2021 Ford F-150 review: Setting a higher bar

It may look no different from its predecessor, but the F-150 is new and improved where it matters most.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

The Ford F-150 is America’s best-selling pickup for a reason: it just works. Both at work and play, the F-150 has long been the reliable supporter in this segment, even in the face of stiff competition such as the Ram 1500. This year marks the introduction of the 14th generation F-150. , which it brings with it has some innovative features and new technologies that should keep it at the top of its class for years to come.

I do not like

Important new features

Probably the biggest news this year is the availability of an onboard generator, something like this came in handy earlier this year when a good chunk of Texas was without electricity. My test truck has a 2-kilowatt generator with two 120-volt, 20-amp outlets, which is perfect for tailgating or running smaller tools on a construction site. A The 2.4 kW generator is standard on the F-150 PowerBoost hybrid modelsand a larger 7.2 kW generator is optional, with four 120-volt, 20-amp outlets and a 240-volt, 30-amp plug. Ford says you could create a mobile welding shop with so much juice.

More innovative tricks are found inside the F-150. The shift selector can fold flat into the center console, giving way to a hinged surface that provides 15 inches of flat working space. I also love the new Max Recline seats – as someone who regularly gets behind the wheel 12 hours a day, being able to lie down at nearly 180 degrees for fast sleep is delightful. The reclining seats are super comfortable too, with the cushions rearranging to create a flat surface with no dips between the seat back and bottom cushions.

Lots of configurability

The shape and dimensions of the F-150 don’t really change this year, even though all the sheet metal is new. Drivers will mostly notice the newly developed stacked headlights split in two by a horizontal line running across the dashboard. These are activated by LED fog lights and daytime running lights. Top-tier finishes like the King Ranch pictured here have plenty of exterior chrome and include polished 20-inch wheels and metallic trims on the tailgate, proudly proclaiming that you truly are the king of the ranch. Overall, the F-150 is a nice-looking truck, and a bit more buttoned up and tidy than its predecessor.

You can’t really beat the Ford F-150 when it comes to configurability. Available with six thrusters, three cabin options and three bed lengths, there’s a wide range of customizations. And that’s before delving into the six different trim levels and two- and four-wheel drive options.

The F-150 is available with three cabins and three bed lengths.

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Powerful motor options

Regardless of the options selected, the F-150’s thrusters do not disappoint. New this year, Ford offers the PowerBoost hybrid, that we have already tested. This time, I have the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 EcoBoost petrol engine, but you can also get the F-150 with a 3.3-liter V6, 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6, 5.0-liter V8 and 3.0-liter diesel V6.

The petrol-only 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 has 400 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque which is plenty of power for everyday driving, and the truck has plenty of brave mid-range punch for the passage on the highway. The 10-speed automatic transmission is a dream, with smooth, imperceptible shifts and easy downshifts that can skip three or four gears at a time when power is needed.

The PowerBoost hybrid adds $ 2,500 to the F-150’s bottom line, but it’s definitely the engine I’d get, especially considering it’s rated to return 24 mph with four-wheel drive. The regular 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 is estimated by the EPA to return 20mpg, although during a week of testing, I only saw 17.5mpg.

As for the ride quality, well, the F-150 drives like a truck. That is to say it can be a bit springy and floaty, especially with my tester’s FX4 package with off-road tuned front shocks. It’s normal here, but if you want a nice truck to drive, the Ram 1500 with its coil spring setup or optional air suspension is the one to buy. As beautiful as the Ford is, the Ram truck is much more comfortable in the long haul.

The Pro Power Onboard generator is one of the best features of the F-150.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

Truck stuff

The towing and payload specifications of the F-150 depend on the configuration. A longer wheelbase truck with rear wheel drive will tow more than a shorter wheelbase pickup with all wheel drive. My truck with the tow package, short bed, and all-wheel drive can handle 11,000 pounds, but depending on your spec you can tow anywhere from a measly 5,000 pounds to a whopping 14,000 pounds. However, if you’re planning on towing that much regularly, it’s usually best to upgrade to a heavy truck that will have the larger brakes and sturdier chassis to make towing 14,000 pounds easier. Sure, the F-150 will, but you’ll enjoy the experience more on a larger truck.

