The 2021 Ford F-150 was unveiled Thursday and it’s the brand’s first hybrid full-size pickup. The heavily revised truck also gets improved interior functionality and quality, new driver-assistance features including a hands-free-driving mode, more convenience features, and even some Easter eggs.
The body of the new F-150 is made from military-grade, aluminum alloy and includes new headlights, a power dome hood, and wrap-around bumpers. There are also higher front fenders and larger diameter wheels and tires that better fill out the truck’s arches. F-150 customers will have no less than 11 different front grille options to choose from.
Ford says the new F-150 is the most aerodynamic iteration ever thanks to active grille shutters, a new automatically deploying active air dam, and new cab and tailgate geometry that all work together to reduce drag and improve fuel consumption.
A multitude of significant changes has been made to the interior of the new pickup truck. For example, a 4-inch digital gauge cluster comes standard alongside two analog gauges while XL and XLT standard and mid-series models also use a new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display. More expensive XLT high series and other variants support a 12-inch infotainment display. The digital instrument cluster is also available in 8-inch and 12.3-inch configurations.
The F-150 is also North America’s first full-size pickup with standard over-the-air updates that will last throughout the life of the vehicle. Ford’s SYNC 4 infotainment software comes standard and the truck supports Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and SYNC AppLink with apps like Waze and Ford+ Alexa.
Ford’s recently announced Active Driving Assistant. The system, initially announced for the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover, uses various sensors and a driver-facing camera to facilitate hands-free driving.
What’s New For 2021
The headlining addition for 2021 is the F-150’s first gas-electric powertrain, which Ford expects 10 percent of its new trucks to carry. This hybrid powertrain, branded PowerBoost, pairs a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 with a 35-kilowatt electric motor and a 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. That small battery means limited all-electric range, although the new PowerBoost hybrid should be the most powerful F-150 available by a handy margin. At the very least, it’ll be a respectable tow tool, with Ford promising up to 12,000 pounds of max towing.
Joining PowerBoost is Ford’s new Pro Power Onboard generator, which sounds like a downright nifty piece of technology. Essentially, owners can use their truck to power a variety of electrical appliances via plugs in the bed. Pro Power Onboard is available with up to 2.0 kW of electrical capacity on gas-only F-150s, while the F-150 Hybrid comes with a standard 2.4-kW capacity or an optional 7.2-kW capacity. The two standard setups come with twin 120-volt outlets, while the 7.2-kW arrangement boasts four 120-volt plugs and a single 240-volt outlet.
Even the least powerful setup could serve admirably at a tailgate, with Ford claiming the 2.0-kW Pro Power Onboard system could manage an electric heater, TV, portable speakers, a mini-fridge, and a blender at the same time. On the high side, the 7.2-kW setup could power all the tools a construction crew might need to frame a house.
Joining the available Pro Power Onboard system in the bed is a fully lit box and a tailgate with a number of tricks up its proverbial sleeve. The available Tailgate Work Surface turns an open tailgate into a platform for cutting lumber, making measurements, or even a stand for your phone. Ford added dedicated points for C-clamps on the tailgate after it noticed owners were damaging their trucks with the tools.
The new Ford F-150 promises to provide occupants with an excellent auditory experience thanks to two optional audio systems. The first is a B&O Sound System with eight Bang & Olufsen speakers while the second is an 18-speaker B&O Sound System will be available for Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum models, and be standard on Limited.Unleashed by Bang & Olufsen with HD Radio.
The new hybrid powertrain joins carryover engines that include the 2.7-liter and 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6s, a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8, a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6, and the base 3.3-liter V6.
Ford hasn’t released power outputs on any of these engines yet, although we’d suspect only tiny changes (if any) in horsepower or torque compared to the 2020 F-150. Working alongside every powertrain, from hybrid to diesel to turbo to V8, is a 10-speed automatic transmission. Rear-drive remains standard, while four-wheel drive is available.
Ford will continue to offer the F-150 with six trims (for now)
The F-150 XL will continue to serve as the base model. It comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen and a wider range of active safety equipment than the 2020 model. Ford hasn’t released an engine roster for any of its trims yet, but the Power Boost hybrid will be available on every version of the F-150. Beyond that, we expect this truck to retain the engine roster of the current F-150 XL, which includes every option but the 3.0-liter turbodiesel. Prices will likely start between $30,000 and $36,000, depending on body style.
The F-150 XLT will retain its position as the volume trim. It comes standard with the 8.0-inch display, but the larger 12.0-inch touchscreen is available as an option. It should continue to offer every available powertrain, as the current XLT does. As with the 2020 model, the 2021 XLT will offer a number of aesthetic changes to separate it from the workman-focused XL model. Prices should start between $36,000 and $41,000, depending on body style.
The F-150 Lariat is where owners start to get into more luxurious options. The Lariat model will remain the most versatile trim, with the most upholstery options and exterior trim choices. Prices will likely kick off between $43,000 and $46,000, and like today’s Lariat, the next-gen trim will only be available in SuperCab or SuperCrew body styles.
The F-150 King Ranch is what happens when you ask for a truck with all the leather. Possibly the most impressive cabin finish, every possible surface seems to feature cowhide, with more than a few references to the truck’s eponymous ranch in Texas. Expect prices to sit around $54,000 for this truck.
The F-150 Platinum elevates the Lariat with a great emphasis on luxury and comfort. It’s also the stage at which the F-Series really starts to shake off its rugged look in favor of a smarter, more polished style. As with the current Platinum, the new model will only be available with the SuperCrew body and its four full-size doors. Prices should kick off around $56,000 to $58,000.
The king of the hill is, of course, the F-150 Limited. As with the King Ranch and Platinum, it’s only available with the largest cab, the SuperCrew, and it features just about every possible piece of equipment Ford can think to offer. You won’t find one of these trucks with an MSRP less than $69,000.
- Ford F-150 XL: $30,000 – $36,000
- Ford F-150 XLT: $36,000 – $41,000
- Ford F-150 Lariat: $43,000 – $46,000
- Ford F-150 King Ranch: $53,000 – $54,000
- Ford F-150 Platinum: $56,000 – $58,000
- Ford F-150 Limited: $68,000 – $69,000
- Ford F-150 Hybrid: $35,000 – $73,000
Every trim and powertrain option should be available when the 2021 F-150 launches in the fall of 2020.