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At long last, we finally get a full, virtual look at the all-new 2021 Ford F-150. 

The exterior design isn’t dramatically different, as it retains the same strong horizontal lines of the previous generation. However, this new design is certainly an evolution with bigger, blockier taillights, stackable headlights and a clean, boxy-looking grille. 

The real changes occur to the guts of the F-150, which propel this best-selling truck forward with interesting solutions and a lot of technology. And, as it turns out, the rumors we heard about sleepers seats and on-board generators – they’re all true.

Here are the five most important things to know about the next-gen F-150:

F-150’s top-tier powertrain is a hybrid

The fact that the Ford F-150 gets a hybrid powertrain at all is news. But the fact that Ford has positioned it at the top of its engine lineup is bigger news.

We have zero information about exact specifications for this new 3.5-liter “PowerBoost” V-6 engine, but we do know it’s a full hybrid, and Ford has targeted it to get the most horsepower and torque of any light-duty, full-size pickup truck.

We expect that means it’ll be even more powerful and capable than its diesel.

That’s saying something consider the current 3.0-liter diesel delivers 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque.

In addition to class-leading power, Ford is targeting at least 12,000 pounds of available maximum towing and 700 miles of range on a single tank of gas.

Connected tech enters full-size truck segment

Though we first saw SYNC 4 introduced on the all-electric pre-production Mach E at the Los Angeles Auto Show back in November 2019, the Ford F-150 will be the first production vehicle to get this new technology. And it will be standard.

This means the F-150 will enter the world of over-the-air updates and wireless and cloud-based connectivity. SYNC 4 will include things such as more natural, hands-free voice controls; real-time, cloud-based mapping; wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto; and more than 10,000 hours of on-demand content.

Want to cut the cord completely? Wireless phone charging will also be available.

 

On-board generator rumors are true

Most truck owners are familiar with the idea of on-board power outlets to plug in a computer or a couple tools. But imagine being able to plug in 28 refrigerators at once – from your truck. 

I mean, not that you’d ever do that, but you could with the new “Pro Power Onboard” system in the 2021 Ford F-150. 

This system will be available with a 2.0-kilowatt output on gasoline models and standard with a 2.4-kilowatt output on PowerBoost models. Optional on the PowerBoost model: a whopping 7.2 kilowatts of output.

Access to power comes through in-cabin outlets as well as up to four cargo bed-mounted 120-volt, 20-amp outlets, with a 240-volt, 30-amp outlet on the 7.2-killowat version.

Also of note: The Pro Power Onboard system provides power on the move to charge batteries between job sites.

Adding features to create more productivity

Because Ford recognizes a lot of Ford F-150 customers truly use their truck as a portable office, it has added a bevvy of available features to better allow owners to be more productive. Some of the features are gimmicky – like the Max Recline Seats – but a lot of them make a ton of sense – like the Zone Lighting.

A quick rundown of the coolest of these new features includes:

  • Interior Work Surface – a flat surface that folds into the center console and can fit a 15-inch laptop – or your lunch.
  • Fold-flat vault – a lockable stowage bin located under the rear seats, extending the width of the vehicle. It can fit things like fishing rods or blue prints.
  • Tailgate Work Surface – includes integrated rulers, a mobile device holder, cup holder and pen holder.
  • Max Recline Seats – these are the rumored “sleeper seats” that are available on the King Ranch, Platinum and Limited models. They fold flat to nearly 180 degrees.
  • Zone Lighting – a nifty feature controlled through the SYNC 4 screen or FordPass, which allows you to turn on or off individual sections of exterior lights.

Hands-free driving is a thing

Ford is one of those automakers that’s pretty good about adding standard safety tech to its vehicles – and the new F-150 is no exception to this rule. More features will now be standard on the base XL trim, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, a rearview camera with dynamic hitch assist, automatic high beams and auto on/off headlamps. 

Ford ups the ante, however, with Active Drive Assist, which will allow owners to take their hands off the wheel on more than 100,000 miles of divided highways.

You still have to pay attention to the road and changing conditions, but the F-150 will do all the heavy lifting – including speed control and lane keeping – as long as the driver remains ready to take the wheel. 

How does the truck know you’re paying attention? Through a driver facing camera that tracks head position and eye gaze.

The bottom line

The 2021 Ford F-150 has a lot of interesting new guts. 

Whether you’re looking for a work truck, everyday driver or some-time road-tripper, this all-new truck offers a lot tech-forward features and creature comforts that will make your job – and drive – a lot easier.

While we know the 2021 F-150 will likely show up in dealers by the end of this year and final assembly will be at the Dearborn Truck Plant and Kansas City Assembly, pricing and fuel economy numbers have not yet been released.

The two features we’re most curious to test and get more information about: the hybrid powertrain and the Active Drive Assist. So stay tuned for more details (hopefully) coming soon.

Related articles:

2021 Ford F-150 Interior Leaks Its Way To The Internet

Is the Ford F-150 the Best Selling Vehicle in U.S.?

Ford F-150 Frunk Possibly Unveiled In Patent Application

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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is a syndicated automotive writer. Jill also manages the “Drive, She Said” blog for ChicagoNow and posts reviews to DriveChicago. She is the president emeritus of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. She also serves as a judge for the Automotive Heritage Foundation Journalism Awards. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the Chicago Sun-Times News Group and Pioneer Press Newspapers.

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