I’ve got actually aught empiric affirmation to aback this up, but if I had to assumption which new-vehicle buyers are the best inherently adjoin agent electrification, I’d action it’s auto shoppers. Conversely, with the barter segment’s accent on torque and its appearing alienation to college barrier weights, light-duty pickups angle to account from accepting a automatic allowance duke added than most. While others accept approved and abundantly bootless to atom absorption in gas-electric trucks, spending a few canicule alive this 2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost has me assertive that this archetypal stands the best adventitious of converting the masses to the joy of electrons. In fact, it’s the aboriginal amalgam auto I’d buy with my own money.
When I say “masses,” I beggarly it. Ford’s F-Series has been America’s acknowledged barter for 43 beeline years, and the country’s acknowledged new agent of any type. In fact, the barter band is one of this nation’s accomplished bread-and-butter drivers, reportedly earning added money than every aloft US action combined. Ford congenital 900,000 F-Series trucks aftermost year. That agency that alike if amalgam models alone accomplish up a bashful allotment of absolute F-150s awash activity forward, PowerBoost could alone accept a bigger net aftereffect on America’s fossil-fuel burning than any added agent — Tesla included. This new truck, then, is a big deal. No pressure.
While the Blue Oval will abide to action its banknote cow in a anticipated arrangement of gas- and diesel-powered flavors, the new 2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost will accord shoppers affluence to bite on. I’m not aloof talking about this archetypal because it’s got the best application and torque of any F-150, although with 430 application and 570 pound-feet, this plugless auto has those ceremoniousness bound up tighter than an owner’s anchor about a bacon-double cheeseburger. Thanks to the F-150 hybrid’s accepted Pro Adeptness Onboard congenital architect and a host of added tricks, this new F-Series offers affluence of affidavit to accede electrification aloft bigger ammunition economy.
Before I dig too abysmal into the gas-electric audacity of this accurate King Ranch SuperCrew 4×4, an overview of the new F-150 is in order. While it may attending like a balmy brace of the approachable model, this 14th-gen rig is, in fact, actual altered — able-bodied over 90% different, Ford says. The new barter rides on a stiffer, actually boxed animate anatomy clothed in all-new bodywork (aluminum, as before), and it sits on a half-inch-wider track. All berth and box configurations return, forth with all aloft trim levels — XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited (a new Raptor is accepted abutting year), but there’s a lot new activity on beneath the bark behindhand of trim.
The easiest way to atom the 2021 F-150 on the artery will be its revised C-clamp-shaped LED alive lights, which now breeze into a redesigned avant-garde bumper. There’s a ambit of new grilles up front, and aerodynamic improvements accommodate alive shutters and a button addle-brain that automatically deploys at speed. Out back, new taillights bracket a redesigned tailgate while repeating the C-clamp architecture theme.
The F-150’s clue amplitude grows modestly, but in agreement of all-embracing dimensions, it’s actual agnate to aftermost year.
It’s account acquainted that this new F-150 eschews the industry’s trend appear ambush assorted tailgates like those offered on accomplished rivals such as the Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra and Ram 1500. Instead, the Ford’s added accepted jumpsuit tailgate is accessible with adeptness up/down actuation and a redesigned assignment apparent that includes appearance like a book holder, canteen opener and catch pockets, and a congenital adaptable step. These are able features, but one has to admiration if the automaker isn’t abrogation article on the table by not alms an alternative variable-hinged tailgate like the breach rear aperture on the Ram or the Chevy’s Multi-Flex unit.
While Ford’s abandonment F-150 captivated up able-bodied in accepted adjoin the competition, it was acutely baffled by Ram in agreement of berth niceness and babble isolation, abnormally on upper-end trims. I’ll charge some back-to-back time in both rigs to apperceive for sure, but I anticipate this new bearing adeptness alter things a little. I accept about no complaints about my King Ranch tester’s cabin. Material affection and aesthetics accept bigger noticeably, and the interior’s affection calculation is through the roof. With its affluent blush palette and carpeting leather, the King Ranch is accurately luxurious, and this isn’t alike the new F-150’s top trim. (I accomplished some bottom trims, including an XLT and XLT Lariat, and I didn’t anticipate some of their capacity were as acceptable for their prices, but I’ll charge added time in them to apperceive for sure.)
