Any time the second largest branded consumer product in the entire United States gets an overhaul, it’s obviously big news. And that’s exactly what the 2021 Ford F-150 is – an entirely new truck, with a host of welcome updates and just enough styling changes to make it look more modern than the outgoing 13th generation model. But make no mistake – even though it looks like the F-150 we’ve come to know and love over the last six years, this isn’t the same truck by any means.
As Ford Authority previously reported, every panel of the 2021 Ford F-150 has been redesigned, including a new headlamp design, a new power dome hood, wrap-around bumpers, and higher front fenders with a tucked-in midsection and larger-diameter tires pulled out three-quarters of an inch to give the truck a more powerful stance.
There are a total of 11 grille options available across the 2021 F-150 lineup, along with all-new tailgate appliqués. LED headlamps and taillamps and full-length extended power running boards with a kick switch that provides better truck-side cargo box accessibility are optional.
The all-new F-150 is also the most aerodynamic model in its illustrious history. Ford accomplished this feat by using new active grille shutters, an automatically deploying active air dam, and new cab and tailgate geometry, all of which work together to reduce drag and improve fuel consumption.
Every 2021 F-150 comes standard with new cleats mounted to the sides of the tailgate to act as tie-down locations for extra-long items in the bed. New clamp pockets are built in to the tailgate of every truck, so customers can hold materials down for precision work. An available flat Tailgate Work Surface also includes integrated rulers, a mobile device holder, cupholder, and pencil holder.
A new Zone Lighting feature allows the truck’s occupants to turn on and off individual sections of exterior lights through the SYNC 4 screen or remotely with the FordPass app on their phone.
The all-new F-150 is the only light-duty full-size pickup to offer available Trailer Reverse Guidance and Pro Trailer Backup Assist. Trailer Reverse Guidance, already available on the Ford Super Duty, uses the truck’s high-resolution cameras to provide multiple views and helpful graphics that tell drivers which way to turn the steering wheel while backing up. Pro Trailer Backup Assist also makes its return to the latest F-150.
The interior of the 2021 F-150 has undergone a complete overhaul, complete with enhanced materials, new color choices, and additional storage. Each surface was redesigned with care, resulting in useful changes like more soil-resistant two-tone seats for the XL trim and a new standard dual glovebox.
The new F-150 also features an all-new 12 inch center screen, which is standard equipment on the XLT and above. Users are able to split the screen and control multiple functions simultaneously, including navigation, music, and truck features.
Meanwhile, the XL and XLT standard and mid-series trucks get a standard 8 inch touchscreen, which means every customer gets touch screen functionality and a better rearview camera. Both screens feature access to the new digital owner’s manual, which includes how-to videos in addition to printed information.
The 2021 F-150 is also available with a new optional 12 inch digital gauge cluster, which features a large information-on-demand area, as well as truck-specific graphics and animations that respond to the all-new F-150’s selectable drive modes and are capable of displaying off-road data and turn-by-turn navigation.
Innovative and impressive new features are everywhere inside the 2021 Ford F-150, including a new optional Interior Work Surface that’s ideal for signing documents, working on a 15 inch laptop, or enjoying a meal when parked. It is available in both bench and captain’s chair seating configurations on trim levels ranging from XL to Limited.
Ford has also installed a new stowable shift knob unit in the 2021 F-150, which easily folds into the center console with the push of a button and allows full access to the large work surface when the truck is in park.
Another new feature is the F-150’s Max Recline Seats, which are available on King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited models. These fold flat to nearly 180 degrees, with the bottom cushion rising to meet the back cushion and the upper back support rotating forward up to 10 degrees for maximum comfort.
New lockable, fold-flat rear storage adds a vault to the F-150 that extends the width of the rear seats and can be accessed by lifting the bottom cushion up.
