It’s finally here: The all-new 2021 Ford F-150. The changes from the most recent verson of the truck aren’t as immediately noticeable as you might expect, but they’re significant changes nonetheless, targeting improved efficiency, better functionality when used as a work truck, and easier driving.
The military-grade aluminum body, high-strength steel frame, generous dimensions, and overall weight are unchanged, but the 2021 Ford F-150 is all-new. Move past the evolutionary exterior and the biggest news is a new hybrid powertrain combining the 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V-6 with a 35-kilowatt electric motor and a 1.5-kilowatt-hour liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery.
Ford says the F-150 hybrid will have a 700-mile-plus range, best-in-class torque and horsepower, and 12,000-plus-pound towing capacity. The hybrid will be available early in this fall’s launch of the 2021 Ford F-150, along with the familiar 3.3-liter V-6, 2.7- and 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbocharged V-6s, 5.0-liter V-8, and 3.0-liter Powerstroke diesel V-6 options. The V-8 gets a cylinder deactivation system.
2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid & Electric Models
Ford will offer the hybrid powertrain on crew cab models only, when equipped with trim levels ranging from XL to Limited. With its motor tucked into the 10-speed automatic transmission, the hybrid system will be available with either rear- or four-wheel drive, and the battery is integrated into the frame with no intrusion into passenger or cargo space. The battery is flat, measuring 30 inches long and 15 inches wide, but just five inches deep, and its position doesn’t affect ground clearance or breakover angle, either.
2021 Ford F-150: Power Generator on Board
For the second generation of Ford’s aluminum revolution—and the 14th generation of the F-150—evolutionary changes center on surprise-and-delight features targeting the work-truck crowd. For those who need to run real power tools out of the bed of their truck, the new F-150 will be available with built-in electric power generators ranging in output from 2.0 kW to 7.2 kW, with a 2.4-kW unit standard on the hybrid.
The portable generators are fully integrated into the back of the F-150 to free up the tailgate, and it can run while the Ford truck is being driven. C-clamp pockets on the sides of the tailgate may be used to hold down items such as two-by-fours to be cut by a saw powered by the Pro Power unit. The C-clamp pockets also double as bottle openers. Built-in bed lighting can fully illuminate the tailgate and work surfaces.
A cargo box trailer camera offering a remote view will be available after launch.
2021 Ford F-150: Active Drive Assist Hands-Free Driving
Next summer, Ford will add Active Drive Assist to the new F-150, offering roughly Level 2 hands-free automated driving. Ford says the system monitors the driver’s head position and eye gaze to determine when the truck can be operated hands-free on certain roads, including some two-lane highways.
If the driver’s gaze or head are not properly positioned, Active Drive Assist gives a warning, then begins to slow the truck down if the warning is not heeded. The ADA system will not change lanes automatically, though Ford has the ability to add new features down the road, thanks to the truck’s new over the air (OTA) software updates (see below).
The new Ford F-150 also comes with Active Park Assist 2.0, which can help drivers enter and exit parallel parking spaces.
2021 Ford F-150: OTA Software Updates
The new F-150 will come with Ford’s Sync 4, which claims double the computing power of the system it replaces, and bumper-to-bumper software updates will be available over the air. Most won’t require downtime, Ford says.
Other updates include navigation available even off-grid, Yelp! Ratings, wireless connection of Apple Car Play and Android Auto, and real-time traffic, weather, and fuel prices. Ford says the voice recognition software now better understands natural speech, to help encourage hands-free use.
Instrument gauges are digital and configurable, with different backgrounds for different drive modes. The center touchscreen now measures eight inches for XL and XLT models, replacing a 4.2-inch screen, while XLT Luxury and higher-spec trims upgrade to 12-inch screens from their previous eight-inchers. Those who wear work gloves frequently will be glad to know physical button controls are still present.
2021 Ford F-150: Hide-Away Shifter
Ford says one-third of F-150 owners use laptops inside their trucks, so the center console has been redesigned to present a flat surface when closed—perfect for a laptop. But F-150 owners don’t like rotary dials or electronic shifters of any sort, according to Ford truck design chief Ehab Kaoud, so Ford designed a T-shifter that folds forward and downward when in Park to fit flush under a panel in the console. A bench seat remains available on F-150s; models so equipped will come with a traditional column-shifter.
For F-150 owners who need a short nap in the middle of a long work day, the front seats can recline nearly flat when specified appropriately on Platinum, King Ranch, and Limited models. Like the outgoing model, the rear seat in crew cab models folds up to create a flat load floor, but for 2021, Ford has added a lockable storage compartment.
