The 2021 F-150 looks pretty much the same, but comes with improved towing capacity, more tech features, and a new hybrid engine, amongst other things

LISTEN 21:05

The Ford F-150 needs no introduction whatsoever. It has dominated the pickup truck market for over four decades. It is still the best-selling truck, but the margin with which it led the segment was narrowing down, courtesy of some wonderful efforts from Ram and Chevy. Back in June 2020, the automaker unveiled the truck’s fourteenth-generation and it came with quite a few changes inside out, with the biggest one being the introduction of a hybrid mill for the first time in the F-150’s history. Can it sprint and gain that untouchable lead once again?

How Is The 2021 Ford F-150 On The Outside?

  • New headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights
  • 11 different grille designs with active shutters
  • 13 new wheel designs
  • Up to 22-inch wheels available
  • Power running boards
  • Tailgate Work Surface for versatility
left right

The 2021 Ford F-150 doesn’t feature drastic changes on the outside, but every single body panel on the truck is new. It will continue to be offered in the same six trims. The F-150 features an 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 that give the truck a planted stance not just visually, but also in terms of grip and handling.

2021 Ford F-150 Exterior
- image 915461

As is the norm with every automaker in this segment to offer a different grille on every trim, the same was expected on the 2021 F-150 as well. But, Ford decided to take this up a notch by offering 11 new grille designs to choose from. The grilles also incorporate active shutters that close at higher speeds for better ride dynamics. An automatic air dam is also present that lowers at 40 mph for better aerodynamics and retracts at lower speeds to counter beaten paths, speed breakers, etc. We’ll have to wait and watch to see if this is a standard feature or reserved for the top trims.

The side profile on a truck is generally boxy and there isn’t much you can do, but Ford has worked on it to make it visually more appealing. The beltline is now more pronounced than before and the F-150 features larger wheel arches. Ford will offer up to 13 new wheel designs on the truck and bigger wheels up to 22-inches for you to choose from. Another feature, yet to be seen if it is standard or not, are power running boards that lower as you approach closer to the truck. This works if you have the keys on you. If you don’t have the keys, there is a kick switch underneath that activates it and lowers the boards.

2021 Ford F-150
- image 923475

The rear pretty much looks the same. Although the F-150 seems like a complete package overall, Ford has been lethargic to improve its tailgate. At a time when multipurpose tailgates are becoming more and more popular, Ford still refuses to develop one. We don’t know what the reason is, but this is very disappointing. Ram offers the MultiFunction tailgate on the 1500, GMC offers MultiPro tailgate on the Sierra 1500, and GM recently introduced the Multi-Flex tailgate for the 2021 Silverado 1500 (essentially the same as the Sierra’s MultiPro tailgate).

2021 Ford F-150
- image 923493

Ford continues to offer a simple power tailgate, although it has been tweaked 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. Sounds good on paper and will be helpful on sites, but from a marketing point of view, this is going to hurt Ford when multipurpose tailgates become mainstream in a couple of years.

How Big Is The 2021 Ford F-150?

2021 Ford F-150 Exterior
- image 915471
The Ford F-150 is available in three body styles – Regular Cab, SuperCab, and Super Crew – and in three different bed sizes – 5.5-foot, 6.5-foot, eight-foot – overall.

The two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models of every body-style measure slightly different. The Regular Cab and SuperCab aren’t offered with a 5.5-foot bed, whereas the SuperCrew isn’t available with an eight-foot bed. For the sake of comparison, here are the dimensions of the 6.5-foot, four-wheel-drive models of all the body styles.

The Regular Cab measures 209.1 inches in length, 79.9 inches in width, and 77 inches in height. The wheelbase measures 122.8 inches. The SuperCab is 231.7 inches long, 79.9 inches wide, 77.2 inches tall, and has a wheelbase of 145.4 inches. As for the SuperCrew, it measures 243.5 inches in length, 79.9 inches in width, 77.6 inches in height, and has a wheelbase that measures 157.2 inches.

Here are the angles and track widths of the four-wheel-drive, 6.5-foot bed 2021 F-150 for all the body styles:

Regular Cab SuperCab SuperCrew
Approach Angle 23.9 degrees 24.6 degrees 24 degrees
Departure Angle 26.2 degrees 25.4 degrees 26.3 degrees
Breakover Angle 23.5 degrees 20.2 degrees 19 degrees
Track Width (front) 67.9 inches 67.9 inches 67.9 inches
Track Width (rear) 68.3 inches 68.3 inches 68.3 inches

What’s New Inside The 2021 Ford F-150?

