F-150 All-New for 2021

By Derek Price
What I expected from the new Ford F-150 was evolution, the latest iteration of subtle changes that make “all-new” more hyperbole than reality.
What I experienced was revolution.
The new 2021 F-150, despite its glacially slow styling changes on the outside, really does seem all-new under the skin. It’s the lightest feeling, most nimble handling full-size truck I’ve ever driven, moving more like a swift wide receiver than the lumbering offensive linemen that most trucks embody.
A big part of that is because of continued revisions and improvements to the F-150’s ahead-of-its-time aluminum body, something Ford consistently and somewhat humorously reminds buyers is like the military, not like the foil.
Regardless of the associations, this newest aluminum-bodied Ford is remarkable in its ability to bridge comfort, capability, utility and efficiency. It can tow a class-leading 14,000 pounds, a mind-blowing number for what is technically considered a “light duty” truck, while still delivering a comfortable ride for everyday driving.

While its overall appearance has been a slower evolution than the Ram and Chevrolet trucks it competes with, the Ford F-150 gets an all-new design for 2021 that feels fresh and modern under the skin.

Even with the FX4 off-road package on my tester, a suspension package designed for trails and rocks that could create a rough feeling on F-150s of the past, this is an incredibly smooth and quiet pickup. It almost rivals the new-generation Ram 1500 in terms of silence and smoothness on the highway, something that wasn’t true last year.
The cabin is where the F-150 truly starts looking like a new-generation pickup, with the option for digital displays that seemingly cover acres of dash space.
A  gigantic, 12-inch touchscreen — standard equipment on XLT High trims and above — can be split multiple ways to control several functions at the same time. I used it to run Apple CarPlay on one section of the screen while using Ford’s interface to control other things simultaneously, something impossible without large digital real estate.
Another 12-inch screen behind the steering wheel provides the flashiest, most useful and modern looking instrument layout I’ve ever seen in a truck. It can be customized with the information and style the driver wants, showing everything from which gear is engaged to information about music playing through the sound system.
This is a truck, though, and truck technology should be more about work than flash. That’s another area in which the new F-150 shines.

The F-150’s cabin showcases new technologies, including the ability to estimate the weight of payloads using sensors in the truck.

Several innovative features on the new Ford pickup are the first ever offered in this class, including Onboard Scales that measure weights of payloads. It estimates the weight of cargo in the bed and shows a graphic for how much capacity is remaining to stay within limits.
In addition, the new Smart Hitch can measure the tongue weight of a trailer to minimize the risk of swaying when towing, while Continuously Controlled Damping adjusts the truck’s ride based on how much weight it senses.
Many of the things that make the F-150 the nation’s most popular vehicle continue for 2021. You can order it in an almost infinite number of combinations, including six powertrains, one of which is a hybrid for the first time ever. There are three cab styles, long beds, short beds, and trim levels that range from bare bones to sumptuous luxury.
The downside, like all of today’s pickups, is the price. The F-150 does a spectacular job as a “do it all” vehicle, but it comes with the expense to match. The most basic version is priced around $29,000, and outfitting it exactly how you want can quickly drive the price higher, as seen in my $68,000 tester.
The F-150 Limited tops the lineup at $70,825, before you add any options.

At A Glance

What was tested? 2021 Ford F-150 SuperCrew 4×4 Lariat ($50,980). Options: Equipment group 502A ($6,920), 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost ($1,400), 3.55 electronic locking rear axle ($470), tow technology package ($880), power running boards ($1,220), Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package ($995), Pro Power Onboard 7.2 KW ($750), interior work surface ($165), FX4 off-road package ($1,005), power tailgate ($695), Lariat Sport appearance package ($300), wheel well liner ($180), spray-in Berliner ($595). Price as tested (including $1,695 destination charge): $68,250
Wheelbase: 157.2 in.
Length: 243.5 in.
Width: 95.7 in.
Height: 77.6 in.
Engine: 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 (400 hp, 500 ft.-lbs.)
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 18 city, 23 highway

Style: 8
Performance: 9
Price: 8
Handling: 6
Ride: 8
Comfort: 9
Quality: 8
Overall: 8

Why buy it?
It’s an improvement on the most popular vehicle in the United States, making it stronger, more refined and more capable. It can tow up to 14,000 pounds and has a smoother, quieter ride at the same time.

Posted in Ford