|Positives: Hybrid changes the game, wonderful to drive, nice aesthetic changes inside and out, peerless technology, a blast to drive, leveled-up utility features.|
|Negatives: Still some cheap interior trim bits, doesn't look different enough from last year's truck.|
|Bottom Line: The F-150 is back to being the king of the pickup truck hill. It boasts top-tier technology, tremendous power, and a cabin fit for a working king.|
It's hard to believe how radical the new F-150 is with the PowerBoost hybrid powertrain. Power feels more immediate and accessible while remaining remarkably smooth. We were blown away by how torquey and powerful it felt. The 3.5-liter V-6 with a 47-hp electric motor delivers 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft while still being able to town 12,700 pounds and haul 2,000 pounds of payload. It's the most powerful F-150 made today, aside from the Raptor.
Ride Quality: Although it still drives like a truck, our tester felt compliant and comfortable over most surfaces. Unladen, it does get a bit choppy over pavement gaps due to the rear leaf spring setup.
Acceleration: 0-60 arrives in a quick 5.4 seconds thanks to the aid of the electric motor. Throttle response is excellent, and the transmission shift smoothly. The powertrain also does a fine job of transitioning between electric and gas, and you can barely notice.
Braking: Regen brakes here are actually quite good with very little of the sponginess normally attributed to hybrid vehicles. We had no trouble bringing it to a stop.
Steering: While the steering lacks feedback, the turn-in is good. It does take a little bit of work in tighter spaces since it doesn't have the variable assist setup that's available on the pricier King Ranch.
Handling: The F-150 handles well for a truck and exhibits some expected body roll. Otherwise, it feels composed in the turns.
The F-150 PowerBoost is technologically impressive on numerous counts. That also includes a high level of workday utility that its competitors can't beat. From its high-res displays, onboard generator, and the stellar infotainment system, our tester continued to wow us. The Pro Power Onboard has exportable power to the tune of 2.4 kilowatts and a whopping available 7.2 kilowatts. 4G LTE Wi-Fi also makes it a boon for the working man.
Infotainment System: The ultra-crisp 12" SYNC4 productivity screen is a wonder in terms of legibility, easy menus, and responsiveness. The digital instrument cluster is beautiful. Fresh font, animated drive mode graphics, and vivid colors. Ford has nailed it.
Controls: The climate control and audio buttons and knobs are all laid-out in an easy-to-use manner, and there's a nice grippy knurling to the outer edges of the knobs. The retractable shift knob is brilliant, but we're worried it's just one more mechanical thing that could eventually fail. Until then, it's awesome. Just try to resist the urge to play with it all the time.
We think the revisions to the interior and exterior are very good, and they certainly tidy up the look of the F-150. Our only issue is with the fact that it looks very similar to the last-generation F-150. It's just not daring enough, but it's still a very attractive truck.
Front: While the maw is bigger than ever, it still sports some of the same styling cues. The bracketed DRLs are still large but now extend down into the lower fascia. The complex grille gets muted a little with black trim on our Sport Lariat. The lower fascia and foglights/housings are better integrated, as well.
Rear: The taillights are nicely blocky and tapered with a C-shaped inset. The tailgate spoiler is also more pronounced compared to last year's truck.
Profile: Although the shape and styling elements are largely the same as the old truck, there are some noteworthy differences. The shape of the headlights and taillights from the side view are fuller with the notched taper gone. The faux fent on the front fender replaces the old, standalone "F-150" badge. The round fuel filler door has been substituted with a more squared-off version.
Cabin: Ford did an excellent job redoing the interior of the F-150. The dash looks considerably less bulky thanks to linear metallic trim that spans the width of the dash. The steering wheel hub/buttons have been redesigned, and the HVAC vents are better integrated. The overall look is more refined without departing too much from its truck ethos.
The interior really is class-leading. In huge SuperCrew configuration and solidly luxurious Lariat trim, the F-150 is great for families. There's a lot to love here, and the F-150 would not be out of place on a family vacation.
Front Seats: Big and supportive, the front seats are marvelous. We felt really comfortable thanks to the seat and cushion width, as well as the level of padding. Not too little, not too much.
Rear Seats: There's tons of legroom for three tall adults back here, and that's no joke. Fold the seat cushion up, and there's additional storage that's very accessible.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The F-150 is well-built, quiet at high speeds, and devoid of errant noises.
Visibility: The big windows are easy to see out of. The tall, squred off nose of the F-150 can make it challenging for tight maneuvers.
Climate: The F-150 has a great climate control system that works quickly and moves a lot of air via the large vents. The heated and ventilated seats and heated steering wheel also get to temp very quickly.
Many light duty and heavy duty trucks still don't get crash tested. Last year the F-150 did decently, but it it hasn't been tested for the 2021 model year. At least the new F-150 comes with some great safety features and technology.
IIHS Rating: Not tested.
NHTSA Rating: Not tested.
Standard Tech: Our tester came standard with a whole host of features such as BLIS with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Keeping System, Post-Collision Braking, SOS Post-Crash Alert System, Pre-Collision Assist w/ Automatic Emergency Braking, Reverse Brake Assist, Reverse Sensing and Rear View Camera, and Tire Pressure Monitor.
Optional Tech: None.
There's so much to love about the new F-150. Where do we even start. In terms of daily utility, just about nothing else can beat it, and that's largely because of the practical in-cabin workspace that allows it to truly act as the mobile office.
Storage Space: Large, usable cubbie in the center console are great for daily items. The cavernous armrest can hold a laptop, and the door pockets are huge. Underseat storage in the back row holds a ton, and the deployable work surface might just be the most brilliant pickup truck feature ever.
Cargo Room: Our tester came with the shorter 5.5" bed, which is fine for most applications. You can upsize to 6.5". The interior has up to 50.9 cubic feet of storage with the rear seat up, which is way more than you expect.
Our tester did not fail to impress in this department. The PowerBoost Ford F-150 delivers an estimated 24 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 24 mpg combined when configured with four-wheel drive. It might not seem earth-shattering, but that's very impressive for a big, powerful truck like this.
Observed: 18.2 mpg.
Distance Driven: 114 miles.
Our Lariat was optioned out with an excellent Bang & Olufsen premium audio system that delivered full, clear sound with no distortion. While the system costs extra, it's definitely worth it. We enjoyed listening to it for most of our loan period.