It goes without saying that the F-150 is a massive profit center for Ford, making up the lion’s share of the company’s sales figures and balance sheet. Saying that redesigning the thing is a big deal is akin to saying that breathing oxygen is just kinda important to human beings. The 2021 Ford F-150 brings new style and more than a few new innovations.
Outside, there’s no mistaking this thing for an Ford F-150. This 14th-gen truck isn’t a wholesale change like we saw six model years ago when the 2015 appeared, but it does move the needle in the right direction. Headlamps are bigger and more expressive, using LED mascara to good effect in creating a c-clamp shape that extends all the way into its fog lamps. These peepers bookend a new range of grilles – eleven different ones, according to Ford. Out back, the taillamps seem to extend further down the side of the box. A quick perusal of the spec sheet confirms that oddball configurations – regular cab shorty 4x4s and two-wheel drive long box SuperCabs, for example – remain on the option list in addition to popular Crew Cabs and workaday base trucks.
Speaking of the business end of things, Ford didn’t try to reinvent the tailgate like its competitors at Ram or GMC. What it did do is incorporate some handy optional features into the ‘gates surface intended to make the space more practical for work duties. Divots in the leading edge make good clamping surfaces if you’re cutting boards, while eyelets on the sides are handy for securing a ratchet strap (and double as bottle openers, apparently). Someone also had the bright idea to stamp a ruler into the surface, which will be helpful on construction sites.
Speaking of, Ford will be offering a trio of built-in generators intended to power all manner of work tools and tailgating equipment. 2021 Ford F-150 models equipped with an EcoBoost or V8 engine can spec a 2.0kW generator which places dual 120V 20A outlets in the bed. F-150s with the new hybrid gas-electric powertrain will be available with either a 2.4kW or 7.2kW generator, the latter of which will provide four 120V outlets or a single 240V place to plug in.
Wait, what? A hybrid powertrain? Yes, in addition to the five engines with which we are familiar there will also be a gasoline-electric hybrid model using the 3.5L EcoBoost engine and a 35kW (47hp) electric motor working in tandem to produce what Ford claims will be best-in-class torque and horsepower. Called the PowerBoost, it’ll apparently be able to tow a maximum of at least 12,000lbs and get about 700 miles on a single tank of gasoline.
There are more than a few new tricks inside the 2021 Ford F-150 as well. The cabin is redesigned with a raft of new comfort, style, and technology features. Drivers will be looking at optional set of all-digital dashboard gauges whose 12-inch panel is completely reconfigurable with snazzy graphics and all manner of truck information. The steering wheel is different as are the door panels, plus optional Max Recline seats will lay nearly flat should one want a quick snooze during break time.
Ford joins the bigger-is-better crowd in terms of infotainment systems, answering Ram’s Uconnect jumbotron with a huge display of its own. This one also measures 12 inches, but is landscape oriented across the dash, not vertically portrait-style like the truck from Auburn Hills. It’ll incorporate Ford’s new Sync 4 interface and permit split screen app or feature viewing. Note well: even the basic trims get an 8-inch display.
Other party tricks inside the cabin of the 2021 Ford F-150 include a transmission shifter that folds flush into the console, permitting the new center armrest to flip out like a clamshell and create a fully flat work surface on which one can place a laptop (or their lunch). A pop-up storage space under the rear seat gives a location in which one can stuff tools or other items, and the rear seat cushion can be locked with the truck’s key to technically make it a lockable storage area. That underseat storage bin can fold flat when not in use, retaining the truck’s completely flat load floor.
Engine outputs, specific towing figures, and pricing will all be released closer to the truck’s on-sale date later this year. This 14-gen F-150 is the newest member of the nation’s best-selling F-Series lineup, and we’re looking forward to getting behind the wheel.