A new Ford F-150 is always cause for celebration, as the venerable pickup truck remains one of our favorites — so with much anticipation, we got behind the wheel of several examples of the 2021 version of Ford’s bestselling model at a socially distanced event at the company’s Michigan Proving Grounds near Romeo, Mich., to see the updates to the light-duty pickup’s lineup. The most obvious change is the new styling and the new interior, both of which you can read about by clicking on the link below to our first drive review of the 2021 Ford F-150.
But updates to the new truck go beyond cosmetic changes. Ford has introduced a bunch of new technology for the new model year, including some powertrain news that got us wondering about the future of Ford’s light-duty 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine.
While most of the F-150’s powertrains carry over unchanged from the prior generation, there’s one new arrival that’s sure to grab a lot of attention: the new hybrid PowerBoost powertrain, an electrified version of the F-150 that combines the twin-turbocharged gasoline 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 with an electric motor integrated into the standard 10-speed automatic transmission.
Why should you care? Well, the hybrid system produces 430 horsepower and 570 pounds-feet of torque, while still being good for a 24/24/24 mpg city/highway/combined EPA rating. That makes it a real rival for the diesel 3.0-liter Power Stroke V-6 engine option in the F-150 in terms of efficiency; the 2020 F-150 diesel gets 21/28/24 mpg in its most efficient configuration (figures for 2021 are not yet out). The hybrid powertrain also significantly outpaces the diesel in terms of power, the latter generating just 250 hp and 440 pounds-feet of torque.
My short 37-mile street-drive loop of a PowerBoost-equipped truck did indeed return a 24-mpg reading from the trip computer, surprisingly — and even more surprising was the truck’s desire to keep itself in electric mode as much as possible. It makes trundling along main streets at lower speeds a quiet and serene voyage, but a quick stab of the go-pedal also produced stunning acceleration. Keep in mind that the hybrid actually has more power even than the 5.0-liter V-8, which is rated at 400 hp and 410 pounds-feet of torque.