Overview

2018 Ford F-150 Media Drive

Overview (Final Score: A)

The 2018 Ford F-150 sees a few changes from the 2017 model year, with a mid-cycle refresh. Most are under the hood, but some visible revisions include the front fascia styling, rear hatch and bumper.

The F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in North America, outselling all competitive pickup trucks, as well as all other passenger vehicles. This is a big, spacious, full-size truck with a lot of technology and mechanical excellence to woo the masses. Ford currently boasts best-in-class capability on several fronts, depending on the F-150's configuration.

New this year are some engine options, including a change to the base V6 engine and expanded use of the 10-speed automatic transmission introduced last year. Also new are some upgrades to the collision mitigation system.

The 2018 Ford F-150 is offered with three cab styles, three bed lengths (depending on cab style) and five engine choices.

What We Love About the 2018 Ford F-150:


  • Tow and payload ratings are very good

  • Technology and comfort options are wide ranging and made to suit

  • Myriad of engine choices make for lots of usage options


 

What We Don't Love About the 2018 Ford F-150:


  • Stiff ride on the highway when empty

  • Fuel economy doesn't always meet expectations

  • Towing requires a bit of a learning curve, even for experienced drivers


 

2018 Ford F-150 Media Drive

Exterior View (10/10)

There's no denying the fact that, as pickup trucks go, the Ford F-Series is generally the most upscale-appearing and straightforward of the bunch. The F-150's mix of styling includes elements of muscle and toughness, posh refinement and readiness, that come together in a nice-looking package.

Changes for the 2018 model year bring a new grille, different bumper line and modifications to the rear tailgate. The grille is now less slatted, with larger center pieces to make a sort of upper bumper running between the headlamps, which are notched to receive those slats. Above and below the slats are small, thin slats in the more traditional manner to make up the intake grille. The traditional diamond cuts into the hood and bumper above and below are still there, but the bumper is a bit thinner and carries less of the design weight in this new Ford F-150 look. The air dam below it is more prominent as well.

The 2018 Ford F-150 otherwise retains the bodywork of the truck's current-generation. Straight lines, strong wheel-well carvings and flat panel work are the motifs. The greenhouse is tall and square, but not blocky, and the general theme of the stamped-appearing design is that it is, indeed, stamped. But of aluminum. A big feature for Ford, which moved to all-aluminum bodywork with this F-150 generation.

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Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (9/10)

With one of the better interior designs in the full-size truck segment, the F-150 has a well-done daily use build. The spacious cabin has an intelligent controls layout and uses thoughtful technology placement throughout. As trims upgrade, so does interior comfort.

The SuperCab configuration offers a good back seat, while the larger SuperCrew has more room than most full-size sedans, seating three across without shoulder bumping. It's not unusual for a family sedan to be traded in and replaced with a pickup like the F-150 for that very reason.

While materials quality is very good, in the lower trim points the F-150 is often bested by rivals in terms of upscale appeal. On the driver's side, it's difficult to find a better layout and more visibility than the 2018 F-150's. This makes the F-150 easier to maneuver and park, and gives a better view on the highway.

Technology (10/10)

Ford added its new Sync 3 to the F-150 last year, and that's paid off with much better infotainment than in earlier trucks. The base model F-150s have little or no tech in them, but as trims and options packages improve, so does the tech.

Sync 3 is one of the richest and easiest-to-use infotainment systems on the market. Its Siri Eyes Free standard integration and crisp 8-inch touchscreen are phenomenal. Updates are made regularly and happen via a WiFi connection, which can be set-up easily for connection to a home or office where the truck will be parked regularly.

Menu layouts with Sync 3 are very good and voice commands are nicely done. Also available is a trailer backing system that adds a knob to one side of the screen, which is used to control the truck when backing-up a trailer (viewed through the infotainment screen). This makes those not as comfortable with backing-up have a far better time of it and aids in backing small trailers that are too little to be seen in the mirrors, such as a toy trailer or small utility.

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Fuel Economy (10/10)

The new standard V6 engine in the F-150 improves fuel economy quite a bit, boosting the truck's score versus last year.

The 2018 Ford F-150's base 3.3-liter engine is rated at up to 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, both improved by 2 mpg over last year. Those numbers are with regular gasoline in rear-wheel drive.

The 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 offers 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. A turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 gets 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway, while the more powerful Raptor option is rated at 16 mpg combined.

Also available is a 5.0-liter V8 engine that rates 17 mpg combined, with 15 city and 21 highway.

