2018 Ford F-150 Refresh Offers Tougher Love

New exterior design walks a fine line

Frigidaire, Kenmore, Samsung — some refrigerator brands may all look the same, but they all have subtle styling cues that can set them apart.

For example, take the all-new 2018 Ford F-150 and compare it to a 2017 version. Both may look the same at first glance, but the two trucks are in fact quite different.

According to Ford truck designers, creating the latest F-150 pickup required a deep understanding of the F-Series design heritage, its loyal customers, and plenty of craftsmanship to tie it all together.

"We call our F-Series customers 'bold guardians of the brand," said Gordon Platto, Ford truck design chief, in a statement.

"These customers know our Built Ford Tough DNA, and they want their trucks to convey strength, capability, boldness and power - without being 'in your face' aggressive."

Up front, the latest F-150 sports a wider, billet-milled horizontal grille much like the one offered on the new Super Duty trucks. It also features a chamfered hood and fenders for better aerodynamics.

The headlights and steel front bumpers remain basically the same, but quad-beam LED lamps are available for better visibility at night.

Ford says its designers spend a lot of time with owners to understand how they use their trucks and what they want in terms of features and style.

"We always go back to our customers to test our designs. They want their truck to embody the F-Series brand identity and purpose-built appearance, so we continually rework our designs and retest them until we get it right," said Sean Tant, Ford truck design manager in a statement.

The F-150 has a billet-milled aluminum body for 2018 and offers six all-new wheel designs that range in size from 17-inches up to 22-inches.

Around back, the XL, XLT, and Lariat get a big F-150 stamped on the tailgate to further distinguish them from last year's models. King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited series F-150s get a fancy satin chrome one instead.

"F-150 needs to look solid, confident and capable," adds Tant.

"All design elements need to have individual as well as collective strength. We wanted to continue with the billet-milled style introduced in 2015 while visually making the truck look wide and planted."

And not like an appliance either — so now it should be much easier to spot the subtle differences between the old and new.

The 2018 models are available this fall.

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