Ford definitely knows what people want in a pick-up. The F-150 is not only the most popular pick-up in the U.S. but has also been the best-selling vehicle in the country since 1981, when Ronald Reagan was president.
Base Price: $43,805
As Tested: $60,545
Mileage: 24 mpg city/24 mpg highway/24 mpg combined
The Ford F-150 got redesigned for 2021 and comes in a wide variety of configurations so buyers can get exactly the truck that’s right for them. While competitors have also kept up with upgrades and improvements, the bottom line is that anyone shopping for a full-size pick-up should consider the Ford F-150.
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 for 2021, 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.
The F-150 comes in numerous trims so 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 engine in my tester, the all-new PowerBoost full hybrid V6 powertrain. The F-150 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.
The new Powerboost hybrid powertrain is quick and efficient. Hit the accelerator and you’re off with plenty of smooth power from a stop, or to speed up for merging and passing at freeway speeds. The 10-speed shifts smoothly and quickly. The F-150 is easy to drive; I’d often forget that I was behind the wheel of a full-size pick-up until it was time to park in a tight space. Steering is responsive. The brakes have that usual squishy hybrid feel that you get with regenerative braking. 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 Powerboost hybrid powertrain are 24 mpg city and 24 mpg highway with a combined rating of 24. I got 24 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. The EPA says this truck can go up to 624 miles before you have to re-fuel. That’s pretty impressive.
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 hybrid can tow up to 12,700 pounds and haul up to 2,120 pounds.
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 touch screen, 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 $43,805. Equipment Group 302A is $5,730 and includes the XLT Series, electronic auto temp control, Sirius XM radio, SYNC 4 infotainment system, LED side-mirror spotlights, remote start system and LED box lighting. The Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat paint is $395. The 3.5L PowerBoost full hybrid engine is $4,495. The Ford Co-pilot 360 Assist 2.0 with connected built-in navigation is $750. Power-sliding rear window is $350. The Pro Power Onboard generator is $750. The interior work surface is $165. The trailer tow package is $1,090. The FX4 off-road package is $1,005. Boxlink is $80. Partitioned lockable storage is $215. Total options are $17,295. Destination and delivery fee is $1,695. Total discounts are $2,250 bringing the grand total to $60,545.
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 more than four decades. 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 worthy competitors, but be sure and test drive the F-150 before choosing a pick-up.