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2021 Ford F-150: From OTA to lay-flat seats, these are the groundbreaking features you need to know

Ford's new full-size F-Series is packed to the gills with innovations, including fuel- and time-saving tech. Here's what you need to know.

2021 Ford F-150 driving
The 2021 F-150 is far more ambitious technologically than you might think at first glance.

Ford's most important model, the F-150 pickup, is back with a new set of duds and boatload of new features and innovations to combat rival light-duty trucks. After combing through everything that's new with the 2021 Ford F-150, we have picked five of the most important and fun innovations in this full-size bruiser. While the truck looks very similar to the model that came before it, there's a lot going on that owners should really appreciate, whether they're hardcore contractor-types or weekend warriors that treat their trucks like capable cars.

Sleep in a truck? Sure!


Max Recline Seats nearly lay flat

We heard something about being able to essentially live in the 2021 F-150, and the Max Recline Seats certainly support the notion. The seats can fold flat to nearly 180 degrees, which creates a cozy place to literally kick back and relax. The bottom cushion and back cushions meet each other, while the upper back support rotates forward 10 degrees to keep anyone supported and comfortable. The whole concept isn't unlike a first-class plane seat.

The 2021 F-150 aims to go green(er).


PowerBoost V6 hybrid powertrain looks electrifying

Ford's been pretty good with naming more efficient technologies something to indicate they actually make more power while keeping things green. The "PowerBoost" V6 hybrid powertrain is the latest example. Ford engineers took the twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 engine and married it to a 35-kilowatt electric motor tucked into the 10-speed automatic transmission. A 1.5 kilowatt-hour battery provides the juice and sits underneath the truck to make sure cabin and cargo space are nearly identical to other F-150 models.

We don't have a final horsepower figure for the twin-turbo V6 plus the added oomph from the hybrid system, but the e-motor will add 47 horsepower. Ford also said the F-150 PowerBoost should go 700 miles on a single tank of gas.

Pro Power Onboard to the people.


Pro Power Onboard generator

The powertrain isn't the only electrified part of the 2021 F-150. Ford included an optional power take-off called Pro Power Onboard that will leave generators at home. With the option, F-150 drivers will have a 2.0-kW output available for trucks with regular gas-powered engines. For those that choose the PowerBoost hybrid powertrain, its got 2.4 kW standard, with an option to increase the juice to a 7.2-kW output.

For the lower outputs, owners can access plugs inside the F-150, or there are up to four 120-volt outlets in the truck's bed. For the 7.20kW output, Ford will actually install a 240-volt outlet in the bed, too.

A folding gearshift lever makes space for a flat table for laptops, writing or on-the-go lunches.


Flip-down gear selector and table

Column shifters have often been the norm when it comes to pickup trucks, but Ford said it knows a lot of customers prefer a standard console gear selector. So, the 2021 F-150 offers the best of both worlds. With the push of a button, drivers can fold the gear selector down into the console, and that provides space for the truck's optional Interior Work Surface. The company said the option provides enough space to work on a 15-inch laptop comfortable or eat a meal. It also works with both the bench seat and captain's chair configurations. You can do some work, eat lunch and then take a nap in the Max Recline Seats.

Perhaps Ford will do more things with the Zone Lighting via OTA updates.


Over-the-air (OTA) updates baked-in

The 2021 F-150 will pack Ford's lastest Sync 4 infotainment system, which houses the ability for over-the-air updates. That makes the pickup a super connected machine, and the F-150 is the first pickup to provide the ability standard. Ford underscored this will let the company push meaningful updates to drivers seamlessly and said it could involve anything, bumper-to-bumper. Tesla's best known for using OTA updates often to provide totally new features, and Ford could do the same with the F-150. We don't think Ford will push karaoke to the truck, but the possibilities are totally open.

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