The redesigned 2021 Ford F-150 continues with a steel frame and an aluminum body, three cab configurations, three bed lengths, and six engines, including a diesel and a new hybrid. There are myriad configurations again, with six trim levels.
Ford F-150 Road Test
First Drive

All-New 2021 Ford F-150 Is a High-Tech Workhorse

The popular pickup gains a hybrid powertrain, advanced safety features, and many clever solutions

Overview

Competition is fierce in the full-sized pickup truck arena as Ford launches its all-new warrior, the redesigned 2021 F-150. It's clear that the popularity and profitability of this truck provides the motivation for a significant evolution with each generation.

This generation is no different as Ford looks to deliver with an interior upgrade, work-friendly innovations, a hybrid powertrain, and a generous roster of safety and driver assist features that rival a luxury vehicle.

The core principles carry forward with a lightly updated exterior, steel frame/aluminum body, three cab configurations, three bed lengths, and six engines to choose from. There are myriad configurations again, with six trim levels: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited. Digging deeper, there are many features and detail touches that could make this one of the most appealing F-150 generations ever.

The new truck boasts some big numbers, with a maximum of 430 horsepower, 3,250 lbs. cargo capacity, and 14,000 lbs. towing capability.

The F-150 will be made in America at two factories (the Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan and Kansas City Assembly in Missouri) and goes on sale this fall.

Here's what we know so far.

The F-150 is all-new inside and out. The exterior looks distinctly like an F-Series truck, but it's updated with C-clamp-inspired headlamps, refined round wheel arches, a bulging hood, larger door handle cutouts for gloved hands, and larger-diameter tires positioned outward by three-quarters of an inch to give it a more powerful stance. Standard wheels span 17 to 18 inches, and there are optional 20- and 22-inch wheels.

There are three types of headlights: halogen, LED, and active LED that rotate in turns.

Ford says aerodynamics have improved by 3 percent. Key among the wind-cheating tricks is active grille shutters on all models that close to improve efficiency when fresh air isn’t needed for cooling the engine. There are 11 different grilles offered on the F-150.

This is Ford’s first application of an active air dam. It adjusts to balance efficiency and cooling by moving up three-fourths of an inch at low speeds to aid clearance, and it can be fully retracted for off-roading.

There are three cab sizes: regular, extended, and crew, and three bed lengths: 5.5, 6.5, and 8 feet. Ford says 80 percent of customers use the truck for hauling stuff in the bed, and it admits that accessing the bed from the side is difficult. Power running boards are available that extend under the bed to make it easy to step up for side loading. The boards lower when the truck is approached with a key fob. They can also be activated manually or set to deploy when you wave your leg nearby, like hands-free liftgates on SUVs.

Recognizing that many owners use the tailgate as an impromptu workbench, this one has been designed with a flat area that has niches for a tablet, cup, and pens. There are also cleats for anchoring tie downs. Perimeter lighting can illuminate all around the truck or just a portion as needed, helpful for working at dusk or setting up a campsite. The tailgate now lights up to help with evening projects.

Impressions An available 12-inch instrument panel has gauges and various animations that represent different functions and modes. The center dash has an 8-inch touch screen on XL and XLT models for the infotainment center, with higher trims fitted with a large 12-inch touch screen.
Road Test Scores by Trim
crew cab XLT V6-cyl 10-speed Automatic
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