Ford has gotten one of its major 2020 product reveals out of the way — and as exciting as the new Bronco is, this one is arguably way more important. The company has just unveiled the newest version of the F-150 full-size pickup, the perennial best-selling vehicle in the United States. And while the 2021 model year might technically be a mid-life-cycle refresh, it’s packed with substantive updates.
Below, we’ve compiled is everything you need to know about the new F-150…as well as a few important things we’re still waiting to find out.
The F-150 is going hybrid
Ford pushed the boundaries last time around by going V6-heavy with the F-150, using two turbocharged six-pots largely in lieu of traditional V8s. This time, they will buck convention again by adding what they’re calling the PowerBoost engine: a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 paired with an electric motor and battery pack for hybrid power.
That powertrain will be paired with a 10-speed automatic, and be available on every trim level, from base XL to top-rung Limited. Ford hasn’t ponied up the full specs yet, but they say it will offer “the most torque and horsepower of any light-duty full-size pickup,” a tank range of about 700 miles and a tow rating of at least 12,000 pounds.
The new F-150 offers a built-in generator
Ford’s new pickup truck offers what the brand is calling the “Pro Power Onboard” generator system. It will produce up to 2.0 kilowatts of power in trucks with the pure gas engines, where it’ll be an option; a 2.4-kilowatt version will be standard in the hybrid F-150, with a 7.2-kilowatt version available as an option. It will offer power through both outlets in the cabin and up to four outlets in the cargo bed, and will even work when the truck is in motion.
The 2021 F-150 can be optioned with business class-style lay-flat seats
Top-shelf King Ranch, Platinum and Limited models can be fitted with what Ford is calling “Max Recline seats.” Like those in the business class of international airline flights, these fold flat for an optimal resting position, making them perfect for quick catnaps during lunch breaks…or particularly tedious webinars.
The new interior might make luxury car buyers jealous
Lincoln has been doing great things with interiors, as one can see from the Navigator and Aviator SUVs. Ford seems to be following suit with its flagship vehicle. Prominent features include a retractable console shifter that enables a fold-out working or eating surface between the front seats. There’s also a lockable storage vault between the rear seats. And, of course, top-trim variants will offer leather, wood and other high-end materials in grand volumes.
The F-150 is getting all the tech
An 8.0-inch touchscreen display is standard for the infotaiment, but owners can opt for a 12-inch version — as well as a 12-inch digital gauge cluster. The F-150 also will offer what Ford calls “bumper to bumper” over-the-air software updates — but wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will come right out of the gate. It will also have a digital owner’s manual with how-to videos, and the option for an 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen Unleashed sound system with speakers in the headliner and headrests.
Hands-free driving is coming to the F-150…eventually
Ford’s suite of driver-assist features will include Active Drive Assist. First seen in the new Mustang Mach E, this will allow for hands-free driving on 100,000 miles of divided highways in the U.S. and Canada. Ford has included the hardware. The software should arrive in the third quarter of 2021.
Campers will love one F-150 lighting feature
F-150 buyers can option their truck with Zone Lighting, which offers sectional outside lights that can be turned on and off independently from the cabin or a mobile device.
The F-150 will have a super-useful tailgate
Tailgates have been a key battleground in the full-size pickup wars. Ford’s latest entrant will offer some nifty features. It will have built-in cleats for tie-downs, and built-in clamp pockets for holding down materials. The 2021 F-150 can even be optioned with a flat work surface with integrated rulers and holders for mobile devices, cups, and pencils. The tailgate can even be raised and lowered remotely.
What we don’t know yet
We don’t know what the power outputs for the engines will be yet (at least, not officially). Ford hasn’t given us the EPA fuel economy ratings for those engines, either, but says they will come later in 2020.
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