Dec 4, 2020 - Economy

What we're driving: 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost hybrid

2021 Ford F-150. Photo: Ford

2021 Ford F-150. Photo: Ford

This week I'm driving the 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost hybrid, a surprisingly impressive pickup truck that delivers everything owners want, plus better fuel economy.

The big picture: The hybrid F-150 is no wimpy truck. It can still tow more than 12,000 pounds and carry more than a ton of cargo. But it'll also get you 20% better fuel economy at an EPA-rated 24 mpg, meaning you can go 700 miles between fill-ups.

How it works: Some hybrids are marketed as high-performance models, but not the F-150 hybrid. It's all about better efficiency.

  • Ford paired its twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 with a 47-horsepower electric motor and a 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery.
  • The electric motor doesn't provide acceleration on its own, but is designed to let you cruise for short periods on electricity alone.
  • The combined output — 430 horsepower and 570 pound-feet of torque — is better than Ford's popular 3.5-liter EcoBoost powertrain.
  • In the $68,095 Lariat trim I drove, the hybrid was a $3,300 option.

1 fun thing: The hybrid also comes with an onboard generator in the truck bed that puts out 7.2 kilowatts of electricity, enough to run all your power tools at a worksite. It even works on the go to recharge batteries between jobs.

  • Inside, the shifter folds flat into the console, making room for a fold-out worktable that transforms your truck into a mobile office.
  • The F-150's standard 8.0-inch center touchscreen can be upgraded to a giant 12.0-inch unit that's easy to operate.
  • Ford's Sync 4 infotainment software comes with WiFi and over-the-air updates.

What's next: Aside from Ford's current CoPilot 360 assisted-driving technology package, the F-150 hybrid I drove came with a $995 "Active Drive Assist prep package" to enable hands-free highway driving.

  • The software, still in development, will be added via an over-the-air update next summer for an additional fee.

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