  • New color choices for the upholstery
  • Lockable storage space under the rear seats
  • Interior Work Surface to keep laptops comfortably
  • Max Recline Seats that fold almost 180 degrees
2021 Ford F-150 Interior
- image 915501

On the inside, the 2021 Ford F-150 feels fresh. The cabin is redesigned but still seems ergonomically spot-on. There are new color choices for the upholstery, more storage spaces, and thoughtful things like dual-tone, soil-resistant seats for the base trim. The focus has been to make the interior a better place for folks who use it as a work truck purely. The Blue Oval has also offered a lockable storage space under the rear seats with a divider to keep the space organized. It is pretty long, and Ford says it can store even fishing rods.

Ford has introduced something known as ‘Interior Work Surface’. Here, the gear lever folds down and provides a flat surface for you to use. Ford said that one-third of the owners use their laptop (up to 15-inch systems comfortably) in the truck, but there was no usable, convenient surface to date. This will be an immensely useful feature in long-term ownership. It is wide enough for you to sign documents or even have lunch inside the truck. This arrangement can be had on any trim and any seating style (bench or captain seats).

2021 Ford F-150
- image 915545

The next notable feature is the Max Recline Seats. These seats fold flat to nearly 180 degrees and the bottom cushion rises to meet the back one while the upper back support rotates forward up to 10 degrees. This is available on the top-tier trims – King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited. Ford said the XLT – second from bottom – is the most popular trim. So, people using it as a work truck will need it the most and I believe it should’ve been offered on all the trims.

How Big Is The 2021 Ford F-150 On The Inside?

2021 Ford F-150
- image 923485

All three body styles offer the same space in the front. They all have headroom that measures 40.8 inches, legroom of 43.9 inches, shoulder room that measures 66.7 inches, and hip room of 62.5 inches. At the rear, the SuperCab’s headroom is rated at 40.3 inches, legroom at 33.5 inches, shoulder room at 66.1 inches, and hip room at 62.6 inches. The SuperCrew has a 40.4-inch headroom, 43.6-inch legroom, 66-inch shoulder room, and 62.6-inch hip room.

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

As for the cargo capacities, the width between the wheelhouses and the height inside the bed is the same for all the three bed sizes – 51.1 inches and 21.4 inches respectively. The length of the boxes measures 67.1 inches, 78.9 inches, and 97.6 inches for the 5.5-foot bed, 6.5-foot bed, and the eight-food bed respectively. The volume the boxes can hold measures 52.8 cubic-feet, 62.3 cubic-feet, and 77.4 cubic feet in the same order.

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?

  • 12-inch digital instrument cluster
  • 12-inch touchscreen system
  • Eight-inch touchscreen system for lower trims
  • SYNC4 system standard
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system optional
  • Over-the-air updates available now on
2021 Ford F-150
- image 923473

Behind the chunky steering wheel is a 12-inch digital instrument cluster that shows drive-related information and also comes with various graphics and animations that change depending on the drive mode selected.

The center console now graces a bigger 12-inch touchscreen that runs on the SYNC4 infotainment system.

The XL and XLT trims come with an eight-inch touchscreen, which is a big improvement from the 4.2-inch screen offered on the lower trims of the preceding model.

The system comes with the latest maps, gives real-time traffic updates, features hands-free voice control, and comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also recently came to light that Ford won’t be offering a physical owner’s manual anymore and it will be available here for owners to access.

2021 Ford F-150
- image 923484

An eight-speaker B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen will be offered from the XLT trim, but you can also opt for an 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen Unleashed audio system that includes speakers in the headliner and the front headrests. This system is standard on the Limited trim and optional on the Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum.

The 2021 F-150 will also feature 10 new driver assistance features, including class-exclusive intersection assist and Active Drive Assist, which is essentially hands-free driving. 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 back the control 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 eventually slow down and stop in its lane.

2021 Ford F-150
- image 923483
A lot of attention is paid to connectivity this time and the same is visible in Ford’s efforts. 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. Apart from this, the new F-150 will also come with other features, such as:

  • Pro-trailer backup assist
  • Trailer Reverse Guidance that’s trickled down from 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

What’s Under The 2021 Ford F-150’s Hood?

  • Six different engine options, most of them carried over
  • Six-speed auto gearbox dropped; ten-speed automatic standard
  • New hybrid engine makes its debut
  • 3.5-liter, V-6 PowerStroke
  • Makes 430 horses and 570 pound-feet of torque
  • Immensely helpful Pro Power Onboard generator
  • Towing Capacities better on every engine option
2021 Ford F-150
- image 923489

While there is an introduction of the much-anticipated hybrid mill, all the other engines are still retained. A few of the engines receive slight power bumps, which is a good thing. Ford has, however, dropped the six-speed automatic transmission.

All the engines are now mated to the ten-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

The base model will continue to be powered by the 3.3-liter, V-6 mill that makes 290 horses and 265 pound-feet of torque. The 2.7-liter, V-6 EcoBoost mill is also carried over with the same power output figures - 325 horses and 400 pound-feet of twist. But, with the new transmission in place, you can expect a difference in the ride quality in both these engines.

2021 Ford F-150
- image 923500

The 3.0-liter, V-6, Turbodiesel, PowerStroke mill is also retained and carried over without any changes. It continues to dish out 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque. The 3.5-liter, V-6 EcoBoost was earlier available in two iterations – one making 375 horses and 470 pound-feet of twist, and the other churning out 450 horses and 510 pound-feet of torque (Raptor version). For the 2021 model, Ford has kept just one version of it which makes 400 ponies and 500 pound-feet of twist, which seems like a balance between the two.

Finally, the 5.0-liter, V-8 Coyote still remains the highest-displacement engine in the company’s lineup.
2021 Ford F-150
- image 923503

The production of this mill was rumored to be reduced and eventually phased out, but for now, it is present under the 2021 F-150’s hood. Until now, the Coyote engine used to make 395 horses and 400 pound-feet of torque, but this time around, it sees a slight increase. The engine now dishes out 400 horses and 410 pound-feet of twist, a bump of five horses, and 10 pound-feet of torque.

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 290 @ 6,500 rpm 325 @ 5,000 rpm 400 @ 6,000 rpm 400 @ 6,000 rpm 250 @ 3,250 rpm 430 @ 6,000 rpm
SAE Torque 265 lb.-ft. @ 4,000 rpm 400 lb.-ft. @ 3,000 rpm 410 lb.-ft. @ 4,250 rpm 500 lb.-ft. @ 3,100 rpm 440 lb.-ft. @ 1,750 rpm 570 lb.-ft. @ 3,000 rpm

How Is The Hybrid Mill Here?

2021 Ford F-150
- image 923469

There has been a lot of fuss about this engine and it doesn’t disappoint; on paper, at least. This is the first hybrid engine in the segment. Ram’s eTorque mild hybrid system cannot be considered here because it just adds more torque and cranks the engine in a start/stop event.

The F-150 Hybrid will be powered by a 3.5-liter, V-6 PowerBoost engine that churns out 430 ponies and 570 pound-feet of torque.

Power is sent to the wheels via a 10-speed auto gearbox itself, but the automaker mentions that the modular hybrid transmission was designed, engineered, and assembled for it. This system includes a 35-kilowatt electric motor (47 horsepower) in the transmission housing. This electric motor works in tandem with the engine, utilizes regenerative braking, and also supports the Pro Power Onboard generator. It is powered by a liquid-cooled, 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. Ford has said that it has equipped a belt-driven starter for the water pump and belt-starter motor. By the way, this isn’t a plug-in hybrid system and the batteries recuperate on the go.

2021 Ford F-150
- image 923487

As Ford has mentioned, this mill makes the ‘best-in-class power and torque’, churning out 10 horses more than the 6.2-liter, V-8 seen in the Chevy Silverado and the GMC Sierra, and 70 pound-feet of torque more than the previous best 3.5-liter, V-6 EcoBoost engine from its own portfolio.

This 3.5-liter, V-6 PowerBoost hybrid engine can be had on any trim, provided it’s a Crew Cab model.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a two-wheel-drive or a four-wheel-drive version or has a 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed. The company has also claimed that the engine will offer a range of up to 700 miles on a full tank of fuel, which means this hybrid engine will be quite an efficient one. It is a 30.6-gallon fuel tank, but the company has not revealed the official fuel economy figures. Care to do the math yourself? Also, the hybrid engine is a $2,500 addition.

Pro Power Onboard Generator

2021 Ford F-150
- image 915549

Speaking of the Pro Power Onboard generator, Ford is offering 2.4 kilowatts of standard power and 7.2 kilowatts as optional. 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; or 28 average refrigerators, if that gives a better perspective. A series of ports are included – 120-volt, 20-amp outlets, with a single 240-volt, a 30-amp outlet for big equipment. Ford had earlier mentioned that 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.

2021 Ford F-150 Towing and Payload Capacities

2021 Ford F-150
- image 923482

If towing and payload capacities are the most essential things for you in a pickup truck, well, the 2021 F-150 will impress you then.

The towing capacity has gotten better on every single engine option.

The base 3.3-liter, V-6 can now tow up to 8,200 pounds as opposed to 7,700 pounds in the preceding model. The payload capacity, however, is reduced by a negligible five pounds and is now rated at 1,985 pounds. The 2.7-liter, V-6 EcoBoost engine sees a jump of 1,600 pounds and can now tow up to 10,100 pounds. The payload capacity is ten pounds more and can now haul up to 2,480 pounds.

