The 2021 F-150 comes refreshed exterior and interior, a new hybrid powertrain, and lots of tech features

The wait is finally over. This is arguably the biggest debut of the year. With the current-gen in the loop for almost five years, Ford has decided to bring in the fourteenth generation of the world’s best-selling pickup truck, the F-150.

The reveal is even more important because the rivals are catching up in terms of sales and Ford might risk losing the crown of being the best-seller which it’s been holding for over four decades now. Unlike the structural changes that were introduced in the last generation change, this time, Ford has doubled down on technology and a lot of new tech features are now available on the truck.

From the initial impressions, does the 2021 Ford F-150 feel better than the model it replaces? It certainly does.

What’s New On The Outside Of The 2021 Ford F-150

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Ford unveiled the all-new F-150 during an event hosted by Denis Leary, in a no non-sense live stream. The new F-150 will continue to offer six trims. The automaker said that every single body panel on the truck is new. It continues to feature the aluminum alloy body based on a steel frame.

Up front, the F-150 features new headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights. The wheels are pulled out three-quarters of an inch and this gives the truck a planted stance.

Most of us were expecting a new grille on every trim, but Ford has taken this up a notch. The truck features 11 new grille designs! These grilles are said to incorporate active shutters that close at higher speeds. An automatic air dam is also present - it lowers at 40 mph for better aerodynamics and retracts at lower speeds to counter beaten paths and speed breakers.

Everything You Need To Know About The 2021 Ford F-150 Exterior
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The side profile is generally overlooked when it comes to aesthetics, but Ford has worked on it. The beltline is more pronounced and the truck features larger wheel arches. The company will be offering 13 new wheel designs and bigger wheels up to 22-inches for you to choose from. That’s absolutely nuts!

The new F-150 will also be offered with power running boards. If you have the keys on you, the running boards get lower as you approach the truck. If not, there is a kick switch that activates and lowers the boards.

The rear doesn’t show a lot of difference. At a time when multipurpose tailgates are becoming more and more popular, Ford still refuses to develop one. The F-150 will continue to offer a simple power tailgate. There’s no Ram-like MultiFunction Tailgate here. The GMC Sierra 1500 offers a MultiPro tailgate and the Silverado 1500 will also offer it soon. This is going to hurt Ford when multipurpose tailgates become mainstream in a couple of years.

Everything You Need To Know About The 2021 Ford F-150 Exterior
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However, Ford has tweaked the tailgate a bit to offer more versatility. Called the Tailgate Work Surface, it is essentially a work station on the tailgate that can be used for a whole lot of things. It integrates a ruler, clamp mounts, tie-down rings that double as bottle openers, and a tablet holder. As for the dimensions, the 2021 F-150 is 0.2 inches shorter in length, but the wheelbase is 0.4 inches longer.

2021 Ford F-150 Two-wheel-drive Crew Cab exterior dimensions
Length: 231.7 inches
Width: 79.9 inches
Height: 75.6 inches
Wheelbase: 145.4 inches

What’s New On The Inside?

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Ford has redesigned the cabin as well. There was no mention of the space and other dimensions, but we expect these to remain the same. The company has equipped a lockable storage space under the seats in the rear.

The new F-150 will also come with Max Recline Seats that bend over almost 180 degrees. It doesn’t look like a standard feature, but I firmly believe it should. Ford said the XLT – second from bottom – is the most popular trim. People using it as a work truck will need it the most and they generally opt for lower trims.

Everything You Need To Know About The 2021 Ford F-150
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The highlight of the cabin is the new ‘Interior Work Surface’. The gear lever folds down here and provides a flat surface for you to use. Ford said that one-third of the owners use their laptop in the truck but there was no usable, convenient surface to date. This will be an immensely useful feature in long-term ownership. Kudos to Ford for coming up with this idea.

2021 Ford F-150 interior dimensions (inches)
Regular Cab SuperCab SuperCrew
Seating 3 5, 6 5, 6
Front headroom 40.8 40.8 40.8
Front leg room SAE ("max" is currently listed) 43.9 43.9 43.9
Front shoulder room 66.7 66.7 66.7
Front hip room 62.5 62.5 62.5
Rear head room N/A 40.3 40.4
Rear leg room SAE ("max" is currently listed) N/A 33.5 43.6
Rear shoulder room N/A 66.1 66.0
Rear hip room N/A 62.6 62.6
Everything You Need To Know About The 2021 Ford F-150
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2021 Ford F-150 cargo capacities (inches, unless otherwise noted)
5.5-ft. Styleside 6.5-ft. Styleside 8.0-ft. Styleside
Inside Length (at floor) 67.1 78.9 97.6
Width between wheelhouses 51.1 51.1 51.1
Inside Height 21.4 21.4 21.4
Cargo box volume 52.8 cu. ft. 62.3 cu. ft. 77.4 cu. ft.

