Updated: Apr 1, 2022
You need to be a certain age to remember this, but the Ford F-150 wasn't always the best-selling vehicle in America. In fact, it wasn't even the best-selling pickup truck in America. But once Ford found the secret sauce and blew past Chevrolet's Silverado, which had been the king from day one of American trucks, it hasn't given an inch.
And that's no accident. Ford has relentlessly continued to improve, refine and every few years re-design the F-150 to make absolutely certain they stay number one. 2021 brings us a new F-150 that shows the determination hasn't lessened.
As always, a variety of powertrain choices are available. Our tester was the 2021 Ford F-150 4X4 Supercrew in Platinum trim. The standard engine is a 5.0-liter V8 with auto stop/start and flexible fuel capability, making 400 horsepower and 410 pounds per foot of torque. Ours had the optional 3.5-liter V6 Ecoboost mated to a ten-speed automatic transmission. In the old days, a swap from a V8 to a six wouldn't have been considered an optional upgrade, but the Ecoboost delivers the same 400 horsepower and an extra 100 pounds per foot of torque---510----for $600. Fuel economy improves only a bit (18 city/24 highway instead of 17/24 for the V8), but that's some significant torque.
The base price for a 2021 Ford F-150 4X4 Supercrew Platinum is $59,110. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment features at that price are ten-way power driver and front passenger heated and ventilated multi-adjustable seats, heated rear seats, adjustable pedals with memory, power-deployed running boards, and a 12-inch infotainment touchscreen.
Our tester may have been a pre-production model. The window sticker reads "VEHICLE NOT FOR SALE", so the best I can do for you in terms of an as-tested price is running the info on the sticker through Ford's online build tool---which gives me a price, including destination charges of $69,350. It might be more or less, but probably not by a lot. The range between $65,000 and $80,000 is where well-equipped higher trim levels of crew cab 4X4 pickup trucks live these days.
Bottom line---the 2021 Ford F-150 is remarkable---strong enough to leapfrog the 2019 RAM 1500 Longhorn that stole my heart on the old TireKicker site two years ago. I'm about to hand back a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado this morning after five days with it. The review won't post for a couple of weeks, but I can tell you right now, the Chevy has a lot of catching up to do. Ford can't take RAM for granted anymore, but until the next-gen RAM, the F-150's place is secure.