2019 Ford F-150 Power Stroke Diesel: Fuel sipping comes with a price [Retake]

2019 Ford F-150 Power Stroke Diesel 2.JPG
2019 Ford F-150 Power Stroke Diesel (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

It’s been about a year since I drove the F-150 Power Stroke Diesel at a press event. I was able to tow, drive different variations, tackle some tough off-road situations and hit the wide-open highway.

It was a great testing ground that showed off an excellent powertrain in a nice truck.

The ride and handling were smooth, and the truck’s ability to tow around 5,000 pounds with ease was very evident – even at higher elevations and with plenty of hills.

But the true tell for any vehicle is how well it can blend into your home environment.

So, with a second look after a weeklong-test, I can report the Power Stroke Diesel is phenomenal, but the truck itself struggles to blend within an urban environment.

The diesel powertrain was all-new to the F-150 for the 2018 model year, and when we tested it last year, we were impressed with the fuel economy.

The Power Stroke diesel has a 3.0-liter V-6 that delivers 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. It has plenty of power for highway merges and is confident cruising on the highways.

I noticed that in Normal mode, the acceleration was a little sluggish, and I definitely preferred the Sport mode when I needed to do some aggressive driving.

The big news here is the fuel economy. For a truck this size with a gasoline engine, I usually average around 12 mpg. But the EPA estimates you should get 20 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

I don’t say this often, but the EPA was actually spot on. I averaged 22.1 mpg in combined driving.

While I haven’t driven the diesel versions of the GM or Ram trucks, which become available for the 2020 model, they boast similar – if slightly better – powertrain and fuel economy numbers:

  • Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra: 3.0-liter I-6 turbodiesel, 277 horsepower, 460 pound-feet of torque, 25 mpg in combined driving for the 4WD model
  • Ram 1500: 3.0-liter, V-6 EcoDiesel, 260 horsepower, 480 pound-feet of torque, fuel economy ratings TBD.

The interior of the test vehicle, which was a SuperCrew Lariat, was more on the functional side, catering more to the work crowd. But there were creature comforts such as leather seats, heated front and rear seats, USB charge ports, leather seating surfaces and plenty of rear-seat legroom, which will win big points with any owner.

The steering wheel, seats and gearshift were overlarge for my petite frame, and when I adjusted my seat height for a good driving position, my left foot dangled about an inch off the floor.

Thus, it’s not the most comfortable long-haul ride for those who are on the short side of the spectrum.

The F-150 – or any pickup truck for that matter – is more at home on the highway or large suburban roadways. But even though I live in a city, I never shy away from truck press vehicles because the in-city dynamics are just as important as the suburban ones. You never know when you’ll find yourself at an urban construction site or out for a night on the town.

Since the tester was the SuperCrew with the 6-1/2-foot box, it wasn’t as limber as a SuperCab or Regular Cab would be with a smaller box. Plus, with the 145-inch wheelbase, it was too long to fit in many tight city spaces – including my garage. In a parking lot, the vehicle took up a full parking space and then some. Needless to say, I parked at the back of the lot during the test week.

Though we were driving 2018 models at the press event, there really isn’t much different for the 2019 model year because the Power Stroke Diesel was ushered in with the next-gen truck in that same model year.

Though the base model for the F-150 is XL ($28,750), the diesel powertrain is only available on the Lariat ($43,950), King Ranch ($54,630) and Platinum ($57,160) models, commanding a $3K to $4K premium depending on the trim.

The test vehicle was a Lariat and added more than $20K worth of options. It painted a pretty picture inside and out with up-level amenities such as a twin-panel moonroof, navigation, trailer tow package, FX4 off-road package, painted aluminum wheels, a 360-degree camera, heated steering wheel, second-row heated seats and a B&O sound system.

The as-tested price was $70,100.

The Bottom Line:

I’m both amazed and dismayed by the seemingly infinite configuration possibilities of the 2019 Ford F-150. While this does create the ability to fully customize your truck (amazed!), the price climbs quickly with each additional amenity (dismayed!).

And if you want the diesel for the extra towing capability or fuel sipping characteristics, it comes with a huge premium. If you opt for the Lariat trim without adding any options except the Power Stroke Diesel, the minimum you will spend is $47,940.

That’s more than $1,300 per month with a 3-year loan. Want to stretch it out over a 5-year period? That’s about $790 per month.

However, if you have your heart set on the diesel and the money to pay for it, the F-150 Power Stroke Diesel is quiet, competent and comfortable.