The 2021 Ford F-150 comes to us with an all-new sheet metal wrapper, a new interior and a raft of new details and features. While not an entirely new truck, we can call it an aggressive refresh and infusion of new stuff.
Most notably in our King Ranch Powerboost test vehicle is an all-new full-hybrid powertrain. Made up of Ford’s venerable 3.5-liter twin turbocharged EcoBoost V6 and an electrified variant of their 10-speed automatic transmission, the new powertrain brings both more power and more efficiency.
Rated at 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque, the new F-150 Powerboost has tow and payload ratings slightly less than counterparts but offers up an EPA estimated 24 mpg city, 24 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined fuel economy.
The addition of a robust electric motor between the engine and transmission allows the F-150 to motor on electric power only at slow speeds and sometimes at coast, gasoline power when its needed under load and at higher speeds – sometimes both.
Putting that electric motor generator to use, the F-150 Powerboost can be utilized as an on-site generator too with up to 7.2 kW of power for tools, entertainment or camping.
In driving it more or less feels like a traditional truck, shifting gears and accelerating with bravado when asked. At slow speeds with electric only power it is very quiet. Acceleration all-in is very impressive when both sources are summoned.
We did find however that the refinement of the starting and stopping, engagement and disengagement of the gasoline engine was less than expected. It can be rough at times. Fuel efficiency too was a surprising let down with an observed 19 mpg combined, a number we could achieve with a standard EcoBoost pickup.
Outside of this, we liked the new F-150 for its breathtaking interior quality and design. Now consistent in fit and finish, materials quality, and in feature content the Ford interior is now a contender for best in class.
It’s fully featured with a number of cool new things like a fold out work surface, locking storage underneath the rear seat and a phenomenal SYNC4 infotainment system just to name a few things. We were impressed.
Handling too was a strong suit with a quiet and comfortable ride, a solid chassis on rougher surfaces and a good deal of refinement. The adaptive steering system was a bit finicky however, feeling like it needs some better tuning to be more friendly to the discerning drivers among us.
In spite of the areas needing improvement, the new 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost made our “Id Buy It” list for 2020 as a result of its substantially increased build quality, its performance and its value.
We would probably skip the hybrid powertrain however and look toward the diesel or other gas options given the hybrid’s lack of payoff in the efficiency department.