It’s always a momentous occasion when Ford’s flagship pickup truck gets a major update — and now is just such an occasion. The 2021 Ford F-150 full-size pickup has officially been unveiled online, and it’s a mix of older style and newer technology, with looks that don’t really change much as well as mostly carryover powertrains — but with the significant addition of a spiffy new hybrid model and a revised interior that brings enhanced connectivity and some slick new features.
Related: 2021 Ford F-150: America’s Favorite Vehicle Gets an Upgrade
Outside, the ’21 F-150 looks almost exactly the same as the outgoing one despite Ford claiming that the exterior is almost entirely new. There are new headlights and taillights, and the distinctive C-clamp light signature is maintained. You have three different styles of headlights, 11 new grilles, 13 new wheels and six trim levels in total.
There are some new features on the outside of the new F-150 to talk about, however. All models now feature active grille shutters for improved aerodynamics and speed, and a new active air dam will be featured on some models, as well; the dam lowers itself to improve aerodynamics underneath the vehicle at speeds above 40 mph, but it raises at lower speeds and in off-road situations to avoid damage.
Most notable outside is the new available power running board setup that’s meant to help ease loading and unloading of the bed from the sides of the truck. They can now be set to deploy whenever anyone with the truck’s key fob approaches the vehicle, but they also feature an exterior kick switch that will move them out and back on demand, allowing easy step-up to grab something out of the bed — no more standing on the back tire to grab stuff.
The tailgate has received some attention, as well, with the idea of turning it into an improved work surface. It has new C-clamp channel indentations for clamping things to the tailgate that might need to be sawed or glued together. New cleats on the sides of the tailgate are additional tie-down points for long items being secured in the bed, but they also double as bottle openers (which promises to be handy for tailgating parties).
The new optional tailgate work surface modifies the interior lining of the tailgate with things like a flat tabletop with a built-in ruler and holders for cups, pens and mobile devices. The box lighting has also been revised a bit and now illuminates an open tailgate, as well, so you can see something on it if you’re working at night.
For our full first look at the 2021 Ford F-150, including an overview of interior features (fold-down bed, anyone?), multimedia and other cabin tech, powertrain options, the new hybrid version and built-in generator, watch the video below.
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