Don’t Hold Your Breath for a F150 Diesel

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Will there ever be a diesel option for the Ford F150?
by Patrick Rall

Over the past few decades, the diesel engine has become a popular engine option for heavy duty trucks across the industry. With amazing capabilities, many diesel lovers have long prayed to the auto gods for an oil burning half ton pickup.  This truck could offer greater towing and hauling capabilities than your standard gasoline engines, while also possibly offering improved fuel economy over gasoline engines that can carry similar workloads.  With the booming success of the Power Stroke diesel family, will we soon see a diesel powered F150?

A few years ago when the new Ford F150 hit the market, there were rumors that there might be a diesel engine option coming to the world’s bestselling half ton pickup truck.  While Ford engineers are usually quick to give the stern “head nod” to questions on future products, the engine gurus on hand at the debut of the 2009 F150 confirmed that there was indeed a smaller diesel engine being developed for the half ton Ford truck lineup.

Unfortunately, they also confirmed that the project had been shelved when gas prices began nearing the $4/gallon range, with diesel hovering towards the high end of the fuel price spectrum.  The speculation was that with the high price of diesel fuel, the pricier diesel engine option would be less attractive, so plans to offer a new variant of the Power Stroke in the F150 were put on hold.

Even if diesel prices drop to the point where Ford would consider offering the diesel engine option for the F150, the price of the diesel technology may raise the price of the F150 to the point where it is more expensive than the lowest priced Super Duty.  While a small diesel engine in the F150 would likely give it great towing capacity, there comes a point when the chassis and suspension systems of the F150 are beyond their capacity. At that point, the Super Duty lineup is the better choice. 

Another issue is developing the smaller Power Stroke for what would likely be a very limited market when it came down to actual sales volume.  The current 6.7L Power Stroke in the 2012 Super Duty is a great engine, but it is very heavy, so to safety equip the F150 with that existing engine would take a major overhaul of the suspension system.

Luckily, Ford’s 3.5L EcoBoost V6 has introduced the era of the gasoline engine that offers great power and fuel economy at the same time.  The EcoBoost F150 uses a twin turbocharged V6 to churn out 365 horsepower and 420lb-ft of torque while also being able to get up to 22 miles per gallon on the highway.  This amount of power allows this relatively small displacement engine to offer class leading fuel economy while still offering class leading towing and hauling capacities of 11,300 and 3,600, respectively.

Sure the EcoBoost eases the pain, but do you still think there’s room for a diesel option in the F150? Shout off in the forums!

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