What changes will make the 2019 Ford F-150 different?
Little of consequence is likely following a significant model-year 2018 refresh that updated the F-150’s styling, powertrains, and feature set. For model-year ’19, expect a new paint color or two, maybe some minor equipment shuffling, and higher asking prices.
Ford’s F-Series full-size pickup truck is America’s top-selling vehicle of any type, although its sales totals actually encompass trucks in several weight classes, including brawny commercial-focused rigs. This preview centers on the F-150 line, a range of half-ton pickups spanning personal, recreational and business uses. It represents the bulk of F-Series sales, with the heavier-duty Super Duty F-250, F-350, and F-450 lines accounting for the balance of the nearly 900,000 F-Series trucks Ford sold in 2017.
Indeed, if the F-Series were considered a stand-alone brand, it would be America’s fifth best-selling automotive make, behind Toyota, Chevrolet, Honda, and Nissan. Affordable fuel and the relatively stable economy helped the full-size pickup market grow 6.5 percent in 2017, with the refreshed F-Series outpacing the field with a 9.3-percent increase. Demand is up 4.3 percent through the first quarter of 2018 in a segment that grew 3 percent.
Why should I wait for the 2019?
If the 2018 model fits your needs, you won’t gain much by waiting for the little-changed – but almost-certainly higher priced — 2019. The ’19 will carry over the cosmetic updates, powertrain revisions, and feature changes that came on line for model-year ’18. It’ll again be available in three cab configurations and three bed lengths, seven trim levels, and a choice of six engines, including a turbodiesel V-6. A plethora of standalone and packaged options means there will again be millions of permutations and combinations, making it easy to tailor one of these trucks to your specific needs.
Returning for ’19 will be the two-door Regular Cab, the extended Super Cab with rear-hinged back doors that can’t open independently, and the SuperCrew crew cab with four full-size front-hinged doors. Depending on body style, you’ll again be able to select from cargo beds 5.5-, 6.5-, or 8-feet long.
Trim levels should again start with the entry-level XL and ascend through XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited. Each of these would come standard with rear-wheel drive and be available with part-time 4-wheel-drive (4WD) or, depending on model, with full-time 4WD that can be left engaged on dry pavement. Also returning for ’19 would be the F-150 Raptor, a 4WD model designed for sporty off-road use.
Should I buy a 2018 model instead?
Little reason to put off a purchase if you want a truck that does just about anything you can ask of a full-size pickup. You’ll get all the improvements Ford made for 2018, including expanded availability of the segment-first 10-speed automatic transmission, and duck the price increases sure to come for the fundamentally unchanged 2019 F-150.
Discounts will be plentiful, with already frequent factory incentives likely sweetened by competitive pressure as Ford counters fully redesigned versions of key rivals launching during calendar 2018. Debuts of the all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and its mechanically similar GMC Sierra cousin, as well as the redesigned 2019 Ram 1500, mean Ford will remain aggressive with cash-back offers and cut-rate financing. Full-size pickup buyers tend to be very brand loyal, but exceptional deals on 2018 F-150 models could well sway shoppers new to the segment or lure those otherwise on the fence.
Buying a 2018 will also give you an extra cushion before your F-150 becomes dated after its expected model-year 2021 redesign. Due during calendar 2010, that next-generation F-150 will continue to use aluminum for body panels and cargo bed and will introduce the line’s first gas-electric-hybrid model.
Will the styling be different?
No, it’ll carryover the model-year 2018 refresh. The current F-150 design bowed for model-year 2015 and changed the pickup paradigm by introducing weight-saving aluminum panels for the body and cargo bed, while retaining steel for the frame. Rival manufacturers haven’t fully followed suit; even the redesigned ’19 GM and Ram are sticking with steel for virtually all body parts.
Ford’s 2015 redesign also swapped the 2099-2014 F-150’s slightly swept-back lines for a more upright, aggressive profile. The ’18 update refined those styling themes and added “C-Clamp” headlights, seven new grille designs, and LED daytime running lights. XL, XLT, and Lariat grades have “F-150” stamped into the tailgate.
Interior changes for ’18 were more modest with addition of an available Bang & Olufsen Play audio system and built-in 4G LTE connectivity to turn the truck into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Cabin décor will continue to range from minimalist in the XL to extravagant in the Limited. All models are versatile and highly functional, with ample passenger space and interior storage. While rear-seat legroom is tight in the extended cab, the SuperCrew is like sitting in a full-size sedan. Even the tallest passengers can slouch in the rear seats and still stretch their legs.
Most ’19 grades will be available with Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system, which is leaps and bounds better than the company’s older MyFordTouch interface. It’s easy to use and responds quickly to inputs. A slightly larger touchscreen would be nice, along with a dashboard control rather than a infotainment-screen icon to adjust the available heated steering wheel.
The F-150 is available with a comprehensive set of instrumentation, much of which is customizable via a large display located between the analog speedometer and tachometer. You can view a variety of statistical data on the truck, such as engine idle and use hours. The Raptor model can present specific off-road data, including the truck’s approach and departure angles, altitude, and more. Bed access is the easiest in the segment thanks to the available step and grab handle built into the tailgate.
Any mechanical changes?
