Folding gearshifts and hybrid power, oh my!
The single most important new vehicle launch of 2020 happened yesterday. Ford took the wraps off the 2021 F-150 pickup, America’s best-selling vehicle for the last few decades. It’s an evolutionary change on the outside, but the massaged looks hide a vastly improved and updated model that is sure to become a mainstay of worksites across North America.
There’s a lot to cover on the new truck, so we recommend checking out our 2021 F-150 deep-dive to get all the juicy details. Here we’re highlighting the five features we’re most excited about getting some time with when the truck launches later this year.
The PowerBoost hybrid drivetrain
We’re starting with the obvious one: the new full-hybrid drivetrain setup. Ford is pairing the tried-and-true 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine with an electric motor and the 10-speed auto. It results in a new name, and some impressive performance metrics. Ford is targeting a towing capacity of over 12,000 pounds (5,443 kg) with the PowerBoost. What’s more, it’s also aiming for a 700-mile (1126 km) range. Those are huge figures, and they should go some way to selling folks on the idea of a hybrid pickup.
The PowerBoost will be an option on every trim level. Ford isn’t talking horsepower or torque yet, but both should be more than the regular EcoBoost option. It paves the way for an all-electric model too, which will arrive for 2022. The PowerBoost allows for our next feature as well…
SEE ALSO: 2020 Ford Ranger FX4 Review
Pro Power Onboard makes generators a thing of the past
When Ford got to work on the 14th-generation F-150, it found a lot of owners were hauling around expensive (and prone to theft) generators. The new rig will take on the role as energy supplier thanks to the available Pro Power Onboard setup. It comes in 2.0-, 2.4-, and 7.2-kilowatt outputs, the latter two of which are only available on the PowerBoost. PPO offers numerous plugs throughout the truck, powering up tools, lights, and anything else you need straight from the truck itself. You’ll find up to four 120-volt outlets in the F-150’s bed, and even a 240-volt one in the 7.2-kW setup. That’s enough juice to power a whole worksite in some cases.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Review
Hideaway gear lever for more work space
Are you the sort of truck traditionalist who insists on a column-mounted shifter? Is it a central shifter robs you of space? No more. On XL up through Limited trims, Ford will offer an Interior Work Surface option that includes a foldaway central gear lever. The shifter tucks away into a dedicated cubby, allowing owners to flip the center console over for enough work space for a 15-inch laptop. Maybe you want to eat in the truck too, and would rather not do it over your lap. Best of all, Ford says IWS is available with either the bench seat or captain’s chair setups.
Max Recline Seats for a quick snooze
Look, sometimes you just have to grab a few quick Zs from the truck. We get it. Ford evidently does too, since it’s introducing something it’s calling Max Recline Seats. The name says it all: these bad boys, available on the King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited models will fold to nearly 180 degrees. The bottom cushion raises slightly to meet the back cushion for more consistent surface across the entire length. Meanwhile the upper back support rotates forward slightly to better support your upper body. All that’s missing is a good book and a blanket.
SEE ALSO: 2020 Ford Super Duty First Drive Review
Trailer Reverse Guidance makes towing simpler
Towing can be pretty daunting for some. The 2021 F-150 will help make that easier with a few tools, including Trailer Reverse Guidance. First debuting on the Super Duty trucks, this uses multiple cameras from around the truck’s exterior to provide different viewing angles for the driver. It also uses the infotainment screen to display graphical aids, telling drivers which way to turn the steering wheel. Pro Trailer Backup Assist will also return to the F-150’s suite of driver aids. With SYNC4, the F-150 will be capable of over-the-air (OTA) updates too, so 2021 is just the beginning.