2021 Ford F-150 Preview

FAST FACTS
  • Redesigned inside and out
  • Steel frame, aluminum body
  • Gas, diesel, and hybrid powertrains
  • Innovative work solutions
  • Class-leading technology
  • XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited trims
  • Built in Michigan and Missouri
  • On sale in fall of 2020

Introduction - Find the best Ford deals!

For more than four decades, the Ford F-150 has been the best-selling truck in America. In fact, an economic analysis by the Boston Consulting Group claims the entire F-Series lineup generated $42 billion in revenue in 2019, second only to the Apple iPhone in terms of branded consumer product sales of any kind.

(Jaw drops, hits floor.)

Obviously, there is plenty riding on the success of the redesigned 2021 Ford F-150, and by all indications, the automaker has nothing to fear. Boasting multiple innovations that are thoughtful, practical, and useful in everyday life, the new Ford F-150 will undoubtedly continue to succeed.

2021 Ford F-150 Limited Blue Towing Boat

The truck continues in XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited trim levels. An STX Package continues for the F-150 XL, while the XLT comes in standard, Sport, and Lux sub-trims. No fewer than 11 different grille and 13 different wheel designs help to differentiate the various versions of the new F-150.

Exterior Features - Find the best Ford deals!

Ford broke the pickup truck mold with the previous-generation F-150, which used a military-grade aluminum alloy body mounted to a high-strength steel frame. That continues for the 2021 Ford F-150, but every exterior panel is new even if the redesigned truck is instantly recognizable.

2021 Ford F-150 XLT Sport Blue Tailgate Work Surface

Design highlights include a power dome hood design, higher front fenders, better defined body character lines, and bolder wheel arches. Within them, larger diameter tires sit more than half an inch wider than before, improving the truck’s stance.

The new F-150 is more aerodynamic than before, thanks to active grille shutters, an active air dam, and cab and tailgate details designed to reduce drag and improve efficiency. So-called C-clamp front running lights make the F-150 unmistakable, and they’re matched by C-clamp taillights.

Within the cargo bed, new tie-down cleats designed specifically for longer items debut, and clamp pockets in the tailgate are helpful on the work site and for opening bottles once the workday is over.

Interior Features - Find the best Ford deals!

Ford had several goals for the new F-150’s interior: increase storage, improve the materials, upgrade the technology, and add comfort.

2021 Ford F-150 Limited Interior Work Surface Dashboard

To assist in achieving them, Ford adds a dual-glovebox design with an upper storage area hidden behind the trim panel in front of the passenger. Tones and textures improve, and the F-150’s cabin comes in a wider range of colors. New soil-resistant seats are standard in the XL trim, while top-of-the-line Limited versions have plush, quilted leather with exposed stitching.

Additional enhancements to the interior are covered in more detail in the sections that follow.

Optional Features - Find the best Ford deals!

One the big innovations with the 2021 Ford F-150 is the optional Interior Work Surface. Available with bench or bucket seats, this upgrade transforms the middle of the F-150 into a laptop workstation or a table on which to enjoy a meal. In versions of the truck that have a console-mounted transmission shifter, a button folds it to make room for the working surface.

Another innovation is the Max Recline Seats option, offered with King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited trim. The seat backs recline, the seat cushions raise, and the result is a nearly flat sleeping environment. Combine this option with the locking rear underseat storage compartment, complete with section dividers, and you could theoretically live in this truck.

Front and rear LED lighting is available, including adaptive front lighting that turns the beams to help see around corners and curves. Zone Lighting allows the F-150’s owner to illuminate specific sections of the truck’s exterior lighting from the infotainment screen or the FordPass smartphone app.

Optional power extending running boards now extend the full length between the truck’s wheels to help with cargo box access and include a hands-free kick switch to activate them.

Another new innovation is the Tailgate Work Surface, which includes a built-in smartphone holder, a cup holder, rulers, and pencil holder to help make on-site work easier and more convenient.

Under the Hood - Find the best Ford deals!

When the new 2021 F-150 goes on sale in the fall of 2020, Ford expects it to provide the most horsepower, the most torque, the most towing capacity, and the most payload capacity of any light-duty pickup truck in America.

Final powertrain specifications are yet to come, but the new 2021 Ford F-150 will offer a nearly identical lineup of engines to the outgoing truck. That means the following power plants will be available, all paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission:

  • 3.3-liter V-6
  • Turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V-6
  • Twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6
  • Twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6
  • 5.0-liter V8 (now with cylinder deactivation)

The twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 came in two states of tune in 2020, with the version in the off-road F-150 Raptor model making significantly more power. For now, Ford says only one version of the engine is available, with power enhancements.

