Diesel Cars

Is Ford's new F-150 diesel worth the price of admission?

How does Ford's new diesel V6 stack up to its EcoBoost stablemates?

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

Despite passenger car diesels having a rough go as of late, the light truck industry has doubled down on these powertrains. Ford, in fact, has just released its 3.0-liter Power Stroke V6, which promises big towing capacity while returning excellent fuel economy. But what does it cost compared to a gasoline F-150?

A lot, it turns out. First, in order to even get the option to add the diesel motor to your build sheet, you have to buy the Lariat trim package, at minimum. Keep in mind that while the two-door, base XL F-150 starts at just $27,705, the Lariat and other upper trim packages are only available as SuperCab and Crew Cab body styles, starting at $41,015 and going way north of that.

Ford wants an additional four grand on top of the price of a Lariat if you want the new 3.0-liter diesel.

Ford

So, you've ponied up the $41,000 for the Lariat, surely getting the sweet, sweet diesel fuel economy will only require a little more cash, right? Wrong. While you're able to upgrade from the base 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 to the 5.0-liter V8 for $1,000 and to the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 for $1,600; getting into the diesel is a $4,000 option, according to a report by The Drive. Not cheap, but keep in mind that the jump from gasoline to diesel in the Super Duty trucks is around $9,000.

Beyond the cool Power Stroke badging and the 30 miles per gallon highway, what other benefits does the 3.0-liter diesel offer over the EcoBoost gasoline engines? Let's break down the numbers. Ford is rating the baby Power Stroke at 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. Not bad, until you consider that the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, which remember is $2,400 cheaper, produces 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque while returning around 23 mpg on the highway.

The 3.0-liter Power Stroke V6 is frugal on fuel but down on power and torque compared to the 3.5-liter EcoBoost.

Ford

Keep in mind, those fuel economy ratings don't take into account towing or hauling, which is something truck owners tend to do. For the record, Ford says that the diesel F-150 can tow 11,400 pounds while the 3.5-liter EcoBoost model can lug around 13,200, though the diesel is probably going to return better mileage while towing. Also, while diesel is much more common now at your typical gas station, it's far from being ubiquitous. Something to consider.

So, after all that, is it going to be worth it for you to step up to a Power Stroke in your new F-150? The short answer is yes if you plan on doing a lot of towing over long distance or if you just really like the sound of a diesel engine. The answer is also no if you have pretty much any other use case. The fact is that the days of big, lazy gasoline engines in trucks are over and smaller-displacement, direct-injected, turbocharged gasoline engines are more than up to the task for all but the gnarliest loads.