The F-150, Ford’s full-size truck made in Kansas City and elsewhere, is getting a diesel engine.
Ford Motor Co. said dealers will begin taking orders for 2018 F-150 trucks with diesel engines starting in mid-January for delivery in the spring. Diesel engines already are available on heavy duty F-250 and F-350 models.
Diesel also is an option on rival Ram and Nissan full-size trucks, which means Ford is playing some catch up in that size class, though its F-150 is the nation’s best-selling vehicle.
Ford’s announcement said its testing focused on heavy tows in extreme conditions. It gave the diesel “a premium mechanical engine-driven fan and dual radiator shutters” to improve its performance in high temperatures and high altitudes.
“We know that competing diesels with electric cooling fans have to dial back on power under extreme heat and altitude, so we decided on a viscous-controlled mechanical fan that has the capacity to move much more air across the radiator and intercooler in extreme conditions,” David Ives, Ford diesel engine technical specialist, said in the announcement.
Adding the diesel option gives F-150 buyers six choices of engine, and the company expects about 5 percent of F-150 buyers will choose diesel. It was unclear Monday whether vehicles assembled at Claycomo would include the diesel models, as Dearborn, Mich., also produces F-150s.
The diesel engine costs $4,000 on the Lariat and Platinum versions of F-150, $3,000 on the King Ranch version.
Ford expects the F-150 to get 30 miles per gallon on the highway with the new 3.0-liter V6 diesel and a 10-speed transmission. That’s 4 mpg better than the current most efficient gasoline-powered F-150.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.