To millions of people, there’s only one Detroit introduction that really matters: The attention that focuses on the Ford Motor Company every time it reinvents the F-series pickup, which has been the biggest-selling motor vehicle of any sort in North America for an astonishing 43 consecutive years. How big a deal is this: Consider that Ford sold 896,526 copies of the F-series in the United States just last year, and that as recently as 2018, the F-series accounted for $41 billion in Dearborn’s annual bottom line. These are staggering numbers, which demonstrate that no single model weighs more heavily on the domestic auto industry’s overall health than this one. Yesterday, Ford rolled out the 14th generation of its light-truck line, assuring that it will represent advances in durability, connectivity and powertrain output in this hugely competitive market segment.
Built across four Ford assembly facilities, the new F-series continues its present architecture of using aluminum-alloy body panels atop a steel ladder frame. In terms of workplace utility, the F-series will offer an available Tailgate Work Surface, optional Interior Work Surface with available lockable interior storage, and seats that recline up to 180 degrees, just the ticket for taking a siesta at the job site. The new-generation rig will include an all-new 3.5-liter PowerBoost full hybrid, which accomplishes two things: It will make the 2021 F-150 the most powerful light truck in its class, and makes it the first light full-size pickup with hybrid power. Specifically, that means mating the EcoBoost turbocharged V-6 with a 35kw electric motor, linked to a 10-speed automatic transmission. That will give the F-150 a towing capacity of 12,000 pounds, and is said to deliver range of up to 700 miles on a single tank of fuel. Connectivity features will include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SYNC 4 with over-the-air software updates, and a new 12-inch touchscreen that’s standard on the XLT trim level and up. Personalization? You can pick from 11 different factory grille options. This is huge news – the F-series has been with us since 1948 – and there’s more to follow, because the 14th-generation F-series lineup is widely expected to expand with a new, all-electric pickup for 2022.