2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s been the best-selling pickup for generations, has carried carpenters to worksites, busted trails to mountaintops, rolled up to clubs, and took young couples to the altar.  It’s so embedded in American culture that it’s even been on postage stamps.  But, for the first time in its very long history, it can power a worksite, campsite, or partysite all on its own.  A full redesign lofts the 2021 Ford F-150 to the top.

Its military grade aluminum bodywork may not look all that different, but nearly every inch has been finessed to imbue a tougher look while employing subtle aero tricks like revised tailgate geometry, active grille shutters, and automatically lowering air dam to improve fuel consumption.  Glistening LED headlamps, running boards, and dark trim gave our XLT edition suave sporty style.  Details like mirror spotlights, bed lighting, and dark 20” alloy wheels button the suit.
Interiors focus on the tablet-size horizontal touchscreen that dominates the center dash.  It’s sleek, but Ford clearly benchmarked the best competitors because it employs simple icons to access the 8-speaker B&O audio system, hands-free calling, real-time navigation mapping, and trailering apps.  Passengers can also use natural voice controls or redundant buttons below.  Devices now connect wirelessly through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Ford+Alexa, and Waze.  Over-the-air software updates keep everything current.   
The cabin is a comfortable and functional oasis.  Our Super Crew has stretch-out legroom in the back and heated seats up front.  Dual-zone automatic climate control and twin panel moonroof move around air and sunshine.  Need a convenient place to work?  Press a button to retract the gear selector and flip open the console lid to create a flat surface.  
Airliners have fewer safety systems.  Forward collision alert with auto braking, blind spot warning (including trailer coverage), lane keep assist, and rear cross path detection are a start, but go further with adaptive cruise, rear seat child reminder, and lane centering system.  Ford’s Trailer Reverse Guidance employs high-res cameras and screen guides to tell drivers where to steer.  
If you’re having technology overload, grab a glass of Chablis and relax because the powertrain is as advanced.  Ford’s twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 mates with a lithium-ion battery-based hybrid system to deliver 430 horsepower and 570 lb.-ft. of torque (400 hp/500 lb.-ft. for non-hybrids).  It all routes to the four-wheel-drive system through a 10-speed automatic transmission.  I can pull up to 12,400 pounds or achieve 24/24-MPG city/highway.  

While the hybrid system doesn’t generate Prius-rivaling fuel economy, it provides a swift kick in acceleration and something else:  An integrated power generator that provides 7.2 kW to electrify worksites, campgrounds, and tailgating parties through an array of power outlets in the bedside.  While you’re back there, notice the deployable step, bed die-down cleats, and tailgate work station with ruler, pencil slots, mobile device holder, and ability to clamp down projects – everything you need to make your back yard beautiful.
If all of this sounds impressive, just wait until the third quarter of this year when software upgrades allow the F-150 to cruise hands-free on more than 100,000 miles of divided highways.  Until then, a combination of tough looks, comfy functional interior, and next-generation powertrain should keep stamps well-licked.  A base price of $28,940 for very F-150s rises to $65,256 for our XLT Hybrid.  Competitors include the Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, Ram 1500, and Toyota Tundra.

Casey Williams (MyCarData)