We might not always think of hybrid vehicles as powerful, but the 2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid is here to change our perceptions. Compared with the non-hybrid F-150’s optional V8 engine, the hybrid harnesses 30 more horsepower, making it Consumer Reports’ autos editor Jon Linkov’s pick.
Here’s what you can expect from Ford’s first hybrid pickup.
The Ford F-150 Lariat Hybrid’s specs and features
The 2021 Ford F-150 Lariat starts at $44,695. It comes standard with a 2.7-liter V6 engine that makes 325 hp, but several other powertrain options are available. The hybrid version features a 3.5-liter V6 PowerBoost Hybrid engine harnessing 430 hp. With its standard engine, the F-150 Lariat gets 19 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined.
This truck comes standard with plenty of convenience features. They include a 12-inch digital display, cruise control, and heated front seats. Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and a rearview camera.
The impressive F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid powertrain
Consumer Reports recently reviewed the Ford F-150 Lariat Hybrid on its Talking Cars video podcast. In discussing the co-hosts’ test drive, Linkov points out many people might assume the truck’s optional 5.0-liter V8 engine offers more power. However, that’s not the case. “The V8 is 400 hp,” Linkov points out. “The 3.5-liter V6 hybrid makes 430 hp. That’s the top dog.”
The hybrid engine’s power won over Consumer Reports‘ test drivers, who say the F-150 Hybrid “drives like a truck” and “possesses what feels like an almost bottomless pit of power.” The PowerBoost engine pairs with a 10-speed automatic transmission designed to work well with the hybrid powertrain. With four-wheel drive, the hybrid gets 24 mpg combined, an impressive number for a truck.
What else do reviewers say about this truck?
The Ford F-150 Hybrid earned overall glowing reviews from Consumer Reports. Linkov even says the hybrid’s ride is “a little bit better, a little more composed” than that of the conventional F-150, potentially due to a different distribution of weight from the hybrid’s generator.
In fact, the generator is another point Consumer Reports praises. The F-150 Hybrid features a Pro Power Onboard feature, allowing the truck to function as a mobile generator. According to the automaker, the generator can run for up 85 hours on a full gas tank.
However, there are also a few downsides to this vehicle. Consumer Reports observes that when it switches between electric and hybrid modes, the F-150 tends to hesitate slightly. This is particularly notable when accelerating at higher speeds. The hybrid also sometimes shifts in a “clunky” way, although the co-hosts also note this is fairly common for the class.
It’s also worth noting that although the hybrid’s four-wheel-drive version is EPA-rated at 24 mpg combined, it’s been hovering around 18 mpg during Consumer Reports’ early phases of testing.
Despite these shortcomings, there’s no denying the Ford F-150 Hybrid is an excellent vehicle. It offers more power than the optional 5.0-liter V8, boasts a smooth ride, and features an attractive, comfortable interior. If you’ve been looking for a truck that offers decent fuel economy without sacrificing power, this F-150 should definitely be on your radar.