2021 Ford F-150

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2021 Ford F-150 Test Drive Review: Electrifying A Legend

Even a best-selling vehicle like the Ford F-150 is not immune to changing times. Consumers demand more efficient vehicles, even in the highly-competitive pickup truck space. While electric pickups are imminent, Ford thinks it has a more ready approach for today's truck owner. The 2021 Ford F-150 arrives as an all-new model, now with an optional hybrid drivetrain for the first time ever. Ford's venerable EcoBoost series makes a comeback as well, combining with the electric motors in a new PowerBoost combination. There are more conventional V6, V8, and diesel engines available too, for buyers who want to keep their trucks old school.

Along with the new hybrid powertrain, Ford has made extensive changes to the F-150, including a revised exterior and a radical new interior. Ford has been challenged recently by the likes of General Motors and Ram, but the Blue Oval hopes this latest F-150 will help stave off the competition. The F-150 has been the best-selling truck in America for 43 years, and after driving a Platinum-trim Ford F-150 with the new PowerBoost hybrid system to review for a week, we don't see that changing any time soon.

Read in this review:

9.1
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2021 Ford F-150 Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 F-150?

The latest Ford F-150 is an all-new introduction for the 2021 model year. Dubbed by Ford as the toughest F-150 ever conceived, the latest truck boasts updated exterior styling, a newly available hybrid powertrain, and vastly improved technology. Six different engines are on offer, with the most notable being the new 3.5-liter PowerBoost full hybrid with superior outputs of 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque. The rest of the engine options are similar to what has been offered before and include a 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 and a 5.0-liter V8. Another advantage to the hybrid is the availability of a new 7.2-kilowatt onboard generator. The more aggressive appearance is combined with features like active grille shutters to make this a more aerodynamic truck than before. In the cabin, there are new materials and a big step up in tech, with an expansive 12-inch touchscreen on upper trims and the ability for the Ford F-150 truck to receive over-the-air updates.

Pros and Cons

  • Modernized exterior makes a bold statement
  • Brilliant new hybrid powertrain
  • Plenty of engine options
  • Upscale, high-tech cabin
  • Class-leading towing and payload figures
  • Tons of cool new features
  • Ram 1500 remains more comfortable
  • As usual, top trims are expensive
  • Looks too similar to last year's model
  • Some features feel gimmicky
  • Real-world fuel economy was disappointing

Best Deals on 2021 Ford F-150

2021 Ford F-150 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
XL
2.7L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
3.3L V6 Flex-fuel (FFV)
5.0L V8 Flex-fuel (FFV)
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$29,290
XLT
2.7L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
3.3L V6 Flex-fuel (FFV)
5.0L V8 Flex-fuel (FFV)
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$35,400
Lariat
2.7L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
5.0L V8 Flex-fuel (FFV)
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$45,545
Tremor
3.5L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas
10-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$49,505
King Ranch
5.0L V8 Flex-fuel (FFV)
10-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$56,680
See All 2021 Ford F-150 Trims and Specs

2021 F-150 Exterior

2021 Ford F-150 Front View CarBuzz
2021 Ford F-150 Rear View CarBuzz
2021 Ford F-150 Front Angle View CarBuzz
See All 2021 Ford F-150 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 209.1 in
  • Wheelbase 122.0 in
  • Height 75.6 in
  • Max Width 79.9 in
  • Curb Weight 4,021.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat +$395
  • Smoked Quartz Metallic Tinted Clearcoat +$510
  • Star White Metallic Tri-Coat +$595
  • School Bus Yellow, Requires valid FIN code +$660
  • Green, Requires valid FIN code +$660
  • Orange, Requires valid FIN code +$660
  • Vermillion Red, Requires valid FIN code +$660
  • Yellow, Requires valid FIN code +$660
  • Agate Black Metallic
  • Velocity Blue Metallic
  • Antimatter Blue Metallic
  • Race Red
  • Oxford White
  • Stone Gray Metallic
  • Iconic Silver Metallic
See all 20 colors

2021 F-150 Performance

2021 Ford F-150 Front-End View CarBuzz
2021 Ford F-150 Instrument Cluster CarBuzz
2021 Ford F-150 Motor CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    2.7L Turbo, 2.7L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas, 3.0L Turbo Diesel, 3.3L V6 Flex-fuel (FFV), 3.5L Turbo, 3.5L Turbo V6 Hybrid, 3.5L Twin-Turbo V6 Gas, 5.0L V8, 5.0L V8 Flex-fuel (FFV)
  • Transmission
    10-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Despite adding a radical new powertrain option to the mix, Ford made sure to keep the F-150's driving manners very close to the outgoing model. The steering, while far from sports-car-like, gives a firm impression of what the front end is up to without feeling twitchy or numb. In terms of body control, the F-150 still can not match the Ram 1500's coil spring ride quality, especially when equipped with the optional air suspension. There's plenty of shaking and shimmying when the F-150 drives over bumps, and prepare for heaps of body lean through tight turns. This is a truck, after all, so you can wait for the upcoming Raptor version if you crave improved performance.

