Everyone knows that Ford's F-150 is a workhorse. That's likely down to the fact that it's employed in vast numbers as a commercial fleet vehicle, but it's also a robust platform with solidly built and usefully torquey engines.
That last part is crucial for people who need to haul heavy loads regularly, be they in the bed of the truck or behind it on a trailer, and it's for these people that the 2021 F-150's new 3.5-liter PowerBoost hybrid V6 is envisioned. Ford claims that the inclusion of a hybrid system makes it the torquiest engine ever fitted to an F-150.
OK, but how much torque is that, exactly? How about 570 pound-feet of twist? For comparison, the diesel-powered F-150 makes a respectable 440 pound-feet, and diesels are all about the torque. It also makes 430 horsepower, which is nothing to sneeze at either, given that the next-most-powerful model is the EcoBoost with 400 hp.
What does this mean for buyers, though, in practical terms? PowerBoost owners can tow 12,700 pounds, which is pretty good, though interestingly not the top towing model in the lineup. That honor goes to the nonhybrid 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 model, capable of lugging 14,000 pounds behind it.
The other area where the PowerBoost is lacking is in payload capacity. The PowerBoost is the second worst across all models with 2,120 pounds, besting only the 3.3-liter naturally aspirated V6 model with its 1,985 pounds. We suspected that this had something to do with the hybrid system's added weight, which Ford has confirmed.
Talking about the hybrid F-150 also means talking about arguably its coolest feature: Pro Power Onboard, also known as exportable power. This system lets you take advantage of that big hybrid battery to run things like lights or tools directly off the vehicle. It should prove to be a killer feature at job sites or campsites -- and don't even get me started on tailgating (when that kind of thing is allowed again).
Also cool is the fact that Ford was able to accelerate the wear on the hybrid battery pack such that it experienced 10 years of wear and tear in just 82 hours. Hopefully that's enough to assuage the reliability concerns of the average Ford F-150 customer, but as always, only time will tell.
The 2021 Ford F-150 is slated to go on sale this fall, but we're not quite sure how much Ford will ask for its new technological terror. I suspect we'll get that information closer to launch.
2021 Ford F-150 brings PowerBoost hybrid tech, OTA smartsSee all photos
First published Sept. 29.