Trends and technology
A Step Further: Ford’s all-new 2021 F-150 pick-up features several updates
By Mario Cywinski
Ford refuses to stand still, bringing wide-ranging changes to the 2021 F-150.
By Mario Cywinski
In what seems like ages ago, in January, Ford Motor Company held a drive event for its all-new Super Duty pick-up truck in sunny Arizona. Much has changed since that time, and as a result Ford held a virtual launch event for its most important vehicle, the all-new 2021 F-150 pick-up.
Actor Denis Leary hosted the event, held at the former Willow Run plant in Michigan, which is significant for being where Ford built the B-24 Liberator bomber plane during the Second World War, in a mile-long assembly line. Ford representatives and select Ford customers also helped launch the vehicle.
The Ford F-Series has been the top-selling pick-up truck in Canada for 54 years, and more recently the top-selling vehicle period for many years in both Canada and the U.S. While some would take it easy when being on top, Ford chooses to do the opposite. Ford introduced the EcoBoost turbocharged engine to the line-up when V-8 powered trucks were the norm. More recently, Ford introduced an aluminum body on the F-150 at a time when steel was thought to be the only option.
“Since 1948, our hardworking F-Series customers have trusted Ford to help them get the job done,” said Jim Farley, COO of Ford. “F-150 is our flagship. It’s 100 per cent assembled in America, and we hold ourselves to the highest standard to make sure our customers can get the job done and continue to make a difference in their communities.”
A new model
Now the 2021 model is taking things a step further, with the F-150 being available with a hybrid powertrain for the first time. Playing off the EcoBoost name, the new hybrid model is named PowerBoost, and combines the 3.5 litre EcoBoost engine (mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission) with a 47 horsepower electric motor, and a 1.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. The new hybrid model is capable of going an estimated 1,100 kilometres on one tank of fuel, and can tow at least 12,000 pounds (when properly equipped). The hybrid model is available on all trims, XL to Limited.
PowerBoost also comes with Pro Power Onboard, which turns the truck into a mobile generator, eliminating the need for a generator to be placed in the bed of the truck. The integrated on-board generator is available in three levels. A 2.4-kilowatt system with two 120V 20A outlets (with a run time of 85 hours on a full tank) is standard on the PowerBoost; a 7.2-kilowatt system with four 120V 20A outlets and a NEMA L6-20 240V 30A outlet (can run for 32 hours on a full tank) is available on PowerBoost; and a 2.0 kilowatt system with two 120V 20A outlets is available on 2.7L and 3.5L EcoBoost and 5.0L V-8 models.
In addition to the new PowerBoost powertrain, five other engine options are available. A 3.3L V-6, 2.7L EcoBoost V-6, 3.5L EcoBoost V-6, 3.0L Power Stroke V-6 diesel, and 5.0L V-8. The horsepower and torque numbers will be released at a later date. All models are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
With the truck being redesigned inside and out, the front end sees a new front fascia, a choice of 11 grill, three headlight options (halogen, LED, LED with bending), 13 wheel options, and the addition of active grill shutters and an active air dam. Ford says that every panel on the truck has been redesigned.
Many F-150 owners use their trucks to tow trailers, therefore Ford has introduced new trailer-friendly features, such as trailer theft alert, which sends a message to a mobile device when the trailer is being unhooked and the truck is locked; a trailer light check, which can check if trailer lights are working through the FordPass app; and trailer reverse guidance, that shows various views along with steering wheel graphics of the trailer by using five cameras. Pro trailer backup assist is also available.
WHAT’S NEW FOR 2021
- All-new interior and exterior
- PowerBoost hybrid model
- Clamp pockets on tailgate
- Tailgate work surface
- Max recline seats
- 11 grill options
- 13 wheel options
- 12-inch digital gauge cluster
- 12-inch landscape centre display
- SYNC 4
- More driver assistance technology
- Lockable rear under-seat storage
- Interior work surface
- Pro trailer backup assist
- Trailer reverse guidance
- Trailer light check
Technology is top of mind for many today and a plethora of new additions to F-150 for 2021 highlight this. Over-the-air updates allow for many updates to be done in the background while larger updates can be scheduled when the owner wants, reducing the amount of downtime needed for updating the vehicle. The new SYNC system can connect Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and AppLink apps wirelessly. Two centre-stack screen sizes are available for 2021, standard eight-inch and available 12-inch. An available 12-inch digital gauge cluster is also added.
“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, Ford 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 predictive maintenance to feature upgrades.”
Ford has spent a lot of time speaking with its customers about how they use their trucks. As a result, Ford has incorporated some unique features into the new truck. On the inside of the truck you can find lockable fold-flat rear under-seat storage with dividers; available front seats that fold flat 180 degrees; and an available flat surface in the centre between the seats as the shifter folds down with a flat cover that folds over the centre. On the outside, zone lighting allows for individual exterior lights to be turned on or off. Clamp pockets are built into the tailgate; as is a new work surface that includes a ruler, a pencil holder, a mobile phone holder and cup holder. Tthe side of the tailgate now has cleats for tying down long items.
Ten new driver-assist technologies are added for 2021, including Active Drive Assist that allows hands-free driving on Canadian and U.S. divided highways, by having a camera facing the driver and making sure they are focusing on the road. Intersection Assist detects oncoming traffic while the driver is doing a left turn and will apply brakes if needed. Active Park Assist 2 is also new. Ford has also made more safety features standard on all models from XL up.
The new F-150 models are available in this fall.
Mario Cywinski is the editor of Machinery and Equipment MRO magazine, a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada, and a judge for Canadian Truck King Challenge.