The Ford F-150 is the most popular pick-up in the U.S. and it’s dominated the segment since 1977. And even more impressive, the F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the country since 1981. The F-150 gets redesigned for 2021 and becomes even more capable and comfortable, so it’s poised to stay on top of the heap.
Base Price: $62,535
As Tested: $73,300
Mileage: 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway/19 mpg combined
With the 2021 redesign, the Ford F-150 is now in its 14th generation. The last major update came in 2015. That’s when the aluminum body panels were introduced. While there aren’t such significant build changes this year, Ford has given the F-150 a number of upgrades and enhancements including a new hybrid powertrain and integrated power generator. The new F-150 can tow and haul more than any competitor.
No matter what you want in a full-size pick-up, there’s an F-150 that will meet your needs and budget. It’s available in seven different trims: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited and Tremor, the off-road trim which arrives this summer. Starting prices range from $28,940 to $74,250.
There are three cab styles: regular, SuperCab (extended) and SuperCrew (crew cab), and three bed lengths: 5.5-feet, 6.5-feet and 8-feet. Not every bed length is available with every cab style. Three passengers fit in the regular cab, and the other cabs can accommodate up to six.
Rear-wheel-drive is standard, and four-wheel-drive can be added to any trim. An off-roading package, FX4, is available on some trims that adds a locking rear differential, hill descent control, rock crawl mode, upgraded shocks, and skid plates.
Six different engines are available including the all-new PowerBoost full hybrid V6 powertrain. The F-150 is the only light-duty full-size pickup to offer a full hybrid and it’s available on every trim level from XL to Limited.
The base engine is a 3.3-liter V6 that makes 290 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque; a twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter Ecoboost V6 that makes 325 horses and 400 pound-feet; a 3.5-liter Ecoboost V6 that generates 400 hp and 500 pound-feet; a 5.0-liter V8 that makes 400 horses and 410 pound-feet; a turbocharged diesel V6 that makes 250 hp and 440 pound-feet, and the new Powerboost hybrid powertrain that combines the bigger Ecoboost V6 and an electric motor and battery pack with a total output of 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet. All engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
My tester has the V8. It has a lot of muscle with quick acceleration and a lot of low-end torque. The 10-speed shifts smoothly and quickly and always seems to find the right gear. The F-150 is easy to drive and maneuver. I’d often forget that I was behind the wheel of a full-size pick-up. Steering and brakes are responsive, there’s little body lean when cornering, and the ride is pretty smooth, even on rough roads. Visibility is good all the way around.
EPA ratings for my tester with the V8 and 4WD are 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway with a combined rating of 19. I got 19 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. The new hybrid F-150 is rated at 24 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.
When properly equipped, the F-150 can tow up to 14,000 pounds—800 pounds more than the 2020 model—and haul up to 3,325 pounds. These are the best numbers in the class.
The interior is completely redesigned with upgraded materials and more storage. The cabin is attractive, comfortable, and quiet but still not as upscale as the Ram 1500. Seats are supportive and my SuperCrew has plenty of room in both rows of seating. There are also lots of places for storge in the cabin including an available lockable storage box under the rear seats.
Standard features include a rearview camera, cloth upholstery, Ford’s SYNC 4 infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, USB ports, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.
Available features include push-button start, remote start, surround-view parking camera system, dual-zone automatic climate control, power windows and door locks, synthetic or genuine leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, massaging front seats, heated rear seats, 12-inch touchscreen, navigation, eight- or 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, wireless device charging and a moonroof.
The F-150 also has an integrated power generator. The Pro Power Onboard is available with a 2.0-kilowatt output on the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 and 5.0-liter V8, while the hybrid PowerBoost-equipped F-150 comes standard with 2.4 kilowatts of output or an optional 7.2 kilowatts of output. The generator means you can bring power to work sites, camp sites and everyday life. The power is accessible through in-cabin outlets and up to four cargo bed-mounted 120-volt 20-amp outlets, with a 240-volt 30-amp outlet on the 7.2-kilowatt version. The system even provides power while you’re driving so you can charge tool batteries between jobs.
Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection.
Available driver assistance technologies include blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, evasive steering assist, cross traffic alert, reverse automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, traffic sign recognition and parallel and perpendicular park assist. A new available technology is Intersection Assist, which detects oncoming traffic while the driver is attempting a left turn. Ford’s semi-autonomous driving system called Active Drive Assist is also available.
The standard SYNC 4 infotainment system is one of the better systems available today. Graphics are sharp and easy to see, the touchscreen is easy to reach and menus are logically laid out. Physical knobs and buttons can also be used for common functions. The 12-inch touchscreen is standard on the XLT high series and above. It looks great and has a split-screen function so you can have several functions displayed at once.
Available in many configurations
Six available engines including a hybrid
Available integrated power generator
Can haul and tow more than competitors
Lots of standard and available features and tech
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Interior not as swanky as the Ram 1500
My tester starts at $62,535. The 701A High Package is $2,685 and includes the Bang & Olufsen Sound System Unleashed, power tailgate, tailgate step and 360-degree camera package. The FX4 Off-Road Package is $1,005. The Trailer Tow Package is $995. The Tough Bed Spray-in bedliner is $595. The 2kW Pro Power Onboard generator is $995. The wheel well liner is $180. The 3.73 electronic locking axle ratio is $570. The interior work surface is $165. Twin panel moonroof is $1,495. Max recline driver and passenger seats are $340. Total options are $8,525. Destination fee is $1,695. Acquisition fee is $645. Available incentive is less $100 bringing the grand total to $73,300.
The 2021 Ford F-150 sure delivers and does everything you want or need a full-size pick-up to do. That’s why it’s been so popular for more than 40 years. The redesigned F-150 is even more capable, and available in a dizzying array of configurations and trims so you can find the truck that’s perfect for your needs and budget. Sure, there are some worthy competitors, but don’t buy a pick-up before you test drive the F-150.