The moment we’ve waited for finally is here. Comedian and actor Denis Leary helped unveil the 14th generation Ford F-150 tonight. The 2021 Ford F-150 may lack a little of the wow factor when it comes to the overall looks, but a closer look reveals a pickup truck that is really in tune with the American truck-buying consumer.
Yes the exterior is not significantly different, although the updated looks are impressive and modern. My favorite new exterior feature of the F-150 is on the Limited trim where the word Limited is etched over the top of the grille. It’s a classy look for the higher-trimmed F-150.
But, I want to talk about five new features specifically that might go unnoticed if you hadn’t watched the world premiere of this truck. You have to look beyond the attractive new look of the 2021 F-150 to find some amazing, cutting edge features. Here are my five favorites:
Tailgate Work Surface
While Ford’s competitors have innovated on their talgates, some of them have been on the gimmicky side (like the GMC Sierra tailgate). But, new for the 2021 Ford F-150 is the Tailgate Work Surface.
This new feature on the tailgate includes integrated rulers, a mobile device holder, cupholder and pencil holder. It might seem hokey to some, but to me this shows Ford understands its customers. With areas for mobile devices, even pencils and a built-in tape measure, this is a tailgate built for a job site and for the weekend warrior.
Available Pro Power Onboard
While I write about the F-150 and trucks a lot, this solves a problem I wasn’t sure existed. But, I trust Ford that they know their customers well.
This built-in generator has enough energy to power 28 average refrigerators, charge a bed full of electric dirt bikes or run an entire job site worth of tools. Pro Power Onboard is available with a 2.0-kilowatt output on optional gas engines, while PowerBoost-equipped F-150 comes standard with 2.4 kilowatts of output or an optional 7.2 kilowatts of output. Power is accessible through in-cabin outlets and up to four cargo bed-mounted 120-volt 20-amp outlets, with a 240-volt 30-amp outlet on the 7.2-kilowatt version. The system even provides power on the move to charge tool batteries in between jobs.
Max Recline Seats
Hallelujah Ford! This is much needed. Finally you can comfortably sleep/nap in your truck thanks to the Max Recline Seats which are available on King Ranch, Platinum and Limited trims.
The best thing about the Max Recline Seats is that they fold flat to nearly 180 degrees with the bottom cushion rising to meet the back cushion and the upper back support rotating forward up to 10 degrees for maximum comfort.
Interior Work Surface
This first of its kind feature is ideal for signing documents, working on a 15-inch laptop or enjoying a meal when parked. It is available in both bench and captain’s chair seating configurations on XL to Limited. Knowing many customers prefer a console shifter, Ford has created a stowable unit for F-150, which easily folds into the center console with the push of a button and allows full access to the large work surface when in park.
If you haven’t seen the stowable gear shifter, check out the video online. It is so cool.
Fold-Flat Rear Storage
The Ram pickup truck has had its Ram box for a couple years. It’s a great, non-gimmicky feature. The lockable Ram box does take up space in the bed of the Ram, so Ford innovated this concept further.
Under the second-row seats is a fold-flat rear storage area that adds a vault to the F-150. It’s as easy as lifting the bottom cushion of the rear seat, dropping valuables in and locking them away for safe keeping. Great for storing long items like fishing rods or blueprints, it even has a divider to keep gear organized.
Honorable mention: Extended running boards
Look closely at the exterior of the 2021 Ford F-150 and you can see extended running boards that go up further than the previous generation. The available full-length extended power running boards with kick switch provide better truck-side cargo box accessibility.
I’m not ashamed to admit that getting in and out of pickup trucks can be a challenge, so I do appreciate Ford extending the running boards and having them lower when the driver (with key fob) approaches.
My initial thoughts on the 2021 Ford F-150 are positive. I think Ford has really figured out what their customers want and need and that's why they're the best-selling truck for 43 straight years.
“We see it as our duty to deliver not just what our customers want and need, but what they might have never thought possible,” said Craig Schmatz, Ford F-150 chief engineer. “The F-150 will be tougher than ever, and with fully connected over-the-air updates, it opens up a much wider range of potential enhancements – from system upgrades to feature offerings.”
We will have more about the 2021 Ford F-150 here at Torque News, including the engine options and the other technology features as well as the impressive Hybrid Ford F-150.
The 2021 Ford F-150 will be available late fall and although pricing is not released, it’s expected to start around $30,000 for the base trim (XL) and go north of $70,000 for the Limited and King Ranch trims.
Let me hear your initial thoughts on the 2021 Ford F-150. It’s easy to initially be underwhelmed, but there’s a lot to like about 2021 Ford F-150.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.