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2021 Ford F-150: 5 Things to Expect

Jay Ramey Jun 25 2020

FORD

FORD

 

The new F-150 will be evolutionary in most regards, but expect an electric revolution as well.

 

The 14th-generation Ford F-150 has a lot to live up to—the previous 13 generations, for starters, and the crown of the country's bestselling pickup for over 40 years. As the reveal of the 2021 model approaches tonight, the F-150 will try to stay ahead of the competition in a segment whose rules seem to have been largely set in reinforced concrete some time ago by rolling out a number of innovations, some of which will seem incremental and some of which will try to rewrite those rules. The next generation of the F-150 will try to prove, while staying close to its current formula, that trucks in its segment are not devoid of innovation and that there is an audience for greater electrification even at a time when gas prices are at their lowest point in years. Here are five things to watch for:

 

1. The Design

 

FORD

FORD

 

The 2021 F-150 has been seen virtually without camo from just about all angles at this point, but when it comes to the design of the front fascia Ford will offer a gentle evolution of the current look, with a C-shaped LED pattern bookending the grille. At its core this will be a more vertical version of the current look, with the bottom part of the LED pattern dipping down below the bumper line. The hood will keep a U-shaped pattern but add some new sculpted lines, as we can see in the latest official image at the top.

When it comes to proportions, the 2021 F-150 is expected to stay close to the dimensions of the outgoing model—this is one part of the design that appears to have solidified a number of years ago— so there are few surprises in store when it comes to the layout and dimensions of the truck itself.

 

2. The Interior

 

FORD

FORD

The big change on the inside, aside from the bigger screen, will be a new option: The 2021 F-150 passenger seat will fold flatReuters reported earlier, offering the ability to sleep (more easily) in the cab instead of stretching out on the rear bench. Ford is also expected to dial the interior design and materials up a notch, to compete with the latest crop of pickups that have tried to grab a slice of its market share.

What's prompting this reported focus on interior ergonomics and versatility?

If there has been one rival that has raised its interior game well above the competition in the past few years, it has been Ram 1500, with luxury trimmings, clever interior design and storage and a genuinely plush cabin. Trucks have been turning in the direction of luxury SUVs for the past decade, but the bar has now been raised to the level of sleeper seats, which have been overdue for some time, given the fact that truck owners who use their trucks for work sometimes have no choice but to sleep on the job site due to time or travel constraints. This need is especially common in the construction and oil industries, and it's a wonder that it has taken an automaker this long to cater to it directly.

 

3. The Infotainment

 

F150GEN14

F150GEN14

 

Big screens are now in vogue as much as big trucks, and the 2021 F-150 won't disappoint. We've already seen glimpses of the monster 10- or 11-inch Jumbotron that will be offered as the optional version, but we also expect the 2021 F-150 to get a smaller version of the screen, likely the same size as the current 8-inch unit. We expect the new infotainment screen to feature the SYNC 4 system along with over-the-air updates, but to keep room for the HVAC controls down below it'll be horizontally oriented, instead of vertically, which has been the case with a number of these big-screen systems, including Tesla and Volvo.

The spy shots of the larger screen in the 2021 F-150 suggest that most but not all functions will be controlled via the screen, and Ford has wisely kept the common audio and HVAC controls as rotary knobs below the main screen, to allow for easier operation without menu-spelunking.

That's not all when it comes to screens, because the instrument cluster of the 2021 will also be digital, allowing drivers to switch between a number of prioritized displays, which should come in handy for specialized tasks.

 

4. The Powertrain

 

FORD

FORD

 

Given the fact that the current F-150 debuted only five years ago, the lineup of five main engines should not offer any big surprises.

The base gasoline unit is expected to be a naturally aspirated 290-hp 3.3-liter V6, but buyers will also have a choice of two beefier twin-turbo V6 units displacing 2.7 and 3.5 liters, serving up 325 and 375 hp, respectively. The top gasoline unit, meanwhile, will be the 5.0-liter V8 with 395 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque on tap, carrying over from the previous model years. The sole diesel on the menu is expected to be the current 3.0-liter turbodiesel with 250 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. And, of course, all five engines will be paired with 10-speed automatic transmissions.

 

5. Hybrid and Electric Versions

 

FORD

FORD

 

Ford is expected to offer a hybrid F-150 version, due in 2021 as a 2022 model, pairing a V6 with an electric motor and the 10-speed automatic. That's before the main event—the electric F-150, itself expected to land a few years into the new product cycle.

Figures for both are up in the air at the moment as neither is close to launch, and neither will go on sale later this year. So firm specs are bit of an unknown at the moment, especially when it comes to the pure-EV version, which may face half a dozen competitors when it does reach the market. That's because there is a wave of electric pickups currently working their way through the pipelines of several startups and General Motors, which plans to apply the Hummer badge to its future electric offering. Rest assured that the electric F-150 will not debut in an empty field when it comes to the competition, but it may prove to be the most "mainstream" offering because it won't be a clean-sheet design or a complete unknown.

 

SOURCE: Autoweek

 

 

 

 

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