Ford’s Rollout of Its New F-150
Have You Driven The Tech, Lately?
With Denis Leary serving as host, you know there were at least a few dollars budgeted for the online reveal last Thursday of Ford’s all-new F-150. Leary served as emcee, handing over detailed explanations of the new F-Series to a group of engineers and marketers important to its creation. And from what I could see in Ford’s 30-minutes of presentation (from the storied environs of the Willow Run assembly site), rolling out the newest F-150 is analogous to a space launch, lacking only angular sheetmetal, broken glass and Mr. Musk in rivaling any Cybertruck. The new Ford pickup is jam-packed with available technology, and much of that tech is intriguing. But I look forward to seeing and hearing about Ford’s ‘truck’ truck, the one the guy or gal with a preference for rubber floor mats and steel wheels (and not having a $70K budget…) would actually buy. Below you’ll find initial impressions from our contributors, including a new one: Kevin Joostema, president of Car-ED. DB
HAROLD ALLEN: There’s no question Ford has upped the ante in the truck world. The reveal of the 2021 F-150 was online and touted lots of technology, but – I’ll assume – the tech will come with a high price tag. Although no pricing was announced, you can bet all this technology will put the truck well over $60K, and no doubt those models on the high end will run from $70K to $100K+. If buying a work truck, will a buyer spend between $15K and $20K for all the goodies, like an onboard generator or the new PowerBoost powertrain?
The complexity for this next-generation F-Series will be overwhelming; the truck will have eleven different grill options, and that begs the question: Why? The luxury buyer, whose trims will be in the early build mix, should plan to spend big time, and no doubt will have lots to choose from. But then, Ford has incurred multiple launch issues lately, and seeing this truck with its long list of options suggests big issues.
But back to the truck. Its interior looks extremely competitive with Ram, and with the ability to be best in class when hauling or towing, it will appeal to a lot of buyers. Its exterior is fresh but not a huge change, so the interior is the real star after including the huge option list. This puts Ram on notice…and leaves GM in the dust; Ford is about to set new standards in the segment.
JESUS GARCIA: Here we are. The start of a new decade brings with it a new generation of the world’s idea of America’s pickup truck – the Ford F-150. My first take on the 2021 Ford F-150? I’m glad the dimensions are pretty much the same – give or take an inch (rather than a mile). This means the new truck isn’t bigger, for which I’m grateful – pickup trucks have been on a pubescent growth spurt over the last decade. The retractable automatic shifter does have a wow-factor to it, but it seems like a complicated solution to an otherwise simple problem – I hope Ford planned on a lockout switch in case it breaks. I also can’t help but think this feature wouldn’t be necessary with a column-mounted shifter! And the 12-inch touch screen is too big. How are F-150 drivers going to focus on the task at hand with a giant screen on the dashboard? One feature I absolutely love is that the front seats can fold flat for interior napping. When I’m in power that will be standard on all vehicles!
KEVIN JOOSTEMA: The 2021 Ford F-150 is a treasure trove of customer innovations – developed the right way, by observing customers’ unspoken-for needs. Standout innovations to us at Car-ED.com include the following:
– Two interior cabin creations – the Interior Work Surface and the Max Recline Seats – make the mobile office lifestyle much more comfortable for laptop use, eating, and resting.
– The available Pro Power Onboard™ generator frees up cargo space, can charge up a bed of electric dirt bikes, or run a job site of tools.
– An exclusive 3.5-liter PowerBoost™ Full hybrid engine that is targeted to have the most torque and horsepower of any light-duty full-size pickup – at least 12,000 pounds of max towing capacity, and an EPA-estimated range near 700 miles. (Wow!) With six trims available and eleven grille options, everyone can find their best F-150 match.
STEVE KURSAR: The 2021 Ford F-150 reveal didn’t give us an obviously new exterior design or a new set of powertrains, although there will be a mild hybrid added to the lineup. The big change that got our attention is an entirely revamped interior, one the F-150 desperately needed in order to compete with the current Ram 1500 model. A 12-inch infotainment screen – along with a very cool stowable shifter and a new locking storage compartment under the rear seat – are just a few of the new features to give the 2021 F-150 a competitive advantage against the ‘other guys’, aka Ram and Chevy/GMC.
ADAM MOORE: Let’s first make it clear: I’m definitely a Ford guy. I’ve owned an F-150, my father owns an F-150 and my grandfather owned one as well. I’ve always preferred the F-150 to its Ram and GM competition; until, that is, recently. In my last F-150 review I leveled quite a bit of criticism at the truck, while in recent reviews of Ram pickups I’ve liked them quite a bit.
One of my biggest gripes with the F-150 has been the interior; it’s needed a big overhaul, especially in the top trims – those should offer more luxury and technology, and in 2021 those trims will. I think Ford has hit the nail on the head, with just a slight redesign of the exterior and giving the interior a major overhaul. More to come once I’m able to dive into the truck and test it. But for now, I’m happy with the direction Ford is going.
ALAN PEASE: ‘Was a time…’ begins a line in the movie, “The Highwaymen”. It’s a great line to contemplate when you see the new Ford F-150 in person, on paper or dancing across your video screen. There was a time…when the F-150 was only a work truck for those on ranches and farms. The modern F-150, though, is truly a truck for all seasons. There’s enough electronic stimulation on board to make you order your Mountain Dew by the case. Enough to make you stay up all night programming, or better yet…befriend a programmer, just to help you understand all the software. It also appears to be a capable work and play truck, hauling that boat to the bay or your trailer to Tucson. I can’t wait to check one out!