These are the features that make Ford’s 2021 F-150 stand out from the crowd and its predecessor

These are the features that make Ford’s 2021 F-150 stand out from the crowd and its predecessor
The wraps are off the 2021 Ford F-150, and we’ve had our first look — digitally, mind you, due to the pandemic restrictions. It gets new styling inside and out, along with some upgrades to its engines, but it also adds a number of new features, a couple of which are a first in the truck segment . We’ve rounded up a few of them for a closer look.

Ford’s not the only one that’s added electrification to its driveline, but it is the going to be the only mainstream automaker to offer a — meaning it can run on gasoline, electricity, or a combination of the two. It switches automatically between them, depending on driving conditions. GM offered full hybrid versions of their GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado at various points, but pulled out of that market in this generation.

The system starts with a turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine, combined with a 3.5-kW electric motor integrated into the ten-speed automatic transmission, and with a 1.5 kW-hr lithium ion battery. It recharges through regenerative braking, capturing the kinetic energy otherwise lost during deceleration, so you don’t plug this truck in.

How to spec the best full-size family truck under ,000

No specifications have been revealed yet, but Ford said it’s targeting the highest torque and horsepower numbers in the segment, which will no doubt be gas and electricity combined. It’ll tow at least 12,000 lbs and, under ideal conditions, is expected to go 1,100 km on a tank of gas. The hybrid won’t be a separate model, but instead, the hybrid powertrain will be an option on all trim levels.

The available Pro Power Onboard generator comes in three power levels Ford

That’s Ford’s name for its generator, with its outlet plugs mounted in the side of the box. There are three power levels available, depending on the truck.

You can get a 2.0-kw generator on trucks equipped with the 2.7L EcoBoost V6, 3.5L EcoBoost V6, or 5.0L V8 (there’s no generator available on the 3.3L V6 or diesel). Ford says two kilowatts is enough to simultaneously run an 8-inch circular saw, battery charger, and portable speakers when you’re building something. For the party afterwards, you can keep the speakers and then add an electric heater, TV, mini-fridge, and a blender, all at the same time.

The hybrid powertrain includes a 2.4-kw generator as standard equipment, but that can be upgraded to a 7.2-kw able to run enough tools to frame a house.

Called Max Recline Seats — there’s a trade name for everything — this option lets you comfortably catch some winks on your lunch hour. The front seatbacks fold almost completely down, while the bottom cushion moves up and the back support rotates forward for an on-the-go bed.

It seems about one-third of all F-150 owners use a laptop or tablet while they’re in the truck, but it’s difficult to do when you’re trying to manoeuvre it against the steering wheel. It would be easier to set it on the console but the shifter’s in the way — and again with the research, the automaker found that its customers prefer a traditional gearshift lever to a pushbutton or dial.

So to get around that, the shifter can be stowed away, while the console lid folds forward to form a flat surface. Work for a while, eat your lunch on the tray, fold back the seat for a snooze, and you’re all set.

The 2021 Ford F-150 includes a tailgate that doubles as a workbench, and an available on-board generator Ford

Every tailgate includes tie-down cleats for strapping long loads when the gate is lowered — and which, apparently, can double as bottle openers.

An optional tailgate package turns the gate into a workbench, with indentations for C-clamps, a ruler, cupholder, and a place to put your phone.

2021 Ford F-150

The Pro Trailer Backup Assist carries forward from the current F-150. It’s a dial on the dash that you turn in the direction you want your trailer to go, and the steering wheel obediently spins — essentially the old trick of holding the wheel at the bottom and spinning left or right to turn the trailer in that direction. It’s a slick piece of technology, although it won’t turn you into an experienced hauler overnight. You still have to know where to position your truck and trailer before you start backing into your space, and you have to know whether turning left or right is the correct way.

And that is now made easier with Trailer Reverse Guidance, borrowed from the Super Duty. It uses several cameras to create a multi-view display on the centre screen, and includes graphics to help show you which way to turn, along with a warning if you’re too tight and might jackknife the trailer.

2021 Ford F-150 with new 12-inch centre screen Ford

All trucks come standard with new SYNC 4 as their infotainment operating system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included, and your mobile device can now be connected wirelessly to them.

There are now over-the-air software updates, including for the truck itself, so you don’t have to visit a dealer for installation. Most will happen in the background, but if it’s a major fix, you’ll be able to schedule it while the truck’s not being used. The FordPass mobile app carries over and adds some new features, such as a warning if someone’s trying to unhook and steal your trailer.

All-new F-150 Lariat in Rapid Red Metallic Tinted Clearcoat. Ford

Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0 is the company’s package of high-tech safety features, including emergency braking and automatic high-beam headlights. An available new feature brakes the truck if you’re making a left-hand turn and haven’t noticed oncoming traffic.

The F-150 will also offer Active Drive Assist. Similar to Cadillac’s Super Cruise, it provides hands-free driving on some 160,000 kilometres of pre-mapped roads in the U.S. and Canada. For now, though, you only get the hardware. You’ll have to buy the software to use the feature, and it goes on sale sometime next year.
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