The 3.0-liter, diesel V-6 engine’s towing and payload capacities are rated at 12,100- and 1,840 pounds, respectively. This is 600 pounds more than the predecessor in the towing department, but 100 pounds fewer in case of payload capacity. The 5.0-liter, V-8 Coyote engine was earlier rated to tow and haul up to 10,600- and 3,270 pounds. The 2021 model can tow and haul impressively higher now and is rated at 13,000- and 3,325 pounds respectively.

2021 Ford F-150
- image 923511

The 3.5-liter, V-6 PowerBoost hybrid mill can tow up to 12,700 pounds and haul up to 2,120 pounds, which isn’t too bad and slots in the lineup with ratings on the higher side. But, the cherry on the cake is the 3.5-liter, V-6 EcoBoost’s capacities. Earlier, the iteration with lower power outputs could tow up to 13,200 pounds and haul up to 3,230 pounds. This time, with 400 ponies and 500 pound-feet of twist, it can tow 14,000 pounds and haul up to 3,250 pounds, making it the best engine in the lineup in terms of heavy lifting.

How Much Does The 2021 Ford F-150 Cost?

2021 Ford F-150
- image 923478

Ford is yet to officially announce the pricing of the 2021 Ford F-150, but there are a few reports that have revealed the pricing. The base trim is just $195 higher than the preceding model, which a pretty good deal considering the changes it comes with, like a bigger touchscreen, 10-speed auto gearbox, etc. While this is pretty good, the top-end breaches the $80,000 figure with barely any additions!

A dealer order guide shows that 2021 F-150 Limited trim 4x2 SuperCrew priced at $72,520, including the destination charges. The four-wheel-drive model is priced at $3,425 higher. If you decide to upgrade to the PowerBoost Hybrid powertrain, that’ll add another $2,500 to the price. Finally, a $595 bedliner and a $995 tonneau cover will push the price just over $80,000. To put things into perspective, this is $50,000 more than the base trim.

2021 Ford F-150 Competition

How Does It Compare To The Chevy Silverado 1500?

2019 Chevrolet Silverado
- image 785430

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is one of the three big American trucks that have a strong presence in this segment. If you thought Ford’s trim-engine-body list was exhaustive, Chevy is a step ahead. The Bowtie offers eight trims and five engine options to choose from. In terms of pure power, the 6.2-liter, V-8 tops the chart with 420 horses and 460 pound-feet of torque. The truck also comes with a maximum towing capacity of up to 13,300 pounds and a maximum payload capacity of 2,280 pounds. The 2021 model will also come with a Multi-Flex tailgate. The Chevy Silverado 1500 starts at $30,195 including destination charges.

Read our full review on the Chevy Silverado 1500

How Does It Compare To The Ram 1500

2019 Ram 1500 Exterior
- image 760707

The Ram 1500 is arguably Ford’s biggest threat. The 1500 is an offering that has changed the way trucks are perceived, especially when it comes to cabin presence. Ram offers six trims and four different engine options to choose from. These, of course, doesn’t include the TRX’s options. While the 5.7-liter, V-8 HEMI offers the best horsepower figures – 395 horses, it is the 3.0-liter, V-6 EcoDiesel that comes with the best torque figures in the lineup – 480 pound-feet. The HEMI V-8 can also be had with a mild-hybrid system that comes with the best towing capacity of up to 12,750 pounds. The 2021 Ram 1500 starts at $32,245.

Read our full review on the Ram 1500

Final Thoughts

2021 Ford F-150
- image 923514

Ford has introduced a lot of noteworthy features here. The F-150, and the F-Series in extension, is the bread-and-butter for Ford, and given how the rivals were closing in on the lead, Ford had to get this right. The automaker moved 900,000 trucks in 2019 and the F-Series raked in $42 billion for Ford in revenue last year, which means it alone could be in the Fortune 500 list.

The Hybrid engine is a great addition and it’s a good thing that it can be had on any trim. The $2,500 price for it seems a little too steep, but perhaps, it will reap benefits in the long run. While most of the engines are retained as it is, a few see slight power increases. The best thing, however, is that Ford dropped the six-speed automatic gearbox and all engines now come only with the 10-speed gearbox.

The 2021 Ford F-150 will be assembled at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan, and Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri. It will start arriving at the dealerships from this fall. Raptor is still playing hide-and-seek and we’ll update this article when concrete information about it surfaces.

  • Leave it
    • Seems more like a facelift than a generation change aesthetically
    • Still offered with a simple power tailgate
    • The top-end with options will cost an absurd amount
Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV 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. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
About the author

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