DO YOU SMELL DIESEL

Ford’s long an­tic­i­pated diesel-pow­ered F-150 seems a step closer to re­al­ity ,

4WDrive - - Contents - Words by Budd Stan­ley, pho­tos cour­tesy of Ford

We’ve long been sus­pi­cious that the F-150 was bound to get a diesel en­gine in the very near fu­ture. We thought it might have al­ready hap­pened with the launch of the 2015 re­design, as Ram had al­ready changed the sta­tus quo with the EcoDiesel-pow­ered 1500, but we have yet to see a diesel F-150.

It only made sense as the big three were in a fuel ef­fi­ciency war with each other, and govern­ment reg­u­la­tions were forc­ing them to build more ef­fi­cient trucks. With the Ford Transit break­ing out on the scene sport­ing a 3.2L turbo diesel 5-cylin­der, why wouldn’t Ford sim­ply take that al­ready proven and reg­u­lated pow­er­plant and drop it in the F-150?

We’ve been hound­ing Ford ever since the launch of Ram’s EcoDiesel, won­der­ing when they were go­ing to hit back. The con­stant re­ply re­sponse from Ford, “we have no plans for a diesel.”

Funny thing, a spy photographer re­cently shot an F-150 test mule cov­ered in cam­ou­flage. This is no sur­prise, as a facelift is due for 2018, how­ever the test mule hap­pened to have an un­mis­tak­able com­pres­sion-ig­ni­tion clat­ter and the ex­haust char­ac­ter­is­tics of a turbo. Is this just test­ing the vi­a­bil­ity of diesel or is it the real deal be­ing fine-tuned, we don’t know, and Ford is keep­ing silent.

Should Ford ac­tu­ally pull the trig­ger on a diesel-pow­ered F-150, there are three op­tions we can ex­pect them to choose from. The first would be to com­pletely de­velop an all-new en­gine in-house, which in to­day’s world of plat­form shar­ing and global ve­hi­cles, is very un­likely. Another op­tion is some­thing called the Lion. This is the in­ter­nal code name for a se­ries of turbo-diesel V-6’s (and a V-8) de­vel­oped jointly by Ford and PSA Peu­geot-Citroën way back when Land Rover was still un­der Ford’s um­brella. The en­gine comes in a very sus­pi­cious 2.7L turbo V-6 as well as a 251 hp, 440 lb-ft 3.0L turbo V-6 that can be found in the Land Rover Range Rover Sport. The fi­nal op­tion is Ford’s al­ready proven 185 hp, 350 lb-ft 3.2L in­line 5-cylin­der that is be­ing used in the Transit and over­seas Rangers.

Which en­gine could it be? The eas­i­est swap would likely be the 3.2L 5-cylin­der that is al­ready in the Transit. How­ever, if you take into ac­count the ru­mour that the Ford Ranger will soon make its re­turn to our shores, it is likely that it will keep that same 5-cylin­der diesel that al­ready re­sides un­der its hood. It is not likely that Ford would want to put the same en­gine in two dif­fer­ent size seg­ments as they would want the F-150 to up­hold its pa­tri­ar­chal po­si­tion with a more pow­er­ful op­tion. The Lion just hap­pens to hold a horse­power ad­van­tage over the 5-cylin­der de­spite be­ing smaller in dis­place­ment. More im­por­tantly, it holds a com­plete power ad­van­tage over the EcoDiesel that is pow­er­ing the Ram 1500.

If I were a bet­ting man, I would put my money down on the Lion and ex­pect to see it in the lineup at the end of next year badged as a 2018 F-150.

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