2018 Ford F-150 Review
  • Car Review

2018 Ford F-150 Review

By Autolist Editorial | September 29, 2020

Quick Facts:

Pros:

  • Clean, modern styling.
  • Excellent towing and payload offerings.
  • A long list of engine and options choices for a high level of customization.

Cons:

  • Becomes expensive quickly.
  • Busy transmissions.
  • Some engine and transmission combinations feel slow.

Vehicle Type: A full-size pickup truck with seating for up to six people.

Price Range: The 2020 Ford F-150 ranges in price from $27,705 to $61,360, before destination, taxes, and options.

Powertrain: A 3.3-liter V6 with 290 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque.

A 2.7-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V6 with 325 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque.

A 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque.

A 5.0-liter V8 with 395 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque.

A high-output 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque.

A 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that makes 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque.

A six-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard.

A 10-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive are available.

More Photos

See more 2018 Ford F-150 photos here.


Overview:

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Three years into its 13th generation, the Ford F-150 receives a mid-cycle refresh that includes new powertrain choices, subtly revised exterior styling, and available advanced driver aids.

The F-150 is aimed at new car buyers that want a full-size American pickup truck with robust towing and payload capabilities. It competes against the Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Nissan Titan, and Toyota Tundra. The 2018 F-150 is offered in seven trim levels: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited, and the off-road-oriented Raptor. Three cab configurations are available: Regular Cab, four-door SuperCab, and larger four-door SuperCrew.

The 2018 F-150 is available with up to six different engine choices: a 3.3-liter V6 with 290 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 with 325 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 with 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, a high-output 3.5-liter V6 with 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque, and a 5.0-liter V8 with 395 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. A 3.0-liter diesel engine is also available that provides 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, while a ten-speed automatic is available.

Ford's F-Series trucks are the best-selling vehicles anywhere. The F-150 itself generates more revenue than many automakers' entire vehicle lineup, and it's the top-selling truck in America. The competition hasn't been sleeping, however. Ram has released a brand-new 1500 model for 2019 that promises to be more advanced and luxurious than any truck the company has produced to date. Chevrolet and GMC will also roll out new versions of the Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks for 2019. Ford's light refresh of the F-150 is likely to help it remain competitive, but its rivals will be leaving dealers' lots with an intimidating mix of new technologies and features.

Overall Score: 8/10


Safety Features: 8/10

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety hasn't yet evaluated the 2018 F-150. The 2017 model, which is nearly identical in terms of structure, was named a Top Safety Pick. That award is due to Good ratings in all crashworthiness categories and a Superior rating for models equipped with the optional vehicle-to-vehicle crash prevention systems.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rated the 2018 F-150 five stars overall. That score includes five stars for front and side crash protection and four stars for rollover resistance.

Standard safety features include the Ford MyKey programmable setup, remote keyless entry, an SOS post-crash alert system, and trailer sway control. Available features include a lane-keeping system, auto high-beam headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring.


Value: 7/10

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The F-150 offers one of the most customizable experiences in modern vehicle shopping. As a result, there's a truck for nearly every buyer, and the prices range from budget-friendly to high-end luxury dollars. But in its top trims, the F-150 can be as expensive as a German luxury SUV.

The F-150 can tow up to 7,700 pounds, even with its base engine. That makes it an excellent work truck for people and companies that need a lot of capability without a bank-breaking price tag.


Tech Features: 8/10

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Standard features include SYNC, 911 Assist, two USB ports, a 4.2-inch driver information display, Bluetooth, and voice controls. The tech picture doesn't begin to heat up for the F-150 until the Lariat trim level, where a touchscreen infotainment system becomes standard.

Available tech features include and an 8-inch touchscreen with the Sync 3 infotainment system, built-in navigation, a surround-view monitor, Sync Connect, a CD player, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, a Kicker Audio system, SiriusXM radio, HD radio, and additional 12-volt, 110-volt, and USB power outlets.

Ford's latest Sync 3 infotainment software is colorful, responsive, and easy to use. It runs well on the F-150's 8-inch touchscreen and offers an easy way to interact with vehicle settings and functions. The screen is mounted high in the dash and is surrounded with physical controls that are clearly labeled for quick reach. But Ford is not alone here, as General Motors and Ram also offer easy-to-use infotainment systems flanked by physical controls.


Practicality: 9/10

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The F-150, even in its cheapest form, is an extremely capable vehicle with a base towing capacity of up to 7,700 pounds when properly equipped. At its best, the F-150 can pull up to 13,200 pounds in some forms. Figures depend on engine, transmission, and drivetrain combinations.

Max payload checks in at 3,270 pounds for some configurations, and the truck can set up to six people in comfort. That makes it a strong contender to be an all-around vehicle for many buyers. The F-150's bed features tie-downs and anchor points that make it much easier to tote around large loads.

The F-150's cab is filled with creative storage spaces and enough room for the entire family's gear. The cupholders are large enough for the most oversized American-sized big-gulp cups, the door pockets are huge and can hold larger items like purses and bags, and the center console storage area is cavernous.


Styling & Design: 8/10

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The 2018 model year update brought smooth lines and a robust and modern style to the F-150 line. The change brings it into the new world with a unique style that is all its own. Though Ford can't help sticking all sorts of logos and badges on its trucks, the additions don't detract from the F-150's overall styling to a high degree.