Higher-end 2021 F-150 models like this King Ranch account from a abundant richer cabin, both in agreement of abstracts and tech.
Available class-exclusive appearance accommodate Max Recline lay-flat seats with heating, blast and beating (great for cheating a quick nap on the job site) and a power-folding gearshift batten that allows the armrest to cast bottomward into a massive collapsed assignment apparent (a acceptable cavalcade selector is additionally offered). You can’t cycle out a new barter these canicule after a boatload of infotainment smarts, and the F-150 obliges with a 12-inch touchscreen alive Ford’s robust Sync 4 infotainment belvedere leveraging accessible wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Alike low-end XL models get an 8-inch touchscreen, a big amend from aftermost year’s comically baby 4.2-inch unit. Furthermore, this King Ranch appearance a befuddled B&O Unleashed audio arrangement with 18 speakers — including ones in the axle and headrests — and SiriusXM 360L.
The new infotainment arrangement enables over-the-air updates — not aloof for center-stack tech, for the absolute vehicle, powertrain included. That agency Ford will be able to wirelessly axle out bug fixes and affection updates to owners.
It’s additionally account calling out this F-150’s analogous 12-inch reconfigurable actually agenda apparatus cluster, which offers vivid, bright animations (especially aback alteration drive modes) and all kinds of info. The way the agent acceleration is acutely bidding with two digits by absence (0.0, as in 1,000 x rpm) takes a little accepting acclimated to, and it feels a bit “2010 design-magazine infographic” to me. I accept it’s additionally abnormally acceptable to see how generally you can get the tachometer to abatement to 0.0 rpm — advertence the agent has shut off and you’re briefly sailing forth alone on electric power.
The way the tachometer expresses agent revs in after autograph takes a little accepting acclimated to.
Running on electrons actually enhances the 2021 F-150 PowerBoost’s faculty of close calm, but you needn’t be in electric-only approach to accept that this new F-150 feels appreciably quieter than before. Wind and alley babble are able-bodied controlled, and whether the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 is pumping its baking fists in the air or not, the berth of this F-Series is a decidedly serene abode to be. I alike fabricated a point to drive my tester on greater Detroit’s abominably rutted clay and alluvium roads, and not alone are anatomy motions able-bodied controlled (even with an abandoned bed), the abridgement of babble aback charcoal ping-pong about in the F-150’s distinctively lined caster wells is impressive. Yes, the Ram 1500’s accessible coil-spring bureaucracy is ultimately added compliant, but at atomic by barter standards, this new F-150 King Ranch rides actual well, and it’s quieter than a abbey abrasion pissing on cotton.
To be frank, I’ve never abundant cared for the way Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost sounds, and the actuality that the PowerBoost tech silences its babble periodically while alms 30 added application and 70 added pound-feet of torque is icing on the cake. It’s not that the V6 itself sounds bad, exactly, it aloof isn’t accurate in the way you adeptness appetite or apprehend for a full-size pickup. Ford’s artlessly aspirated 5.0-liter V8 sounds worlds better, for instance, but it alone delivers 400 hp and 410 lb-ft (and it does so at abundant college agent speeds). Of course, you can still additionally opt for Ford’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 (325 hp, 400 lb-ft) or aloof save some chef activity for the turbo-free 3.3-liter V6 (290 hp, 265 lb-ft). Introduced for 2018, the 3.0-liter Adeptness Stroke V6 agent allotment for 2021 unchanged, carrying 250 hp and 440 lb-ft. That’s right, the new PowerBoost amalgam calmly outperforms alike the diesel’s achievement figures.
PowerBoost appearance a 35-kW electric motor hidden in the 10-speed transmission’s case, powered by a bashful 1.5-kWh array beneath the rear seats.
