2021 Ford F-150: Worth a long, long look

10 Apr 2021 | 67 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds   2021 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercrew (with a 157 inch wheelbase!) Price as tested: $55,295 Performance: Power for our demonstrator came from a  400 horsepower 5.0 liter V-8, backed by Ford's new 10 speed automatic transmission. It's a good, smooth one most of the time, though there were times when it seemed to hesitate to shift into gear. Man, does this thing MOVE when you hit the pedal! Smooth, relatively quiet and steady on the road,   I have nothing but praise for the F-150's power, acceleration, and passing ability. But even more impressive, at least for me --a non-truck driver--- is how smooth, tomb quiet, and remarkably stable the F-150 is on the road.  I have finally found a truck that I really would buy--if--and it's a big if--I had the bucks to handle the cost. Inside the F-150 you really do not hear a thing, and it is just a joy to pilot--as long as you aren't parking. Brakes are quite good, too, adding yet another reason to buy the F-150. I just had a feeling of stability and security with this truck, and none of the sway and bounciness I usually experience with trucks. But....there's a big problem for those of who live in the city: Parking. I don't think it's an accident that almost all the F-150s I see in Pittsburgh are out in the 'burbs, not in the city.  Pittsburgh, just this year made what I think is a terrible decision: Installing confusing and infuriating rotaries that are the bane of anyone who owns or uses trucks for work.  The city also has very narrow streets and parking is at a premium for cars on city streets, never mind trying to locate a space  in which you can park, but also be able to maneuver gracefully. Parking the Supercrew really raised the hairs on my head more than once. H0wever, if you have the patience, and you are an experienced driver of something as large as the F-150--especially the gigantic Supercrew version--, then by all means, you simply have to consider this truck. You won't be disappointed. Economy: Here's another big surprise: Fuel economy! The  fuel economy figures weren't provided on our Monroney, but I can tell you that last year, with the same engine in our tester, the Feds rated the F-150 at 18 miles per gallon overall, 16 city and 22 highway, but I got about 20 miles per gallon overall. Heck my old 2009 minivan gets that! The F-150 uses 5.6 miles of gasoline for every 100 miles driven, and you will need to spend about $3,500 more in fuel costs over five years, compared with the average new vehicle, according to the Feds. Annual fuel cost is $2,100, based on driving 15,00 miles annually with gasoline costing $2.55 a gallon. The Truck:  Sometimes, you have to look beneath the surface of things. Ford's 2021 F-150 is one of those products that demands a closer look. To see it on the road, you will be hard pressed to find much to distinguish it from previous models--unless you are looking dead center on the grille, which is now a more contemporary, simplified design instead of the gaudy, complicated looking front end of prior models. But it's not the looks that call for more of your attention. The F-150  is a redesign that happens to look a lot like its predecessor, but for 2021 it has a wealth of features that earn it a top of the list position for consumers. First of all, you have all sorts of engine choices to make.  Ford's F-150 has them all covered.  They include hybrid, gasoline and diesel engines, so you can get something that fits your needs perfectly. The new hybrid powertrain, named And PowerBoost includes a 3.5 liter V-6 which is turbocharged.  Though it will cost you more money, it's great for those who are watching the money in your wallet and the mileage that you get. Ford also has gone to great lengths to satisfy those who need the convenience of being able to work from their truck.  This year's news is an onboard optional  large generator to operate any number of electrical powered equipment right from the truck. Named the  Pro Power Onboard system, it's a boon to any number of potential Ford customers who rely on generators as part of their work. And remember the days when everybody complained about the infotainment system in Ford products because it was simply too tough to use intuitively? Those days are gone. You can set up the BlueTooth system in a flash, with no fuss and no muss.  And all the other functions that are part of the infotainment system are easy to use, too.  It's completely intuitive, and that's wonderful, as far as I'm concerned.  I also loved the large, legible instrument gauges on the 2021 F-150. No more straining your eyes or trying to decipher an overcrowded instrument panel.
      Your biggest challenge, I think, will be simply deciding which  version of the F-150 you want to have parked in your driveway.  There are more versions of the F-150 than just about any other model in the whole Ford lineup. If you decide to pick up a brochure on the F-150, you'd better sit down and take it all in because the catalog personifies what the "F-150 lineup looks like this year, and I can tell you the variety is astonishing.
   It goes without saying that there are a ton of choices you will have to make if you buy the F-150.
     For instance,  Ford gives you a choice of three styles. You can choose regular,  SuperCab (extended) and SuperCrew (crew cab), and of course, you will have to pick one of three different lengths for the truck bed itself. There are a number of engine options, too. They include: A 3.3-liter  290 horsepower V6 A turbocharged 2.7-liter , 325 horsepower V6 The 400 horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 mentioned earlier Turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel 250 horsepower V6 Turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 (400 hp, 500 lb-ft) The new hybrid powertrain (Ford's PowerBoost) that combines the turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 with an electric motor and a battery pack that puts out a whopping  430 horsepower. Now let's talk about the model lineup. First up is the Ford F-150 XL, with a rather lengthy list of standard features, including 17-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights with automatic high beams, trailer sway control, pre-wired trailer connections, manual mirrors and windows, vinyl flooring, a cloth-upholstered 40/20/40-split front bench, a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a driver information display, air conditioning, a 4.2-inch central display screen, a four-speaker radio, a rearview camera, and forward collision warning with automatic braking. SuperCab and SuperCrew models come with 60/40-split folding rear seats and two additional speakers. If you are looking for a few optional features, consider Ford's 101A package, which gets you power windows and locks (including the tailgate), power mirrors, remote locking and unlocking, cruise control, Ford's MyKey vehicle control feature, a larger driver information screen, Sync voice controls, Bluetooth, smartphone app integration, a USB port and a CD player. Other XL options include chrome and sport appearance packages, the FX4 Off-Road package, side steps, a tailgate assist step, drop-in or spray-in bedliners, remote vehicle tracking, and trailer tow packages with Ford's Pro Trailer Backup Assist system. The next step up the F-150 model ladder is the F-150 XLT. Standard features include the aforementioned 101A package, along with alloy wheels, chrome bumpers, and exterior trim, foglights, a keypad entry system, rear privacy glass, carpeting, driver and passenger seat lumbar adjustments, additional interior storage bins and pocket, an eight inch touchscreen, which has Sync3, AppleCarPlay, and Android Auto, FordPass Wi-Fi connectivity, and an additional USB port.
Some of the available options for the XLT include a regular or panoramic sunroof choice, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, inflatable rear seat belts, a navigation system, power adjustable pedals, an auto-dimming driver side and rearview mirror, power adjustable driver's seat, rear underseat storage and a number of other options. The next model up is the popular F-150 Lariat. Standard features include  the turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 engine.  18-inch wheels, a trailer hitch, keyless entry and ignition, power-adjustable pedals, dual-zone automatic climate control, driver-seat memory settings, ambient lighting, leather upholstery and ventilated front seats. There are, as you might expect, optional packages for the Lariat. The Mid 501A package adds upgraded mirrors, remote tailgate release, rear parking sensors and front-facing spotlights to the features listed in the XLT's Luxury 302A package. The Luxury 502A package, meanwhile, adds LED headlights and foglights, automatic wipers, a heated and power-adjustable steering wheel, front bucket seats, heated rear outboard seats (SuperCrew), a navigation system, and an 11-speaker stereo with HD radio. Other options include lane departure warning, power-deployable running boards, a surround-view camera system, an automated parallel parking system and adaptive cruise control.