With the exception of the Raptor's V6 numbers, all of these ratings are in two-wheel drive models. Adding four-wheel drive or moving to E85 ethanol lowers the fuel economy estimates.

Having driven a Raptor model, Platinum model in the standard 3.5L turbo and a model with the 2.7L turbo, we can say that the EPA's fuel economy estimates are generally spot on for most driving situations not involving load or towing. We can also say it's easy to completely disregard the Raptor's fuel economy expectation due to its enthusiastic driving appeal.

Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (8/10)

Although the Ford F-150 received a better rating here last year, things changed for the 2018 model year. With the new engine comes a little less assumption, resulting in a lower J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study score, as the 2018 F-150 now rates an "About Average" return.

Safety (10/10)

The 2018 Ford F-150 holds a high safety rating and has had one since this new generation debuted. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives the F-150 a 5-star overall rating for safety, with five stars each for frontal and side crash results, and four stars for rollover.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gives the 2018 Ford F-150 high marks for safety, with top scores of "Good" on all crash tests given.

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Performance (10/10)

The 2018 F-150 returns solid performance in all of its powertrain renditions. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, but that makes them easy to match against needs for the buyer's truck. Just about every buyer will find a drivetrian to match.

The new 3.3-liter V6 offers 290 hp and 265 lb-ft torque in a broad curve through its six-speed automatic transmission. Most will find this adequate for general tasks and everyday driving.

Upgrading to the 2.7-liter V6 brings 325 hp and 400 lb-ft torque, while the turbocharged 3.5L V6 offers 375 horses and 470 lb-ft. These pair with a 10-speed transmission, as does the very powerful 5.0-liter V8 (395 hp and 400 lb-ft) and the Raptor's pumped up 3.5L with its 450 horses and 510 lb-ft.

All of these engines do very well in the F-150. The base engine is a good everyday offering, while the 2.7 brings turbocharged power to the mix, adding muscle and capability to go with it. The turbo V6 performs on par with the big V8, but in a lower RPM band, while the V8 offers strong long-term power for daily work use. The Raptor's performance, twin turbocharged V6 is superb for making fun happen off pavement.

One thing about the new F-150 is its drive quality. The lighter bodywork makes the Ford F-150 handle more like a sedan than a truck. The lower center of gravity and lighter-weight steering are more car like than pickup truck like. This translates to easier maneuverability in most situations.

Ford has largely fixed the towing issues we had when this new generation of the F-150 debuted, utilizing electronic controls to better manage trailer push and pull. So the 2018 F-150 is one of the best pickup trucks we've driven in terms of drivability versus capability. Even on the highway, which is saying something.

Pricing and Value (9/10)

Given the 2018 Ford F-150's extremely broad range of configurations, the truck has a broad value proposition as well. With the diversity of engine options, trim options and packaging builds available, there is an F-150 for just about every need. That explains its 2:1 sales figure over any other competing truck and it's what makes the F-150 America's best-selling vehicle.

While good, resale values for the F-150 are not always as good as competing trucks. This largely depends on configuration. Most work-ready or daily driver versions of the F-150 are very resalable, while those configured more for comfort than capability may not sell as well.

We recommend the Lariat or XLT packages with a few add-ons, as needed, as consumer-grade occasional work trucks, which is what most buyers actually need. Towing capability is there for a weekend run with the RV or boat, while daily driving is still comfortable. Few will need the long bed options, so we'd stick with a 6.5-foot bed for utility without parking headaches.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (76/80, 95%)

The 2018 Ford F-150 remains one of our highest-rated vehicles. The full-size pickup truck market is full of stiff competition, and if you're not brand loyal, you might want to consider other options.

The excellent Ram 1500 is a good option, offering a diesel option that is only coming to the Ford later in 2018. The Chevrolet Silverado and its GMC Sierra twin are also likable and good daily drivers, but generally not as configurable as the Ford.

We also like the Toyota Tundra as a good everyday truck without a lot of expensive frills, but it's not as configurable. The Nissan Titan is the newest offering on the market. It offers a lot of goodness for the buck, but may fall short in ergonomics and appeal for some buyers.

