When Ford redesigned the F-150 for 2021, it crammed in almost everything except the kitchen sink.
But you can use it to run outdoor kitchen or construction business, landscaping, camping … I’ll get to that in a minute, but first the basics of the truck.
The 2021 F-150 is an evolution of the radical aluminum body pickup that was introduced in 2015 and features an updated body that is both familiar and fresh.
The interior has received similar renovations with improved materials, an all-digital instrument cluster, a widescreen infotainment display and optional Max Recline massage front seats that can lie almost flat to turn the F-150 into a short-stay hotel. A retractable gear lever even allows the armrest to turn forward and create a desk that allows you to work from home almost anywhere.
The F-150 launches with six rounds of Russian roulette to choose from, which includes the latest versions of its 3.3-liter V6; 2.7-liter and 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbo V6s; 5.0-liter V8; and a 3.0-liter turbodiesel, but this is the last one that contains the most strokes.
This is the first hybrid drivetrain of the F-150, which combines a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 with a 10-speed gearbox that has a built-in electric motor. Ford calls it PowerBoost and rightly so. Its total power is 430 hp. and 570 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful choice in the list of options.
The most effective too. PowerBoost has an EPA rating of 24 miles per gallon, combined in 4WD models, with identical 24 city and 24 highway numbers. Ford is still waiting for test results for 2WD applications, along with diesel engines, which delivered 24 mpg combined with highway power of 28 mpg 4WD last year.
I tested the PowerBoost in a fully loaded F-150 Platinum SuperCrew 4×4 and it felt as strong as its name suggests, delivering tremendous traction as the electric motor chipped to fill in the gaps left by the V6. Not that there are many. It’s mostly unobtrusive on the go, but there’s a bit of a twitch when the engine shuts off and on as you stop and pull away from one.
PowerBoost is available in the F-150 range, but only in four-door SuperCrew trucks. Starting prices range from $ 43,815 for the base XL to $ 74,420 for the top limit. This is a $ 1,900 premium for the 400hp 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, which has a maximum towing capacity of £ 14,000, which exceeds £ 12,700 on the PowerBoost. But the hybrid comes with another bonus.
The PowerBoost is equipped with a 2.4-kilowatt inverter that turns the drive into a generator and can be upgraded to a 7.2-kilowatt version for $ 750. The bed has a panel full of sockets in which you can plug in literally everything from tools and mowers to an electric stove and refrigerator for outdoor dinner.
Ford calls it the Pro Power Onboard and says the 2.4-kilowatt system can provide up to 85 hours of tank power and the 7.2-kilowatt system 32 hours. There is also a version with 2.0 kilowatts, which is not mandatory with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost and V8.
This is a unique and fascinating offer that can eliminate the need to set aside space and effort to move around a portable generator and run while the truck is in motion, so you can save time by recharging batteries during transport.
The F-150 Platinum is silent for bank vaults when you’re on the road, and its ride quality is a step higher than the outgoing model. That’s still a bit behind the smoothness of the class-leading Ram 1500, but it’s probably not enough to make a difference for Ford fans. The cabin furniture is first-class everywhere, but this gear lever trick has a bit of play in it, which makes it feel fragile. Old-schoolers can still get a stripped-down XL with a column switch, bench seat and windows that don’t have time for modernity.
The F-150 has much more than that. The Ford Co-Pilot360’s help kit with automatic emergency brakes is standard on all upholstery above the XL and can be upgraded with adaptive cruise control and a sturdy lane centering system that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel to function. From next year it will not be necessary.
The F-150 Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited can be ordered with a preparatory kit for the upcoming Ford Drive Assist feature, which will allow seamless driving on over 100,000 miles of highway, relying on hyper-accurate maps and GPS. It uses a driver surveillance camera and infrared sensors in the dashboard, which will ensure that you are ready to take back control when needed. The software that will allow it will be sent to the trucks via an on-air update at the end of 2021, and additional functionality will be added in the future.
Cadillac currently offers a similar feature called Super Cruise, which Consumer Reports rated as the best of its kind before Tesla’s Autopilot. Ford will take over Tesla in a few years with an all-electric F-150, which will be the most powerful model when it arrives, but PowerBoost is electrifying in its own way.
2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost Platinum 4X4
Base price: $ 64,395
As tested (approximately): $ 74,000
Type: 4-door 4-door and 4-door pickup
Engine: Turbo 3.5-liter V6 with electric motor assistant
Power: 430 hp, torque 570 lb-ft
Gearbox: 10-speed automatic
MPG: 24 city, 24 hwy