Extremely unlikely because Ford made significant mechanical updates to the 2018 F-150. XL and XLT models got a new standard engine: a 3.3-liter V-6 with 290 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. It replaced a 3.5-liter V-6 that had 282 horsepower and 253 pound-feet.
The available 2.7-liter turbocharged V-6 engine got internal updates that increased torque to 400 pound-feet, from 2017’s 375 (horsepower remained 325). Similar revisions to the available 5.0-liter V-8 increased it to 395 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, from 385 and 387, respectively). And the added turbodiesel is a 3.0-liter V-6 with 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque.
Carrying over from 2017 is the F-150’s flagship engine: a 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 with 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet — and 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet in the Raptor.
Models equipped with the 3.3-liter V-6 should again use a 6-speed automatic transmission. Previously limited to the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, all 2018 2.7-, 3.0-, and 5.0-liter F-150s got a 10-speed automatic and it’ll continue in place of the previous 6-speed automatic. The 10-speed works remarkably well with any gas engine (we’ve not yet tested the new turbodiesel). It shifts smoothly and promptly, while helping contribute to excellent maximum payload ratings of 3,270 pounds and impressive towing capacities up to 13,200 pounds. The diesel V-6 can tow up to 11,400 pounds.
Expect the 2019 F-150 to deliver a reasonably smooth ride, albeit one that’s not as compliant as the Ram 1500, which is the only full-size pickup with coil springs instead of leaf springs. The ’19 F-150 is unlikely to suddenly excel for handling either, with somewhat slow, ponderous steering and a fair amount of body lean in fast turns. These characteristics are common among big trucks and obviously aren’t deal-breakers for hundreds of thousands of F-Series buyers annually.
The ’19 F-150’s 4WD systems will again include low-range gearing for off-road use. The basic setup is part-time, which means 4WD should not remain engaged on dry pavement. Uplevel trims offer full-time 4WD, which includes a setting that allows the hardware to apportion power to all four wheels as needed and on any surface. The Raptor will return with a unique 4WD system that can optimize power and traction for extreme off-roading conditions.
Will fuel economy improve?
No. Expect the 2019 Ford F-150 to maintain the same EPA ratings as the 2018 lineup. That means 2019 F-150 models with rear-wheel drive would again rate 20/25/22 mpg city/highway combined with the 3.3-liter V-6, 20/26/22 with the 2.7-liter turbo V-6, 17/23/19 with the 5.0-liter V-8, and 17/22/19 with the 375-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6.
Four-wheel-drive ratings should remain 18/23/20 mpg city/highway/combined with the 3.3-liter V-6, 19/24/21 with the 2.7, 16/22/18 with the V-8, and 16/21/18 with the 375-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6. Expect the 2019 Raptor to repeat at 15/18/16 mpg.
The diesel V-6 should again achieve a segment-best 22/30/25 mpg.
All gas-powered F-150s would use regular-grade 87-octane fuel, with certain versions of the 3.3-liter V-6 and 5.0-liter V-8 capable of running on E85 Ethanol. Ultra-low sulfur is required for the diesel engine. It also employs a urea-based exhaust-treatment fluid that needs to be topped off periodically.
Will it have new features?
Unlikely. With Ford having updated the F-150 for 2018 and an all-new 2021 model in development, don’t expect significant feature updates for 2019. Ford deserves credit for making the F-150 available with a range of safety-enhancing driver-assistance features, and it could conceivably make them more widely available across the model line for 2019.
The driver assists include autonomous emergency braking that can bring the truck to a stop to avoid a frontal collision with another vehicle or a pedestrian. Also available: full-speed adaptive cruise control that maintains a set following distance from traffic ahead, blind-spot alert with rear cross-traffic detection, a surround-view camera, and lane-maintaining automatic steering.
The 2019 F-150 options menu will remain your oyster. Want a basic work truck with rear-wheel drive and no power windows or locks? Ford has you covered. Would you rather have a road-going luxury liner with full leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, memory driver seat, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, power running boards, power-folding exterior mirrors, full LED lighting, storage bins below the rear seats, 22-inch wheels, and built-in GPS navigation system? There’s an F-150 that has them. Looking for something in between? We have no doubt you will find one to suit your specific needs and budget.
How will 2019 prices be different?
They’ll increase, but probably only modestly. Few vehicles span a broader price spectrum. Including Ford’s destination fee ($1,395 for the 2018 F-150), expect a 2019 XL Regular Cab with rear-wheel drive to start around $29,700 and a 4WD Limited Crew Cab priced from around $66,200 – breaching $70,000 when you select its few standalone options.
The sweet spot for most recreational buyers will again be a 4WD Lariat SuperCrew, which should carry a sticker price in the low- to mid-$50,000s. As noted, expect Ford to be generous with incentives to keep shoppers from defecting to the redesigned Silverado or Ram.
When will it come out?
Expect a 2019 Ford F-150 release date in autumn 2018.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Nissan Titan, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra
What change would make it better?
Enabling the driver to fully disable the lane-maintaining automatic steering. The F-150 is a very wide vehicle, so even slightly drifting to one side of the road causes the system to activate, sending a vibration through the steering wheel and applying steering correction. On winding roads, this becomes quite intrusive.