The new 2021 Ford F-150 has a host of new innovations and now has class leading towing, payload and torque … on select pickups. Here is what you need to know.
According to a Ford press release, the 2021 Ford F-150 will deliver a maximum towing rating of 14,000 pounds, maximum payload of 3,325 pounds and 570 lb-ft of torque with its 3.5L PowerBoost hybrid powertrain. Those are some damn impressive numbers for a half-ton truck to go along with a pretty high price tag for the top trim versions.
Yes, you are reading those numbers correctly and a fun fact is a 2021 Ford F-150 has a higher maximum towing capacity than a 2001 Ford F-350. Yep, a half-ton truck can out tow a 1-ton truck from 20 years ago.
Ford says, “No other full-size light-duty pickup can match its maximum conventional towing* or payload** …”
While Ford is correct in this statement and the new 2021 F-150 does present a gain of 800 pounds of maximum towing over the 2020 truck, certainly those are a lot of asterisks attached to this statement. What do they mean?
2021 Ford F-150 towing, payload max explained
One of the things we find most consumers are often unaware of is the game manufacturers play with a max towing rig. This isn’t anything against Ford since everyone does it.
Those asterisks pertain to very specialized trucks allowing them to get the “Best in Class” towing and payload numbers.
For example, these asterisks refer to:
* F-150 SuperCab 8’ box and SuperCrew 4×2 with available 3.5L EcoBoost and Max Trailer Tow Package
** F-150 Regular Cab, 8-foot box, 4×2 with available 5.0L V8 engine and Max Trailer Tow and Heavy-Duty Payload Packages
For reference, the maximum trailer tow package, according to Ford.com, includes:
- 3.55 Electronic-locking rear-axle (axle is changed to 3.73 Electronic-locking differential if ordered with Heavy-Duty Payload Pkg.)
• 4-pin/7-pin wiring harness
• 36 Gallon Fuel tank
• Engine Oil Cooler (Not included on 3.3L V6 PFDI engine (99B)
• Class IV trailer hitch receiver
• Pro Trailer Backup Assist (47E) with Tailgate LED (Not included on XL Base)
• Smart Trailer Tow Connector (standard on Lariat and higher)
• Integrated Trailer Brake Controller
• Upgraded front stabilizer bar
• Upgraded rear bumper
The heavy-duty payload package includes:
- 3.73 Electronic-locking rear-axle
• 9.75″ gearset
• 36 Gallon Fuel tank
• LT275/65R18C OWL all-terrain tires (A/T) (T8C)
• Upgraded springs
• 18” Silver Aluminum Heavy-Duty Payload Pkg. wheels
We also noticed the heavy-duty payload package is often hard to find for consumers and is often a bare bones commercial truck.
While the maximum towing and payload need the frame of reference like we laid out above, the maximum torque from the PowerBoost does not. This hybrid pickup is going to deliver a ton of power.
With any battery system, power is on demand (like flicking on a light switch) and the power means consumers should feel thrown back in their seats off the line. With 430 horsepower and 570 lb.-ft. of torque, this truck should be the best towing Ford F-150 on the dealer lots.
Plus, the PowerBoost has the built in Pro Power Onboard system with 2.4 kilowatts of standard power and an available 7.2 kilowatts – enough to power 28 average refrigerators, according to Ford.
The other benefit of not lugging a generator into the truck bed as well as saving bed space are going to be key for some truck buyers.
Finally, and worth mentioning, is the PowerBoost isn’t the only engine getting an improvement in engine performance. The 5.0L V8 gets 400 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque (up 5 and 10 respectively) while the 3.5L EcoBoost V6 is now rated at 400 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque (up 25 horsepower and 30 lb-ft of torque). All the engines are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Diesel payload lowest?
Another thing you might have noticed from the chart is how low the 3.0L diesel is for payload and overall towing when compared to the other trucks. This seems counter intuitive for diesel fans.
The reality is the diesel simply weighs more than the gas engines and this reduces the payload.
Here is a chart showing the differences in curb weight for 2020 F-150 models from Ford.com. Again, this is 2020 information since 2021 information like this isn’t out yet.
As you can see, the base curb weight for the diesel is several hundred pounds more than comparable trucks.
Click here for the 2021 F-150 technical specs charts for more information.
The bottom line
While the maximum towing, payload and torque numbers are really impressive, take them with a grain of salt when looking at your average Ford F-150 on the dealer lots. Don’t get sucked into the advertising.