Ford stages big online reveal of ‘all-new’ 2021 Ford F-150 ahead of fall on-sale date

The new F-150 will include a 3.5-liter PowerBoost hybrid engine that Ford expects will have the most torque and horsepower of any light-duty full-size pickup. (Ford)

14th-generation pickup will be more connected with an ‘elevated’ interior and hybrid powertrain option

Ford Motor says its redesigned and re-engineered 2021 F-150 pickup is at the forefront of purposeful technology with such features as over-the-air vehicle updates, more driver-assist technologies, an integrated onboard generator and a 3.5-liter PowerBoost full hybrid V-6 powertrain.

The automaker made an online reveal of the 14th-generation pickup Thursday evening, June 25. But the brand’s top-selling vehicle is not expected to go on sale until the fall, COVID-19 willing. Pricing, horsepower and fuel-economy ratings will be available closer to the on-sale date.

While the “core values” of the truck were retained, many of the innovations and clever additions came from customer feedback — and were then tried and tested by the F-150 team of engineers and designers.

The cabin was redesigned with enhanced materials, new color choices and more storage “to elevate truck owners’ experience for style, comfort, utility and technology.” (Ford)

The “all new” light-duty pickup will be sold in three body styles — regular cab, SuperCab and SuperCrew, three box lengths and 11 grille designs and new tailgate IDs.

As before, there will be six trim levels — XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited — in rear- or four-wheel drive. There was no mention of the Raptor model or when it might debut. The all-electric F-150 will be available within 24 months, Ford said.

Among the six engine choices, three are EcoBoost (turbocharged), with a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V-8 and a PowerStroke diesel. All engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The optional PowerBoost hybrid engine is expected to provide a 700-mile driving range.

The new Interior Work Surface is a large surface that can be used for signing documents, using a laptop or as a lunch break. It will be available with a bench or captain’s seats. (Ford)
An optional stowable shifter folds into the center console to use the Interior Work Surface. (Ford)

Exterior design

The light-duty pickup continues with a boxed high-strength steel frame and a military-grade, aluminum-alloy body. The styling is familiar but every exterior panel was redesigned, including an updated “C-clamp” headlight design, power dome hood and wrap-around bumpers.

Higher front fenders, a tucked-in midsection and larger-diameter tires were pulled out ¾-inch to create a more powerful stance on and off the road, said Craig Schmatz, Ford F-150 chief engineer, during a video presentation June 23.

The restyled body geometry has more aerodynamic tweaks to reduce drag and improve fuel consumption. Of interest are active grille shutters for all engines and a new automatically deploying “active” air dam, which retracts when off-road and in low-speed driving.

Functional upgrades include LED headlights and taillights. And there will be an option for a full-length power running boards to help with a leg-up when loading or unloading from the side of the bed. And it will have kick switch for hands-free deployment.

Optional full-length power running boards give a bedside boost for loading or unloading. (Ford)

Interior design

The cabin was redesigned “to elevate truck owners’ experience with style, comfort, utility and technology,” Ford said. There are enhanced materials, new color choices and more storage, including a dual glove box.

A new 12-inch center infotainment screen — standard on XLT and higher trim levels — will allow split-screen function, such as to show navigation, music or truck features. An 8-inch touch screen will be standard on the base to midrange models.

An optional 12-inch digital gauge cluster features a large information-on-demand area, with displays for off-roading data and navigation.

The flat back-seat floor allows secure cargo space, with an option for a lockable “vault.” (Ford)
The underseat “vault” spans the width of the seat with a divider for organization. (Ford)

Hybrid model

The 3.5-liter PowerBoost full hybrid V-6 engine will be available on all SuperCab models. It integrates a 1.5kW lithium-ion liquid-cooled battery and 35kW (47-horsepower) electric motor. The electric motor works with the engine for immediate power and torque.

The battery is mounted between the frame rails below the second-row floor with a vibration isolation system. The battery placement does not impact passenger space or cargo capacity, Ford said.