Inside, the F-150's cabin can be filled with high-end materials, and the build quality is respectable, no matter the trim. Some models have upscale leathers and premium wood trim that makes them feel genuinely opulent inside. Trims like the King Ranch model get exclusive, high-end leathers that rival anything in a German luxury sedan. When equipped with the optional panoramic moonroof, the F-150's interior feels light and airy.

Ford's multi-contour front seats are indeed a revelation and must be experienced to be believed. Beyond heating and cooling, which are now mainstay features, the seats massage in several different patterns. All functions can be controlled directly from the bright infotainment screen, which shows a diagram of the seat and details which parts are being moved at any point in time.

Visibility is excellent in nearly every angle, thanks to the F-150's high seating position, large windows, and small pillars.


Driving Experience: 8/10

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Ford's new powertrain offerings for the F-150 bring great capability and solid fuel economy. The EcoBoost engines offer an old-school turbo sound while delivering strong acceleration, and the diesel engine is one of the smoothest on the road today.

The F-150 has come a long way in ride quality and handling over the years, but is still a truck that needs a load in the bed to settle down. Both transmission options are busy and seem to continually search for the right gear, even when the truck is held at a consistent speed. Though it delivers excellent towing and good fuel economy, the base 3.3-liter V6 engine can feel sluggish at times, especially under load.

Though part of the F-150 line, the Raptor is a beast unto itself. It sports a high-output version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that powers "lesser" trucks and has monstrous acceleration as a result. It's capable of running 0-60 mph far quicker than it has any business doing, and its Fox Shox soak up nearly anything it the truck's path. Washboard-rough roads can cause it to feel unsettled at times, but everything from sand dunes to creek beds are well within its reach. It's got a high ride height and an aggressive exhaust system, so there are times when the truck produces more noise than is desirable. The V6, though powerful, makes a howling sound under heavy acceleration that may be off-putting for some. That said, the Raptor is a go-anywhere and do-anything truck that has no equals on the market.


Fuel Efficiency: 8/10

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Ford's new powertrain offerings for the F-150 bring great capability and solid fuel economy. The EcoBoost engines offer an old-school turbo sound while delivering strong acceleration, and the diesel engine is one of the smoothest on the road today.

The F-150 has come a long way in ride quality and handling over the years, but is still a truck that needs a load in the bed to settle down. Both transmission options are busy and seem to continually search for the right gear, even when the truck is held at a consistent speed. Though it delivers excellent towing and good fuel economy, the base 3.3-liter V6 engine can feel sluggish at times, especially under load.

Though part of the F-150 line, the Raptor is a beast unto itself. It sports a high-output version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that powers "lesser" trucks and has monstrous acceleration as a result. It's capable of running 0-60 mph far quicker than it has any business doing, and its Fox Shox soak up nearly anything it the truck's path. Washboard-rough roads can cause it to feel unsettled at times, but everything from sand dunes to creek beds are well within its reach. It's got a high ride height and an aggressive exhaust system, so there are times when the truck produces more noise than is desirable. The V6, though powerful, makes a howling sound under heavy acceleration that may be off-putting for some. That said, the Raptor is a go-anywhere and do-anything truck that has no equals on the market.


What’s it Going to Cost Me?

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The base Ford F-150 XL trim has a starting price of $27,705 before the destination charge. It comes with a 3.3-liter engine, 2WD, two-way adjustable front headrests, a 40/20/40 folding front bench seat, cloth upholstery, a four- or six-speaker stereo, auxiliary inputs, black vinyl flooring, fixed rear glass, a steering-wheel-mounted shifter, and black exterior trim.

The F-150 XLT starts at $33,300 before destination and comes with a CD player, SYNC voice recognition, cruise control, carpeted flooring, MyKey, power windows/doors/tailgate locks, rear privacy glass, chrome bumpers, and a chrome grille.

The Ford F-150 Lariat has a starting price of $41,515 before destination. It comes with a two-speed automatic transfer case, Sync 3 infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, a 10-way power driver's seat, leather upholstery, SiriusXM radio, an eight-inch productivity screen in the gauge cluster, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone climate controls, push-button start, power-adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, a power-sliding rear window, and woodgrain interior trim.

The F-150 King Ranch has a starting price of $51,930 before destination. It comes with leather upholstery, rain-sensing wipers, a reverse sensing system, front bucket seats, heated and ventilated front seats, a B&O Play sound system, a voice-activated navigation system, remote start, a floor-mounted shifter, a heated steering wheel, and a universal garage door opener.

The Ford F-150 Platinum has a starting price of $54,485 before the destination charge and comes with a blind-spot monitoring system, multi-contour seats with massage, and body-colored bumpers.

The F-150 Limited has a starting MSRP of $61,360 before destination. It comes with a 360-degree camera system, active parking assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go and pedestrian detection, and a lane-keeping system.

The Ford F-150 Raptor has a starting price of $50,675 before destination and comes with a high-output 3.5-liter V6, standard four-wheel drive, long-travel front suspension, Fox Racing Shox, hill descent control, and special Ford Performance badges.

If we were shopping for an F-150 today, our money would buy a King Ranch model. The step up to premium leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, and more make the F-150 a luxurious people hauler that retains its ultimate truck capabilities. The Limited trim has all of the bells and whistles, making it an excellent daily driver, but the price is too high and will scare off all but the most dedicated shoppers. The F-150's advantage here is that it can be outfitted with a V6 at no performance, towing, or payload penalty, which saves gas at the pump.


More Photos

See more 2018 Ford F-150 photos here.