Debut: 2021 Ford F-150

“Don’t mess with success,” the saying goes. Ford appears to have listened, as the 2021 Ford F-150 has debuted and is more of an evolution of a successful formula than a revolution that could possibly disturb sales. 2021 marks the beginning of a new generation of Ford F-150, the truck that has lead the market in sales for the past 43 consecutive years.

The exterior of the 2021 F-150 is all-new, featuring military-grade aluminum exterior body panels, which is still class exclusive. All new, yet familiar, immediately recognizable, with a strong sense of brand identity seems to be what Ford is going for. Anyone familiar with the 2018-2020 F-150 or SuperDuty will recognize the new F-150 as a Ford product, but the beauty is in the details. For 2021, Ford is offering 11 different grilles, varying based on trim and equipment packages. Active grille shutters smartly open and close in real time, while an automatically deploying front airdam also helps to maximize efficiency, reduce drag, and improve fuel effieciency. The wheels have been pushed out 3 quarters of an inch to give the truck a sturdier stance and more stable handling.

Technology abounds in the new F-150. Get into the driver’s seat, and glance at the configurable 12″ display (available on select trims). Glance to your right, and you’ll be greeted by the with the central 12″ touch screen, in landscape orientation, offering a split screen display that can show navigation, music, or truck features side by side, standard on XLT high series and above. An 8″ touch screen is standard on XL and XLT mid series trims. Ford’s newest iteration of Sync, Sync 4, is standard equipment on all trim levels. The 2021 F-150 is the first full-size pickup with standard over-the-air updates. These updates are all-encompassing, and can include supplemental features and functions that weren’t available when you bought the truck, throughout the life of the truck. Ford reports that the majority of updates will be completed in under two minutes. To sweeten the package further, Ford also notes that customer will be able to determine an update time works for them, without the system forcing an unforeseen update.

Interior Work Surface is a new Ford innovation for 2021. A trick folding shift level clears the way, allowing a traditional console shifter without sacrificing room. Available in both bench and bucket seats on XL to Limited trim levels, Interior Work Surface creates a flat surface bisecting the front seats,perfect for work or even laying out a meal to share with a passenger. The 2021 F-150 will have available Active Drive Assist. This system allows hands-free driving on more than 100k miles of divided highway in all 50 states and in Canada. The system monitors driver head and eye-position to ensure that the driver is paying attention, or else the system will not function, and the driver will actually have to put their hands on the wheel and drive.

Ford is debuting the Power Boost full hybrid system on the 2021 F-150. It uses a 1.5 kw lithium ion battery, a 35 kw (47 horsepower) electric motor, and regenerative braking to offer the only full hybrid system in its class. Ford promises that the Power Boost will have the most horsepower and torque of any light-duty full-size pickup, at least 12,000 pounds of towing capacity, and approximately 700 miles range on a single tank of fuel. The other gas and diesel engines carryover, as does the standard 10-speed automatic transmission.

New for 2021 is the Pro Power Onboard system, that offers several levels of exportable power: 2.0 kw output on the standard gas engines, and either 2.4kw or 7.2 kw output on the Power Boost hybrid powertrain. Ford has designed that power to be easily 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 7.2kw version. With Pro Power Onboard, you can generate enough power for anything from a power saw, mini fridge, TV, and even a jackhammer or 2 electric dirtbikes with the higher-output system. From work to play, the new 2021 F-150 has you covered unlike any other pickup before it.


Time will tell if Ford’s carefully calculated gambles will payoff with the 2021 F-150. Some may have liked to see an all-new frame and suspension, more new powertrains, or even more revolutionary styling. However, Ford has proven for the past 43 years that it has the recipe for success locked up tight, and perhaps Ford has packed just enough innovation and familiarity into the new F-150 to prove that they still build America’s #1 pickup truck.

-Ken Wilson

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