2021 Ford F-150: Evolutionary Exterior
Extended-length fixed or retractable running boards are available on the F-150, and the latter can be lowered (if you don’t have your keys with you) by kicking a foot under a switch near the rear wheel.
The Ford F-150’s nose features a slightly kinder, gentler, less RoboCop-like visage, with the familiar C-shaped daytime running lights surrounding vertically stacked rectangular beams. The headlamp choices, depending on trim level, are halogen reflector lamps, LED reflector lamps, or LED projectors with dynamic bending that turn around curves. The c-clamp look extends to the redesigned taillamps.
The aluminum skins of the doors are more curved in at the bottom, and combined with wheels pulled out by three-quarters of an inch for slightly wider front and rear tracks, the 2021 F-150 has what Kaoud calls a “stronger stance.” The power-bulge hood is also a bit more powerful-looking.
There are 11 distinctive grille designs for the various trim levels and configurations, and 13 wheel designs ranging from a 17-inch modernized “poverty” cap for fleet trucks to 22-inch wheels for those who just can’t get enough unsprung weight.
Ford claims a three percent improvement in aerodynamics, with smoother lines and active front grille shutters. There’s an active front air dam that deploys at 40 mph, and retracts by three-quarters of an inch over rough terrain, and can retract completely if the truck goes off-road.
2021 Ford F-150: But Wait, There’s More
There’s also an optional trailer reverse guidance system with eight cameras, as part of the trailer towing package, and a new towing tech package featuring 360-degree cameras, a trailer-brake controller, smart trailer navigation, and blind-spot warning with trailer coverage.
Standard Copilot 360 v2.0 includes pre-collision assistance with automatic emergency braking, rear-view camera with dynamic hitch support, new reverse-brake assist, and post-impact brake assist.
Ford design has scooped out the door-handle opening to make it easier to open the doors while wearing thick work gloves, and there are at least two Easter eggs hidden in the F-150. The first is found only in the F-150 SLT Sport: A map of Detroit is etched into the interior door panels. In all trim levels, there are the American flag etchings in metal that flank each side of the dashboard, to remind F-150 fans that all the pickups are built in the U.S., in Dearborn, Michigan (exclusive assembly of the hybrid model), and Kansas City, Missouri, and that Ford builds more units of the F-series in America than the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 pickup combined.
“You’ll see it every time you open the door,” Kaoud said of the flags. Finally, a replacement for the peeing Calvin sticker.
2021 Ford F-150 Quick Facts:
- Onboard Generator? Yes
- Onboard Generator Power Output: Up to 7.2 kilowatts
- Hybrid Powertrain: Combines 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbo V-6 with 35 kW electric motor
- Electric F-150: Coming for the 2022 model year
- Transmission: 10-speed automatic
- Number of Grille Designs: 11
- Number of Wheel Designs: 13
- Easter Eggs: 2
- Built In: Dearborn, MI and Kansas City, MO
|2021 Ford F-150 Specifications|
|ON SALE||Late 2020|
|BASE PRICE RANGE||$29,500 – $69,000 (est.)|
|ENGINES/MOTORS||3.3L 24-valve DOHC V-6/2.7L 24-valve twin-turbo V-6/5.0L 32-valve DOHC V-8/3.0L 24-valve DOHC turbodiesel V-6/3.5L 24-valve DOHC twin-turbo V-6, 35-kW electric motor (Ford has not released hp/torque figures)|
|TRANSMISSION||10-speed automatic, 10-speed modular hybrid automatic|
|LAYOUT||2- or 4-door, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5- or 6-passenger, front-engine, RWD or 4WD pickup truck|
|L x W x H||Regular Cab:
209.1 x 79.9 x 75.6/77 in. (6.5-ft bed, RWD/4WD);
227.7 x 79.9 x 75.2/77.0 in (8.0-ft bed, RWD/4WD);
231.7 x 79.9 x 75.2/77.2 in. (6.5-ft bed, RWD/4WD);
250.3 x 79.9 x 75.6/77.1 in (8.0-ft bed, RWD/4WD);
231.7 x 79.9 x 75.6/77.2 in. (5.5-ft bed, RWD/4WD)
243.5 x 79.9 x 75.8/77.6 in. (6.5-ft bed, RWD/4WD)
|WHEELBASE||122.8 in. (Regular Cab, 6.5-ft bed);
141.5 in. (Regular Cab, 8.0-ft bed);
145.4 in. (SuperCab, 6.5-ft bed and SuperCrew, 5.5-ft bed);
164.1 in. (SuperCab, 8.0-ft bed);
157.2 in. (SuperCrew, 8.0-ft bed)
|WEIGHT||4,075-5,700 lbs (est.)|
|0-60 MPH||6.3 sec (est.)|
|TOP SPEED||105 mph (est.)|
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