The 2021 Ford F-150 continues to represent the F-Series’ reputation as a rugged, capable and comfortable mobile workspace.
This article was written together with Chuck Dapoz.
Self‑reliance. It’s an American thing. The myth of pioneers fending for themselves as they traverse the frontier in their all‑in‑one covered wagons.
And so we have the all‑new, 2021 Ford F‑150, a vehicle that might be right for these times.
Ford unveiled the new truck last week by way of a live stream reveal.
What we heard was a great deal of looking back at the history of the F‑Series, its accolades and why customers “love their truck.”
That bragging is to be expected. But the past is not prologue to this future.
What’s most significant about the new F‑150: It’s packed with new features that, if you want, allow you to drive and work in a bubble.
Cabin As Office And Living Space
It’s obvious Ford is taking a few cues from rival Ram Truck and its highly rated interior. Ford’s also trying to avoid critical dings directed at the interior of the current Chevrolet Silverado, introduced in 2018.
The interior for each of the six F‑150 trim levels has undergone a complete redesign, with a focus on function and amenities fit for the office and home on the road.
For instance, the shift lever folds down and the center console converts into a desk. Or dining table.
The front seats fold flat, first‑class airline style, for that midday or nighttime snooze. To keep the workspace tidy, there’s a lockable storage unit beneath the rear seat.
Truck As Communications Hub With Over‑The‑Air Updates
The real go‑it‑alone capability of working and living from a distance begins with F‑150’s new electrical architecture.
Combined with the debut of the next‑generation SYNC 4 voice‑activated communications and entertainment system – along with a 4G modem capable of supporting 10 devices – driver and passengers can connect to the internet along with a multitude of services. Functions are displayed on a new, 12‑inch display.
The overhaul of the electrical system also makes possible over‑the‑air (OTA) updates, a segment first.
With a fatter digital pipeline, the vehicle’s functions can be updated and new features can be added without having to pull into the service lane. For instance, owners will be able to add Level 2 autonomous driving capability when it becomes available next summer. OTA also provides Ford with vehicle diagnostics, while the vehicle’s telematics gives commercial customers the ability to optimize vehicle up time and monitor operating costs.
Truck As Workshop With Onboard Generator
A built‑in generator, Ford calls it the Pro Power Onboard, is available across the full lineup. It provides up to 7.2 kilowatts of AC power, with outlets in the cabin and cargo bed capable of turning any jobsite into a workshop for power tools. Or power a wilderness campsite with all the electrical amenities of home.
What’s more, the tailgate converts into a workbench, with built‑in rulers and holders for mobile devices, cups and pencils. And for work at night, a feature called Zone Lighting lets owners illuminate their work or play areas around the truck.
A Long‑Range Truck
The new F‑150 offers the segment’s first full hybrid powertrain, the PowerBoost, which marries the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 with a 35‑kilowatt electric engine and a 1.5kW‑hr lithium‑ion battery. Ford claims it will travel an estimated 700 miles on a single tank of gas and deliver the most horsepower and torque of any light‑duty pickup plus a 12,000‑pound towing capacity.
So that’s the crux of what’s significant about the new F‑150 as Ford ups the ante in the go‑anywhere, do‑anything capability of light‑duty, full‑size pickups.
Of course, there are additional improvements that are to be expected for the “all‑new” claim, including all‑new sheet metal, 11 different grille designs with active grille shutters and air dam, a slew of driver‑assist and trailering technologies … the list goes on.
There’s more to come. The hybrid version is just the beginning of the electrification of the F‑Series lineup. Ford says a full‑electric F-150 is coming to market within two years. We also learned an EV version of the Transit commercial van is in the works.
The new F‑150 goes on sale this fall.
You can watch the 33‑minute reveal of the 2021 Ford F‑150 here.