The 2021 Ford F-150 pick-up truck was unveiled in June, and the new model is headed to showrooms this fall. Ford stuck with the all-aluminum body for the 2021 model, which rides on a steel frame. According to Ford, despite looking similar to current models, every exterior aluminum body panel on the F-150 is newly designed. However, the truck’s dimensions are virtually unchanged, except for a slightly wider track.
Ford originally chose aluminum for the 2015 F-150 pickup. The high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloys were used throughout the F-150 body for the first time, improving performance and also saving up to 700 lbs of weight. The weight savings helps the F-150 to tow and haul more, accelerate quicker and stop shorter, and be more fuel efficient.
Chief design engineer, Ehab Kaoud, said the changes to the body of the 2021 F-150 are substantial enough that the new pickup is “the most aerodynamic F-150 ever.” Its active grille shutters and front air dam contribute to a 3% reduction in aerodynamic drag. Furthermore, there are 11 different grilles and 13 different wheel options to give owners plenty of choices for customization.
In addition, there will be six total engine options, with five carried over from the previous generation. These carryover engines may see small bumps in power due to tuning, but are otherwise unchanged. One of the options is the first-ever full-hybrid variant for the pickup. The PowerBoost hybrid variant uses a 3.5 liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine backed by Ford’s previously-revealed modular hybrid transmission (MHT), which clutches a 35-kW (47-hp) electric motor, in the P2 position, to the 10-speed 10R80 automatic transmission. Finishing off the system is a 1.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack situated under the cargo bed.
Impressively, Ford says the PowerBoost is targeted to have the highest horsepower and torque in its class. It will also feature a 12,000+ lbs of max towing capacity and is suited for long road trips as well with an estimated 700 miles of range per tank of gas.
Features Tailored Specifically For the Pickup Driver
Ford’s development team spent more than 1,000 hours with owners of previous model F-150s, taking more than 18,000 photos and 600 hours of video to gain insight on what pick-up drivers wanted and needed from their trucks. Some of the handy new features of the 2021 pickup came out of this extensive research.
According to Ford, the F-150’s tailgate includes standard cleats mounted to the tailgate and standard “clamp pockets” to accommodate C-clamps “so customers can hold materials down for precision work.” The OEM also offers an optional “Tailgate Work Surface” with rulers built-in and holders for pencils, cups, and mobile devices. For outside work, new power-folding extended running boards provide a step to help when reaching into the bed from the side of the truck.
Another “Work Surface” option exists for the interior on either the bench or captain’s chair seating setups of all trims. With the push of a button, the shifter knob on the center console folds in, accommodating a flat surface Ford said could be used when parked for “signing documents, working on a laptop or enjoying a meal.”
“We see it as our duty to deliver not just what our customers want and need, but what they might have never thought possible,” said Craig Schmatz, F-150 chief engineer, “The F-150 will be tougher than ever, and with fully connected over-the-air updates, it opens up a much wider range of potential enhancements — from system upgrades to feature offerings.”
The “Pro Power Onboard” system turns the truck into a portable power generator, with four 120-volt 20-amp outlets mounted in the bed. The power is active while the truck is in motion or not, so tool batteries can be charged while driving. One of the state-of-the-art electronic features for the 2021 F-150 isn’t usable until next year: Ford’s new active “hands-off” Drive Assist. Active Drive Assist enables use for some 100,000 miles of divided highways in the U.S. and Canada. It will make the F-150 the first full-size pickup to offer such a system.