The 2018 F-150 is the most competitive full-size truck on the market and its sales figures aren't by accident. The F-150 has a good all-around platform onto which Ford has added options to suit just about everyone. There aren't many downsides to the 2018 F-150.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Crew Cab - 4WD
XL XL 4WD SuperCrew 5.5' Box V6 4WD 37755
XLT XLT 4WD SuperCrew 5.5' Box V6 4WD 42055
LARIAT LARIAT 4WD SuperCrew 5.5' Box V6 4WD 47300
Raptor Raptor 4WD SuperCrew 5.5' Box V6 4WD 53660
King Ranch King Ranch 4WD SuperCrew 5.5' Box 8 Cylinder 4WD 55355
Platinum Platinum 4WD SuperCrew 5.5' Box 8 Cylinder 4WD 57910
Limited Limited 4WD SuperCrew 5.5' Box V6 4WD 64785
XL XL 4WD SuperCrew 6.5' Box 8 Cylinder 4WD 40010
XLT XLT 4WD SuperCrew 6.5' Box 8 Cylinder 4WD 44310
LARIAT LARIAT 4WD SuperCrew 6.5' Box 8 Cylinder 4WD 48550
King Ranch King Ranch 4WD SuperCrew 6.5' Box 8 Cylinder 4WD 55655
Platinum Platinum 4WD SuperCrew 6.5' Box 8 Cylinder 4WD 58210
Crew Cab - RWD
XL XL 2WD SuperCrew 5.5' Box V6 RWD 34245
XLT XLT 2WD SuperCrew 5.5' Box V6 RWD 38560
LARIAT LARIAT 2WD SuperCrew 5.5' Box V6 RWD 43875
King Ranch King Ranch 2WD SuperCrew 5.5' Box 8 Cylinder RWD 51930
Platinum Platinum 2WD SuperCrew 5.5' Box 8 Cylinder RWD 54485
Limited Limited 2WD SuperCrew 5.5' Box V6 RWD 61360
XL XL 2WD SuperCrew 6.5' Box V6 RWD 35550
XLT XLT 2WD SuperCrew 6.5' Box V6 RWD 39865
LARIAT LARIAT 2WD SuperCrew 6.5' Box V6 RWD 44175
King Ranch King Ranch 2WD SuperCrew 6.5' Box 8 Cylinder RWD 52230
Platinum Platinum 2WD SuperCrew 6.5' Box 8 Cylinder RWD 54785
Extended Cab - 4WD
XL XL 4WD SuperCab 6.5' Box V6 4WD 35220
XLT XLT 4WD SuperCab 6.5' Box V6 4WD 39635
LARIAT LARIAT 4WD SuperCab 6.5' Box V6 4WD 44940
XL XL 4WD SuperCab 8' Box 8 Cylinder 4WD 37475
XLT XLT 4WD SuperCab 8' Box 8 Cylinder 4WD 41890
LARIAT LARIAT 4WD SuperCab 8' Box 8 Cylinder 4WD 46190
Raptor Raptor 4WD SuperCab 5.5' Box V6 4WD 50675
Extended Cab - RWD
XL XL 2WD SuperCab 6.5' Box V6 RWD 31790
XLT XLT 2WD SuperCab 6.5' Box V6 RWD 36210
LARIAT LARIAT 2WD SuperCab 6.5' Box V6 RWD 41515
XL XL 2WD SuperCab 8' Box V6 RWD 33095
XLT XLT 2WD SuperCab 8' Box V6 RWD 37515
LARIAT LARIAT 2WD SuperCab 8' Box V6 RWD 41815
Regular Cab - 4WD
XL XL 4WD Reg Cab 6.5' Box V6 4WD 32350
XLT XLT 4WD Reg Cab 6.5' Box V6 4WD 36725
XL XL 4WD Reg Cab 8' Box V6 4WD 32650
XLT XLT 4WD Reg Cab 8' Box V6 4WD 37025
Regular Cab - RWD
XL XL 2WD Reg Cab 6.5' Box V6 RWD 27705
XLT XLT 2WD Reg Cab 6.5' Box V6 RWD 33300
XL XL 2WD Reg Cab 8' Box V6 RWD 28005
XLT XLT 2WD Reg Cab 8' Box V6 RWD 33600

Comparison of 2018 Ford F-150 with Similar Cars

2018 Ford F-150 MSRP Invoice
2018 Ford F-150 $27,705 $26,320
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 $28,300 $27,027 2018 Ford F-150 VS 2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
2018 GMC Sierra 1500 $29,000 $27,695 2018 Ford F-150 VS 2018 GMC Sierra 1500
2018 Toyota Tacoma $25,400 $23,813 2018 Ford F-150 VS 2018 Toyota Tacoma
2018 Toyota Tundra $31,320 $28,971 2018 Ford F-150 VS 2018 Toyota Tundra

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2018 Ford F-150 ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2018 Ford F-150 rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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