2021 Ford F-150 evaluation: Setting the next bar

It won’t look totally different than its predecessor, however the F-150 is new and improved the place it issues most.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

The Ford F-150 is the best-selling pickup in America for a motive: It simply works. Whether or not on the job or at play, the F-150 has lengthy been the dependable stalwart on this section, even within the face of powerful competitors just like the Ram 1500. This yr marks the introduction of the 14th-gen F-150, bringing with it some modern options and new applied sciences that ought to maintain it on the head of its class for years to return.

LikeLots of work-friendly featuresExcellent cabin techPunchy turbocharged engine

Do not LikeOccasionally tough ridePoor gas economyBland inside design

Vital new options

Arguably the most important information this yr is the provision of an onboard generator, one thing that got here in helpful earlier this yr when a great chunk of Texas was with out energy. My check truck has a 2-kilowatt generator with two 120-volt, 20-amp shops, which is ideal for tailgating or operating smaller instruments on a job website. A 2.4-kW generator is normal on F-150 PowerBoost hybrid fashions, and a bigger 7.2-kW generator is non-compulsory, with 4 120-volt, 20-amp shops, and one 240-volt, 30-amp plug. Ford says you may arrange a cellular welding store with this a lot juice.

Extra modern tips are discovered contained in the F-150. The gear selector can fold flat into the middle console, making manner for a fold-down floor that gives 15 inches of flat work area. I really like the brand new Max Recline seats, too — as somebody who routinely places in 12-hour days behind the wheel, having the ability to lay down at practically 180 levels to have a fast snooze is pleasant. The reclining seats are tremendous snug too, with the cushions rearranging themselves to make a flat floor with no dip between the seat again and backside cushions.

A lot of configurability

The F-150’s form and dimension would not actually change this yr, though all of the sheet metallic is new. Drivers will largely discover the newly designed stacked headlamps bisected by a horizontal line operating throughout the fascia. These are set off by LED fog lights and daytime operating lights. Greater-level trims just like the King Ranch pictured right here get plenty of exterior chrome and embrace 20-inch polished wheels and metallic trim throughout the tailgate, proudly proclaiming that you’re certainly the king of the ranch. Total, the F-150 is a nice-looking truck, and slightly extra buttoned-up and tidy than its predecessor.

You actually cannot beat the Ford F-150 so far as configurability is worried. Obtainable with six powertrains, three cab choices and three mattress lengths, there is a wealth of customization available. And that is earlier than you dig into the six totally different trim ranges and two- and four-wheel drive choices.

The F-150 is obtainable with three cabs and three mattress lengths.

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Highly effective engine choices

No matter which choices you choose, the F-150’s powertrains do not disappoint. New for this yr, Ford affords the PowerBoost hybrid, which we have already examined. This time round, I’ve the three.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 gasoline engine, however you too can get the F-150 with a 3.3-liter V6, 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6, 5.0-liter V8 and three.0-liter diesel V6.

The gas-only 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 has 400 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque which is loads of energy for on a regular basis driving, and the truck has loads of gutsy midrange punch for freeway passing. The 10-speed automated transmission is a dream, with clean, imperceptible upshifts and simple downshifts that may soar three or 4 gears at a time when energy is required.

The PowerBoost hybrid provides $2,500 to the F-150’s backside line, however it’s positively the engine I would get, particularly when you think about it is rated to return 24 mph with four-wheel drive. The conventional 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 is EPA-estimated to return 20 mpg, although throughout every week of testing, I solely noticed 17.5 mpg.

As for experience high quality, nicely, the F-150 drives like a truck. That’s to say it may be slightly bouncy and floaty, particularly with my tester’s FX4 bundle with off-road tuned entrance shocks. It is par for the course right here, however if you need a nice-riding truck, the Ram 1500 with its coil-spring setup or non-compulsory air suspension is the one to purchase. Good because the Ford is, Ram’s truck is far more snug over the lengthy haul.

The Professional Energy Onboard generator is without doubt one of the F-150’s greatest options.

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Truck stuff

The F-150’s towing and payload specs depend upon configuration. An extended-wheelbase truck with rear-wheel drive will tow greater than a shorter-wheelbase pickup with four-wheel drive. My truck with the tow bundle, brief mattress and four-wheel drive can deal with 11,000 kilos, however relying in your spec you may tow anyplace from a paltry 5,000 kilos to a whopping 14,000 kilos. Nevertheless, if you are going to tow that a lot on the common, it is often higher to improve to a heavy-duty truck which could have the larger brakes and sturdier body to make towing 14,000 kilos simpler. Certain, the F-150 will do it, however you may benefit from the expertise extra in an even bigger truck.

