Yesterday, kicking off the Detroit auto show a day early, Ford took the wraps off the updated 2018 F-150 half-ton pickup truck that will offer a 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine option.

The new engine, called the Lion, will be a variant of the 3.0-liter diesels Ford builds for Land Rover and Jaguar vehicles that are produced in England.

Ford did not release any details about the diesel other than it would have a 10-speed automatic transmission that was jointly developed with General Motors, and the truck will feature standard stop-start technology, which turns off the engine when the pickup comes to a stop to save fuel.

The pickup truck fuel economy leader is the Ram 1500 diesel engine with an EPA rating of 21 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.

Ford’s current F-150 best fuel economy comes from the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine that gets 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.

The Detroit maker is also revamping its gasoline engines to increase fuel economy. That includes a turbocharged 2.7-liter Ecoboost engine, a twin turbo V6, a 5.0-liter V8 and new base model 3.3- liter V6.

Innovative port and direct fuel-injection systems increase fuel efficiency, and all but the base 3.3-liter V6 will come standard with the 10-speed automatic.

SEE ALSO: New Ford EcoBlue Diesel Engine Promises Increased Efficiency

“We have a more expanded and capable powertrain,” said Peter Dowding, chief engineer for powertrain gasoline systems.

“There are some pretty significant changes. … We’re chasing after every piece of fuel economy we can get,” he said.

Under-hood changes aren’t the only news for the 2018 F-150.

Ford is discarding the signature three-bar grille that has identified the F-150 for more than a decade.

The replacement is a two bar grille design borrowed from the new 2016 F-250 Super Duty dubbed “double I-beam” by Ford, and customers can choose one of seven different grilles, each providing a distinct look.

On the backside, a new sculpted tailgate with an embossed “F-150” is flanked by new taillights.

SEE ALSO: 2014 Ford Transit To Be Offered With A Diesel Engine

The 2018 F-150 will be the first light-duty truck to get pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection as well as adaptive cruise control which can come to a complete stop – then accelerate again.

The new model will also have an available Wi-Fi hot spot that can accommodate up to 10 devices, and will offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility.

Expect the 2018 Ford F-150 to arrive in dealer showrooms in the fall of 2017, but those who want the towing and hauling capabilities of the diesel engine will have to wait until summer 2018.

Pricing will be released later this year and should vary little from the current models that start at $28,025 for the base XL and top out at over $60,000 for a fully-optioned Platinum model.

Automotive News