NEWS

One Year Later, Still No BlueCruise for Our F-150

ford-f-150-hybrid-2021-01-exterior-rear-angle-service Cars.com's 2021 Ford F-150 | Cars.com photo by Kelsey Mays

Just over a year into our ownership, it seemed Cars.com’s long-term F-150 was finally set to receive BlueCruise, Ford’s driver-assist system that couples hands-free lane centering with adaptive cruise control. The update would come by way of software downloaded from Ford’s server and uploaded through our truck’s onboard diagnostics port, service representatives at our local Ford dealership told us earlier this week. And, we were told, it was all set.

So you can imagine our surprise when we went to get the truck yesterday and found no evidence BlueCruise had been installed.

Related: More Coverage of Cars.com’s Long-Term F-150

Shop the 2022 Ford F-150 near you

New
2022 Ford F-150 Lariat
$63,355 MSRP $64,355

$1,000 price drop

New
2022 Ford F-150 Lariat
$68,970 MSRP $69,970

$1,000 price drop

How We Got Here

Our plan when we purchased our 2021 F-150, after naming it our Best of 2021, was to add the BlueCruise feature once it became available by means of an over-the-air (OTA) update, one of the many aspects of a new model that can be gauged only through long-term ownership. The feature is already later than expected: In mid-2020 when Ford announced plans to debut BlueCruise, at the time called Active Drive Assist, the company said the technology would “become available in the third quarter of 2021” via OTA updates on examples of the Mustang Mach-E and redesigned F-150 equipped with the required hardware from Ford’s optional Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep Package. Anticipating the eventual update at the time of purchase, we’d opted for the F-150’s spendy Limited trim, which included Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep at no extra cost.

As the third quarter of 2021 wound down with no sign of BlueCruise, we reached out to Ford for an update. Dawn Mckenzie, a spokesperson for the automaker, told Cars.com on Sept. 2 that the BlueCruise “OTA on F-150 should happen this fall,” and new trucks were “shipping now” with the feature. In other words, quite likely the fourth quarter.

Even the expectation of that timing would prove short-lived. In a conference call eight weeks later, Ford CEO Jim Farley said OTA BlueCruise updates would come in the first quarter of 2022.

“We’re shipping with Mach-E [and] F-Series now [with] BlueCruise as they leave the factory, and we’re going to be OTA-ing BlueCruise in the first quarter,” Farley said, according to Ford’s transcript of the Oct. 27 call. “We wanted to improve the customer experience. So we pushed it back in terms of an OTA because we want it to be much simpler for the customer than was originally planned. And that takes a little planning to consolidate.”

BlueCruise and other so-called Level 2 systems — which can accelerate, brake and steer but still require driver attention — “require multiple updates to the car,” Farley continued. “We want it to be very simple. That took a little bit more work on our team’s part. And so it’s available as we ship products now. And as an OTA, it will be in the first quarter [of 2022], and it will be a lot simpler to use and get that OTA and update for the customer than it was originally planned.”

ford-f-150-hybrid-2021-02-interior-service Cars.com long-term Ford F-150 | Cars.com photo by Kelsey Mays

We learned earlier this month that a dealer update could be a faster way to get BlueCruise than waiting on Ford to push the feature to eligible vehicles over the air. Incidentally, our F-150 also had a safety recall, which we’ll report on once it’s complete, so we asked if our local dealership could look into BlueCruise when we dropped the truck off for inspection. A service rep said we were among the first owners to ask about BlueCruise, but they’d investigate. When we spoke later that day, the rep said the upload was possible and underway.

At the dealership, our service technician said he was able to download the update directly from Ford’s server and, through a scan tool, upload it to our F-150. Ford’s server pushes certain software earlier than the automaker issues via OTAs, he said — an explanation that aligns with what the automaker told us. Wes Sherwood, a Ford spokesperson, told Cars.com in an email on Jan. 5 that Mustang Mach-E and F-150 customers “who are eager to have BlueCruise capability on their eligible vehicles ahead of the Ford Power-Up over-the-air updates will be able to receive their upgrades at dealerships, also in the first quarter [of 2022].”

So What Happened?

We confirmed through various BlueCruise materials and a highway road test that our truck indeed lacked the feature. Alerted about it, our dealership said it would investigate. It’s unclear what went wrong with the update and why the dealer didn’t recognize that it had failed, but neither we nor the truck could stick around any longer.

Suffice it to say, we, like many other F-150 and Mach-E owners, are still waiting for BlueCruise.

More From Cars.com:

Related Video:

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Latest expert reviews