As for payload, my tester can deal with 2,100 kilos within the mattress, however once more, you may haul roughly relying on configuration, anyplace from 1,705 kilos to three,325 kilos. As for the competitors, the Ram 1500 can tow a most of 11,650 kilos and haul 2,320 kilos within the mattress. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 can tow 13,300 kilos and carry 2,280 kilos of payload.

Ford upped its trailer know-how sport for 2021, as nicely. There is a new reverse information with 5 cameras and slightly graphic that tells you which of them strategy to flip the steering wheel, since that may typically be complicated. (Keep in mind, backing up a trailer means turning the wheel to the left to maneuver the trailer to the suitable.) You can too simply use the Professional Trailer Again-Up Help, the place you flip a dial within the course you need the trailer to go and the truck handles the guesswork for you. The Ram 1500 has the same characteristic.

Nevertheless, Chevrolet has cameras accessible all around the Silverado, together with one that enables drivers to form of see by way of their trailer and know what’s behind them. There are 4 accessible hitch views, six accessible driving views and 5 accessible parking views. If you happen to even get this near hitting one thing within the Silverado, you may find out about it — or at the least be capable of see if occurring.

A 12-inch infotainment display runs Ford’s Sync Four tech.

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Tons of tech and good cabin facilities

The F-150 obtained a significant tech improve, together with a 12-inch show. Working Ford’s new Sync Four infotainment system, this infotainment system is quicker and extra highly effective than the outgoing tech and drivers can use a split-screen characteristic to regulate a number of capabilities on the similar time. Sync has all the time been fairly straightforward to make use of, and it simply will get higher with this improve. Wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are right here and so they’re a breeze to arrange.

My tester additionally has a 12-inch digital gauge cluster with some cool graphics and extra info than you may ever want. I select to maintain it easy with my pace entrance and middle however I may embrace drive mode graphics and navigation info, to call a number of.

Most F-150 trims get Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 2.Zero suite of driver’s aids normal, together with entrance and rear emergency braking, lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring. My tester goes huge with adaptive cruise management, lane centering and a brand new intersection help that may mitigate an imminent crash when turning left into oncoming site visitors.

A fold-down desk provides you loads of room to work — or eat.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Ford can also be moving into the hands-free driving sport with a late-availability Tremendous Cruise-like system referred to as Energetic Drive Help. On sure mapped and divided highways the F-150 will permit drivers to take their fingers off the steering wheel, though a driver-facing digicam makes positive your eyes stay on the street. Count on it to return to the F-150 later this yr by way of an over-the-air replace.

The F-150’s cabin will get a pleasant improve, although the Ram 1500 nonetheless takes the cake when it comes to general consolation and refinement. Loaded F-150s might be had with open-pore wooden, in addition to heated, cooled and massaging entrance seats. There are additionally loads of storage locations together with a middle console that may maintain Roadshow’s favourite snacks: a six-pack of Weight loss plan Dr. Pepper and a Costco-sized field of Cheez-Its with loads of room left over.

The ability-deploying operating boards and handles on the A-pillars make hauling my butt up into the truck simpler, and adjustable pedals assist each brief and tall individuals discover a good driving place. Having discovered mine, nevertheless, it’s a bit troublesome to succeed in the middle touchscreen with out leaning ahead fairly a bit. This can be a huge truck, y’all.

America’s best-selling truck retains going sturdy.

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One thing for everybody

The F-150 vary covers an enormous swath of costs. A base XL begins at $30,635 (together with $1,695 for vacation spot), however a totally loaded Restricted can attain above $80,000. Personally, I would follow a midrange Lariat. It is no fancy-pants mannequin, however it’s additionally a lot inexpensive and nonetheless nicely geared up. I would add the additional driver’s aids however I’d most like skip the bundle wanted for the Energetic Drive Help because it finally ends up including practically $7,000 to the underside line. I would add the trailer tow bundle and the hybrid powertrain which provides me the two.4-kW generator. And naturally, the Max Recline seats. I am all in at $58,8155 together with $1,695 for vacation spot. In the meantime, the King Ranch you see right here is available in round $76,000.

With new options, plenty of powertrains, nice tech and tons of functionality, the F-150 continues to supply tons of alternative for all kinds of truck clients. All issues thought of, the F-150 is unquestionably positioned to maintain its best-selling truck crown for years to return. 

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