The big news for the 2021 Ford F-150 is the new PowerBoost hybrid drivetrain. Based on the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6, it integrates a 35-kW electric motor into the 10-speed automatic transmission in order to provide instant torque the moment the driver presses on the truck’s accelerator. A regenerative braking system recharged the 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery as you drive.

Ford says the PowerBoost hybrid will supply best-in-class horsepower and torque, will tow more than 12,000 pounds, and will travel more than 700 miles on a 30.9-gallon tank of gas. That translates to 22.7 mpg.

Pro Power Onboard is another cool innovation with the new F-150. Owners told Ford they often carry a generator in the truck’s bed, and theft is a problem. With this feature, F-150 owners can leave the generator at home, saving room in the cargo bed and preventing generator theft.

With gasoline engines, Pro Power Onboard supplies 2.0 kW of electrical output. With the PowerBoost hybrid, the option offers 2.4 kW of power. A 7.2 kW version is available with the PowerBoost drivetrain.

Pro Power Onboard includes four 120-volt 20-amp electrical outlets in the F-150’s cargo bed, and the 7.2 kW version also comes with a 240-volt 30-amp outlet. This gives F-150 owners the ability to recharge tools between jobs, to power tools on the job site, or power an entire campsite.

Safety - Find the best Ford deals!

Ford also ups the F-150’s game when it comes to advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS). Standard equipment for the XL and XLT trim levels now includes forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, automatic headlights with high-beam assistance, and a reversing camera with hitch-view assistance.

Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0 is widely available for the new F-150, adding features such as lane departure warning and lane keeping assistance, blind spot warning with trailer coverage, rear cross-traffic warning, and more. Active Park Assist 2.0 is a part of this collection of ADAS, taking full control of the F-150 for parallel and perpendicular parking situations.

New for 2021, Active Drive Assist is an optional Level 2 hands-free driving assist technology. Similar to Cadillac Super Cruise and Tesla Autopilot, Active Drive Assist works on approximately 100,000 miles of limited-access highways in the U.S. and Canada. 

Active Drive Assist includes adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, lane centering assistance, and a camera-based driver monitoring system to ensure drivers are paying attention at all times and not kicking back in the Max Recline Seats. When the F-150 goes on sale, the option will install a hardware preparation kit. The software is coming in the third quarter of 2021, available via an over-the-air or dealer installed update. At the time of activation, a separate payment is required for the feature.

Intersection assistance is another new-for-2021 ADAS feature. When making a left turn, it can automatically apply the brakes if you’re about to make an unsafe turn in front of oncoming traffic.

The F-150’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist technology remains available, providing a knob on the dashboard that autonomously steers the truck in order to achieve the direction you want the trailer to go. 

For 2021, the F-150 gains the Trailer Reverse Guidance technology that debuted in the 2020 F-Series Super Duty. It uses a high resolution camera to provide a driver with multiple views of the trailer and surroundings, as well as guidance graphics telling the driver which way to turn steering wheel to achieve desired results.

Technology - Find the best Ford deals!

Every 2021 Ford F-150 comes with Sync 4, the automaker’s next-generation infotainment technology. It is paired with an 8-inch touchscreen display in XLT Sport and lower trim levels, and with a 12-inch display in XLT Lux and higher trim levels. The larger display features a landscape orientation, differentiating it from the similarly sized portrait-oriented screen in the Ram 1500, and provides split-screen functionality allowing access to three different functions at one time. 

Featuring over-the-air software and feature updates that owners can schedule to happen overnight, Sync 4 supplies twice the computing power of Sync 3, plus natural voice recognition, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and wireless app access to Alexa and Waze. Ford also says it has cellular vehicle-to-X capability, allowing the truck to communicate with other Ford models and the surrounding infrastructure.

FordPass Connect is standard, using an embedded 4G LTE modem supporting up to ten connected devices. A FordPass smartphone app provides remote access and control of various functions, including engine starting, the climate system, door locks, and a vehicle locator. Additional features include 911 Assist collision notification, a Trailer Theft Alert, and a Trailer Light Check.

Premium sound systems are available for the new F-150. You can try the 8-speaker B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen starting with XLT trim, while a new 18-speaker B&O Unleashed high-end audio system complete with speakers in the truck’s headliner and head restraints is available with Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trim. It comes standard in the F-150 Limited.

Lastly, Ford is offering a new 12-inch digital instrumentation display for the 2021 F-150. In addition to gauges and a driver information panel, it shows turn-by-turn navigation instructions, off-roading data, and more.

Ford is the source of the information in this article. It was accurate as of June 25, 2020 but may have changed since that date.