Car Review: The Ford F-150 is America’s bestselling vehicle and its latest makeover intends to keep it at the top

Trucks are king taking the top three sales positions, so innovation is necessary to keep sales up. That’s why the hybrid and the upcoming all-electric version of the F-150 are getting the limelight. Still, some overlook that you can equip the F-150 with a V8 engine.

When the 2021 F-150 hit my driveway in the most popular midlevel XLT, I was surprised to hear a V8 rumble when I turned the key. While it may not be as efficient as the EcoBoost V6 engine, the 5.0L eight-cylinder packs a 400hp punch and it sounds good too. The 10-speed automatic was always trying to search for the higher gear for better fuel economy. What I noticed after a few miles behind the wheel is the improved ride for the F-150. It handles bumps with less fuss and less shudder with an empty bed far better than before.

Inside the F-150, even in the lower XLT trim level, you notice a higher grade of materials than the previous model. The cloth seats have a high-quality look and feel compared to some of the other trucks I have tested. The materials seem durable and ready to take some abuse. The spacious cabin allows you to spread out on the job site with a foldout center console that makes a nice place for that laptop. Riding in the back seat is no hardship with tons of head and legroom in the SuperCrew four-door cabin.  An updated Sync 4 system improves interface usability and graphics. I tried the voice recognition, and it works so much better than the previous system.

When it comes to the looks of the F-150, its redesign was a cautious evolution of the model. While a fresh and modern look from the previous model, it wasn’t too over the top as to not put off loyal buyers. The front end is bolder than before blending the tough persona with a few modern touches. The new headlight design and grill are specific to the trim level, to help set them apart from each other.

Cost:  $46,200; as tested $56,990

MPG: 17.6 MPG in 202 miles of mixed driving

Options: $850 5.0L V8; $2,060 301A equipment group; $750 Ford Co-Pilot360 assist 2.0, LED side-mirror spotlights; $1,995 max trailer tow package; $800 5.0 V8; $95 silver painted 18-inch wheels; $995 Pro power onboard 2kw; $595 bedliner-toughbed spray in; $80 boxlink ; $3,875 4×4 SuperCrew; $445 extended range 36 gallon fuel tank; $350 power-sliding rear window; $1,005 6” extended chrome running boards; $295 cloth 40 console 40; $200 floor liners-tray style; $275 intergraded trailer brake control; $165 interior work surface; $175 LED side-mirror spotlights; $765 360-degree camera package

Safety: Advanced security pack; BLIS with cross-traffic alert; lane-keeping system; pre-collision assist with AEB and braking; reverse sensing and rear view camera; trailer sway control; trailer brake control; 360-degree camera system; dynamic hitch assist; Ford co-pilot 360 assist 2.0

Things to know: The Ford F-150 is the number one seller for a reason. With six engine choices and trim levels, from basic work truck to luxury cruiser, makes it so there is a truck to fit just about any buyer’s desires and demands.

Pros:

  • V8 power allows for easy towing and effortless hauling
  • Useful features for towing and maneuvering a trailer
  • Many configurations and options up the appeal of the F-150

 Cons:

  • Ride is better than before but still not as smooth as a smaller light-duty pickup
  • Price tag jumps with options and higher trim levels
  • Fuel economy suffers when choosing the V8

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2021 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up