CHATHAM, Mass. – Unlike a vast number of American automotive consumers, I have never seen myself as a full-size pickup truck kind of guy. But after my second week-long session in a 2021 Ford F-150 4X4 Supercrew Limited Ecoboost full hybrid, I believe I would enjoy living with one like this on a daily basis.
This truck has all the features, amenities and creature comforts once the domain of luxury automobiles in a (very) roomy, QUIET, comfortable cabin. Also very car-like is the 20.6 miles per gallon fuel economy I observed this time in the F-150 hybrid (less then the 24 mpg I got the first time around in a different hybrid, but still above the formerly unheard-of 20mpg mark for a gasoline full-size pickup).
The challenge of the full-size pickup as the daily driver is learning how to maneuver a vehicle of this size – 145-inch wheelbase, 231.7-in. long, 95.7-in. wide and 77.2-in. high – within the tight confines of Cape Cod’s smaller, crowded village centers and shopping-mall parking lots during the holiday season.
ADAS eases the complexities of maneuvering the F-150
Making this less challenging is the full complement of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) included in the Limited trim under the Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 and Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package umbrellas.
The backbone of the systems begins with the capability of the braking components which include electronic brake boost, anti-lock (ABS) and a power-assisted four-wheel disc (13.7-inch vented rotors front and rear) system with an electronic parking brake.
The ADAS include: blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert; evasive-steering assist; lane-keeping system; post-collision braking; reverse-brake assist; active park assist (including the ability to park the big truck with virtually no driver involvement; really cool!); 360° camera; pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking (AEB) and pedestrian detection, intelligent adaptable cruise control with traffic-sign recognition, lane centering and stop-and-go; intersection assist, and auto high beams.
The Ford Co-Pilot360 Active Prep Package brings Active Park Assist and Active Drive Assist Prep Kit. The latter contains all the hardware necessary for Ford’s upcoming hands-free highway driving functionality – the software for which will be available soon.
Another ADAS feature for the F-150 is the AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control (RSC). A pair of gyroscopic sensors detect if you are going too quickly through a curve or swerving to avoid an object. The system will compensate for any pending loss of traction by applying braking to an individual or multiple wheels (as needed), as well as regulating engine power – all to keep the truck’s four wheels firmly planted and under control; all much faster than any driver could do manually.
The RSC also provides the foundation for Curve Control which reduces vehicle speed should you be going too fast through a corner.
Other passive, though not ADAS, safety systems include front-seat front and side airbags as well as an airbag safety-canopy side curtain.
All these features might enhance and simplify the daily driving routine in the F-150, but this is still a large, powerful truck which needs a driver’s attention – but Ford has brought a plethora of modern technology and engineering to make this process much more relaxing, enjoyable and stress-free.
Thoroughly modern hybrid powertrain
Speaking of power, the 3.5-liter Powerboost Full Hybrid setup is one of the most powerful powertrain offered in the F-150 lineup for 2021. The combined output of the V6 gasoline engine with its 35 Kilowatt (47 horsepower) electric motor integrated into the 10-speed automatic transmission is 570 pounds-feet of torque and 430 horsepower.
This powertrain has enough grunt to tow a trailer of up to 12,000 pounds, yet still, as mentioned above, keeps the fuel economy numbers in the 20-mpg range and up to more than 700 miles on a filled 36-gallon (optional) tank of gas.
The power goes to the road through a four-wheel-drive (4WD) which includes a 4A setting for automated 4WD when the vehicle’s monitors detect road conditions merit distributing power to all four wheels.
Any and all grunting happens without intrusion on the passenger space as Ford demonstrates its long legacy of knowing how to build vehicles of all types which provide passengers and driver a quite cabin.
Amenities, features, technology and comfort fit for a luxury buyer
Ford has built Lincoln versions of the F-150 but considering everything within the passenger space of this pickup, I do not understand the exercise (but this is not the place for a debate over automotive marketing and positioning).
The F-150 SuperCrew Limited has virtually everything inside: leather heated seating front and rear (fronts also cooled); 10-way power adjustment (plus pedals, steering wheel and mirrors included within the driver memory system) for those up front in seats which fold down for virtual sleeping chairs (and they are very comfortable thrones!); a 12-inch color touch screen at the heart of a comprehensive infotainment system dubbed Sync4; power running boards to make ingress and egress less daunting; a collapsing transmission shifter which allows the center console to be turned into a very large, flat work surface (or picnic table) with adjacent 12-volt/110V/USB outlets to further facilitate truck as office; and storage cubbies, containers and bins throughout.
The Sync4 system includes the standard navigation system as well as AM/FM/SiriusXM satellite radio/streaming Bluetooth audio/wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, all playing through the B&O Sound System Unleashed by Bang & Olufsen with HD Radio™ Technology.
I could go on and on talking about the F-150 SuperCrew 4X4 Limited PowerBoost full hybrid pickup – about the ingenious trailering system, the on-board 7.2kW pro-power system to keep power tools operating while on the job; the easy-to-use step to access the bed; the alarm system; the power tailgate . . . – but the list would be exhausting.
Ford offers virtually anything anyone would desire or need in a full-size pickup with its F-Series, which has a $29,290 entry-level price for a basic two-wheel drive, two-door truck.
The review truck, as outlined throughout this post, has a base price of $76,530 and an as reviewed sticker of $81,970 (which includes $2,340 for destination and acquisition fees). A lot of money, but a LOT of pickup and quite satisfying for those who want all the modern technology, amenities and creature comforts of a top-line automobile or SUV with the versatility and workability of a full-size pickup truck.