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2018 Ford F-150 XL Diesel Commercial Truck First Test

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/22/2018 Motor Trend Staff
2018 Ford F 150 XL Power Stroke Diesel front three quarter in motion 02© Motor Trend Staff 2018 Ford F 150 XL Power Stroke Diesel front three quarter in motion 02

The diesel variants of Ford's F-150 XL and XLT are available only to commercial fleet buyers. Equipped with the 3.0-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel engine, these trims will not show up at a Ford dealer unless you have a Fleet Identification Number (FIN). You should also know that the diesel engine carries a $2,400 premium over the price of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, the engine that's closest to the diesel's towing numbers. That's not cheap.

2018-Ford-F-150-XL-Power-Stroke-side-in-motion.jpg

The biggest benefit, however, is in fuel economy. We just ran our Real MPG tests, and our XL 4x2 SuperCab tester got 22.9/34.3/27.0 mpg city/highway/combined. Those are terrific figures when compared to the 3.5-liter gasoline work truck, which delivers 18/25/21 mpg, according to the EPA. But is the benefit worth the extra money?

a red truck driving down a dirt road© Motor Trend Staff

That's a question that might require a bit of math. With national average fuel prices at $2.96/gallon for regular fuel and $3.17/gallon for diesel, it will take 188,000 highway miles (at 30 mpg) to pay back the $2,400 premium an XL fleet buyer will pay for a Power Stroke engine over the cost of a base 2WD 3.5L EcoBoost (at 25 mpg on the highway) with the equivalent towing capacity. However, Ford claims that if you tow a 10,000-pound trailer, that mileage is reduced to 37,600.

Research the Ford F-150 on MSN Autos

If you want a diesel XL or XLT but you don't have a FIN, you should wait until one of these fleet trucks heads to the used market.

On the highway, the XL feels smooth with decent power coming out of the 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel. The 10-speed transmission, however, doesn't feel as gentle as it does when paired to the gas engines, especially at low speeds. What impressed me is how quiet the diesel engine is—even in the work truck, where the amount of sound-deadening materials is far less than with higher-end trims.

Depending on your needs and mileage traveled, a diesel truck might be better in the long run. However, if you turn over your fleet every three years or so, you might not be able to amortize that premium price. Keep track of fuel-price trends and your timeline before you buy.

a close up of a car© Motor Trend Staff
2018 Ford F-150 XL 4x2 Power Stroke (SuperCab)2018 Ford F-150 Platinum 4x4 Power Stroke (SuperCrew)
BASE PRICE $38,180$62,305
PRICE AS TESTED $41,730$66,985
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 6-pass, 4-door truckFront-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door truck
ENGINE 3.0L/250-hp/440-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 24-valve V-63.0L/250-hp/440-lb-ft turbodiesel DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION 10-speed automatic10-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,982 lb (58/42%)5,647 lb (58/42%)
WHEELBASE 145.0 in145.0 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 231.9 x 79.9 x 75.5 in231.9 x 79.9 x 77.2 in
0-60 MPH 7.1 sec7.8 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.6 sec @ 88.9 mph16.1 sec @ 84.3 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 124 ft118 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.73 g (avg)0.77 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.2 sec @ 0.60 g (avg)27.9 sec @ 0.61 g (avg)
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 22.9/34.3/27.0 mpg20.9/28.6/23.8 mpg
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 21/30/24 mpg (MT est)20/29/23 mpg (MT est)
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 180/126 kW-hrs/100 miles (MT est)189/130 kW-hrs/100 miles (MT est)
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.91 lb/mile (MT est)0.95 lb/mile (MT est)

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