Behind The Wheel

2021 Ford F-150 — Still Rulin’ the Roost

2021 Ford F150Model tested: 2021 Ford F-150 XLT 4X4 SuperCrew

Engine: 3.5-liter PowerBoost full hybrid V6

Transmission: hybrid electric 10-speed automatic

Horsepower: 430

Torque: 570 lb.-ft.

EPA rating: 24/city, 24/highway, 24/combined

Base price: $43,805

As tested: $60,545

Overview: The Ford F-150 is the all-time American sales leader among full-size pickups — and with good reason. With 40 configurations ranging from your basic two-door work truck to four-door luxury cruisers, between numerous powertrains, cabins, bed sizes, models and trims, there’s an F-150 for just about everyone. The F-150 was redesigned for 2021, with changes including the first-ever hybrid powerplant and a 10-speed automatic — which powered our test vehicle and is the sole focus of this review.

Walkaround: The F-150’s styling is mostly evolutionary — it looks familiar yet different — and less boxy than either the Chevy or GMC and more stylish than the Ram 1500. Choices include 15 colors, 11 grilles and 15 wheel designs ranging in diameter from 17 to 22 inches. Daytime running lights stretch into the bumper, connecting with lower fog lights and making the front end appear larger. There’s a new, sleek-curved metal stamp over the wheel wells replacing the black cladding, and a new character line on the rocker panels mirrors the front window notch. Cosmetic air intakes in the front fenders distinguish the six trim levels.

2021 Ford F150Interior: Large buttons and dials, coupled with a massive center console, marry function to form. A 12-inch infotainment screen is the centerpiece of the dash, with a wireless charging pad under it. The center console features a flat work surface that flips out from the soft armrest. Storage abounds — with a deep center console, dual glove boxes, big door pockets, additional storage pockets, plus large cupholders. Our SuperCrew test driver offered comfortable 10-way power front seats with a 60/40 foldable rear seat. The rear boasts a charitable 43.6 inches of legroom. The optional front seats recline nearly 180 degrees — for naps on long drives or at rest stops. The available power tailgate includes the F-150’s hidden step and pull handle, as well as a work surface on the tailgate with a built-in ruler, cupholder and smartphone holder.

Behind the Wheel: The 2021 F-150 earns kudos for its turbo V-6 and smooth 10-speed automatic. It delivers 430 horses to the highway with 570 lb.-ft. of torque and can tow over 10,000 pounds. The hybrid supplements the V6 with a 47-horsepower electric motor powered by a 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. The F-150 handles like a truck. An independent front suspension helps smooth out the ride, but with an empty bed, it has the usual pickup truck firmness you expect.

Bottom Line: Most F-150 buyers know what they’re getting, but the new hybrid offers another option. The new 10-speed automatic transmission that’s standard in every F-150 is a major plus.