Revolutionary or Evolutionary....the NEW F-150
Tonight Ford unveiled the latest iteration of the nations top-selling vehicle, the 2021 Ford F-150 and I see it as a very tasteful EVO-lution of the current design.
This rig is immensely popular and of utmost importance to the 117 year old automaker. It has been the sales leader in the full-size truck segment for 43 years straight and has new entries from General Motors and the uber-luxurious Ram 1500 nipping at its heels. Ford had to not only keep customers coming back, but had to do something to differentiate them from the other trucks in the segment that are constantly trying to dethrone the King.
Ford plans on doing this by taking feedback from real customers. Trying to one-up Chevy's "Real Customers" ad campaign, Ford featured the stories of 3 real F-150 customers and then invited them on stage for an interview with the evening's host, Dennis Leary. They followed these stories up with tales of camping trips, fishing trips, and work trips with countless other customers from Texas to Michigan, New York to California.
It seems to have paid off! The interior, where I would plan to spend most of my time as a vehicle owner (though this is Ford, and Matt can cringe at all the work he has had to put in under the hood of his beloved F-150), and this interior DOES NOT disappoint. It is tech-laden and leather stitched enough to compete with the best Ram has to offer, and their customer feedback has led to som unique innovations sure to become industry standards.
The clip above shows off their exclusive fold-flat center workstation. I know when I had my Silverado, I frequently called it my rolling office, Ford has made that a reality with this large desk space.
Next up is a perk anyone who has had to sleep in their rig would enjoy, fold-flat seats. These "Max Recline" nearly 180 degree seats are just what the doctor ordered after a long road trip stint that isn't quite finished yet.
Followed up with fold-able and lockable rear under-seat storage, you really can make this your home away from home. These storage lockers still maintain the ability to have a flat load floor. They never demoed or showed how, looks like we will have to wait and see on that claim.
The interior is truly a nice place to be, with Ford's SYNC 4 standard across the line and a 12" infotainment screen, it is also a very well connected rig.
That huge 12" screen will be standard in over half of the models Ford sells, so you are more than likely going to see one in the rig you are shopping for. One interesting feature they pointed out is that it still works even with work gloves on, something anyone with gloves and a smartphone often lament over. My guess is that it is pressure sensitive instead of relying solely on the electric current in your fingertips. The built-in 4G LTE modem can also connect up to 10 devices on the truck's built-in hotspot. As technology creeps into our vehicles, that also requires software updates (cue Matt's whining about technology), which Ford promises to be seamless and non-intrusive. Software updates will all be over-the-air updates and will work in the background, leaving you unaware of the update in progress. Large updates can be scheduled to happen overnight. This will allow for better responsiveness and potentially unlocking new features over time, much like Teslas actually improve over time with their over-the-air software updates. Lastly, you will no longer need to worry with cords and cables, with wireless charging and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you can just hop in and go. Ford will also be including their FordPass App to stay in touch with your rig while you are away.
Moving outside of the F-150, Ford had mentioned learning from their fishermen customers the need for light when getting up and going before the crack of dawn, and Ford has now got them covered, allowing you to select lighting zones from the touchscreen.
Technology previously seen in upscale vehicles like Cadillac has found its way into the nation's top selling vehicle in the form of cellular peer-to-peer communication between vehicles. This will help in navigation around traffic and potentially avoiding accidents and pileups altogether.
Six engines will be offered, from standard gasoline only engines, to diesel, and even a full-hybrid dubbed the PowerBoost. Using Ford's famed 3.5L V-6 engine, the PowerBoost will boast a Ford-Claimed best-in-class horsepower, torque, and towing (over 12,000lbs.) all while offering impressive fuel economy and range (over 700 miles on a single tank) and offering Ford's Power On Board in the bed of the truck with enough power to plug in your entire campsite or tailgate party.
Fans of the current tailgate wars will find interesting options from Ford into the foray. This tailgate is truly the workman's do-it-all workbench. With built-in rulers for measuring for the precise cut, to cubbies for phones, pencils, and various other tools, Ford has stepped-up the interior of their tailgate to suit any worksite.
For exterior styling, I noticed the return of two-tone paint options on the first model they rolled out to show the crowd, as well as a chromed fender vent on the front quarter panel. Both of these design elements have had their time and place in the truck world, what are your thoughts on these elements making it into a 2021 year-model vehicle?
While this was definitely no revolutionary design change like the 2015 model was, I believe this to be a very tasteful evolution of the current design, one that definitely grew on me after I first saw it. Ford also touted 11 different grille options and 13 different wheel designs. You can definitely make your F-150 your own.
This is truly a new rig from stem to stern, with all-new sheet metal on every square inch of this truck. Ford says they widened the track by 3/4", increased the size of the wheel arches, and made this the most aerodynamic F-150 to date.
Safety features abound in this rig too, with 10 NEW driver assist features, I would agree. Some features mentioned in the event include the segment's first truly hands-free driving ability which relies on the drivers eye line and attention to the road ahead instead of just steering wheel inputs to monitor driver attention. This will allow the F-150 to begin slowing itself down if the driver is inattentive for too long. Another interesting feature is Intersection Assist, which monitors traffic when making a left hand turn through an intersection, applying the brakes if it senses an impending accident from oncoming traffic.
More information will be coming out in the days and weeks leading up to its on-sale date, including pricing, horsepower and torque numbers, as well as final EPA ratings for their 6 different engine options. We will keep you in the loop as we find out more about the leader in the full-size truck segment but in the meantime, enjoy some pictures of the new rig and let us know your thoughts.
Read through some specs from Ford themselves here: