2021 Ford F-150 first drive review: Merica’s most wanted gets one heck of a hybrid

I’ve received exactly zero empirical evidence to again this up, but if I experienced to guess which new-vehicle customers are the most inherently versus vehicle electrification, I might wager it is really pickup purchasers. Conversely, with the truck segment’s emphasis on torque and its seeming indifference to increased curb weights, light-weight-obligation pickups stand to benefit from attaining a motorized encouraging hand additional than most. When some others have experimented with and largely unsuccessful to spark interest in fuel-electric powered trucks, expending a handful of times driving this 2021 Ford F-one hundred fifty PowerBoost has me convinced that this design stands the most effective probability of changing the masses to the joy of electrons. In reality, it is really the very first hybrid pickup I might get with my own money.

When I say “masses,” I signify it. Ford’s F-Sequence has been America’s most effective-promoting truck for 43 straight several years, and the country’s most effective-promoting new vehicle of any form. In reality, the truck line is one particular of this nation’s chief economic drivers, reportedly earning additional money than every single major US activity mixed. Ford crafted 900,000 F-Sequence trucks past year. That signifies that even if hybrid types only make up a modest proportion of full F-150s offered likely ahead, PowerBoost could single-handedly have a bigger web influence on America’s fossil-gas intake than any other vehicle — Tesla incorporated. This new truck, then, is a massive offer. No tension.

When the Blue Oval will proceed to give its money cow in a predictable array of fuel- and diesel-run flavors, the new 2021 Ford F-one hundred fifty PowerBoost will give purchasers a great deal to chew on. I am not just talking about this design because it is really received the most horsepower and torque of any F-one hundred fifty, even though with 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet, this plugless pickup has those honors locked up tighter than an owner’s fist close to a bacon-double cheeseburger. Thanks to the F-one hundred fifty hybrid’s regular Professional Power Onboard crafted-in generator and a host of other tips, this new F-Sequence offers a great deal of explanations to take into account electrification over and above improved gas economic system.

Small exterior improvements meet up with massive ability updates

Just before I dig too deep into the fuel-electric powered guts of this distinct King Ranch SuperCrew 4×4, an overview of the new F-one hundred fifty is in get. When it may perhaps seem like a gentle refresh of the outgoing design, this 14th-gen rig is, in reality, incredibly distinct — well more than ninety{394cb916d3e8c50723a7ff83328825b5c7d74cb046532de54bc18278d633572f} distinct, Ford claims. The new truck rides on a stiffer, entirely boxed metal frame clothed in all-new bodywork (aluminum, as just before), and it sits on a 50 {394cb916d3e8c50723a7ff83328825b5c7d74cb046532de54bc18278d633572f}-inch-broader keep track of. All cabin and box configurations return, together with all major trim levels — XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Confined (a new Raptor is predicted future year), but there’s a lot new likely on under the pores and skin irrespective of trim. 

The least complicated way to place the 2021 F-one hundred fifty on the avenue will be its revised C-clamp-formed LED managing lights, which now flow into a redesigned entrance bumper. You will find a variety of new grilles up entrance, and aerodynamic improvements consist of lively shutters and a chin spoiler that instantly deploys at pace. Out again, new taillights bracket a redesigned tailgate although repeating the C-clamp design and style concept.

The F-150’s keep track of width grows modestly, but in conditions of total proportions, it is really incredibly identical to past year.

Nick Miotke/Chris Paukert/Roadshow

It can be really worth noting that this new F-one hundred fifty eschews the industry’s development toward trick multifold tailgates like those presented on arch rivals such as the Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500. Alternatively, the Ford’s additional regular one particular-piece tailgate is available with ability up/down actuation and a redesigned perform floor that incorporates features like a pill holder, bottle opener and clamp pockets, and a crafted-in deployable step. These are intelligent features, but one particular has to marvel if the automaker just isn’t leaving some thing on the table by not featuring an optional variable-hinged tailgate like the break up rear doorway on the Ram or the Chevy’s Multi-Flex unit.

2021 Ford F-one hundred fifty – massive cabin improvements

When Ford’s departing F-one hundred fifty held up well in general versus the opposition, it was plainly bested by Ram in conditions of cabin niceness and sound isolation, particularly on upper-stop trims. I’ll will need some again-to-again time in equally rigs to know for certain, but I feel this new technology might reorder items a very little. I have pretty much no grievances about my King Ranch tester’s cabin. Substance excellent and aesthetics have improved noticeably, and the interior’s attribute depend is through the roof. With its wealthy colour palette and wall-to-wall leather-based, the King Ranch is legitimately lavish, and this just isn’t even the new F-150’s top trim. (I seasoned some lesser trims, including an XLT and XLT Lariat, and I did not feel some of their facts had been as convincing for their costs, but I’ll will need additional time in them to know for certain.)

Better-stop 2021 F-one hundred fifty types like this King Ranch benefit from a much richer cabin, equally in conditions of components and tech.

Nick Miotke/Chris Paukert/Roadshow

Out there course-exceptional features consist of Max Recline lay-flat seats with heating, ventilation and therapeutic massage (terrific for sneaking a brief nap on the job web-site) and a ability-folding gearshift lever that allows the armrest to flip down into a huge flat perform floor (a traditional column selector is also presented). You won’t be able to roll out a new truck these times without a boatload of infotainment smarts, and the F-one hundred fifty obliges with a twelve-inch touchscreen managing Ford’s robust Sync four infotainment system leveraging available wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Car. Even small-stop XL types get an eight-inch touchscreen, a massive update from past year’s comically small four.2-inch unit. In addition, this King Ranch features a punchy B&O Unleashed audio method with 18 speakers — including ones in the ceiling and headrests — and SiriusXM 360L.

The new infotainment method allows more than-the-air updates — not just for middle-stack tech, for the whole vehicle, powertrain incorporated. That signifies Ford will be in a position to wirelessly beam out bug fixes and attribute updates to house owners.

It can be also really worth contacting out this F-150’s matching twelve-inch reconfigurable entirely electronic instrument cluster, which offers vivid, splashy animations (particularly when switching travel modes) and all sorts of facts. The way the motor pace is prominently expressed with two digits by default (., as in 1,000 x rpm) will take a very little finding used to, and it feels a little bit “2010 design and style-journal infographic” to me. I acknowledge it is really also oddly satisfying to see how generally you can get the tachometer to slide to . rpm — indicating the motor has shut off and you might be temporarily sailing together only on electric powered ability.

The way the tachometer expresses motor revs in numerical shorthand will take a very little finding used to.

Nick Miotke/Chris Paukert/Roadshow

PowerBoost hybrid ability, gas economic system and refinement

Operating on electrons undoubtedly enhances the 2021 F-one hundred fifty PowerBoost’s sense of internal calm, but you needn’t be in electric powered-only mode to have an understanding of that this new F-one hundred fifty feels appreciably quieter than just before. Wind and road sound are well managed, and regardless of whether the 3.five-liter EcoBoost V6 is pumping its purple-hot fists in the air or not, the cabin of this F-Sequence is a incredibly serene place to be. I even built a position to travel my tester on better Detroit’s poorly rutted dust and gravel roadways, and not only are body motions well managed (even with an vacant mattress), the lack of sound when cinders ping-pong close to in the F-150’s specifically lined wheel wells is remarkable. Certainly, the Ram 1500’s available coil-spring setup is in the long run additional compliant, but at the very least by truck standards, this new F-one hundred fifty King Ranch rides incredibly well, and it is really quieter than a church mouse pissing on cotton.

To be frank, I’ve never ever much cared for the way Ford’s 3.five-liter EcoBoost sounds, and the reality that the PowerBoost tech silences its sound periodically although featuring thirty additional horsepower and 70 additional pound-feet of torque is icing on the cake. It can be not that the V6 by itself sounds undesirable, exactly, it just just isn’t authoritative in the way you might want or assume for a full-dimension pickup. Ford’s by natural means aspirated five.-liter V8 sounds worlds superior, for occasion, but it only delivers four hundred hp and 410 lb-ft (and it does so at much increased motor speeds). Of course, you can continue to also decide for Ford’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 (325 hp, four hundred lb-ft) or just preserve some dough likely for the turbo-free 3.3-liter V6 (290 hp, 265 lb-ft). Introduced for 2018, the 3.-liter Power Stroke V6 diesel returns for 2021 unchanged, providing 250 hp and 440 lb-ft. Which is ideal, the new PowerBoost hybrid handily outperforms even the diesel’s output figures.

PowerBoost features a 35-kW electric powered motor hidden in the 10-pace transmission’s situation, run by a modest 1.five-kWh battery under the rear seats.


Importantly, the PowerBoost hybrid does a convincing job of feeling like a regular fuel pickup. Electric powered muscle comes courtesy of a 35-kilowatt motor that life inside the (or else identical) 10-pace automatic gearbox, with ability coming from a liquid-cooled, 1.five-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack mounted under the rear seat. You won’t be able to get the nifty foldable and lockable rear-seat storage pack with PowerBoost, but interior area is or else unaffected. Acceleration is powerful — I might wager that this SuperCrew’s -to-sixty-mph time is someplace in the mid-five-2nd variety. Superior continue to, interaction in between the V6 and the electric powered motor are all but seamless. The brake sense — generally a sore place owing to regenerative braking — is mercifully progressive. The very same goes for the quit-start out components. I am a dude that regularly turns off such techniques in new cars and trucks because their lack of smoothness annoys me, but I might happily depart the tech lively on the PowerBoost every single working day.

To Ford’s credit score, PowerBoost availability just isn’t just reserved for large-stop types — it is really presented on all F-one hundred fifty trims. The hybrid will handily outlast the stoutest of bladders with its 700-mile variety in between fill-ups, and even with 4-wheel travel, the EPA charges gas economic system at 24 miles for each gallon city, highway and mixed. When compared with the much less-effective 3.5L EcoBoost 4×4’s 18 city, 23 highway and 20 mixed, there’s a significant difference. Certainly, the hybrid fees $1,900 additional than fuel-only 3.5L, but the probable long-phrase gas discounts seem tempting, particularly for city dwellers.

2021 Ford F-one hundred fifty Professional Power Onboard is a gamechanger

And that’s ignoring the PowerBoost’s cherry on top: Professional Power Onboard, a crafted-in generator that incorporates ability shops in the taxi and mattress for maximum adaptability. Operable through the dashboard or through the Ford Go application on your phone or pill, PPO is practically nothing small of a game changer, regardless of whether you might be a roughneck or just anyone who likes to camp or tailgate. PowerBoost hybrids come regular with a capable 2.four-kW PPO method — plenty of juice to run a pandemic-period travel-in movie setup in your backyard, including projector, loudspeakers and a full-dimension popcorn machine at the same time. Ford claims you can get up to 85 hrs of ability on a full tank.

For an additional $750, my King Ranch has an available 7.2-kW PPO method that offers 4 one hundred twenty-volt home shops and one particular 240-volt hookup, backed by plenty of ability to energize a small design web-site. In reality, Ford officers tell me they’ve used this method to speedy-demand their new Mustang Mach-E
electric powered SUV. What is actually additional, although the Blue Oval won’t be able to say as much owing to regulatory fears, this edition of PPO is in fact strong plenty of to ability the critical products in most people’s residences in a blackout for up to 32 hrs for each tank of fuel. (Translation: You can possibly ignore about managing the central air at the very same time as your Sub-Zero fridge and dresses washer, but you can additional than very likely hold the septic pump, fridge, lights and Television on although you experience out the storm.)

Certainly, you can decide for a 2.-kW Professional Power Onboard method on non-hybridized types, too. This standard, decrease-ability setup is plenty of for a Television, mini fridge, heater, blender and speakers for a suitable Huge 10 soccer bash, but it is really the hybrid-only 7.2-kW setup that’s the true workhorse. What is actually additional, with new Zone Lights features to illuminate just about the whole perimeter of the vehicle, night video games would not be a issue.

Questioning the will need for an onboard ability source? Plenty of job web sites count on heavy, cumbersome turbines, and PPO really should charm to individuals who use them. It won’t eat into mattress area, it is really not a theft possibility, it is really a lot quieter, performs without fuel cans and its emissions are a lot decrease than a normal standalone generator. Me? I am not a contractor, but I like the strategy of taking some electric powered bikes out to an off-road park without worry of needing to uncover a charger, or for applying the onboard inverter to give new everyday living to an old Airstream. Extra than just about anything, I relish the strategy of parking one particular of these in my driveway rather of paying out hundreds for the complete-dwelling backup generator that’s been on my browsing checklist for several years.

2021 Ford F-one hundred fifty towing, payload and off-road specs 

It can be not all rope swings and freshly tapped kegs for PowerBoost customers. In addition to its upfront cost, the hybrid has decrease towing and payload rankings than its fuel-only equal — this, inspite of the driveline’s excellent output figures. Amid other items, you can blame the hybrid’s additional body weight for the shortfall, but no subject the explanation, Ford charges a small-box, 4×4 Super Crew with PowerBoost to tow twelve,four hundred pounds, although the non-hybrid will lug 13,900 pounds. PowerBoost payload is a identical story, rated at 1,830 pounds, although a fuel-only 3.five can pack-mule 2,a hundred pounds in its mattress. Verify the ideal containers, and the 2021 F-one hundred fifty can tow up to fourteen,000 pounds — 800 pounds additional than past year.

In addition to numerous times of driving on nation roadways and freeways, Ford gave me the probability to attempt out towing with equally fuel and hybridized 3.five-liter V6s on its hilly proving-grounds road course. I experimented with an EcoBoost with a 7,200-pound Supra boat-and-trailer combo and the PowerBoost fuel-electric powered with a double-axle Forest River Wildwood camper weighing in at a smidge more than 7,000 pounds. Neither trucks had been in hazard of pegging their max rankings, but it was continue to remarkable and instructive to knowledge how effortless towing such massive toys can be without demanding a heavy-obligation truck. It can be a particularly wild feeling to be aware the motor shutting off in the hybrid although driving down hills, only to pull absent noiselessly from a quit just before the V6 kicks again in.

I also experimented with some off-road exercise routines in a fuel Lariat geared up with the FX4 suspension offer, including muddy two-tracks through the woods and some steep ascents that served examination out the new F-150’s several terrain configurations. To be truthful, although exciting, none of this was terribly eye-opening. Extra than just about anything, it just goes to present how capable most trucks are these times, and how modern 4-wheel-travel techniques and travel modes can make when-formidable challenges completely regime.

2021 Ford F-one hundred fifty OTA updates and palms-free driving

Before, I talked about that the F-one hundred fifty has more than-the-air updates. That very same capability will enable Stage 2 palms-free driving on High definition-mapped divided highways starting late future year. Purchasers who pony up $995 for the Co-Pilot 360 Active 2. Prep Deal gain sophisticated driver aid techniques like adaptive cruise command with lane-centering and pace-indicator recognition, moreover Evasive Steering Guide, Intersection Guide and a self-park function. Unlike most such techniques — including Tesla’s Autopilot — Co-Pilot360 includes a driver-facing infrared digicam that tracks head situation and eye gaze to assure drivers are continue to paying out focus.

Properly geared up, the 2021 F-one hundred fifty can tow a stout fourteen,000 pounds — that’s 800 additional than past year.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

2021 Ford F-one hundred fifty – pricing and what it all signifies

A lot have individuals have been lamenting the growing costs of full-dimension pickups, and to be truthful, the 2021 Ford F-one hundred fifty just isn’t likely to do much to silence the grousing. A base, typical-taxi XL perform truck starts off at $thirty,635 (including $1,695 for freight), just $195 additional than past year. Even so, with all of these new alternatives, it is really a lot easier than ever to additional than double that selling price tag in small get. King Ranch types start out at $fifty five,630 sent, but my greatly optioned PowerBoost 4×4 tester stickers at a retirement-jeopardizing $77,000. Recall, Ford offers two trims higher than this design — Platinum and Confined.

It can be all the additional amazing, then, that even in this lofty specification, the 2021 Ford F-one hundred fifty absolutely feels really worth the money. It can be tough to picture a additional flexible vehicle, one particular capable of accomplishing so much perform although feeling so upscale and providing so much tech. In distinct, I feel Professional Power Onboard could be a true difference-maker for lots of customers — perhaps even prying open up the wallets of individuals who have been hesitant to entertain electrification in a new vehicle of any form. Due to the fact PPO’s most effective versions are available exclusively with PowerBoost, this new ability may perhaps coax a handful of fuel- and diesel-only diehards into crossing the Rubicon and likely hybrid. I can also see this tech being a boon for fleet customers of municipal and utility vehicles.

When the 2021 Ford F-one hundred fifty in the beginning seems to be a conservative redesign, make no blunder, this rig is loaded with the hottest tech and a raft of exceptional features to aid protect Ol’ Henry’s turf atop the auto industry’s most critical section. If practically nothing else, PowerBoost really should aid truck customers mentally prepare for Ford’s forthcoming all-electric powered F-one hundred fifty, which is owing to acquire on the Tesla Cybertruck and Rivian R1T beginning in 2022. Environment America’s tables for Ford’s battery-run (and greatly automatic) future is a massive inquire. Thankfully, the 2021 Ford F-one hundred fifty feels up to the job.

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