Ford's first electrified pickup is pretty awesome.
The 2021 Ford F-150 began arriving at dealerships late last year and will likely pick up where the previous generation left off, as the best-selling truck in America. CarBuzz recently had the chance to drive the new F-150 in its luxurious Platinum guise, fitted with nearly all of the bells and whistles available on this new truck. Ford even made sure to send us a test car equipped with the new Power Boost hybrid system, which quickly emerged as one of our favorite truck powertrains of the year.
It isn't just the engine that we found impressive on the new F-150. Here are eight of the coolest features that we loved during our week of testing.
Ford's outgoing Sync3 infotainment system was starting to feel long in the tooth, which is why the F-150 comes with the revamped Sync4 system. The Platinum trim comes standard with a 12-inch touchscreen, which is mounted vertically rather than horizontally as it is in the Ram. Not only is this system larger, but it's quicker and more responsive than the outgoing Sync3. Sync4 is stuffed with cool features, including conversational voice recognition, wireless Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, the ability to pair two Bluetooth devices at once, intelligent navigation, and cloud connectivity.
This infotainment system can also be paired to an optional B&O Unleashed premium audio system, which packs up to 18 speakers with laser-etched aluminum grilles and is among the best sound system available in any truck right now.
During the F-150's reveal, Ford touted its revolutionary new Max Recline seats, which fold nearly flat so owners can take a nap on job sites or campgrounds. These seats are remarkably comfortable and the Max Recline feature should see plenty of use by owners. We also enjoyed the improved massage function on our Platinum trim, which feels on-par with many luxury cars. These seats also pack speakers in the headrests as part of the optional B&O audio system.
Along with the larger touchscreen, the new F-150 is available with a 12.4-inch all-digital instrument cluster. While the stylized design takes some getting used to, we think the digital display makes the F-150's interior look futuristic. There is even an assortment of drive modes, each of which changes the gauge cluster to a unique theme.
Under the hood of the new F-150, the most potent engine option is the Power Boost hybrid. This powertrain pairs a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with a 35-kW electric motor to produce a whopping 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque, the most torque ever offered in an F-150. This setup's acceleration results are impressive, motivating the truck up to 60 mph in around 5.3 seconds.
But the Power Boost's acceleration is not its ultimate attribute. In terms of fuel economy, it's the most economical non-diesel full-size truck on the market. The EPA rates this drivetrain at 25/26/25 mpg city/highway/combined with two-wheel-drive or 24/24/24 mpg with 4x4. We love how the system can crawl in traffic without firing up the engine, creating a more serene and efficient driving experience.
Truck owners who miss having a column shifter may not love this feature, but the F-150's folding gear lever is pretty neat. At the press of a button, the shifter folds into the center console, allowing the center armrest to fold forward and create a flat work surface. This table can be useful for eating meals on the go or working on a laptop. The lever can not be folded when the transmission is out of park, but it's a feature we could imagine using often.
When Ram launched its new 1500 in the top Limited trim, Ford's cabin suddenly looked cheap and out-of-date. With the all-new F-150, Ford hasn't quite reached the level of opulence found in the Ram Limited, but it's no longer a completely lopsided battle. The luxurious F-150 Platinum's materials feel like they belong in a Lincoln product, with premium stitched leather, wood veneers, and various easter eggs around the cabin. As always, the Platinum, King Ranch, and Limited trim levels each come with unique takes on luxury to suit different buyers' tastes.
Though it's not a new feature for the F-150, we love Ford's clever rear seat storage area. The back seat bottoms lift up, as they do in most trucks, revealing a nearly-flat load floor. From that flat load surface, a pop-up storage box can be erected, then covered by the seat bottoms. The seats can then be locked into place to hide personal items. This feature also comes in handy for smaller items that would otherwise roll around in the bed.
Truck tailgates have become more than just a place to sit before a big football game. For several years now, the F-150 has been available with a useful step that helps owners hop into the bed. This latest F-150 also features built-in rulers for measuring and dedicated slots for pens and pencils. There are also mounting points on the tailgate for clamps, so owners will no longer damage their trucks' paint.
On the hybrid F-150, owners can also opt for the Pro Power Onboard generator. This system uses the truck's built-in hybrid system as a generator that can power an entire RV. Ford says the amps are large enough to power heavy-duty equipment, including a jackhammer or plasma cutter.