Strangely, one of the largest questions circling the Ford brand over the last few years has nothing to do with the development of EV technology, nor has it to do with the development of new composite materials, or manufacturing efficiency. What has been at the forefront of Ford Nation’s collective consciousness is whether or not the F-150 will one day boast a diesel powered engine – something that seems oxymoronic when considering the blue oval’s flagship truck.
Thanks to headlines such as this one from 2013 ‘Ford F-150 Going Diesel? Rumor Says Yes, Execs Say No’ and this one from late last year ‘Spied: 2017 Ford F-150 TurboDiesel’, it’s easy to see why the casual observer may be at a loss to answer this very important question.
So, will 2017 truly mark the year customers buying an F-150 can opt for the diesel engine? In Dearborn, it seems that mum is still the official word, although some keen-eyed automotive enthusiasts in Michigan may have glimpsed some compelling evidence that a diesel-powered F-150 may be coming to a dealership near you sooner than you think.
Granted, the evidence may be scant, but to those in the know, it just may be enough to put a checkmark in the ‘highly likely’ column.
Here’s what we know based on observed test driven vehicles in the Dearborn area (for those who don’t know, new models are typically taken out on city streets, however they are usually covered with a black and white vinyl which disguises any salient features):
- The shrouded truck was sporting a Venturi-style exhaust tip.
- The photographer who snagged the photos said it ‘sounded’ like a diesel.
That’s enough evidence, isn’t it?
If however the words of some car spy and a plethora of internet rumours isn’t enough to convince you, let’s take a moment to consider what a diesel engine would mean in the much lighter, aluminum-clad F-150. Because diesel engines deliver more torque than its gasoline-fueled counterpart (conversely, gas powered trucks are the champion when it comes to horsepower), diesel is more often than not the engine of choice for people who work their truck, who need substantive hauling capabilities. Coupled with the lighter frame, a diesel fueled F-150 could further differentiate itself as the industry’s premiere workhorse in a very competitive market.
A Diesel Power Plant Can Also Further Increase MPG Gains
Pound for pound, diesel packs more of a punch than gasoline, containing approximately 10%-15% more energy per drop. The new F-150 already proved that shedding a few pounds (roughly 700lbs in all from the previous version) allows for some serious gains when it comes to fuel efficiency, so one can imagine the additional benefit of pairing a lightweight frame with a much more efficient engine.
It Wouldn’t be the First Time
It isn’t a secret that the automaker was developing a diesel engine for the F-150 way back in 2008. Due to the recession and prolonged economic downturn, Ford decided to end that initiative citing the maligned automotive market wouldn’t likely support such a premium upgrade. Evidently, the desire to bring in a diesel engine has been there for a while, but the timing just wasn’t on their side.
Ford’s brass may continue to deny the rampant rumours circling the next incarnation of the F-150, but at the end of the day, it just makes sense that a diesel option be made available to F-150 drivers. Times are good, the economy is recovering, and customers want options. If it’s the hauling power they want, why not give it to them – and make the F-150 more versatile than ever before.