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Ford’s Max Recline Seats In The 2021 F-150 Are A Want Not A Need, But What A Want They Are

At $340, the patented technology of the Max Recline Seats in the 2021 Ford F-150 is a real value. Innovative seat design is available only on top trims, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited.

I have gushed, at times, over how cool I think the Fold Flat Seats in the 2021 Ford F-150 look. Why wasn’t this thought of before? For anyone who’s tried to take a siesta in their truck, it can be hard on your back and not that comfortable.

Thanks to Ford’s patented new technology, they’ve cracked the code for a comfortable rest in a pickup truck.

In fact, Ford has five patents for the Fold Flat Seats.

“The all-new Max Recline Seats in F-150 were inspired by those adjustable beds you see on TV to help make our customers more comfortable while resting in the cab,” said Ben Kulhawik, seat design and release engineer. “Our F-150 customers are constantly on the road or at a jobsite and being able to nab a few minutes of rest really is a boon to daily productivity.”

As part of developing the all-new F-150, the dedicated Ford comfort team went into the field with customers to see how they use their pickups in normal daily living. The team took hundreds of hours of video and thousands of photos while observing how people use their vehicles and what product “pain points” they either endure or find workarounds to compensate for them.

“We know the folks who work on construction or mining sites use their truck cab for naps during downtime, and we learned everyday owners do, too,” said Jackie DiMarco, Ford truck product line director. “When I would take my daughters to hockey tournaments, between games, one would be sleeping in the back seat while the other would be on the floor of my truck, and it reinforced the idea that, ‘We need to fix this!’ ”

Watch the video below of how it all works.

Whether a customer needs a quick nap while parked between jobs, just wants a comfortable, dry place to sleep at a campsite or a place to rest over the course of an all-day sports tournament, Max Recline Seats have them covered.

Planning and developing the Max Recline Seats
To make this new seating system come to life, Ford engineers figured out the best and simplest user experience, then created mockups to quickly develop a proof of concept. They used hot glue, foam core and pins to build up components and attach them to a standard seat frame so they could test multiple concepts. After finding the most promising design, they developed a fully functional metal prototype to refine the motion and comfort of the seat; then production parts were created.

The end result: a seat that makes for a comfortable nap. The mechanism lifts the back half of the seat bottom 3.5 inches to make a flat surface to support the lower back. The upper seatback can also be moved forward for neck support. Ford’s all-new seats have been awarded five patents tied to the novel design and assembly process.

“There are no additional motors in these seats – just a simple mechanism that relies on the customer moving the seatback using the power recline function,” said Kulhawik. “It’s simple, it’s effective, and we believe our customers will love how much more productive they can be just by getting a little more rest during downtime.”

Max Recline Seats in Limited Trim 2021 Ford F-150When is the 2021 Ford F-150 expected to be on car lots?
We’ve written a lot about delivery and production delays, and Ford has really kicked it into gear as first deliveries are due at any time now, before the end of November.

One report had indicated that there was a delay related to the aforementioned Max Recline Seats and that has since been proven to not be true. However, some delays of the Okay To Build/Buy (OKTB) are still in place regarding the equally cool flat work surface.

Ford's Max Recline Seats mechanismHow much will Max Recline Seats cost in the 2021 Ford F-150?
When the build and pricing matrix first opened, I played around with it and priced an affordable F-150 and an ultra-luxurious, very expensive F-150.

However, to get the Max Recline Seats you must purchase the King Ranch, Platinum or Limited trims. To do that, the King Ranch SuperCrew with a 5.5 bed and 4x2 has a standard price of $58,025 or $61,450 with 4x4. Likewise the SuperCrew Platinum has a price of $60,805 (4x2) or $64,230 (4x4). And finally the Limited, which is my favorite trim as far as looks, has a price of $72,520 (4x4) and $75,945 (4x4).

But, the cost of the Max Recline Seats is only an additional $340. If you’re shelling out $60,000+ for a truck you can splurge on another $340 for maximum comfort and one of the coolest features to hit the F-150.

Ford's Max Recline Seats in King Ranch Trim 2021 Ford F-150

Do you need the Max Recline Seats? No. But do you want them? I know I sure do. I hope when I get my F-150 from Ford to review it is one of the three trims so I can enjoy this feature. And hey if I get in a fight with my wife, I’d have a place to sleep.

What say you? Are you excited about the Max Recline Seats? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts.

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.


Marty (not verified)    February 3, 2021 - 1:00AM

Hi Jimmy
I went into my local Ford dealer today to male an order for a new 2021 f150 limited Hybrid.
While going through the custom build the salesman told me that the full reclining seats are not availably yet. Can you help with this?

cyberpine (not verified)    February 9, 2022 - 7:53AM

IMO, by 2023 market demand pressure is going to force this feature not only into all F150 models, but into almost every manufacturer. My plan is to keep my current truck running with rubber bands and bubble gum until at least 2024 when pick up a base model pickup truck with 400 mile range and recline flat seats for around 30k. I know those numbers do not sound believable right now, but the EV market is going to be turned on it's head once battery prices go down and production ramps up and we are past a lot of R&D.

Roman (not verified)    October 5, 2022 - 7:23PM

"Never thought of before", "patented".... Meanwhile, Honda Civic, Jazz (etc?) have had rear seats foldable up like this and front seats therefore reclineable pretty much flat since 2005 or something? Of course not electrified, not as luxurious or comfortable and the point of it being more to offer more flexible luggage space, but it looks the same in principle.