It’s hard to beat the classics. The Ford F-150 has been named Automotive Fleet’s 2021 Fleet Truck of the Year, retaining the title in back-to-back pandemic years. Through another year of challenges, shortages, constraints, slowdowns, and speed bumps — pick your metaphor — the F-150 remained a reliable standout in the fleet community.
As sedans continue to fall by the wayside and the SUV continues to demand more market share, the F-150 still shines amid a market of tough competitors. Even among the rugged truck fleets of the past, however, hybrid and electrical technology continue to make mechanical gains (and the 2021 F-150 is no different).
Hybrid Power & Efficiency
Under the hood, the F-150 features a new 3.5L PowerBoost Full Hybrid V-6 Engine and a new Hybrid Electronic 10-Speed Automatic Transmission housed by a fully boxed high-strength steel frame and military-grade aluminum body. It is available in seven body styles: XL, XLT, LARIAT, Tremor, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited. The new 3.5L PowerBoost Hybrid V-6 Engine sports a robust 25 miles per gallon in the city and an estimated 26 miles per gallon on the highway, continuing to push the limits of efficiency for a fleet truck beyond what was possible just a few years ago; the new hybrid engine is most powerful ever in the F-150 lineup and delivers 430 horsepower and 570 lb.-ft. of torque, and the 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 helps make 700 miles on a single tank of gas a stunning reality. The engine also delivers an estimated 12,700-lb. towing capacity.
The electric motor draws energy when braking to help recharge the 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. The battery is housed underneath the truck to maximize space and storage capacity in the bed and cabin, and the system is designed to operate on battery alone even at extreme temperatures, carrying heavy loads, and for significant amounts of time.
“Our team spent months living with and observing truck customers at their homes, on job sites, and on the weekends,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product platform and operations officer. “Using electrification, we realized we could now give customers something they had long wanted but didn’t think was possible—tremendous power, great fuel economy, and all-new capabilities to make their F-150 even more productive.”
The available Pro Power Onboard feature helps bring exportable power to city and country work sites. Available with a 2.0-kilowatt output on the 2.7L EcoBoost V-6 and 5.0L V-8, the PowerBoost-equipped F-150 comes standard with 2.4 kilowatts of output or even an optional 7.2 kilowatts. In-cabin outlets and up to four cargo bed-mounted 120-volt / 20-amp outlets come standard while the 7.2-kilowatt version features a 240-volt / 30-amp outlet. The system allows tools to charge in the bed while en route to the next job site, convention, or backwoods vacation.
For customers in more industrial settings or with heavy cargo to haul, every F-150 comes standard with new cleats mounted to the sides of the tailgate for convenient tie-down holds. New clamp pockets are built within the bed, and an available flat Tailgate Work Surface includes integrated rulers, a mobile device card holder, cupholder, and even pencil holder.
The 2021 F-150 is also more aerodynamic than ever before and features active grille shutters, an all-new automatically deploying active air dam, and redesigned cab and tailgate geometry to reduce drag and increase fuel economy.
As we continue to become more integrated with the vehicles we drive, new and upgraded technology in the dashboard helps fleet managers maintain high levels of safety, efficiency, and accountability. An all-new 12-inch center screen (standard on XLT series and above) offers customers split-screen capabilities to multitask between navigation, music, and truck features. A smaller 8-inch touch screen on XL and XLT standard and mid-series trucks strikes the balance between comfort and utility and increased rear camera vision. Embedded how-to videos help complete the learning process for those new to the F-150.
The 2021 F-150 is North America’s first full-size pickup with standard wireless updates, meaning that to drive an F-150 is to stay on the cutting edge of the latest automotive technology. The upgrades are bumper-to-bumper and will continually monitor for the latest updates from the manufacturer, including supportive preventative maintenance, improved ride performance, reduced repair trips, and overall contribute to a smoother user experience. Most updates will download and implement within two minutes and can be performed at the customers’ behest.
Customers can also access more than 10,000 hours of on-demand content within the all-new standard SYNC 4 system, building on more than 10 years of SYNC technology to help minimize distractions and enable hands-free voice control and wireless connectivity to on-board smartphones for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Ford also offers complimentary technology including 911 Assist to automatically alert nearby emergency responders in case of an accident. FordPass allows drivers to unlock their vehicles using their phones and access other mobile features such as Zone Lighting, Trailer Light Check, Trailer Theft Alert, and Pro Power Onboard.
Standard Adaptive Steering is available on the King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited models. The Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 is optional on the XLT and Lariat and standard on the King Ranch and Platinum models. The 2021 F-150 also has 10 new driver-assist features for hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of highways in all 50 states and even Canada. Other new available options include Intersection Assist, which helps detect oncoming traffic while making a left turn, and Active Park Assist 2.0, which handles all steering, shifting, braking, and accelerator controls during a parallel or perpendicular parking maneuver.
With a completely redesigned interior and optional Interior Work Surface for signing documents, working on a laptop or simply sitting and watching the birds over lunch, the Work Surface is available in bench and captain’s chair configurations.