It seems that a new Ford F-150 that was meant to be veiled from public view wasn’t so hidden after all.
Truck enthusiast websites are buzzing about recent photos grabbed by automotive spy photographers SpiedBilde showing a camo-clad, prototype F-150 traveling around Dearborn, Michigan.
Only the truck’s bed is donned in that familiar what-do-you-think-you’re-looking-at black and white vinyl wrap.
What’s got everyone talking, however, is the Venturi exhaust tip in the picture poking out below the rear bumper. That distinct tip and the sound of the engine reported by the guy who shot the photo suggest that Ford is testing a V6 turbo diesel engine.
As autoblog points out, Ram’s 3-liter EcoDiesel may have some serious competition coming.
A lightweight aluminum F-150 paired with a diesel sipping V6 could command a lot more attention with consumers and elsewhere. And this isn’t the first bit of smoke we’ve seen that could point to such a development. Back in early 2014, it was rumored Ford was working on a 3-liter V6 diesel engine for the F-150 codenamed “Lion.”
Autoblog speculates that the engine in this prototype is that very Lion V6, an engine that Jaguar Land Rover, once owned by Ford, is bringing over for new models of its SUVs.
And in December of last year, Ford vice president of global product development Raj Nair said the company is “working very hard” on a hybrid drivetrain and added that he “wouldn’t completely rule out a diesel F-150.”
After all, the 2015 Ranger, though not available in North America, is still going strong elsewhere in the world and it packs a 3.2-liter 5-cyldiner diesel.
The EPA recently lauded automakers, particularly the pickup segment, for making better than expected gains in emissions and mpg.
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel currently dominates the fuel economy race at 29 mpg highway. Ford’s in second place with the F-150 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 with 25 mpg highway.
When paired up with low-emissions renewable, or synthetic diesel, no current gas-burning OEM can come close to the EcoDiesel.
The question is though how much closer can the next guy get to that Ford prototype?