What is the Best Ford Diesel Engine?


Car buyers who are shopping for a pickup truck for hauling or towing heavy loads might need to upgrade the engine for optimal power. Diesel engines offer the best towing capabilities, and auto brands might offer several diesel engine options for buyers who need to equip their trucks with a more powerful engine.

The Ford F-Series has remained the most popular pickup truck and the most popular vehicle in America for more than four decades. The F-Series includes the F-150, F-250, F-350 and F-450 pickup trucks. For each model, Ford offers several diesel engine upgrade options. What is the best Ford diesel engine?

The larger the truck, the more power it could offer for pulling heavy loads. The larger F-Series trucks are included in Ford’s updated Super Duty lineup, which will be available in Spring 2023. The diesel engine options include:

  • 6.7-Liter Power Stroke Diesel V8
  • High-Output 6.7-Liter Power Stroke (V8)

How powerful are these engines? A news release from Ford reports that the Super Duty trucks equipped with the high-output 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 engine will offer a maximum towing capacity of 40,000 pounds, a payload of 8,000 pounds and 1,200 pounds of torque.

The 2022 F-Series Lineup and Diesel Options

The 2023 Super Duty lineup will offer more towing capacity and torque. However, buyers who need a new truck now might not want to wait for the new lineup to debut in the spring. Instead, they could focus their search on the 2022 F-Series lineup.

The 2022 Ford F-450—one of the largest trucks offered in the F-Series— can be equipped with a 6.7-liter Power Stroke® V8 Turbo Diesel, which is the most powerful engine offered. The F-450 has a towing capacity of around 37,000 pounds (gooseneck). The engine also offers 1,050 lb.-ft. of torque. The 2022 Super Duty offers a conventional towing rating of 24,200 pounds.

Not all buyers who are searching for a new truck, though, need the towing power offered by larger trucks like the F-450. Ford’s Super Duty lineup is ideal for those who need more powerful engines for work-related hauling and towing like ranchers, farmers, construction workers, etc.

For the average buyer who might just need a pickup truck that is capable of towing a smaller trailer or pulling a camper, the F-150 could be a more affordable model. The Ford F-150 also offers multiple engine options to maximize towing and hauling capabilities.

The engine options for the 2023 F-150 include:

  • 3.3-liter Ti-VCT V6
  • 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6
  • 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8
  • 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6

Ford does not offer diesel engine options for the 2023 F-150—even for the highest-priced trim levels like the Raptor. In addition, the 2022 F-150 offers similar engine options; buyers can upgrade the F-150 with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. which offers a towing capacity of 14,000 pounds (when fully equipped).

Again, buyers who only need to tow small loads, trailers and campers could find that the F-150 towing capabilities are just fine for their needs. Those who need a bit more power, though, could expand their truck search to include the more powerful Super Duty models.

Best Ford Diesel Engine

Ford’s Electric Pickup

Diesel engines are internal-combustion engines that are designed differently than a traditional gasoline-powered engine. The power of diesel engines is more substantial because of the timing of the combustion; air is released into the chamber and then compressed (this creates a hot ball of air) then the fuel is injected to set off the internal combustion.

The power of the combustion allows for the diesel engine to pull more weight. Internal-combustion engines (ICE) are beginning to fall out of favor, and buyers are gravitating towards eco-friendly electric motors. Auto manufacturers also might be focusing on electric power. 

Buyers who want to switch to electric might wonder if these motors offer the same towing power as an internal-combustion engine. Electric motors offer better and faster acceleration, but this spec might not be the most important consideration for truck buyers.

Ford has released an electric model of its popular F-150 called the Lightning. It proved to be so popular and in such high demand that Ford stopped accepting orders. Compared to the standard (internal-combustion) F-150, though, the Lightning offered a lower towing capacity. While the most powerful engine for the F-150 Raptor could tow more than 13,000 pounds, the 2022 electric Lightning had a towing capacity of only 10,000 pounds.