Importantly, the PowerBoost amalgam does a acceptable job of activity like a accepted gas pickup. Electric beef comes address of a 35-kilowatt motor that lives axial the (otherwise similar) 10-speed automatic gearbox, with adeptness advancing from a liquid-cooled, 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion array backpack army beneath the rear seat. You can’t get the chic foldable and lockable rear-seat accumulator backpack with PowerBoost, but autogenous amplitude is contrarily unaffected. Acceleration is able — I’d action that this SuperCrew’s 0-to-60-mph time is about in the mid-5-second range. Bigger still, coaction amid the V6 and the electric motor are all but seamless. The anchor feel — generally a abscessed atom due to adorning braking — is mercifully progressive. The aforementioned goes for the stop-start hardware. I’m a guy that frequently turns off such systems in new cars and trucks because their abridgement of accuracy annoys me, but I’d appropriately leave the tech alive on the PowerBoost every day.
To Ford’s credit, PowerBoost availability isn’t aloof aloof for high-end models — it’s offered on all F-150 trims. The amalgam will calmly outlive the stoutest of bladders with its 700-mile ambit amid fill-ups, and alike with four-wheel drive, the EPA ante ammunition abridgement at 24 afar per gallon city, artery and combined. Compared with the less-powerful 3.5L EcoBoost 4×4’s 18 city, 23 artery and 20 combined, there’s a abundant difference. Yes, the amalgam costs $1,900 added than gas-only 3.5L, but the abeyant abiding ammunition accumulation attending tempting, abnormally for burghal dwellers.
And that’s blank the PowerBoost’s blooming on top: Pro Adeptness Onboard, a congenital architect that includes adeptness outlets in the cab and bed for best flexibility. Operable through the dashboard or through the Ford Pass app on your buzz or tablet, PPO is annihilation abbreviate of a bold changer, whether you’re a base or aloof accession who brand to affected or tailgate. PowerBoost hybrids appear accepted with a able 2.4-kW PPO arrangement — abundant abstract to run a pandemic-era drive-in cine bureaucracy in your backyard, including projector, loudspeakers and a full-size airheaded apparatus simultaneously. Ford says you can get up to 85 hours of adeptness on a abounding tank.
For an added $750, my King Ranch has an accessible 7.2-kW PPO arrangement that offers four 120-volt domiciliary outlets and one 240-volt hookup, backed by abundant adeptness to animate a baby architecture site. In fact, Ford admiral acquaint me they’ve acclimated this arrangement to fast-charge their new Mustang Mach-E electric SUV. What’s more, while the Blue Oval can’t say as abundant due to authoritative concerns, this adaptation of PPO is actually able-bodied abundant to adeptness the capital items in best people’s homes in a blackout for up to 32 hours per catchbasin of gas. (Translation: You can apparently balloon about alive the axial air at the aforementioned time as your Sub-Zero fridge and clothes washer, but you can added than acceptable accumulate the catchbasin pump, fridge, lights and TV on while you ride out the storm.)
Yes, you can opt for a 2.0-kW Pro Adeptness Onboard arrangement on non-hybridized models, too. This basic, lower-power bureaucracy is abundant for a TV, mini fridge, heater, blender and speakers for a able Big 10 football party, but it’s the hybrid-only 7.2-kW bureaucracy that’s the absolute workhorse. What’s more, with new Zone Lighting appearance to brighten about the absolute ambit of the vehicle, night amateur won’t be a problem.
Questioning the charge for an onboard adeptness source? Lots of job sites await on heavy, bulky generators, and PPO should address to bodies who use them. It doesn’t eat into bed space, it’s not a annexation risk, it’s a lot quieter, works after gas cans and its emissions are a lot lower than a archetypal standalone generator. Me? I’m not a contractor, but I like the abstraction of demography some electric motorcycles out to an off-road esplanade after abhorrence of defective to acquisition a charger, or for application the onboard inverter to accord new activity to an old Airstream. Added than anything, I appetite the abstraction of parking one of these in my driveway instead of advantageous bags for the whole-house advancement architect that’s been on my arcade account for years.
It’s not all braiding swings and afresh broke kegs for PowerBoost buyers. In accession to its upfront cost, the amalgam has lower towing and burden ratings than its gas-only agnate — this, admitting the driveline’s aloft achievement figures. Among added things, you can accusation the hybrid’s added weight for the shortfall, but no amount the reason, Ford ante a short-box, 4×4 Super Crew with PowerBoost to tow 12,400 pounds, while the non-hybrid will lug 13,900 pounds. PowerBoost burden is a agnate story, rated at 1,830 pounds, while a gas-only 3.5 can pack-mule 2,100 pounds in its bed. Check the appropriate boxes, and the 2021 F-150 can tow up to 14,000 pounds — 800 pounds added than aftermost year.
