2018 Ford F-150: Monthly Update for September 2019
by Travis Langness, Reviews Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
After a busy August, it was a relatively low-key September for our long-term 2018 Ford F-150. It made a few runs to the dump last month and a few trips to the hardware store this month, but it was mostly morning commutes and highway cruising in September. The Ford remains a capable gear-hauling pickup, with lots of nice features and a strong performance thanks to the 2.7-liter V6 engine. But fuel economy is still middling, and the 10-speed transmission is still getting on our nerves.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
The F-150 didn't go very far in September and only needed to be filled once. Best fill, best range and average lifetime mpg were unaffected. It's pretty hard to upset the statistics after nearly 40,000 miles.
Average lifetime mpg: 17.2
EPA mpg rating: 21 combined (19 city/24 highway)
Best fill mpg: 21.7
Best range: 664.5 miles
Current odometer: 36,733 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"I haven't towed anything with our F-150, but its turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 has plenty of power. I haven't ever come away thinking, 'Boy, it's too bad we didn't upgrade to one of the other engines.' I know some of my co-workers have towed some stuff, and the commentary seems pretty favorable. Maybe get the F-150's diesel or larger turbo V6 if you plan to tow a lot. But for the majority of truck shoppers, I'd say the regular 2.7-liter V6 is the way to go." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
"The transmission is getting worse and worse. We've already highlighted the rough downshifting between second and first gear in this 10-speed automatic, but now the hard bangs and clunks and clanks are finding their way into other gear changes, especially on downhill grades. We recently took the F-150 in for routine service and added a transmission service/flush and fill, which seemed to address some of the shifting issues temporarily. We may need to take it back for a closer look sometime soon." — Travis Langness, reviews editor
"A few months ago in our June update, we noted some harsh transmission downshifts. This was the first time I had driven the truck since then, so I was curious to experience it. Sure enough, I noticed it one or two times while driving in heavy traffic." — Brent Romans
"Ever since we got the F-150 back from its last service, the violent low-speed shifts have been much less of a problem. At least for me. I know at least one editor felt them while towing, which might indicate that the temperature of the transmission fluid is a contributing factor. But while shifts have been smoother, they've also felt a bit ? slushier, especially after a cold start. I'm OK with the trade-off, but then I don't tow." — Will Kaufman, content strategist and news editor
"Ram really put 100% effort into its latest 1500's interior. It's by far the nicest cab in the business. But I'd put Ford at No. 2. Most of the controls are easy to use, and the front cupholders and the center console are great for holding my stuff. I also like the various readouts in the gauge cluster display and the chunky feel of the gear-shift lever. As a bonus, our truck's interior is holding up well after about 38,000 miles." — Brent Romans
"Stuffed behind the shifter and just to the left of the cupholders, the F-150's climate controls are a non-starter for me. The tiny buttons for the seat heaters/coolers are distracting while you're driving, and the fan speed as a button rather than a knob is totally counterintuitive for a truck. Wearing gloves in a cold climate and having to futz with that stuff would be a real hassle." — Travis Langness
"Hauling away the remaining pieces of a demolished deck is what pickup trucks were built for. Well, that and tailgating, but the ultra-common crew-cab/short-bed combo isn't ideal for this kind of task. It's not like I can throw rusty nails and sawdust in the second row of the F-150 for transport, so I needed to load up twice to get rid of all my rubble. If I were spec'ing out a truck for personal ownership, I'd go with an extra cab and a long bed. Makes for better motorcycle transport too." — Travis Langness
"Too big for the driveway, not big enough for Home Depot, great for Costco. Our F-150's configuration is mostly nice. The back seat is huge, and when folded away makes for storage space big enough to handle a Costco run. A giant Costco run, since you can put stuff like 800-roll packs of toilet paper in the bed.
"But on a trip to Home Depot, it proved a little weaker. Bringing home a flat-packed garage shelving unit, I needed to leave the gate down and use tie-downs. But the unit in question would fit in quite a few three-row SUVs with the seats folded flat (or, say, a minivan). The F-150 in this configuration is basically as long as the driveway where I usually park, so I wouldn't buy a long bed (not to mention the fact that I couldn't park it at Trader Joe's).
"I like our F-150 a lot. I actually like driving it. But I can't escape that if I were going to get a bigger vehicle, an SUV makes way more sense for my life (with the Telluride at the top of the list). I simply don't do enough things that use the open bed in a meaningful way, and an SUV is, in many ways, much more flexible." — Will Kaufman
"At 5-foot-9, I've never had to use the F-150's side rails to get into the truck. Luckily, though, they never get in my way either. I don't bang my shins on them, nor do I find myself needing to step out of my way to get over them on the way out of the truck. This seems like the perfect middle ground for two drivers of different heights — one who needs the side steps to make it into the cabin (or kids into the back seat) and one who bypasses the steps on a daily basis." — Travis Langness