What Are The New Tech Features?

Everything You Need To Know About The 2021 Ford F-150 Interior
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The automaker has made huge strides in the tech department this time around.

The 2021 F-150 will come with a 12-inch touchscreen system. It is said to be standard on more than 50-percent of the line-up, so we can assume that all the trims from Lariat will feature it.

The other trims will come equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen, which is a big improvement over the 4.2-inch screen from the current F-150. All trims will come with SYNC 4 as standard. This includes:

  • Latest maps
  • Real-time traffic updates
  • Hands-free voice control
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Everything You Need To Know About The 2021 Ford F-150
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The new F-150 will also come with 10 new driver assistance features, including class-exclusive intersection assist and Active Drive Assist, which is essentially a hands-free driving system.

Not a lot of details were revealed about it, but Ford had recently said that even the Mach-E electric SUV will receive it. Based on the Mach-E’s information, this system will drive the vehicle on its own as long as you’re vigilant and ready to take control back from it anytime. There will be a camera monitoring your actions, and if the system finds that you’re not paying attention, it will warn you a few times. If you don’t respond, the car will slow down and stop in its lane.

Everything You Need To Know About The 2021 Ford F-150
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Over-the-air updates are something new and will be very similar to what Tesla does. This will be used for map updates, feature upgrades, and software updates, amongst other things. The new F-150 will also come with other features, such as:

  • Pro-trailer backup assist
  • Trailer Reverse Guidance that’s trickled down from the Super Duty series
  • Ford Pass Connect embedded 4G LTE Modem that provides Wi-FI access up to 10 devices
  • Complimentary Ford Pass
  • Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything
  • Massive panoramic moonroof
  • 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen Unleashed audio system

Most Of The Engines Are Carried Over

Everything You Need To Know About The 2021 Ford F-150 Exterior
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Even this time around, the F-150 will come with six engine options to choose from. Five engines are carried over from the previous generation – four gasoline and one diesel – whereas a new hybrid system is included in the lineup. More on the hybrid mill later.

There’s no word on which iteration of the 3.5-liter is being retained. The six-speed transmission is being dropped and all the engines will be mated to the 10-speed automatic gearbox as standard. Also, the power outputs of some mills are said to be changed, but there’s no data on this yet. In the 2020 models, this is how the engines line up:

2021 Ford F-150 specifications
3.3-liter Ti-VCT V6 FFV 2.7-liter EcoBoost® V6 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8 3.5-liter EcoBoost® V6 3.0-liter Power Stroke® V6 3.5-liter PowerBoost™ Full Hybrid V6
Configuration Naturally-aspirated 60-degree V6, overhead cams Twin-turbocharged and intercooled 60-degree V6, overhead cams Naturally-aspirated 90-degree V8, overhead cams Twin-turbocharged and intercooled 60-degree V6, overhead cams Turbocharged and intercooled 60-degree V6 diesel Twin-turbocharged and intercooled 60-degree V6, overhead cams
Block/Head material Aluminum block, aluminum heads Compacted graphite iron block, aluminum heads Aluminum block, aluminum heads Aluminum block, aluminum heads Compacted graphite iron block, aluminum heads Aluminum block, aluminum heads
Displacement 3.3 liters (3,340 cubic centimeters, 203.8 cubic inches) 2.7 liters (2,700 cubic centimeters, 165.0 cubic inches) 5.0 liters (5,038 cubic centimeters, 307.0 cubic inches) 3.5 liters (3,497 cubic centimeters, 213.4 cubic inches) 3.0 liters (3,000 cubic centimeters,183.0 cubic inches) 3.5 liters (3,497 cubic centimeters,213.4 cubic inches)
Bore x stroke 3.56 inches x 3.41 inches 3.267 inches x 3.267 inches 3.66 inches x 3.65 inches 3.64 inches x 3.41 inches 3.31 inches x 3.54 inches 3.64 inches x 3.41 inches
Compression ratio 12:1 10:1 12:1 10.5:1 16:1 10.5:1
Valvetrain Direct acting mechanical bucket Roller finger follower Roller finger follower Roller finger follower Roller finger follower Roller finger follower
Ignition system Coil on plug Coil on plug Coil on plug Coil on plug Compression Coil on plug
Recommended fuel Regular unleaded or E85 (minimum 87 unleaded octane) Regular unleaded (minimum 87 unleaded octane) Regular unleaded or E85(minimum 87 unleaded octane) Regular unleaded (minimum 87 unleaded octane) Ultra low sulfer diesel or up to B20 compatible Regular unleaded (minimum 87 unleaded octane)
Fuel delivery Port fuel injection and direct injection Port fuel injection and direct injection Port fuel delivery and direct injection Port fuel injection with direct injection Common rail Port fuel injection with direct injection
Engine control system Electronic Electronic Electronic Electronic Multicore powertrain control module Electronic
Oil service fill volume/grade 6 quarts with Filter (5W-20 SAE GF6) 6 quarts with Filter (5W-30 SAE GF6) 7.75 quarts (5W-30 SAE GF6) 6 quarts with Filter (5W-30 SAE GF6) 6.5 quarts (5W-30 SAE FA4) 6 quarts with Filter (5W-30 SAE GF6)
Coolant capacity 12 liters 14.3 liters 12.5 liters 13.5 liters 13 liters 14.5 liters high temp loop, 6.8 liters low temp loop
SAE Horsepower TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD
SAE Torque TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD

