If you lined up the new 2018 Ford F-150 with last year’s model, you might not notice any major differences at first. The overall design hasn’t changed, and Ford hasn’t suddenly decided to stick a giant rear spoiler on the end. However, 2018 is a year of change for the popular truck. A closer inspection of the exterior, perhaps a good rev of the engine, would all reveal the truth: the F-150 is a new beast.
All of these changes come from Ford’s mission to accommodate drivers of all sorts with the 2018 F-150. From Cincinnati, Oh to the streets of New York City, the company seeks to make this truck the first choice for anyone needing a combination of performance and convenience. With that in mind, this year’s updates are a mix of engine/driving upgrades and interior/exterior refinements to bring the truck closer to Ford “perfection.”
To appreciate the subtle-yet-important changes Ford has made to the truck, here’s a look at some of the surprises you will find in the new model and trims.
The Subtle New Look
The F-150 line shifted to its current generation back in 2015. Compared to that year, which saw the introduction of the all-aluminum body and an updated design, the 2018 model hasn’t changed drastically. Instead, Ford has gone for a subtle facelift that has a more practical purpose than anything else. Some of these changes, however, are just to keep the look fresh for current and new owners alike.
First up is a new grill donning the front of the truck. Doing away with the massive three bar grill design from last year, Ford has spruced up this area with a dual bar look that adds some weight to the middle of the grill. The update brings out the underlying mesh as well. Since Ford offers a number of trim levels, this grill design varies depending on the level you purchase.
Next, to the grill, the F-150’s headlights look slightly different. The overall profile is the same, but the headlight no longer looks like a solid LED mass outlined by the turning signal. Instead, the Ford designers have separated the main light into an upper and lower section with a more traditional turn signal to refine the overall proportions of the area. The rear lights also get the same split treatment. The overall shape remains the same, but now has two separate sections for turning, braking, etc.
Rolling on New Wheels
Ford has always been a firm believer in options when it comes to the wheels customers choose to place on their trucks. Wheel size can have a drastic influence on handling and performance of the truck. Some of the most hardcore truckers swear by plus-size (18” or 19”) wheels with narrower tires. Why?
For one thing, they just look cooler. If you have ever found yourself wanting a monster truck, an F-150 sporting 22” wheels and a lifted suspension is the next best thing. To have this look, however, you would usually need to obtain the aftermarket parts and work yourself.
The new 2018 wheel line comes with six different style options and an updated look. Sizes range from 17 to 22 inches with tire profiles to match. For people wanting to keep weight down, the smaller wheels combined with a taller tire sidewall will keep the ride springy and dampened. Customers wanting more traction and control will probably prefer a larger wheel with a shorter sidewall. This setup adds extra weight and affects fuel efficiency but is hard to beat when it comes to enhanced performance.
A New Engine
If you have been wondering if there are any real changes to the 2018 F-150, you will need to look under the hood to satisfy your curiosity. The engine is the major area Ford has always focused on to offer different options to customers. In recent years, the company’s EcoBoost engines have improved fuel economy and range to the point where the F-150 is now near the top of fuel efficiency for trucks.
The new engine lineup starts with a 3.3L V6 direction-injection engine. As the standard option on the basic trims, this engine offers 282 horsepower with 253 pound-feet of torque to satisfy the needs of everyday drivers looking for some basic towing capacity. Other options in this camp include new 2.7L and 3.5L engines, both featuring Ford’s EcoBoost technology and design.
On the performance end of the spectrum, Ford has improved their existing V8 offering with a 5.0L option. Using a 10-speed automatic transmission, the engine has more horsepower (up to 395) and torque (400 pound-feet) than the previous version. Connected to a trailer, this version is capable of delivering up to 3,270 pounds of towing force.
Beyond the different gasoline engines, the true start of the new F-150 engine lineup is the 3.0L power stroke diesel engine. Details remain light on this option since the engine won’t be available until after the model launch (currently scheduled for the Fall of 2018). Still, the introduction of a half-ton diesel engine has many F-150 lovers excited to get behind the wheel of one of these new beasts in the near future.
Ford continues to refine the interior and safety features of their popular truck line each year. Nothing drastic has changed since the truck already comes with many notable options like Ford’s Adaptive Cruise-Control and cutting-edge Tow Assist. Instead, some of the features have undergone some refinement to make them even safer for drivers wanting an extra level of security while driving.
The Adaptive Cruise-Control and Forward-Collision-Warning systems are more automated this year. In the 2017 model, for example, the system would automatically shut off around 12 mph, preventing the system from coming to a complete stop. The 2018 version will now stay on all the way to 0 mph for a complete stop. The collision system is more sensitive to the point that it can detect people on the street or in crosswalks well before the driver may react.
Finally, the F-150 is getting a major upgrade in sound quality. Bang & Olufsen, a car audio manufacturer from Denmark, is getting in on the Ford action with an all-new audio system. Known for high-end audio systems in luxury car brands, the company is supplying the parts and design for the higher F-150 trims. The audio system promises better clarity and enhanced sound for all occupants in the main cab.