Subtle Diesel |The 2019 3.0L Powerstroke F-150 | Ford Delivers Quiet Power

Subtle Diesel |The 2019 3.0L Powerstroke F-150 | Ford Delivers Quiet Power


There’s a lot of one-liner descriptions you could give our 2019 F-150 Platinum F-150 test truck equipped with the 3.0L V6 Powerstroke Turbo-Diesel; better late than never, finally, and about damn time all come to mind. Ford truck lovers have been begging for a diesel powered F-150 in the US market for as long as I can remember. Various oil-burning options have been available over the years south-of-the-boarder, but domestic buyers have been left out in the cold until now. Enter the not as new as you think 3.0 Powerstroke, making [email protected] and [email protected] (actual rear wheel numbers in the dyno video below).


This thing strikes a classy pose from every angle. Outside the Raptor, the Platinum package styling may be my favorite on an F-150.

The F-150’s new V6 diesel has actually been offered on US shores for a few years in various Land Rover and Jaguar models, and even longer in Europe. Though several changes were made for ½ ton truck market, the little PSD has been known as the Lion V6 since it was introduced in 2004. I don’t really have any experience with the engine in those platforms, but I did get a week with it in the F-150. And I’m here to tell you that taken in its totality, that it’s an impressive little mill.


I love the way the Blue Jeans metallic paint pops in the sunlight.

First thing first, allow me to sing the praises of the truck out PSD came wrapped in. Our ride was a Platinum in Blue Jeans. I must say, that this truck is one of the best looking F-150s I’ve seen in a long time. Aside from the quirk of mixing satin and polished finished materials, the Platinum trim package is easily one of the cleanest and classiest looking trucks on the road. Ford’s truck styling team really knocked this one out of the park. The combination of the dark blue paint and the chunky 20-Inch aluminum wheels is tough to beat. Fit and finish were also excellent, as I could not find any flaws in the construction. Exterior appearance-wise, I’d give this truck a 9 out of 10.


Pulling this little speed boat was a nice towing test for Powerstroke F-150. If I was going to tow this load over a much greater distance I would have installed an adjustable hitch.

The interior is also as handsomely put together as the outside. While I’m not a huge fan of the Dark Marsala color leather used throughout, I do appreciate how it sets the Platinum off as something special. Aside from a couple of checked option boxes missed, this truck was just about as loaded as they come. If you caught our review of the 2019 F-150 Raptor several weeks back you’re probably familiar with all the gadgets and features found throughout. The biggest addition to the interior of the Platinum that wasn’t found on our Raptor tester was the massaging seats for the driver and front passenger. This was my first time experiencing these seats in a Ford, and I’m sold. They are way more aggressive (in a good way) than I had anticipated, and really help alleviate driver fatigue. I’d order those on a stripped out XL work truck if I could.


At first I wasn't crazy about the Dark Marsala leather interior, but over a few days it really started to grow on me. I like how it sets the Platinum apart from other trim levels.

So I know you’re wondering how the 3.0 Powerstroke integrates with the F-150 platform and performs. It’s good. The VGT turbo lights off quickly and peak torque comes in early in the rev range. The relatively modest horsepower rating prevents the truck from feeling like a rocket ship on the top-end, but around town and under load the 3.0 feels really nice. It was always eager to spool up and surge ahead, and did all that while returning impressive mileage for a fully loaded crew-cab half-ton 4x4 truck. The 10R80 transmission keeps the little diesel right in the peak of its powerband when some grunt is needed. Plus we saw a few ticks over 24MPG over several hundred miles of mixed driving. Not too bad in my book. Of course you’ll occasionally have to refill the DEF tank as well, but that’s just the one of the added costs of a modern diesel. We’ve covered that topic plenty of times in the past though.


This little engine looks right at home in the F-150. Even with the engine cover in place, the engine bay is far less cluttered than a diesel Super Duty.

The smallest Powerstroke yet has more in common with its 6.7L big brother than you might think. It all starts in the foundation, which happens to be a compacted graphite iron cylinder block. Inside it you’ll find a forged crankshaft. It’s topped off with a set of aluminum cylinder heads packing 4–valves per cylinder. The similarities start to end there. The 3.0 heads are packing DOHCs that are actuated with a timing belt. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of timing belts on any engine, but I certainly don’t like seeing one on a diesel in a truck. I’m sure it’s a well engineered system, but I’d rather have the overall toughness of a gear-drive setup. To me, even a timing chain would be preferable to a belt. I have a feeling that the choice to use a timing belt on this engine goes back to NVH mitigation designed into the Lion V6, since it was destined to be primarily used in luxury vehicles. It definitely leads to an overall very quite engine. So much so that we had to tell several people that this particular F-150 was packing a diesel. It made so little diesel noise that the oil burner mill went unnoticed by those not expecting it.