A New Hybrid Powertrain Joins The Mix

Everything You Need To Know About The 2021 Ford F-150 Exterior
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This new hybrid is a 3.5-liter, Powerboost mill that is said to have the ‘best-in-class power and torque’. It doesn’t make sense because it’s the only hybrid mill in the pickup truck segment. Ram’s eTorque mild hybrid system doesn’t count here because it just adds more torque and cranks the engine in a start/stop event.

Anyway, this system includes a 37-kilowatt electric motor (47 horsepower) in the transmission housing. It is powered by a liquid-cooled, 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.

No, this isn’t a plug-in system and the batteries recuperate on the go. We are yet to receive the full specs of this engine, but it will have a towing capacity of more than 12,000 pounds. This mill will have an EPA estimated range of approximately 700 miles on a 30.6-gallon tank of gas.

Everything You Need To Know About The 2021 Ford F-150 Exterior
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As for the electric truck, it is still two years away and the details will be revealed in the future. There were some wild speculations about independent rear suspension on the F-150, but that could be offered on the electric model.

The 2021 F-150 Will Come With An Onboard Generator

Everything You Need To Know About The 2021 Ford F-150
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A 7.2-kW Power Pro onboard generator will also be offered here. It can be used to charge your tools, computers, and can power stuff like a 12-inch miter saw, a circular saw, a hammer drill, a half-horsepower air compressor, floodlights, and a gang battery charger, all at the same time. A series of ports are included – 120-volt, 20-amp outlets, with a single 240-volt, and a 30-amp outlet. A 2.0 kW Pro power onboard generator will be available on the other engines. This is good enough to run an electric heater, a TV, a mini-fridge, a blender, and portable speakers.

How Much Can The 2021 F-150 Tow?

Everything You Need To Know About The 2021 Ford F-150 Exterior
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Coming to the towing and payload, Ford said that it will be class-leading. Again, Ford hasn’t provided the exact figures yet. This is how the big guns are rated in towing and payload department:

How Much Will It Cost?

Everything You Need To Know About The 2021 Ford F-150 Exterior
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The pricing is not revealed yet, but you can expect a marginal increase in all the trims. This is how the 2020 models were priced:

2020 Ford F-150 prices
XL $28,745
XLT $34,760
Lariat $42,750
King Ranch $52,990
Platinum $55,520
Limited $67,735
Raptor $53,455

Final Thoughts

Everything You Need To Know About The 2021 Ford F-150 Exterior
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Ford needed to get this right because the F-150 is a brand in itself. If we talk in pure numbers and comparisons, the F-Series raked in $42 billion for Ford in revenue last year. This means the F-150 alone could be in the Fortune 500 list. The company managed to move almost 900,000 trucks in 2019. For the 2021 model, Ford has added a whole lot of new features while retaining its core essence.

The biggest miss that’s going to sting Ford in the coming years is a non-multipurpose tailgate. Ram already has the MultiFunction tailgate and the Silverado will be getting it very soon, too. Something like a cargo bed storage space and toolbox like the RamBox Cargo Management System would’ve been a nice addition as well.

We’re curious to hear the exact specs of the hybrid powertrain since Ford claims max horsepower and torque figures for it. Also, there was no mention of the Raptor. Is Ford waiting for Ram to launch the Rebel TRX and then take a call? Perhaps.

What are your thoughts on the 2021 Ford F-150? Let us know in the comments section below.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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