The system includes electrically boosted (regenerative) braking and a high-voltage air conditioning compressor for engine-off situations.

Pro Power Onboard

The integrated mobile generator, Pro Power Onboard, converts direct current from the high voltage battery to standard alternating current. A control panel in box allows plug-in for use of power tools or charging while on the road.

It has three levels of electrical output depending on engine choice:

2.0 kilowatts — 1,800-2,000 watts of power for simultaneous use, depending on the rating of power tools or appliances in use. Tailgating parties, for example, could handle a 600-watt electric heater, a 400-watt TV, 400 watts of portable speakers, a 200-watt blender and a 400-watt mini refrigerator. It includes dual outlets in the bed for a 120-volt 20-amp plug. It is optional with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost, 5.0-liter V-8 and 3.5-liter EcoBoost.

2.4 kW — 2,300-2,400 watts. As an example, a contractor could use a 1,200-watt power saw, a half-horsepower (1,000-watt) air compressor and a 200-watt battery charger at the same time. It has an 85-hour maximum run time on a full tank and has dual 120-volt 20-amp outlets in the bed. It will be standard on 3.5-liter PowerBoost hybrid.

7.2 kW — 7,200 watts. On a day of off-roading, this generator could recharge two electric dirt bikes of 4,800 watts, a 1,400-watt electric griddle and a 1,000-watt air compressor, at the same time. This system has a 32-hour maximum run time on a tank and has four 120-volt 20-amp outlets in the bed and one NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) L6-20 240-volt 30-amp plug. Optional for the PowerBoost hybrid.

The Pro Power Onboard generator will be available in three levels of power. The 7.2-kilowatt, shown, features four 120-volt 20-amp outlets and one NEMA L14-30R 240V 30A. (Ford)

New features

Max Recline Seats: captains’ recliners fold nearly flat to 180 degrees for shut-eye in downtime. They will be available on King Ranch, Platinum and Limited models.

Back seat flat floor: Provides secure cargo space and there’s an option for lockable, fold-flat storage “vault.”

Underseat “vault”: The divided space spans the width of the seat with a divider for organization. The space is secure for such items as fishing rods or blueprints, Ford said.

Tailgate side cleats and pockets: Standard designs that can be used as tie-down locations for extra-long items in the bed. The clamp pockets can be used to hold down materials for precision measuring, cutting or drilling.

Flat tailgate work surface: The option adds integrated rulers, a phone or tablet holder, a cup holder and indents for pencils or pens.

Tailgate side cleats and pockets can be used as tie-down locations. The clamp pockets can be used to hold down materials for measuring, cutting or drilling. (Ford)

Driver-assist technologies

There will be 10 new driver-assist features as part of Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0. Among them:

Active Drive Assist: For hands-free driving on certain sections of pre-mapped, divided highways. But to help maintain operator focus, a driver-facing camera tracks head position and the driver’s eye gaze.

Intersection Assist: Will detect oncoming traffic while the driver is attempting a left turn. If there is risk of a collision, the system will apply the brakes to avoid it or minimize impact.

Active Park Assist 2.0: Will handle all steering, shifting, braking and accelerator controls when parallel or perpendicular parking. All the driver has to do is hold down the button.

Pro Trailer Backup Assist makes backing up a trailer as easy as turning a knob. (Ford)

Trailer Reverse Guidance and Pro Trailer Backup Assist: Trailer Reverse Guidance (trickle-down from the Super Duty) uses high-resolution cameras for multiple views with graphics that tell drivers which way to turn the steering wheel while backing up. Pro Trailer Backup Assist, which makes backing up a trailer as easy as turning a dial, continues.

New safety technologies on all models includes Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection, rearview camera with dynamic hitch assist and automatic high-beam-dimming headlights.

All F-150 models will be assembled at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Mich., and Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Mo.

markmaynard@cox.net

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