Ford’s venerable truck has been many things for over 100 years, except electrified. By 2021, that changes.
The 2021 Ford F-150 was unveiled Thursday and is the brand’s first full-size hybrid truck. The heavily overhauled truck also gets improved interior quality and functionality, new driver assistance features including a hands-free driving mode, more convenience features, and even some Easter eggs.
The biggest news is a new hybrid powertrain, which Ford calls PowerBoost. It consists of Ford’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6, a 47-horsepower electric motor built into the transmission, and a 1.5-kW under-floor lithium-ion battery. Ford has not yet provided specifications, but said the hybrid truck would offer the most torque and horsepower of any full-size truck, would be EPA-rated with a 700-mile range on a gas tank and would tow 12,000 pounds or more. The hybrid powertrain will be offered on XL to Limited models only with the SuperCrew cabin. The model lineup will consist of XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited.
A number of features and amenities are intended to make trucks easier to drive and more comfortable. A new Active Drive Assist feature will drive the truck, without driver intervention, on certain divided roads, as long as drivers are paying attention to the road. The system uses a driver-facing camera to monitor attention and will notify the driver when to take control of the steering wheel. The hardware will be available this fall when the truck goes on sale, but customers will have to pay to activate it starting next summer. Trucks will be delivered via another new feature for the 2021 F-150, upgrades over the air or at a dealership.
Ten new driver assistance features will be offered. In addition to Active Drive Assist, new features include an intersection monitor that detects oncoming traffic when turning left, an updated automatic parking function that can guide the vehicle out of a parking space, adaptive cruise control, lane centering, evasive steering assistance, post-collision braking and reverse automatic braking. Each F-150 will come with Ford’s active safety feature set, called the Co-Pilot 360, which will include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, auto-dimming high beams, automatic headlamps, and a rear-view camera that can help. to guide the driver to align the trailer hitch. F-150 XLT models and above will add blind spot monitors with cross-traffic alerts that also cover a trailer, active lane control, lane departure warnings, rear parking sensors, automatic reverse braking and post-collision braking.
Inside, the F-150 will have improved materials and a more user-friendly design. A new work surface feature includes a forward-folding shift lever and a fold-down tray to turn the center console into a large, flat work area that can hold a 15-inch laptop, according to Ford. A new double glove box and a lockable rear under-seat compartment that can be folded down when not in use provide additional storage capacity. New flat driver and passenger seats recline nearly 180 degrees and will be optional on Platinum, King Ranch, and Limited trims. Like a fun Easter egg, XLT Sport models will have a Detroit map on their door panels, and all models will have American flags on either side of the instrument cluster housing. We’ll see if other Easter eggs make it to the truck.
On all models, the center displays get bigger. An 8.0-inch touchscreen replaces a 4.2-inch display on XL and XLT models, while higher-line models get a new 12.0-inch touchscreen in a horizontal design. Both displays work with Sync 4, the next generation of Ford’s infotainment system with twice the processing power of Sync 3, natural language speech recognition, and wireless compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A new group of 12.0-inch digital meters will change their design in different driving modes.
On all models, the center displays get bigger. An 8.0-inch touchscreen replaces a 4.2-inch display on XL and XLT models, while higher-line models get a new 12.0-inch touchscreen in a horizontal design.
All of the body panels are new, but the truck’s traditional design cues remain the same. The belt line has the same staggered appearance as the current truck, and round wheel arches return. However, the wheels are pulled out 3/4 of an inch. Ford will offer 11 different grilles depending on the model and package, and all will have active shutters that close on the road for better fuel economy. The F-150 will also add an active front airdam that deploys at 40 mph, retracts 3/4 of an inch at slower speeds, and retracts even more for the off-roader. Ford says the 2021 F-150 is 3% more aerodynamic.
The Ford F-150 2021 pickup goes on sale this fall. Performance stats, pricing, and full gear will be available closer to launch.