Ford's F-150 continues to own Canada's massive market for full-size pickups, so this truck -- which is the best-selling vehicle in Canada -- gets a significant mid-cycle freshening for 2018 that brings updated styling, new engines, including a turbodiesel, and newly-available active safety features.
Behind a bolder grille are the biggest changes: There's a 3.0L turbodiesel V6, the first-ever diesel for a light-duty F-Series, and a new 3.3L base engine Ford expects will make the same 282 hp and 253 lb-ft as the 3.5L it replaces. There's a 2.7L EcoBoost V6 that Ford says has been completely redesigned, and the 5.0L V8 gets improvements to boost output. The 3.5L EcoBoost V6 is the only engine that returns unchanged, following its own redesign for last year's model.
Ford hasn't announced specs for the diesel nor the new 2.7L yet, but the old 2.7L made 325 hp/375 lb-ft of torque; the 3.5L is good for 375 hp/470 lb-ft; and 5.0L V8 models boast 385 hp/387 lb-ft.
Along with the new powerplants, the 10-speed automatic transmission introduced last year is now standard with both EcoBoost engines, and the V8. Only the base V6 comes with a six-speed automatic; two- and four-wheel drivetrains are available with most engines. All engines now come with fuel-saving auto start-stop technology.
The other notable addition is available pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control, both of which Ford says are segment firsts. Returning technology includes the SYNC3 infortainment system which, starting last year, supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, while the pro trailer backup assist system returns, making it easier to reverse trailers of all sizes within the truck's towing capacity.
No doubt, all of these changes were carefully calculated to help the F-150 maintain its dominance in the full-size pickup market; this is a competitive field, and Ford likes being on top of it.
Lest you mistakenly think the F-150 is all about work, consider that higher-end models can be optioned with luxury items like running boards that stow electrically when the doors are closed, remote-release tailgate and leather upholstery is posh-sounding colour ways like Dark Masala and Navy Pier.
Carried over is the weight-saving aluminum bodywork, which is accented by that new grille, redesigned headlights and bumpers Ford says all work together to make the truck look wider and more planted.
And don't forget the bitchin' F-150 Raptor, a specialized off-roader with long-travel suspension, terrain management drivetrain modes, and an uprated version of the 3.5L V6 (450 hp/510 lb-ft) paired with the 10-speed transmission.
F-150 comes in regular, SuperCab and SuperCrew body styles and 5.5-, 6.5- and eight-foot cargo beds; between that, all the powertrain options available and six trim levels (not counting the Raptor), kitting out your new F-150 can be a bit of an overwhelming process. But that's part of what makes the F-150 so popular: there's literally a truck here for just about everyone, and no other light-duty truck model offers so much variety under the hood.