2021 Ford F-150 4x4 Supercrew 3.5L Powerboost Full Hybrid - Review by David Colman +VIDEO
There's a reason it's the best selling vehicle in its class...It's Stupendous!
By David Colman
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
It might come as a shock to Texas ranch fans, but Ford's King Ranch F-150 does not occupy the highest rung on the pickup pecking order. That honor goes to the Limited, which carries a base price of $70,825. In fact the King Ranch doesn't even place second, because that honor goes to the model we just tested, the Platinum Super Crew which carries a base price of $62,535. Sliding into third is the storied Kang Ranch at $56,330, followed in descending order by the Lariat at $44,695, the XLT at $35,050 and the entry level XL at $28,940. It should be noted that any gradient of F-150 can quickly be optioned to replicate trim levels far above its humble beginnings. For example, our test truck's base price was elevated by the following pricey enhancements: Equipment Group 701A (Platinum) : $2,685; 3.5 liter PowerBoost Full Hybrid: $2,500; FX4 Off Road Package: $1,005. A number of other useful, but less expensive additions brought the final total of our F-150 to $72,310.
Even Urban Cowboys like Texas Bud and Texas Sissy might have a tough time making the payments on this one. But if they could hack the carrying cost, they'd find themselves masters of one stupendous machine. The operative word for the design of the F-150 is ingenious. Ford has taken what appears to be a rather simplistic mode of transport - a five and a half foot long open box attached to frame rails with rear leaf springs - and turned it into a masterpiece of convenient conveyance. When you approach it, this truck greets you like your favorite retriever. Instead of wagging its tail, it flashes all its lights in greeting. It simultaneously extends both running boards outward to assist your ascent into the cab. Let your date with truck nirvana begin.
One reason this is the best selling truck in America is that Ford doesn't mess around with intricate, attention sucking, menu-driven control schematics. This is a company that still likes to use great big serrated knobs that are clearly marked as to function, and a joy to operate with the utter certainty only tactile grasp can bring you. You'll find seven of these spread across the dash face. You want 2WD Hi or 4WD? Just turn the dial to the appropriate physical position. Same goes for the grippy Temperature knobs, the Trailer guidance assistant, and just about everything else of importance to your comfort and safety. As a sop to the fact that this marvel is actually a product of the 21st century, Ford has added a huge 12 inch Synch4 screen to the center of the dash so that smartphone users will have plenty of visual challenges to keep them occupied with the infotainment and navigation systems. In Platinum editions, no less a luminary than Bang & Olufsen provides the vibrant "Sound System Unleashed" for cab concert attendees.
What with the persistent ban on indoor dining, my wife and I have taken to enjoying dining out in the vast variety of vehicles we have tested over the past year. None has been as pleasurable as the experience we enjoyed in this truck. We usually have to provide a pair of trays to ensure we have eating surfaces for the take-out chow. We needn't have worried with this F-150, because Ford has devised ingenious devices to make in-cabin dining not just possible, but convenient beyond expectation. They call their invention the "Interior Work Surface" which retails for a modest $165. That buys you a shift lever which folds flat at the press of a button, and a center console lid that flips open and extends to form a table top between the two front seats. It proved absolutely perfect for in-truck dining. After the repast, we utilized another terrific and affordable option, the $365 "Max Recline Driver/Pass Seat." This gem equips both leather, multi-contour front buckets with the ability to flatten like a dentist's chair so you can grab a post prandial siesta. To assist you in dozing off, Ford has supplied these chairs with massage kneaders which can be orchestrated to provide any kind of skeletal manipulation you desire.
All this wisdom is wrapped into a spectacular looking cab for Platinum level customers. The black leather is highlighted with Carmelo suede inserts and stitching, and the door and dash surfaces match the offbeat seats with a randomly checked design that minimizes reflection while looking ultra-cool. Our test truck stood real tall on its 20 inch fully polished aluminum wheels shod with Hankook Dynapro AT2 tires (275/60R20). While you can order your F-150 with a more conventional 5.0Ti-VCT V8 good for 400hp and 410lb.-ft. of torque, our test truck featured the new-for-2021 3.5 liter Hybrid V6 which significantly upgrades power output to 430hp and a whopping 570lb.-ft. of torque. This $2,500 "Full Hybrid" option means you can tow a trailer weighing 12,700 lbs. To enable such activity, Ford provides this 6,500 lb F-150 with a 10-speed automatic gearbox, electronic locking rear differential, and standard trailer sway control which uses Roll Stability Control as part of the AdvanceTrac portfolio of towing technology.
Driving the Platinum level F-150 is a fully immersive experience. It's big enough to warrant extra care in operation around town, it's fast enough to leap ahead of other traffic when spurred, and with its indolent comfort level, it provides an unquestionable testament to American design ingenuity in every aspect of its behavior.
2021 FORD F-150 4x4 SUPERCREW 3.5L POWERBOOST FULL HYBRID
ENGINE: 3.5 liter V6 plus Electric Motor
HORSEPOWER: 430hp TORQUE: 570lb.-ft.
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 21MPG Overall
PRICE AS TESTED: $72,310
HYPES: Task-Hungry, Human-Friendly Behemoth
GRIPES: Ford Has Shut Down F-Series Production Due To Chip Shortage
STAR RATING: 10 Stars out of 10