Powertrains for the 2021 Ford F-150 carryover from the previous generation, but Ford hasn’t yet revealed any horsepower, torque, or fuel economy numbers. However, there is one big important addition to the lineup – an all-new 3.5L PowerBoost full hybrid V6, which Ford says ” is targeted to deliver the most torque and horsepower of any light-duty full-size pickup.” It also makes the new F-150 the only light-duty full-size pickup to offer a full hybrid system.
The hybrid system is available on every trim level from the XL to the Limited, and combines Ford’s 3.5L EcoBoost V6 with a 35 kilowatt (47 horsepower) electric motor, which is integrated into the truck’s 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. Ford is targeting an EPA estimated range of approximately 700 miles on a single tank of gas, and will deliver at least 12,000 pounds of available maximum towing with the new powertrain.
PowerBoost uses software calibrated especially for truck use, including drive modes like tow/haul mode to help customers better manage towing heavy trailers. The electric motor applies regenerative braking energy capture to help recharge the 1.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. The battery is located underneath the truck, and therefore doesn’t impede on cargo or passenger space.
For those looking for power on the go, the new Pro Power Onboard gives the 2021 Ford F-150 generator levels of exportable power for work sites, camp sites, and everyday life. Pro Power Onboard is available with a 2.0 kilowatt output on optional gas engines, while PowerBoost-equipped F-150 models come standard with 2.4 kilowatts of output or an optional 7.2 kilowatts of output.
Power is accessible through in-cabin outlets and up to four cargo bed-mounted 120 volt 20 amp outlets, with a 240 volt 30 amp outlet on the 7.2 kilowatt version. The system even provides power on the move to charge tool batteries in between jobs.
In terms of connectivity, the all-new F-150 is North America’s first full-size pickup with standard over-the-air updates. These updates are bumper-to-bumper, and can include all-new functions and additional features throughout the life of the truck. They can support preventative maintenance, reduce repair trips, provide improved performance, and ultimately result in more vehicle up-time. The majority of updates will be completed in under two minutes and can be performed at times customers choose.
SYNC 4 is standard on the new F-150, offering up more natural voice control, real-time mapping, and customizable information on demand. Ford says SYNC 4 features twice the computing power of SYNC 3, and it can wirelessly connect smartphones for seamless integration of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, as well as SYNC AppLink apps like Waze and Ford+Alexa.
A new eight-speaker B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen is available on the XLT and up, while an optional 18-speaker B&O Unleashed system with speakers in the headliner and front headrests is available on F-150 Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum, and is standard on Limited models. Ford’s 911 Assist and the FordPass app return, but the latter adds new features including Zone Lighting, Trailer Theft Alert, Trailer Light Check, and Pro Power Onboard.
The 2021 F-150 also offers a host of new driver-assist features as part of Ford Co-Pilot 360 2.0. XL models now come with Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection, rearview camera with dynamic hitch assist, auto high-beam headlamps, and auto on/off headlamps.
The new F-150 also features 10 new driver-assist features and is the only pickup to offer Active Drive Assist, which allows for hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of divided highways in all 50 states and Canada. Its driver-facing camera tracks head position and driver eye gaze to enable hands-free driving when available. It also allows owners on certain sections of pre-mapped, divided highways to drive with their hands off the steering wheel, if they continue to pay attention to the road ahead.
The Active Drive Assist prep kit contains the hardware required for this feature, while the software to enable functionality, expected in the third quarter of the 2021 calendar year, will be delivered by over-the-air update or during a dealer visit. Separate payment will be required to activate full functionality at that time.
Other new available features include Intersection Assist, which detects oncoming traffic while the driver is attempting a left turn. If there is risk of a collision with an oncoming vehicle, the F-150 will apply the brakes to mitigate or avoid it. The new F-150 is the only light-duty full-size pickup with available Active Park Assist 2.0, which handles all steering, shifting, braking, and accelerator controls during a parallel or perpendicular parking maneuver while the driver holds down a button.
The 2021 Ford F-150 will continue to be assembled at the Ford Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan, and the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri, and will be available this fall.