2021 Ford F-150: How Ram, Chevy, and Others Influenced the Blue Oval
How does this old saying go: imitation is the most sincere form of flattery? This couldn’t be truer than in the highly competitive world of full-size trucks. With each new generation of microphones introduced, it’s easy to see where some brands have failed and where others have excelled. So it should come as no surprise that one is trying to outdo the other, then. This act can sometimes appear as more imitation than innovation, but in any case, the consumer is ultimately the winner.
Historically, Ford led the charge with its F-150 pickup. However, the latest generation of all-new Ram 1500s and Chevrolet Silverado 1500s left the best-selling truck in over four decades with a bit of catching up to do. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the new Ford F-150 2021 and see how some of its new flagship features really got started.
12-inch infotainment screen
Ford hit Ram directly during the introduction of the 2021 F-150 because the Blue Oval claimed that truck owners preferred a landscape-oriented screen over a portrait-oriented screen in its research. How do we know it’s a shot at Ram? Ram is the only microphone manufacturer to currently offer a 12.0-inch screen. It also happens to be oriented vertically.
In our tests, the use of Ram’s 12.0 inch touch screen was great. The interface works well and the vertical orientation makes it easy to display multiple screens at once, such as Apple CarPlay and HVAC controls. Large, horizontally mounted screens are great for visibility, but they often lack the flexibility offered by Ram’s vertical system.
Why Ford didn’t go with a screen larger than 12.0 inches with a single Ram is a mystery. Either way, we’ll never complain about a bigger infotainment screen and we’re excited to give the new F-150 a try.
12-inch digital driver information center
Something that has been missing in trucks for some time is a group of digital gauges. Ford, however, kicks off this trend in the truck segment with the F-150’s 12.0-inch cluster screen. Be careful, it’s not just a large central screen with analog gauges; it is a fully digital display. With pickup truck interiors competing with most luxury cars these days, it was only a matter of time before clusters of fully digital gauges entered the segment.
Design of LED headlights
It seems like yesterday, people were typing in our inbox to complain that the headlights on the Nissan Titan look like those on the Ford F-150. Now, if we rented really well, we can’t help but compare the new Ford F-150 2021 headlights to those of the 2020 GMC Sierra. The daytime running lights of the two trucks are strikingly similar. We are sure the same people before are making their letters to us right now.
Believe it or not, the Ford F-150 2021 isn’t the first full-size gas-electric hybrid pickup in America. This honor goes to General Motors, which offered hybrid variants of its Silverado and Sierra pickup trucks in 2004.
GM improved its game in 2009 with the arrival of its two-mode hybrid system, which lasted until the 2013 model year. The trucks fitted with the powertrain were powered by a 6.0-liter V8 engine and a pair of 60 kW electric motors, which were housed in the transmission, for power. In total, the powertrain produced 379 horsepower.
Until 2006, the tailgate of a truck was generally nothing more than a means of keeping equipment in bed. Honda, however, has brought the idea of a multi-function tailgate back to the fore with the “dual action” tailgate of its Ridgeline pickup. Then, in 2009, Ford once again revolutionized the tailgates with the inclusion of an integrated step and handle. The tailgate remained relatively unchanged until 2019, when GMC introduced the MultiPro tailgate. Ram followed suit with his multi-function tailgate.
Given the increase in tailgate technology, it’s no surprise that Ford chose to add more functionality to the F-150s. Although its function remains the same, the unit has details such as lugs on its sides, pads for using C-clamps, a holder for phone / tablet and a measuring grid.
A multitude of camera angles
You can choose the Silverado and Sierra 2020 trucks with up to 17 different camera angles. From parking to towing, the cameras cover almost every inch around the truck. It’s no surprise that Ford decided to upgrade their camera set with the 2021 F-150. Ford hasn’t plotted the number of different camera angles offered by the new F-150, but according to our estimate, it’s north of 10.
While Ford’s new on-board generator configuration is pretty impressive on paper, the Blue Oval is certainly not the first automaker to attempt such a configuration. The 2004 Silverado and Sierra hybrids had two 20-amp 120-volt outlets in their beds, as well as two in the cabin. No surprise, the trucks were marketed as being for entrepreneurs.
FCA has long been the king of hiding Easter eggs on its vehicles. Jeep designers have been doing this for years, and recently Ram joined the fun with his 1500 pickup. Ford is now doing it on the 2021 F-150. The biggest one is on the panels front door. What looks like a mess of lines is actually a map of Detroit, a tribute to the legacy of the F-150 in Michigan. There is also a pair of embossed American flags on each side of the dashboard. Flags are important because the F-150 is the only half-ton pickup fully assembled in the United States. Pretty cool, huh?
Foldable transmission lever
Ford introduced a folding console-mounted transmission lever that allows a large, flat work surface to extend from the center armrest and extend the length of the center console. Spatial efficiency is also FCA’s reasoning for the Ram 1500’s twist lever shift selector. Although the Ford shift lever may not have been directly influenced by Ram, the logic of the Blue Oval is ultimately the same as that of its cross-city competitor.
Ford boasts that the 2021 F-150 is the most aerodynamic of all time. Active grille shutters, an automatically deploying active air barrier and the new cabin and tailgate geometry all work together to achieve this. The F-150 has grille shutters since the 2015 model, but the active air barrier with automatic deployment is an interesting new feature. It’s the one we’ve seen before – on the Ram 1500.
The Ford F-150 after 2021: how Ram, Chevy and others influenced the Blue Oval first appeared on MotorTrend.