Everything We Think We Know About What’s Next


It’s no secret an F-150 EV is coming, because Ford has told us as much. We’ve even seen one tow 1.25 million pounds of rail cars. But it’s not here at launch (the image above is our rendering of what one might look like), and that means it may not emerge at all as a production vehicle until a future model year. We’ve seen patents describing a semi-skateboard layout under the skin, with motors and batteries packed in and around the conventional truck frame. But the exact configuration—an electric motor or more at each axle on all versions, or some with just one electric motor in all?—remain to be seen. Same goes for the F-150 EV’s range, or its total system horsepower and torque—not to mention its payload and towing figures.

Remember, there will be an electrified F-150 at launch, just not of the plug-in variety. The F-150 “Full Hybrid” is essentially the same system you can find in a Ford Explorer Hybrid. Its V-6 will offer a 3.5-liter, twin-turbo EcoBoost engine backed up by a 47-hp electric motor integrated into the 10-speed automatic transmission, and fed juice by a 1.5-kWh lithium-ion battery. In the Explorer Hybrid, this system is good for 3 miles of electric-only range, 500 miles of total range on a single tank of gas, and up to 27/29 mpg city/highway.

The 2021 F-150 Hybrid will offer buyers “exportable power,” too: That means up to 7.2 kW to power one 240-volt and four 120-volt outlets in the bed, for plenty of worksite—or tailgate party—electricity. We’d be surprised if the EV version didn’t offer this generator capability as well.

2021 Ford F-150 Power Stroke Diesel

If you’re a fan of the ample torque and great fuel economy of the current F-150’s available Power Stroke turbodiesel engine, you’ll be happy to know that it’s returning for the 2021 model. Offered first on the 2019 model, the “Lion” is a 3.0-liter V-6 that produces 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque, delivering exceptional real-world economy in our Real MPG testing.

Ford hasn’t indicated the horsepower or torque of any of the 2021 F-150’s engines, and we also were unable to find a horsepower figure for the 2021 turbodiesel in a VIN decoder. That, combined with the fact that the Lion trails behind its rivals in terms of output—the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax—makes it seem entirely possible Ford will bump the output and/or fuel-economy for this engine.

The Raptor is definitely coming, but in what form, exactly? We are fairly sure the Raptor SuperCab, with its funky half-doors for rear seat access, is dead. That leaves the SuperCrew body style as the only one that’ll be sold as a 2021. And that leaves us thinking that the current Raptor may carry over to the 2021 model year, rather than being an all-new desert runner based on the new-for-2021 regular F-150.

Whenever the new Raptor arrives, it seems like it’ll run coil springs rather than leaf springs. We saw spy shots of a mule late last year that clearly did not have leaf springs underneath. The mule’s Raptor bodywork and beefy off-road wheel and tire package are further evidence. Consider, too, that the regular F-150 will run conventional leaf springs in all the configurations revealed at launch. That seems to indicate that the five-link rear setup, with a live axle and coil springs, will be an exclusive feature of the Raptor. Just maybe not for 2021.

What about a V-8? It’s the sort of thing we’ve been fantasizing about since the second-generation Raptor debuted with the EcoBoost V-6, a more powerful but less engaging replacement for the original version’s 6.2-liter V-8. Rumors are flying that a Raptor version of the Bronco will be fitted with a V-8, especially given all the hoopla about the upcoming Ram Rebel TRX. But with Ford’s investment in the EcoBoost line of engines we think another twin-turbo V-6 is a safer bet for both vehicles.

2021 Ford F-150 Air Suspension

Before Ford told us the specifics of the suspension setup on the 2021 F-150 a few days ago, we weren’t sure if all F-150s might move to a coil-sprung setup like we’d seen on the Raptor mule, as discussed above. The specs do make it clear that non-Raptor F-150s will continue to use traditional leaf springs, which do offer some real-world benefits, particular in terms of cost and load handling. But it’ll be a point of differentiation with our 2019 MotorTrend Truck of the Year, the Ram 1500, which is coil sprung and provides an exceptional ride (albeit with a slight penalty to payload and towing capacities).

But given the 2021 F-150’s focus on outright capability, claiming at least 12,000 pounds of towing in its most capable configuration, and its heavy-duty rear leaf springs, it’s possible Ford will combine the best of both worlds and offer an air-suspension option. Currently class-exclusive to the Ram 1500, air suspension allows for load leveling and height adjustment. And it’d give the F-150 a real advantage in having stouter towing numbers as well as the advantages of air suspension without giving up the availability of the cost-effective and capable leaf-spring setup.



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