     You've basically reached the top of the heap with the F-150 Limited, which comes with the high-output version of the turbocharged 3.5-liter engine, an extended-range 36-gallon fuel tank (the standard tank is 23 or 26 gallons, depending on cab size), 22-inch wheels, upgraded leather upholstery in front, unique styling details and many of the F-150's optional features as standard.

      Looking for something hot as a firecracker and a head turner all rolled up in one?  Don't miss the  F-150 Raptor. Providing all the heat is the same high-output version of the turbocharged 3.5-liter engine as the Limited. It has many of the same features as the XLT, but it offers a reinforced frame, a special four-wheel-drive system, a modified long-travel suspension, Fox shocks, flared fenders, skid plates, 17-inch wheels with upgraded off-road tires, and special interior trim with leather and cloth upholstery. The Raptor offers many of the same options as the XLT and the Lariat, as well as a few exterior styling packages, a Torsen limited-slip front differential and forged, bead-lock capable wheels. Safety: Among the safety features other than the usual belts and air bags, are the Advanced Security Pack, AdvanceTrac with RSC; Safety Canopy Air bags, SOS Post-Crash Alert System, and other safety perks as well. Styling and Aesthetics: I look at the current F-150 as an understated classic, always fashionable  truck. It projects strength, dignity, security and practicality, and will probably never go out of style, and the new front end looks a lot classier, simpler, and more elegant and contemporary. I especially like the dip on the doors that provides a feeling of expansiveness and airiness, as well as giving you an even better sense of security as you drive the truck. Overall, the new grille and a few changes in the side profile and other details result in a truck that looks an awful lot better than the competition. Warranty: Three year, 36,000 mile warranty bumper to bumper and five years/60,000 mile powertrain warranty.  

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