Speaking of NVH mitigation, check out that molded high-density foam on top of the valve covers.

Another somewhat odd choice by Ford was the inclusion of Auto Start/Stop Function. Unlike larger diesels, the 3.0 only has a single battery and the starter motor is powered by 12 instead of 24 Volts. The V6 has 16:1 Compression, and I question the added stress the starter will be under once the battery starts to get a little age on it. It’s going to take a decent amount of power to spin the crank through all that compression, and if the voltage gets a little low the amperage will increase and a lot of additional heat will be produced. That could ultimately shorten the life of the starter motor. Thankfully, the Start/Stop Function is easily defeated with the simple push of a button. Also, one side benefit of Ford adding that function is that they are now including AGM batteries on the cars that are equipped with it. AGM batteries are a nice upgrade over standard flooded cells , and I’ve long recommended them as an upgrade when it comes time to replace a weak/dead battery.


I like that Ford has designed this engine so that the injectors can be removed without pulling the valve covers.
Finally, the biggest disappointment of all is the lack of availability of the 3.0 Powerstroke. I really like this little engine and how it performs. It’s properly torquey and delivers respectable mileage. It’s a good fit for the F-150, but for 2019 Ford has limited its availability to the higher trim level trucks. I’m not sure whether they simply view it as a premium option like the 3.5L HO EcoBoost or they are supply chain limited, but if you want one you’re not going to get it in an XLT. I’m hoping that the diesel engine option starts to trickle down the trim ladder, because I can see this Powerstroke being popular with tradesmen. I can see contractors and plumbers really liking it in a crew-cab long-bed XL. Personally, I’d like one in a reg-cab short-bed XLT. I bet in a 2WD truck configured like that you’d be able to knock down nearly 30MPG, and still have the capability to do some work.

Check out Part 1 of our video review:

So that’s the 2019 F-150 Platinum with the 3.0L Powerstroke diesel. It’s a great truck that makes good power (check out the dyno numbers coming below), is ultra comfortable, and delivers decent mileage doing it. True, it’s a bit expensive. However, Ford is giving you a lot of truck for your money. After spending a week and ~1,500 miles behind the wheel I have to say that it does get my recommendation. I’d be happy to have one in the driveway. If you pick up a new Powerstroke F-150 you better be ready for some questions. We found that most of the general public doesn’t realize that you can get a diesel F-150, and there’s just enough compression ignition noise coming from under the hood to pique the interest of true oil burner fans everywhere. If you fall into that crowd take a couple hours and head to a Ford dealership with a 3.0 Powerstroke F-150 in stock and take it for a test drive. I think you’ll like it too.


One of my absolute favorite options on new Ford truck is the spray-in bedliner. This stuff is tough, thick, and perfectly applied right at the factory.


Say what you want about modern diesel emissions systems, they do clean up the exhaust. Just look at this tailpipe, it's cleaner than one on a gas truck.

So I know you're wondering, just how much of that diesel power actually makes it to the ground? The answer is damn near all of it. Ford's powertrains have gotten so good at reducing parasitic loss that we often wonder if they are simply just under-rating their engines. While that may have been the case when the Terminators were rolling off the line, the Feds keep a pretty close eye on the certified power ratings now. Power number manipulating shenanigans seem to be a bit more rare these day.

F150 Dyno Snip.png

She doesn't look too bad strapped down to VMP's Mobile Dyno.

The combination of the 3.0L Powerstroke and the 10R80 10-Speed Transmission in a solid one. The trans makes sure the engine stays in the meaty part of its reasonably size (it's a diesel after all) powerband. More importantly though, the trans can upshift a little early and apply a bit more load on the engine to really get that little VGT turbo spooling. We found that lugging the engine a bit in the lower RPM ranger lead to better peak power numbers at the end of the run. We happened to run into [email protected] Performance at #PITS2019, and he was kind enough to let us spin his rollers with our little oil burner. Check out the vid:

In case you missed it, here is the dyno sheet (~229RWHP and 413RWTQ):

SVTP F-150 Powerstroke Dyno.png
That's odd that the diesel isn't available on lower trims.

Would make sense to have a diesel on the XL/XLT trims for guys who actually use a truck as a truck.
Needless to say, there's a lot going on under the hood of any modern diesel. In this video we take a detailed look at the engine and chassis of the 2019 Powerstroke F-150:

So one of the big questions is how does it tow? The 3.0L Powerstroke in the F-150 definitely puts more power to the ground than you might expect, and the truck is solidly built. We decided to have a real world discussion of it's capabilities:

They didn't even have a diesel available at my dealer. They hadn't sold one either. They seem to be few and far between around here.

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