As for payload, my tester can handle 2,100 pounds in bed, but again, you can carry more or less depending on your configuration, anywhere from 1,705 pounds to 3,325 pounds. As for the competition, the Ram 1500 can tow a maximum of 11,650 pounds and carry 2,320 pounds in the bed. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 can tow 13,300 pounds and carry 2,280 pounds of payload.

Ford has also improved its trailer technology game for 2021. There is a new reverse drive with five cameras and a small graphic that tells you which way to turn the wheel, since it can often be confusing. (Remember, backing up a trailer means turning the wheel to the left to move the trailer to the right.) You can also simply use the Pro Trailer Back-Up Assist, where you rotate a dial in the direction you want the trailer to go and the truck handles the guesswork for you. The Ram 1500 has a similar feature.

However, Chevrolet has cameras available throughout the Silverado, including one that allows drivers to see through their trailer and know what’s behind them. There are four hitch views, six driving views available and five parking views available. If you get that close to hitting something in the Silverado, you’ll know it, or at least you’ll be able to see if it’s happening.

A 12-inch infotainment screen manages Ford Sync 4 technology.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

Tons of tech and nice amenities in the cabin

The F-150 got a major technological upgrade, including a 12-inch display. With Ford’s new Sync 4 infotainment system, this infotainment system is faster and more powerful than outgoing technology, and drivers can use a split-screen feature to control multiple functions simultaneously. Syncing has always been pretty easy to use, and it gets better with this update. wireless Apple CarPlay is Android Auto I’m here and I’m child’s play.

My tester also has a 12-inch digital instrument cluster with interesting graphics and more information than you could ever need. I have chosen to keep it simple with my front and center speed, but I could include the ride mode graphics and navigation information, just to name a few.

Most F-150 trim levels feature the Ford Co-Pilot 360 2.0 suite of standard driving aids, including front and rear emergency braking, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring. My tester does great with adaptive cruise control, lane centering, and a new intersection assistance system that can mitigate an impending crash when turning left in oncoming traffic.

A folding table gives you plenty of space to work or eat.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

Ford is also getting into the hands-free driving game with late availability Super Cruise-as called system Active Drive Assist. On some mapped and divided highways, the F-150 will allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel, although a camera facing the driver ensures that their eyes stay on the road. Expect it to arrive on the F-150 later this year via an over-the-air update.

The cabin of the F-150 gets a nice upgrade, although the Ram 1500 still takes the cake in terms of overall comfort and refinement. Loaded F-150s can be supplied with open pore wood, as well as heated, cooled and massaging front seats. There are also plenty of storage spaces including a center console that can hold Roadshow’s favorite snacks: a six-pack of Diet Dr. Pepper and a Costco-sized box of Cheez-Its with plenty of space left over.

Footpegs and power-distributing handles on the A-pillars make it easy to lift your butt into the truck, while adjustable pedals help both tall and short people find a good driving position. Having found mine, however, it’s a little difficult to reach the center touchscreen without leaning forward a bit. This is a big truck, all of you.

America’s best-selling truck continues to go strong.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

Something for everyone

The F-150 range covers a wide range of prices. A basic XL starts at $ 30,635 (including $ 1,695 per destination), but a fully loaded Limited can reach over $ 80,000. Personally, I would prefer a mid-range Lariat. It is not a patterned trouser model, but it is also much less expensive and still well equipped. I’d add the extra driver aids, but I’d rather skip the package needed for Active Drive Assist as it ends up adding nearly $ 7,000 to the bottom line. I would add the trailer towing package and the hybrid powertrain that gives me the 2.4kW generator. And, of course, the Max Recline seats. I’m all in for $ 58.8155 of which $ 1.695 for the destination. Meanwhile, the King Ranch you see here costs around $ 76,000.

With new features, many powertrains, great technology and tons of capacity, the F-150 continues to offer tons of choice for a wide variety of truck customers. All in all, the F-150 is definitely positioned to maintain its best-selling truck crown for years to come.

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