’t enough, the truck also sports a LIMITED badge across the leading edge of the hood. It’s a classy truck. We were especially struck by the blue interior. The color is rare for an interior save the odd Porsche or two, but it absolutely works here. It’s nice to see a change from dull, cavernous black interiors and to have something that isn’t stain-prone like beige or white. We just wish it didn’t cost nearly $70,000 to enjoy it.
This is the first F-150 we’ve driven without the FX4 Off-Road Package and the softer shocks are noticeable, despite the low-profile tires. 22-inch wheels don’t help the ride quality, but this is still the most comfortable F-150 we’ve tested. Between the extra power, new transmission, and optional 3.55 electronic locking axle ratio, this 2018 Limited is downright fast. It feels even faster than the more-powerful yet heavier Raptor. With leather heated seats all around and ample leg-room in the SuperCrew cab, you might not need an Expedition for your family of four. And this F-150, optioned with the Trailer Tow Package and factory spray-in bedliner, is capable of getting down and dirty with traditional truck duty. At the end of the day, though, it’s unlikely many of these Limited models will see much hard labor beyond the occasional weekend landscaping job or a long haul with a camper or boat.
Ford hasn’t reinvented the F-150. With so much new technology introduced when this generation truck debuted in 2015, there didn’t seem like much to do. But there’s more than just a new pretty face behind the 2018 F-150, and that’s a good thing. Over the last two years, updated engines and an all-new transmission, combined with the cosmetic changes keep America’s best-selling truck bringing back buyers.
|2018 Ford F150 Limited SuperCrew
|Trailer Tow Package||$995|
|3.55 Electronic Locking Axle Ratio||$470|
|Chrome Exhaust Trim – Square Tip||$85|
|As Tested MSRP||$68,310|