by Frank S. Washington
DETROIT – We went out to the Ford Proving Ground about 50 miles north of here to get a look at and drive new the F150.
All new is a term often misused but in this case it is accurate. Almost all the truck, 97 percent, is new. The new Ford F150 PowerBoost was recently named North American Truck of the Year.
There has always been heaps of variants when it comes to pickup trucks and the F150 continued the tradition. We were told that the F Series had 11 different grilles and three sets of headlamps What ties them all together is C Clamp signature lights, or daytime running lights.
Our guide pointed out an active air dam which lowered the truck when the speed reached 40 mph.
We must talk about the powertrain. The PowerBoost is the only full hybrid pickup truck in the segment. It was comprised of a 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and an electric motor. They were coupled to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
There was the engine, the clutch, the electric motor and then the transmission was in a sense a singular, straight line unit. This tandem made 430 horsepower, 570 pound-feet of torque and this 2021 Ford F150 had a range on the order 700 miles.
It could tow 12,700 lbs. and tote 2,120 lbs. That was for our PowerBoost model. There are also five other engines available, depending on need and work demands.
Our test truck had 22-inch wheels. Ford offered 13 different wheel designs for the 2021 F150. This truck had a power liftgate, power running boards, power sliding rear window and a twin panel moonroof.
With the liftgate down, there were numerous surfaces to place cell phones, lap top computers and writing surfaces. There was a built-in ruler, pencil holder and the liftgate even had a built-in bottle opener.
There were lots of other features including a trailer backup assistance system and a trailer reverse guidance that tells you which way to turn the steering wheel while backing up with a trailer.
On the wall of the bed were electrical sockets: four 110-volt outlets and one 240-watt outlet. They could supply 7.2 kilowatts of power. It was the same in the interior.
Two standouts were the gearshift could fold down creating a flush surface and then the top of the center console cover could be folded creating a flat working surface for laptops, writing, heck, eating a sandwich, whatever.
Our test vehicle had a quilted leather interior. The seats were soft, and the material looked like it was deeply creased supple cloth, in a good way. There was a 12-inch digital instrument screen and an eight-inch touch infotainment screen. This F150 could receive over-the-air updates.
We had a 360-degree camera, adaptive steering, it was a Wi-Fi hot-spot with reverse sensing and rearview camera, voice activated navigation, keyless operation, which included lock and unlock and stop start. And there was wireless charging.
We took the F150 out on the road and sensed serval characteristics. They managed to smooth out a lot of the pickup truck ride which can be bouncy. This truck was smooth, quiet, and easy to steer.
To check out the PowerBoost, we pushed the peddle towards the metal and this F150 quietly and assertively moved ahead. We sped from around 40 mph to 65 mph without any effort. We had to slow it down on the two-lane rural roads.
Yes, the bed was empty, and we weren’t towing. But given the horsepower and torque numbers, it would take a ton, literally, of stuff in the bed or being towed to slow the F150 PowerBoost down.
Our 2021 Ford F150 PowerBoost, which was top of the line, was $79,890 as tested.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com