I don’t have any empirical evidence to back this up, but if I had to guess which new-vehicle buyers are the most stubbornly opposed to electrification, I’d wager it’s pickup shoppers. Conversely, with the segment’s emphasis on torque and its seeming indifference to higher curb weights, light-duty trucks stand to benefit from gaining an electric helping hand more than most. While others have tried and largely failed to spark interest in gas-electric trucks, spending a few days driving thisPowerBoost has me convinced that this model stands the best chance of converting the masses to the joy of electrons. In fact, it’s the first hybrid pickup I’d buy.
When I say “masses,” I mean it. The F-150 has been America’s best-selling truck for 43 straight years, and the country’s best-selling new vehicle of any type. In fact, the F-Series is, reportedly earning more money than every major US sport combined. Ford built 900,000 F-Series trucks last year. Even if hybrid models only make up a modest percentage of total F-150s sold going forward, PowerBoost could single-handedly have a bigger net effect on America’s fossil-fuel consumption than any other vehicle — Tesla included. This new truck, then, is a big deal. No pressure.
While the Blue Oval will continue to offer its cash cow in a predictable array of gas- and diesel-powered flavors, the new 2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost will give shoppers plenty to chew on. I’m not just talking about this model because it’s got the most horsepower and torque of any F-150, although with 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet, this plugless pickup has those honors locked up tighter than an owner’s fist around a bacon-double cheeseburger. Thanks to the F-150 hybrid’s standard Pro Power Onboard built-in generator and a host of other tricks, this new F-Series offers plenty of reasons to consider electrification beyond improved fuel economy.
Minor visual changes, big capability update
Before I dig too deep into the gas-electric guts of this particular King Ranch SuperCrew 4×4, an overview of the new F-150 is in order. While it may look like a mild refresh of the outgoing model, this 14th-gen rig is, in fact, very different — well over 90% different, Ford says. The new truck rides on a stiffer, fully boxed steel frame clothed in all-new bodywork (aluminum, as before), and it sits on a half-inch-wider track. All cabin and box configurations return, along with all major trim levels — XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited (a new), but there’s a lot new going on under the skin regardless of trim.
The easiest way to spot the 2021 F-150 on the street will be its revised C-clamp-shaped LED running lights, which now flow into a redesigned front bumper. There’s a range of new grilles up front, and aerodynamic improvements include active shutters and a chin spoiler that automatically deploys at speed. Out back, new taillights bracket a redesigned tailgate while repeating the C-clamp design theme…Read more>>