2021 Ford F-150 to tow 14,000 pounds, offer hybrid with 570 lb-ft of torque

Ford’s venerable pickup has been a lot of things for more than 100 years, except electrified. For 2021, that changes.

The 2021 Ford F-150 was unveiled in June and it’s the brand’s first hybrid full-size pickup. The heavily revised truck also gets improved interior functionality and quality, new driver-assistance features including a hands-free-driving mode, more convenience features, and even some Easter eggs. 

On Tuesday, Ford revealed many of the specifications of the new pickup and they include an industry-leading figures for towing and hauling: the 2021 Ford F-150 can tow up to 14,000 pounds and haul up to 3,325 pounds of payload. The max towing rating is up by 800 pounds and available with the twin-turbo V-6 and a Max Trailer Tow package. The top hauling figure increases by 55 pounds and is only available with a Heavy Duty Payload package.

2021 Ford F-150

2021 Ford F-150

The biggest news is a new hybrid powertrain, which Ford calls PowerBoost. It consists of Ford’s 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6, a 47-horsepower electric motor integrated into the transmission, and a 1.5-kwh lithium-ion battery mounted under the floor. The hybrid powertrain will make 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque, which is the most torque ever in an F-150. It will tow up to 12,700 pounds. Ford also claims the hybrid will go 700 miles on a tank of gas.

The base version of the twin-turbo V-6 will make 400 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque, increases of 25 hp and 30 lb-ft. The 5.0-liter V-8 returns, and increases its hp from 395 to 400 and torque from 400 to 410 lb-ft. The other engines return with unchanged power figures, the 3.3-liter V-6 with 290 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, the 2.7-liter twin-turbo V-6 with 325 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, and the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 with 250 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque.

The hybrid powertrain will be offered on models from XL to Limited only with the largest SuperCrew cab. The model lineup will consist of XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited trims.

A host of features and conveniences are aimed at making the trucks easier to drive and more comfortable. A new Active Drive Assist feature will drive the truck, without driver input, on certain divided highways, provided drivers are paying attention to the road. The system uses a driver-facing camera to monitor attention and it will notify the driver when to take control of the steering wheel. The hardware will be available this fall when the truck goes on sale, but customers will have to pay to activate it starting next summer. It will be delivered to the trucks via another new feature for the 2021 F-150, over-the-air updates, or at a dealership.

Ten new driver-assist features will be offered. In addition to Active Drive Assist, the new features include an intersection monitor that detects oncoming traffic when taking a left turn, an updated automatic parking function that can guide the vehicle out of a parking space, adaptive cruise control, lane centering, evasive steering assist, post-collision braking, and reverse automatic braking. Every F-150 will come with Ford’s suite of active safety features, called Co-Pilot 360, which will include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, auto-dimming high beams, automatic headlights, and a rearview camera that can help guide the driver to line up the trailer hitch. F-150 XLT models and above will add blind-spot monitors with cross-traffic alerts that also cover a trailer, active lane control, lane-departure warnings, rear parking sensors, reverse automatic braking, and the post-collision braking.

Inside, the F-150 will have improved materials and a more user-friendly design. A new work surface feature includes a shifter that folds forward and a tray that folds over to turn the center console into a large, flat work area that can hold a 15-inch laptop, according to Ford. A new dual glove box and a lockable rear underseat bin that can fold flat when not in use provide additional storage capacity. New lay-flat driver and passenger seats recline nearly 180 degrees and will be optional on Platinum, King Ranch, and Limited trims. As a fun Easter egg, XLT Sport models will have a map of Detroit on their door panels, and all models will have American flags on either side of the instrument cluster housing. We’ll see if other Easter eggs make their way into the truck.

2021 Ford F-150

2021 Ford F-150

2021 Ford F-150

2021 Ford F-150

2021 Ford F-150

2021 Ford F-150

In all models, the center screens get larger. An 8.0-inch touchscreen replaces a 4.2-inch screen on XL and XLT models, while higher-line models get a new 12.0-inch touchscreen in a landscape layout. Both screens are powered by Sync 4, the next generation of Ford’s infotainment system with twice the processing power of Sync 3, natural language voice recognition, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. A new 12.0-inch digital gauge cluster will change its layout in different drive modes.

Sound systems will include a new eight-speaker B&O in XLT and higher models. A new 18-speaker B&O system will be available for Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum models, and be standard on Limited.

2021 Ford F-150

2021 Ford F-150

Ford updated the bed for more functionality as well. A new onboard generator will be available in power capacities of 2.0 kw, 2.4 kw, or 7.2 kw. Only hybrid models will offer the 7.2-kw generator. The generator can power multiple electric tools at once, and users will be able to plug into the cabin and four 120-volt, 20-watt outlets in the bed. The hybrid will also offer a 240-volt, 30-watt outlet in the bed. 

A new tailgate work surface can put those tools to work. The tailgate includes an integrated ruler, clamp pockets, a pencil holder, a device holder, and a cupholder. 

The truck’s bed lighting also now covers the tailgate, and cleats added to the sides of the tailgate give owners more options to tie down items in the bed. Also newly available are extended-length power running boards that provide better access to the bed. They automatically deploy when the driver approaches with the key in their pocket, and can be activated by kick switches.

Ford will help improve towing with a trailer backup guidance system borrowed from the F-Series Super Duty. It will team with Trailer Backup Assist. These systems will use seven of the truck’s eight cameras to help drivers line up trailers and can advise drivers on which way to turn the wheel.

2021 Ford F-150

2021 Ford F-150

What’s not new is just as important as what is new. The new 2021 F-150 uses the same fully boxed high-strength steel frame as the outgoing truck. Wheelbases increase by 0.4 or 0.5 inch, depending on body style, while overall length is up by just 0.2 inch on average. Three bed lengths (5.5-, 6.5-, and 8.0-feet) remain unchanged and three cab styles (regular, extended and four-door SuperCrew) return. The only new powertrain is the hybrid, and the 10-speed automatic transmission carries over. The base 3.3-liter V-6 now gets the 10-speed instead of a 6-speed.

While the body has a tweaked look, it continues as aluminum and it’s not appreciably larger than the current truck. The new look includes taller front fenders, C-shaped headlights, larger tire diameters that wrap around 17- to 22-inch wheels, and LED taillights that mimic the headlights. Three types of headlights will be offered: halogen reflectors, LED reflectors, and LED projectors with adaptive lighting that points into turns.

2021 Ford F-150

2021 Ford F-150

All of the body panels are new, but the truck’s traditional design cues remain the same. The beltline has the same stepped look as the current truck, and the round wheel arches return. However, the wheels are pulled outward 3/4 of an inch. Ford will offer 11 different grilles based on model and package, and they will all have active grille shutters that close on the highway for better fuel economy. The F-150 will also add an active front airdam that deploys at 40 mph, retracts 3/4 inch at slower speeds, and retracts farther for off-roading. Ford says the 2021 F-150 is 3% more aerodynamic.

In June, CarsDirect reported the 2021 Ford F-150 will cost at least $30,635, $195 more expensive than the current 2020 model, according to a dealer order guide. The order guide revealed a hybrid F-150 will cost $4,495 more than a base 3.3-liter V-6 model. Buyers wanting a loaded 2021 F-150 Limited with a few options should prepare for a price of more than $80,000.

The 2021 Ford F-150 pickup goes on sale this fall. Official performance stats, prices, and complete equipment will be available closer to launch.

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