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Car and Driver: Aluma-Diesel: Ford F-150 Pickup Spied Rolling Under Diesel Power [Video]

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DieselF150Spied
-Ford made some pretty decisive moves with the development of its 2014 F-150 pickup, touting its aluminum construction and twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 engines as the fully modern combo to beat in power and efficiency for half-ton pickups. But when the inevitable questions about the “D” word—as in diesel engines—entered the discussion, the manufacturer had little to say. Now we’ve snagged a video of an F-150 undergoing testing near Detroit, and the sound emanating from it is pure, unadulterated, compression-ignition music to our ears.

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Speculation about a diesel-powered F-150 half-ton pickup has been rampant, even though Ford has repeatedly denied reports. Citing the steeper initial price point of a diesel truck and the higher cost of diesel fuel, Ford brass steadfastly maintained that a diesel half-ton just doesn’t pencil favorably for the average consumer. Meanwhile, the team over Ram popped the corporate 3.0-liter turbocharged EcoDiesel V-6 under the hood of its Ram 1500 half-ton and proceeded to sell them by, well, the truckload, despite the diesel’s commanding an up to a nearly $5k premium—depending on powertrain and options—over a gas-powered Ram. With the viability of the business plan now confirmed, it’s only logical that Ford would realign itself to get its part.

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2015 Ford F-150 XLT 2.7L EcoBoost 4x4

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2015 Ford F-150 XLT 2.7L EcoBoost 4×4
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Ford has a few options as far as diesel power goes. The truck in the video above displays a very faint compression-ignition clatter and an unmistakable turbo “whoosh” under acceleration, and given its cadence at idle, we’re inclined to think this F-150 is running a version of the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 developed jointly a while ago by Ford and PSA Peugeot-Citroën. Internally known as the “Lion,” the engine already is in use stateside in the Rover Rover and Range Rover Sport, so much of the certification work may already be out of the way. Producing 254 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque, the “Lion” engine would edge out the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel’s 240 and 420 numbers, and that’s before any tweaking by Ford engineers. To ensure maximum efficiency and the best possible fuel-economy numbers, we expect Ford to mate the new diesel to the company’s new 10-speed automatic transmission.

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If Ford were to err on the side of sensibility—we’re talking trucks here, so that’s hardly a given—the 3.2-liter turbocharged inline five-cylinder diesel currently available in the Transit van would also be an option. Although it makes only 185 horsepower, it produces a truck-worthy 350 lb-ft of torque in the Transit application, certainly enough for work vehicles and fleet applications. Either way, with signs pointing in the direction of a diesel F-150, we expect Ford to make an official announcement sooner than later, likely in time for the 2017 model year.

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