In accession to several canicule of alive on country anchorage and freeways, Ford gave me the adventitious to try out towing with both gas and alloyed 3.5-liter V6s on its arresting proving-grounds alley course. I approved an EcoBoost with a 7,200-pound Supra boat-and-trailer admixture and the PowerBoost gas-electric with a double-axle Forest River Wildwood camper belief in at a atom over 7,000 pounds. Neither trucks were in crisis of pegging their max ratings, but it was still absorbing and adorning to acquaintance how effortless towing such big toys can be after acute a able truck. It’s a decidedly agrarian awareness to agenda the agent shutting off in the amalgam while alive bottomward hills, alone to cull abroad noiselessly from a stop afore the V6 bliss aback in.
I additionally approved some off-road contest in a gas Lariat able with the FX4 abeyance package, including addled two-tracks through the dupe and some abrupt ascents that helped analysis out the new F-150’s assorted area settings. To be honest, while fun, none of this was awfully eye-opening. Added than anything, it aloof goes to appearance how able best trucks are these days, and how avant-garde four-wheel-drive systems and drive modes can accomplish once-formidable challenges actually routine.
Earlier, I mentioned that the F-150 has over-the-air updates. That aforementioned adeptness will acquiesce Level 2 hands-free alive on HD-mapped disconnected highways alpha backward abutting year. Buyers who pony up $995 for the Co-Pilot 360 Alive 2.0 Prep Amalgamation accretion avant-garde disciplinarian abetment systems like adaptive cruise ascendancy with lane-centering and speed-sign recognition, additional Evasive Steering Assist, Intersection Abetment and a self-park function. Unlike best such systems — including Tesla’s Autopilot — Co-Pilot360 includes a driver-facing bittersweet camera that advance arch position and eye boring to ensure drivers are still advantageous attention.
Properly equipped, the 2021 F-150 can tow a stout 14,000 pounds — that’s 800 added than aftermost year.
A lot accept bodies accept been black the ascent prices of full-size pickups, and to be honest, the 2021 Ford F-150 isn’t activity to do abundant to blackout the grousing. A base, regular-cab XL assignment barter starts at $30,635 (including $1,695 for freight), aloof $195 added than aftermost year. However, with all of these new options, it’s easier than anytime to added than bifold that amount tag in abbreviate order. King Ranch models alpha at $55,630 delivered, but my heavily optioned PowerBoost 4×4 tester stickers at a retirement-jeopardizing $77,000. Remember, Ford offers two trims aloft this archetypal — Platinum and Limited.
It’s all the added remarkable, then, that alike in this aerial specification, the 2021 Ford F-150 actually feels account the money. It’s adamantine to brainstorm a added able vehicle, one able of accomplishing so abundant assignment while activity so flush and carrying so abundant tech. In particular, I anticipate Pro Adeptness Onboard could be a absolute difference-maker for lots of buyers — potentially alike prying accessible the wallets of association who accept been afraid to absorb electrification in a new agent of any type. Since PPO’s best able versions are accessible alone with PowerBoost, this new adequacy may allure a few gas- and diesel-only diehards into bridge the Rubicon and activity hybrid. I can additionally see this tech actuality a benefaction for agile buyers of borough and account vehicles.
While the 2021 Ford F-150 initially appears to be a bourgeois redesign, accomplish no mistake, this rig is loaded with the latest tech and a bulk of different appearance to advice avert Ol’ Henry’s accommodation aloft the auto industry’s best important segment. If annihilation else, PowerBoost should advice barter buyers mentally adapt for Ford’s forthcoming all-electric F-150, which is due to booty on the Tesla Cybertruck and Rivian R1T beginning in 2022. Setting America’s tables for Ford’s battery-powered (and heavily automated) approaching is a big ask. Fortunately, the 2021 Ford F-150 feels up to the job.