Though the Ram still outclasses it in ride comfort, the F-150 will surge past the 1500 so long as it isn't the new supercharged TRX model. They say there's no replacement for displacement, but Ram's 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is completely outmatched by Ford's new PowerBoost hybrid. Even GM's mighty 6.2-liter V8 feels weak by comparison. 570 lb-ft motivates the F-150 forward with no drama, delivering shocking performance. Selectable drive modes, including a surprisingly fun Sport mode and a super-numb Eco mode, change the character of the drivetrain for different situations.

The truck can coast or creep in traffic using electric power alone, making the F-150's driving experience more calming. We could barely tell when the engine engaged or disengaged aside from a few rough starts after hitting the throttle en-route to a fresh green light. Anyone who doubts that a hybrid pickup truck can still be tough will eat their words after a jaunt in the PowerBoost F-150.

2021 F-150 Interior

2021 Ford F-150 Dashboard CarBuzz
2021 Ford F-150 Steering Wheel Design CarBuzz
2021 Ford F-150 Front Chairs CarBuzz
See All 2021 Ford F-150 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    3-seater
  • Front Leg Room 43.9 in
  • Front Head Room 40.8 in

2021 F-150 Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Ford F-150 Second-Row Seats CarBuzz
2021 Ford F-150 Front Seats CarBuzz
2021 Ford F-150 Cargo Room CarBuzz

2021 F-150 Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Ford F-150 Pickup Truck a good car?

Ford hasn't been in a position to lose its pickup truck sales crown, and with the 2021 F-150, it should be able to hold this title for years to come. The most recent Ram 1500 offered the best alternative we've seen for years with its premium interior and car-like ride comfort, but this 14th generation F-150 tips the scale back in Ford's favor. There are still plenty of reasons to pick a competitor over an F-150, but following this new update, those differences are no longer glaringly obvious.

The 2021 F-150 offers one of the most extensive engine lineups in the business, including the most available towing capacity, best-in-class payload, and stellar fuel economy. It's also the only truck on the market to offer a full hybrid powertrain yielding excellent efficiency and electrifying performance. Ford's updates to the interior bring it more in-line with the Ram and with features like hands-free driving, massaging seats, and amazing driver assist systems, the F-150 outclasses its rivals in many respects. The 2021 Ford F-150 is clearly one of the best pickup trucks on the market, and it deserves high consideration. With the F-150 at the beginning of its lifestyle, the other truck brands must once go into catch up mode.

Check out other Ford F-150 Styles

2021 Ford F-150 Comparisons

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Chevrolet
Ram 1500 Ram
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Ford F-150290 hp19/24 mpg$31,520
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 310 hp19/22 mpg$34,600
Ram 1500 305 hp20/26 mpg$36,500

2021 Ford F-150 vs Chevrolet Silverado 1500

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is a good truck but already fell just short of the outgoing F-150, so the gap has widened with the release of the new Ford. While the Chevy had the superior towing capacity of over 13,000 lbs previously, this has now been eclipsed by the F-150. The F-150 also has a much better maximum payload figure of 1,000 lbs more than the Chevy's best. Some Chevy models are saddled with a dated six-speed automatic, and overall, we prefer the Ford's powertrains, highlighted by the new 430-hp PowerBoost hybrid. Inside, the Ford has a more upscale cabin with better materials and better tech; the F-150's available 12-inch touchscreen and 18-speaker B&O sound system easily better what the Silverado can offer here. In the Chevy's favor is greater space for cargo with its eight-foot bed. Despite this, the new Ford F-150 is easily the more polished truck between these two.

See Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Review

2021 Ford F-150 vs Ram 1500

As one of the most impressive trucks for sale right now, you could almost blame the Ram 1500 for some of the improvements we've seen in the new F-150. The current 1500 took luxury and tech to new heights in large trucks with its beautifully-trimmed cabin, enormous touchscreen interface, and plush ride. The Ram remains the most comfortable truck you can buy in this segment, but the Ford is now at least equal in terms of cabin ambiance. And, while the F-150 PowerBoost hybrid offers an astonishing mix of pace and efficiency, the Ram 1500 TRX has broken all the rules for high-performing, conventionally-powered trucks. There is no disputing that the F-150 is the new towing and hauling king, though - it exceeds the Ram's towing capacity by over 1,000 lbs and betters its maximum payload by just under 1,000 lbs. With its bigger available cargo box, the F-150 also has more space for cargo. If you won't be needing your truck for serious heavy-duty work and desire a comfortable commuter, the Ram 1500 remains in contention here, but the Ford is undoubtedly more capable.

See Ram 1500 Review

2021 Ford F-150 Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Ford F-150:

2021 Ford F-150 Video Review

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