Spy Video Catches Diesel Ford F-150 Pickup A Year Before Reveal

Justin Hyde
·Managing Editor

Keen to stay abreast of competitors, Ford plans to launch a diesel version of its bedrock F-150 pickup next year—and the proof comes from this video caught on the streets near its headquarters.

While heavy-duty pickups have long relied on diesel engines for maximum hauling and towing, they were seen as too expensive and unnecessary for the light-duty or half-ton market. That is, until fuel economy rules and an arms’ race in towing specs made smaller diesels attractive for everyday pickup owners.

Since its launch, Fiat Chrysler’s Ram brand has seen strong sales for its V-6 turbodiesel Ram, which now takes up to 20 percent of production. Even though it starts at nearly $40,000, the combination of 29 mpg on the highway and roughly four tons of towing capacity have proven winners.

Ford’s answer will seek to duplicate Ram’s success. This video caught by SpiedBilde shows an F-150 running around Dearborn, Mich., with the distinctive rumble of a diesel from the tailpipe. Under its hood lies a 3-liter turbodiesel V-6, one already in use in the United States by Land Rover for its Range Rover SUV diesel model, where it makes 254 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque—more on each measure than the Ram diesel. With Ford launching a new 10-speed automatic transmission for its trucks, it’s possible that the F-150 diesel could hit 30 mpg on the highway and have a higher tow rating than the Ram EcoDiesel.

We expect to see the F-150 diesel hit dealerships as a 2017 model, so it’s likely still at least a year away. While Volkswagen’s diesel scandal has made automakers far more cautious about oil burners in cars, the F-150 shows there’s still room to rumble for diesel pickups.