After a loooooong wait, the blue oval unveiled details and images on the new 2021 Ford F-150 pickup. They didn’t give us everything we wanted such as power numbers or EPA ratings or pricing. But here’s everything they did share.
Ford F-150: Think Evolution not Revolution
At first glance, there’s not much visually to distinguish the 2021 F-150 from this year’s model. The truck grew wider by 0.3 inches in the front and 0.7 inches in the rear. Interior volume is nearly identical to the 2020 model. But dig into the technology and details, and the differences start to stand out, making the new pickup arguably their most versatile ever.
Capability (Payload & Towing)
Ford wouldn’t release specific payload and tow ratings, but the company claims it will be “class-leading,” which means it will beat the current towing champ, the Chevy Silverado 1500 6.2L V8‘s 13,400-pound tow rating. The new hybrid F-150 will tow in excess of 12,000 pounds. As for max payload, we figure it will beat the current model’s 3,270-pound payload, available in the 5.0L V8 version.
Value / Price
That information wasn’t shared today.
Ford’s new SYNC 4 system will be available and able to accommodate over-the-air automatic updates. Some F-150 models will come equipped with Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0, the company’s self-driving hardware, BUT the software to run it won’t be enabled yet. No word on when Ford will activate the software, but they did point out that when they do, the feature will be limited to pre-mapped highways only.
The 2021 F-150 carries over the 360-degree camera system (on certain models) and backup assist. It also offers their trailer backup assist steering system. The system uses a small knob on the dash near the steering wheel that the driver can use to steer the truck and trailer while backing up. However, the latest version of Pro Trailer Reverse Guidance feature from the new Ford SuperDuty lineup of trucks will NOT appear on the F-150. There’s also a Trailer Theft Alert system available, however, we’re not yet sure how that works.
Styling / Appearance
As we expected and saw from the test mules driving all over Colorado earlier this summer, Ford didn’t mess with the truck’s exterior design beyond a new hood, active grille shutters, and automatic lowering front chin spoiler. All of them help make this Ford the most aerodynamic F-150 ever.
Safety / Headlights
To help mitigate crashes and dings, there is the aforementioned Co-Pilot360 2.0 system as well as Park Assist 2.0, which was introduced on the 2020 Ford Explorer last year. The current F-150 already has very good crash ratings, but the night vision remains an area for improvement, which Ford sorta addresses with available LED headlights as an option.
Ford did not release any EPA numbers today, but based on the hybrid model and the aerodynamic focus on the front of the truck, they should better the current 2.7L EcoBoost’s EPA of 20/22/26.
No official specs on the engines were shared, beyond letting us know what was rolling out: The 2.7L and 3.5L EcoBoost engines remain. Same for the 5.0L V8 (which now comes with cylinder deactivation). Ford calls the new gas/electric hybrid powertrain “PowerBoost,” which would indicate that the hybrid is not necessarily built just for fuel economy, but power bursts as well. And the base model 3.3L V6 is still available, although it gets an upgraded transmission from a 6-speed to a 10-speed automatic.
Inside, the F-150 got completely redesigned. As a result, previous Ford owners will feel like their driving a completely new truck despite the exterior design and size staying relatively the same. It’s a neat trick, that should win over existing AND new Ford truck owners.
The interior also has some tricks to show off:
The front seats recline flat to allow occupants to rest or take a nap.
A giant 12-inch center touchscreen dominates the dash on XLT and up trims. The basic and XL models make do with an 8-inch screen. Also, the truck’s full owner’s manual is now searchable via the touchscreen and will feature how-to videos for various functions on the truck. No word on whether you can watch TFLtruck videos on YouTube though, but we’re not holding our breath.
The optional 12-inch digital instrument cluster can switch into an off-road display or navigation graphic.
A nifty center console shifter folds flat to create more space to work from the driver’s seat while at a job site.
Without a doubt, the PowerBoost hybrid drivetrain is the biggest news on the 2021 Ford F-150. It’s a mild hybrid system with a 1.5 kWh battery powering a 47 hp motor that works in conjunction with the 3.5L twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost. Ford situated the motor between the engine and the 10-speed transmission, which makes sense. It’s a similar setup to the 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid and allows the truck to run as a hybrid in both 2WD or 4×4 modes. Ford claims a tow rating of more than 12,000 pounds for this drivetrain and roughly 700 miles of range. By our calculations that pencils out to 23 MPG, which is, um, nothing to get excited about, or pay the expected premium for over the basic 3.5L EcoBoost. This leads us back to the hybrid’s name “PowerBoost,” and the belief that the hybrid is all about power rather than fuel economy.
As we said up top, Ford has made this the most versatile F-150 ever, and helping that are 2.0 kW, 2.4kW, or 7.2 kW inverters that can turn the truck into a mobile generator at job sites. The 2.0 kW is standard on non-hybrid models. The 2.4 kW inverter comes standard on the hybrid (another element of “power” in the “PowerBoost” name?), while the 7.2 kW is an option.
Helping the work-truck game, Ford paid attention to the tailgate, giving it a powered auto up/auto down feature that Chevy Silverado trucks also feature, and they created a work surface element to it so, it serves less as a tailgate and more like a workbench. It comes with a ruler, mobile device holder, pencil/pen holder, and places to clamp down materials.
Various lights throughout the truck can now be controlled through the FordPass mobile app, which could appeal to those working on the tailgate and don’t want to schlep to the cab to turn on lights.
In the sound wars, Ford makes an 18-speaker B&O sound system available, which is still one speaker short of the premium Harman Kardon arrangement in premium RAM 1500.
For Roman and Tommy’s hot take on the 2021 Ford F-150, check out the video below and be sure to leave your comments for us. Tell us what you’re pleased to see, what you’re not, and what has you wondering, “What were they thinking?”