The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle of any kind in America for more than 30 years. It's been the best-selling pickup truck even longer than that. Taken together, the Ford F-series from 1948-2021 counts as the best-selling motor vehicle of all time.
That's a big legacy to live up to, and Ford puts everything they've got into each model year of the F-150. You can buy this truck in eight different trim levels, from the simple XL work truck to the high-performance Raptor or the ultra-luxury Limited edition. For the last week, we enjoyed the Platinum edition, which is not quite the top trim, but close.
The F-150 we tested was the full crew-cab with a short 5.5-foot bed and four-wheel-drive. This is among the most popular body configurations for the F-150 and for pickups generally. It's useful for people who use their trucks as family transport and occasional sporting or camping use. The short bed dramatically limits the volume of cargo you can carry, but there's plenty of inside space.
At the Platinum trim level, the interior of the F-150 is as good as any luxury car, albeit with a masculine look and feel. The leather feels thick and firm, like it will last and wear very well over time. The design cues are large and squared off, from the shifter to the touchscreen infotainment system and the overall shape of the dash. The message is clearly that the F-150 is a rugged, capable truck.
On the road, the F-150 feels solid and heavy. This is not to say it won't turn or accelerate, but this is not a nimble vehicle like the smaller Ranger mid-size pickup, or the compact 2022 Maverick that's just now arriving at dealerships. The 5.0-liter V8 engine provides 400 horsepower, so the F-150 will get up and go if you stand on the gas, but the truck is happiest just cruising along.
Even if it's your family vehicle, the F-150 as we tested it has a payload capacity of 2,135 pounds, which you can raise to 3,325 pounds if you buy the right truck â€“ with a longer wheelbase and rear-wheel-drive. The towing capacity with the 5.0-liter V8 and four-wheel-drive is 13,000 pounds, which is impressive. You can raise that to 14,000 pounds with rear-wheel-drive and the 3.5-liter Ecoboost turbocharged V6, if you need to.
The 2021 Ford F-150 starts below $30,000, but few if any people will actually buy that configuration. Prices rise quickly when you select a larger cab, more powerful engine, and four-wheel-drive. Most buyers will probably find their F-150 around the $50,000 mark. However, that hasn't hurt sales at all. So far this year, any given F-150 sells within two weeks of arriving at the dealership, and F-150 sales are up 6.4 percent over last year's pace.
The bottom line on the 2021 Ford F-150 is that it's likely to remain America's favorite vehicle, and there's a reason for its popularity. It's the right size for family use, towing, and cargo carrying. And for those who need something smaller, Ford has the most options. If you need something even bigger, Ford's got your needs covered that way, too.
2021 Ford F-150 Platinum
BaseÂ price:Â $29,290
PriceÂ asÂ tested:Â $70,015
Type:Â Full size pickup
Engine:Â 5.0-liter V8 (400 hp, 410 lbs-ft)
Transmission:Â 10-speed automatic
EPAÂ estimated mileage:Â 16/22
OverallÂ length:Â 231.7 inches
CurbÂ weight:Â 4,912 pounds
FinalÂ assembly:Â Dearborn, Michigan
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