The Lightning will be back for the 2023 model year. The electric pickup will have a starting MSRP of $51,974 and the SuperCrew Lightning will still offer a towing capacity of up to 10,000 pounds when equipped with an extended range battery, the max tow package and 20-inch a/t tires.   

While electric motors offer great acceleration, a high-powered diesel engine offers the best towing capacity. Those who need max towing capabilities would likely focus on diesel engine options and the larger pickup models in the Super Duty lineup.

Ford’s Hybrid Engines

Ford offers one hybrid pickup truck called the Maverick, but the brand also offers hybrid engines for its F-150. Again, the hybrid engines will not offer the same power of a diesel engine, but the hybrid engine for the F-150 surpasses the electric Lightning’s towing capabilities.

The Ford Maverick is a lighter pickup truck when compared to the F-150. The Maverick is more affordable, with a starting MSRP of $22,195. The Maverick is offered in three trims:

  • XL
  • XLT
  • Lariat

The Lariat is the most expensive trim and starts at $29,955, and, when equipped with the 2.5-liter hybrid engine, the Lariat has a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds. The towing capacity is the same for the base XL. However, buyers could upgrade any trim to include a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, and, when combined with the 4K Tow Package, the towing capacity doubles to 4,000 pounds.

What is the Best Ford Diesel Engine?

Car shoppers who want a Ford F-Series truck with the most powerful diesel engine can upgrade to a High-Output 6.7-Liter Power Stroke (V8) engine when the new Super Duty series is released this spring. This engine is the best Ford diesel engine.

However, those who need a new truck and can’t wait for the 2023 models to arrive could upgrade a SuperDuty truck with a 6.7-liter Power Stroke® V8 Turbo Diesel. This engine offers a maximum towing capacity of about 37,000 pounds (gooseneck0.

These high-powered diesel engines might not be necessary if buyers just want a truck that offers enough power to tow a small trailer or camper. For some buyers, an F-150 with an upgraded engine could be powerful enough for their hauling or towing needs. While the F-150 doesn’t offer the option of a diesel engine upgrade, the most powerful engine available provides a 14,000 pound towing capacity.

Best Ford Diesel Engine

Electric Motors vs. Diesel Engines

While the future of the automotive industry might be powered by electric, the electric pickup trucks on the market currently do not offer the same towing power as a diesel engine. Ford’s large Super Duty trucks could tow up to 37,000 pounds (gooseneck), and the F-150 can tow up to 14,000 pounds. In contrast, the electric F-150 Lighting only offers a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds.

The lighter hybrid Maverick offers even less towing power. The base trim Maverick only offers a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds.

While the towing power of some electric trucks might be a bit more impressive than the Lightning, electric pickup models can tow only a fraction of the weight of the larger ¾ ton and one-ton pickup models (like the Ford Super Duty lineup). As the design and power of electric improves, though, the towing capacity might also become more substantial.

Buyers who want to embrace a greener lifestyle might choose an electric pickup truck for its eco benefits. Those who need a pickup truck to haul heavier loads for a job or pull livestock trailers might need the power of diesel and of a larger pickup.

Every auto brand also could offer a different diesel engine upgrade for their pickup truck. When considering a larger pickup model, buyers might need to research the available engine upgrades and the correlating towing power of these engines.

Even if buyers upgrade the engine to maximize the power of their truck, they also might need to upgrade the truck with a towing package that properly equips the vehicle. These packages combined with the upgrade of the engine will increase the price of the pickup truck.

Since the F-Series is so popular, buyers also might decide to order their pickup truck in advance to ensure they can procure a new model. Those on a tighter budget also could shop used diesel pickups to find a model that is affordable and that offers the towing power they need.

Some buyers might not know how much towing power they need. When in doubt, talk to a sales team member at the dealership. Buyers should know the weight of the trailer or camper they need to tow, but the sales team could help recommend the best truck for the job.

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