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2021 F-150 - How it compares

August 5, 2020

All-new F-150 XLT Sport Appearance Package in Carbonized Gray.

We've taken what the experts think and broken it down for you. Ford racked up while planning the improvements to the 2021 F-150: 1,000 hours spent with customers taking 18,000 photos and 600 hours of video of them working with their trucks. This data helped Ford's team decide what to keep, what to refine, and where to innovate. Thanks to our friends at MotorTrend who have put the numbers to work to reveal how the new Ford 2021 F-150 compares.

The unbroken stuff goes unfixed, as engineers instead concentrate on continuing the F-150's unrelenting march upward in payload and towing capability. Also improved are the ride quality, stability, and interior refinement, all in the name of enabling the truck to better assist its owner in getting various jobs done.

It has better aerodynamics for improved fuel economy, a bigger screen in the center console, eleven different grilles, and an optional hybrid EcoBoost drivetrain with up to 700 miles of fuel range. The F-150 didn’t start this war of trucks, but it’s upping the ante to mutually assured destruction levels of truck.

The Design

92—The percentage of new part numbers in the 2021 F-150. We must assume that the carryover engines and transmissions count as one part number each, and some parts—like the windshield and roof—get new numbers because while they're shaped the same, they're modified to accept new driver-assistance features and antenna mounts. But most of what you see and touch is newer than it may appear at first glance.

6—The total number of trim grades drops by one, as the Raptor will not be available from the outset on the 2021 F-150 but will return later. The walk starts with XL (on which an STX appearance package will be offered with 18-inch aluminum wheels). XLT is next, with chrome and sport appearance offerings getting bumper, mirror caps, and accents in either chrome or body color. Lariat is also offered with chrome or sport appearance but adds leather and more goodies. From there, the offerings step up through King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited. An FX4 off-road package is available throughout the lineup.

11 from 5—The 2021 F-150 will be available with 11 different grille designs, created from 5 different molds; one gets 4 different finishes, one gets 3, one gets 2, and two are unique.

13 of 12—For 2021, 13 wheel offerings will be produced from 12 designs. The most basic 17-inch wheel is steel; two 18-inch alloy options share the same mold with different finishes, the rest are unique, stepping up in size to a maximum of 22 inches.

Here's what doesn't change in 2021: Most dimensions, the size and configuration of the three available cabs and boxes, and the powertrains (except for the axed six-speed automatic).

Leading the roster of cool improvements is a new PowerBoost hybrid offering that includes Pro Power Onboard. PowerBoost mates the Explorer Hybrid's transmission-mounted electric motor and frame-mounted 1.5-kWh battery pack with the F-150's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. No power and torque figures have been announced, but while the Raptor takes a year or so off, this will serve as the new F-150's most powerful offering while delivering "12,000-pounds-plus" of towing capability, reasonable fuel economy, and a claimed 700-mile driving range. It will be offered on every trim level.


Compared to Ram and Chevy, the 2021 Ford F-150 has the most diverse engine lineup. Besides the hybrid, other powertrains include three regular gasoline-fed V-6s, including a base naturally aspirated 3.3-liter V-6, a 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost, and a 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost. 


But perhaps even better is the hybrid's standard Pro Power Onboard system, which provides a 2.4-kW inverter that delivers 20 amps of 110-volt electricity for powering a job or campsite. Need 30 amps of 220-volt power? Upgrade your PowerBoost truck to the 7.2-kW inverter. Can't swing the cost of the fancy hybrid? A 2.0-kW 110-volt inverter is offered on all but the base 3.3L V-6 and the diesel. It automatically starts and idles the engine as needed to power your devices.

Chassis improvements include frame reinforcements to support widening the track by just under 1 inch, increasing the tow ratings, and accommodating the PowerBoost's longer transmission and battery mounting. Increased rigidity improves ride, as do better bushings where the cab mounts to the frame, and a switch to monotube shocks on higher-end trim levels. The front stabilizer bar now attaches to the steering knuckle instead of the control arm for improved mechanical advantage, and composite leaf springs replace steel in certain lower-payload applications. The vacuum brake booster is ditched in favor of electric assist; the rotors and calipers are upgraded to handle the higher tow ratings; and the F-150 gets the Adaptive Steering system from the Super Duty, Edge, and others. This places a motor and gears between the steering wheel and column to reduce the amount of steering input needed during low-speed maneuvers, while also removing the "nervousness" that quick-ratio steering might otherwise cause at highway speeds.

New driver assist features for the F-150 include hands-free driving on over 100,000 miles of divided highway. With driver-facing cameras, the truck will track your head position and eyes to make sure you’re paying the hell attention while behind the wheel of your several-thousand-pound vehicle. More roads can be added to this technology as Ford has enabled over-the-air updates to the F-150 for the first time. This feature is expected to be finalized by Q3 of 2021, but you can option the equipment necessary to enable it right now, in a very Tesla move. Another new feature is Intersection Assist, which detects oncoming traffic while drivers are making left turns. If you attempt to turn left through an intersection while a car is speeding toward you, even one you cannot see, the truck will apply the brakes to prevent the potential incident. 

Contact J.C. Lewis Ford today for your Built Ford Tough Truck. 912.210.5676