Although not an all-new truck, the 2021 Ford F-150 still boasts huge changes relative to 2020. Key among them are a PowerBoost hybrid powertrain, novel Interior Work Surface console desk, Max Recline front sleeper seats, and Pro Power Onboard electrical generator, making the new F-150 an even more productive and useful work tool. But there’s no overlooking the massive styling and interior changes Ford wrought, making a handsome truck even nicer.
Comparing the 2021 Ford F-150 with its direct predecessor reveals that redesign, and we really like what we see. Every visible body panel has been restyled, and the interior is likewise heavily updated. In fact, compared side-by-side, the new truck shares only general proportions with the 2020 F-150, although it still remains an attractive pickup.
The 2021 Ford F-150 looks quite a bit more modern viewed from the front. The old pickup had C-shaped headlights (with unusual four-segment LED daytime running lamps on higher trims) that have given way to larger, squarer headlamp elements. The C motif is still there, but it’s now split between the headlights and the foglights.
At least on the 2021 F-150 Limited, the grille is a bit less bold and blocky, taking on a more refined appearance. We like that it doesn’t notch into the headlights anymore, with a rounded shape that almost recalls the F-150 sold between 1997 and 2004. The hood and fenders are more seamlessly integrated, with fewer sharp edges than before. Overall, we like the graceful, new front styling – it might be less aggressive, but it’s definitely fresh and modern.
Style And Profile
Since its exterior dimensions, proportions, and side window openings are all but unchanged from 2020, the new Ford F-150 looks very similar to the truck it replaces. However, there are a few alterations. The lower door skins carry a chamfered contour, compared to the horizontal body line found on the outgoing truck. The wheel arches look burly and muscular, integrated more cleanly into the F-150’s bodysides.
The new head- and taillight designs mirror each other like they did on the old truck, although they trade their irregular pentagon styling for simpler triangular forms. Perhaps most obviously, a fender vent on the 2021 F-150 replaces the simple model badge, imbuing the new pickup with some of Super Duty styling. That vent is the lone styling misstep in our eyes, looking a bit tacky compared to the 2020 F-150.
The rear of the 2021 F-150 is most easily distinguished by its simpler, triangular taillights – gone are the dated polygonal lamps. On the Limited model, the chamfered bright tailgate applique gives way to a simpler rectangular one – ironic given the alterations on the rocker panel. That tailgate now incorporates some very useful features. Notches in the top rail can now accommodate C-clamps, and the inside of the gate features a slot that can function as a phone stand and a deep cup holder for that morning jolt.
The Great Indoors
Nowhere are changes more obvious than the interior. The dashboard fascia has been completely redesigned to suit the F-150’s massive new 12.0-inch touchscreen display. Joining a base 8.0-inch display, the largest infotainment screen is oriented horizontally, unlike the Uconnect 12 system on the Ram 1500. The instrument cluster has also been redesigned, with a standard 4.0-inch productivity screen between analog gauges on some models and a full 12.3-inch digital display – inspired by the 2020 Explorer – on others.
The 12.0-inch infotainment display, optional on XLT and standard on Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited, occupies massive real estate on the center stack, leaving room beneath for redesigned climate controls that still use physical buttons – thank goodness. Resisting modern trends, it’s also cleanly integrated into the dash, a look that we think will age very well.
Gallery: 2021 Ford F-150 Changes
Interior trim and leather still look very nice in the 2021 F-150 Limited model we saw, although that aforementioned Ram continues to pip Ford in the luxury interior game. Helping the Blue Oval claw back some points are optional Max Recline front seats that create a nearly flat space for snoozing in rest areas or campsites.
The 2021 Ford F-150 is likely to go on sale by the end of the year, so if you like the styling of the new truck, get ready to see it everywhere. If not, well, we don't know what to tell you. We're glad we're in the former camp.