Is the 2021 Ford F-150 XLT Worth $6,000 Over the Base F-150 XL?

The Ford F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in not only the United States but also the world. The 2021 model is here with only a few design changes. But this time, the F-150 sees several upgrades and innovative features to improve its capability and challenge its toughest competition.

The 2021 Ford F-150 is highly versatile, with six powertrain choices, three cab configurations, and six trim levels. The XLT trim costs about $6,000 more than the base-model XL. But is the upgrade worth the extra cash?

The 2021 Ford F-150 at a glance

When the Ford F-150 gets a makeover, it makes the news, Edmunds reports. But the 2021 redesign isn’t like the one in 2015 when the F-150 underwent an overhaul, including new aluminum body panels. This time, the automaker seemed focused on expanding its popular pickup truck’s capability.

And the changes are significant. There’s a pretty powerful onboard generator, a refreshed cabin with a new infotainment system, and a new hybrid version. According to Ford, the new PowerBoost hybrid powertrain features a turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 built into a hybrid system that offers great gas mileage and lots of power.

The ProPower Onboard system is a dynamic electric generator that lets you power tools, appliances, and more whether driving or parked. With the regular gas-fed engines, it’s impressive. Pair the generator with the hybrid configuration, and you really generate some power, Edmunds says. With the hybrid powertrain, the generator can put out as much as 7,200 watts.

You can still customize the 2021 Ford F-150 to meet your needs and tastes with a broad range of configurations. You can make it a hard-working truck to help you on the job. You can dress it up and make it a luxurious family vehicle. If you want a truck that can go anywhere for your off-road weekend adventures, it can do that too.

There are a lot of great standard features on the Ford F-150. It includes trailer sway control and pre-wired trail connections for towing jobs. It has vinyl flooring, single-zone air conditioning, and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system. You also get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. And standard safety features include lane departure warnings, forward collision mitigation alerts, and automatic braking.

Edmunds named the Ford F-150 its top-rated truck for 2021.

The Ford F-150 XLT levels up

The Ford F-150 XLT is a trim level above the base model, and it starts at over $6,000 more than the XL. So what do you get with the upgraded trim?

According to Ford, the XLT comes standard with keyless entry, including auto-lock and a power-locking tailgate. It also has carpeted floor mats, lumbar adjustments for the front seats, and cruise control. There are heated outside mirrors, halogen fog lights for better visibility, and a rearview camera system with dynamic hitch assist.

Plus, the XLT offers a larger optional 12-inch touchscreen over the standard eight-inch screen. And you can upgrade its Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology to include built-in navigation. There are also two available appearance packages instead of just one for the XL. 

The Ford F-150 XLT gets 17-inch aluminum wheels for gas-powered models and 18-inch aluminum wheels for diesel models. It also has a chrome grille, along with body-matching front and rear bumpers.

As for safety equipment, the XLT comes standard with blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, cross-traffic alerts, and rear parking sensors. It also boasts an uncommon feature, rear automatic braking, to detect collisions when you’re backing up.

The standard and available bed and cab combinations are the same for XL and XLT for the same money. Also, the XLT is the highest F-150 trim level where you can get a regular cab.

Is the upgrade worth it?


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So, is it worth it to spend the extra $6,000 to upgrade to the Ford F-150 XLT? It depends on how you’ll be using your truck. 

If you want a basic work truck, your best bet is the base model, which Edmunds says is the most popular model. But if safety, driver assists, and more creature comforts and better looks are more important, the XLT gives you all of those features without breaking the bank.

Even at its base level, the 2021 Ford F-150 is an exceptional truck worth a closer look no matter which model you choose.