The F-150 was redesigned for 2021 with a mildly updated exterior, an upgraded cabin, the first-ever hybrid model, and more tech and innovative work-related features. Even with all that, the workhorse-tough F-150—long America’s best-selling vehicle—didn’t make a significant step forward overall, with only incremental improvements in ride comfort and handling agility.
We purchased a Lariat hybrid as well as a conventional XLT. Based on the 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 and with 430 horsepower on tap, the hybrid is the brawniest in the F-150 lineup (at least until the next-generation F-150 Raptor debuts), with what feels like a nearly bottomless amount of power along with an impressive 12,400-pound tow rating. We weren’t thrilled with the hybrid’s occasional rough downshifts, though. The non-hybrid XLT version with the popular 325-hp, 2.7-liter turbo V6 may not have the grunt of the hybrid or its towing capacity (rated at 7,700 pounds for our test truck), but it’s still a gem, with loads of low-end power and timely, smooth shifting from its 10-speed automatic transmission.
Although the aptly named “PowerBoost” hybrid 4WD is rated at 24 mpg combined by the EPA’s lab testing, our on-road testing resulted in 20 mpg overall. The gas-only version registered at 19 mpg overall, identical to our 2018 tested model.