Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Like the 2020 model, the 2021 F-150 is available with several engines—a 290-hp 3.3-liter V-6; a 400-hp 5.0-liter V-8; a 325-hp twin-turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6; a 400-hp twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6; and a 250-hp 3.0-liter diesel V-6. No matter which engine you choose, the F-150 comes paired with a 10-speed automatic. For the first time ever, the F-150 is also offered with a hybrid powertrain. Ford claims that the new 400-hp hybrid powertrain—which consists of a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6, a 35 kW electric motor, and a 10-speed automatic transmission—will offer up to 700 miles of driving range per tank and can also power an onboard generator for keeping the power flowing at job sites or during power outages. Buyers will be able to choose between rear- and four-wheel drive with any of the F-150's available powertrains. At our test track, a four-wheel drive Lariat with the hybrid powertrain galloped to 60 mph in a brisk 5.4 seconds. During our test drive
, we noted a compliant ride and agreeable handling; high-spec models such as the King Ranch come with a variable-assist steering system that sharpens responses at low speeds for a more agile feeling. The Tremor model promises the most off-road capability
; it offers 33-inch all-terrain tires, an upgraded suspension, a locking rear differential and a four-wheel drive transfer case borrowed from the mighty F-150 Raptor. At our test track, the Tremor leapt to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds, trailing the more powerful Raptor by just 0.1 second.
Towing and Payload Capacity
While the base 3.3-liter V-6 engine's towing capacity maxes out at 8200 pounds, models equipped with the 400-hp twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 can tow up to 14,000 pounds. Going with the venerable 5.0-liter V-8 means maximum towing capacity is just 13,000 pounds; the diesel V-6 is capable of up to 12,100 pounds and the hybrid model can tow up to 12,700. Payload capacity ranges from 1840 to 3250 pounds. These towing and payload capacities keeps the new F-150 in the hunt with key rivals like the Chevrolet Silverado 1500
, GMC Sierra 1500
, and Ram 1500
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the 2021 F-150 with the turbocharged 2.7-liter V-6 will earn up to 20 mpg city and 26 highway. The twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6 is rated up to 18 mpg city and 24 highway. The hybrid version has estimates as high as 25 mpg city and 26 highway. Once we can run the new F-150 on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen
, we can evaluate its real-world mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Interior appointments receive an upgrade for 2021, which Ford needed to do in order to compete with the Ram 1500's deluxe cabin. More premium materials used throughout and the cabin is dotted with more storage cubbies. Additional convenience features
are intended to make things easier for those who use the F-150 as a mobile workspace
. For example, the 10-speed automatic's shift lever can be folded flat with the center console to create a large flat workspace
. Similarly, the F-150 can be ordered with fold-flat front seats that can provide a place for sleeping. Passenger space is similar to the outgoing model, with the four-door crew-cab body style being the most spacious and family-friendly of the bunch. Out back, the F-150's bed sees several improvements, starting with available power-operated running boards that now extend down the side of the truck to provide a handy step to reach into the cargo area. An optional onboard generator provides up to 7.2-kW of power to support electricity needs at the job site or at tailgate parties.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Ford provides an 8.0-inch infotainment display as standard that runs an improved version of the brand's Sync 4 software
, while a much larger 12.0-inch unit is optional. This matches the Ram 1500's optional 12.0-inch vertically oriented display, which dwarfs the 8.0-inch screens in both the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, as is a Wi-Fi hotspot; navigation, SiriusXM radio, and a Bang & Olufsen stereo system are optional. Sync 4's new software provides over-the-air updates for future software releases, traffic-and- weather updates via the optional navigation system, and onboard telematics for fleet customers to help track vehicle location and usage.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA) ★★★★★
Ford is offering a host of driver-assistance features, but few are standard. More features will be available as buyers walk up through the F-150's six trim levels, including a rear-facing camera for monitoring a trailer while on the go. For more information about the F-150's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The F-150 comes with three years or 36,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage and five years or 60,000 miles of powertrain protection. Ford doesn't offer any complimentary scheduled maintenance, but rivals such as the Toyota Tundra and the GM twins do.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance