Is the Hybrid Ford F-150 Actually a Smart Buy?

Upgrading to the Ford F-150’s “PowerBoost” hybrid drivetrain can cost you up to $5,000—depending on the trim you are outfitting. So is there any way it’s worth the money? A brand new PowerBoost may not necessarily pay for itself in fuel savings, but driving one offers other benefits.

Can you save money by buying a Ford F-150 PowerBoost?

The folks at TFL truck bought an F-150 PowerBoost and drove it for a year. According to their calculations, people who commute in stop/go traffic might break even on the upgrade price of certain Ford F-150 PowerBoost trims.

Black Ford F-150 hybrid PowerBoost pickup truck driving down a country lane, fences on both sides.
2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost | Ford

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This is because a hybrid offers regenerative braking, capturing your forward momentum to charge up its batteries and then help launch you from a standstill. The F-150 PowerBoost accomplishes this with a powerful electric motor/generator sandwiched between its turbocharged V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission. When you pump the brakes, this unit helps slow your vehicle and charges its under-bed lithium-ion battery in the process. When you tap the gas, it uses this stored energy to help you accelerate.

At higher speeds, the hybrid system cannot do much to help your fuel mileage. Therefore, if most of your driving is on the highway, the PowerBoost might not be the best financial investment. And on upper trims, the PowerBoost hybrid won’t pay for itself.

The PowerBoost is a premium F-150 engine option

Closeup of extension cords plugged into a Ford F-150 PowerBoost pickup trucks on-board power supply.
2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost | Ford

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The combined power of the PowerBoost’s turbocharged V6 and electric motor is on par with Ford’s other premium engine options.

Ford’s Special Vehicle Team (SVT) actually decided the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, without the added electric engine, was powerful enough for the F-150 Raptor. It’s no surprise that the even more powerful PowerBoost engine comes standard with the F-150 Limited trim.

The PowerBoost drivetrain makes 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque. This gives it a lot more grunt than the F-150’s 5.0-liter V8 which only makes 410 lb-ft of torque. With the most torque of any F-150 engine, the PowerBoost can tow up to 12,700 pounds.

One of the benefits of the PowerBoost is its steady power delivery: its electric motor launches it off the line and continues to assist with acceleration until the engine is started and its turbochargers have boost. This way there is no lag or jump in power, just smooth hard acceleration. According to MotorTrend, the PowerBoost can propel the F-150 to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds.

Buying an F-150 PowerBoost now bankrolls Ford hybrid development in the future

Ford company logo on a sign above a dealership, the sky visible in the background.
The Ford logo| KAREN BLEIER/AFP via Getty Images

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A PowerBoost F-150 uses less gasoline than a V8 F-150 which makes similar power. If you need a full-size truck capable of towing and hauling heavy loads, the PowerBoost is one of your more environmentally friendly options.

But conserving fuel is not the only way an F-150 PowerBoost purchase helps the environment. Paying for this advanced engine helps pay down Ford’s research and development fees. The more lucrative automakers find building hybrids to be, the more of them they’ll build. Buying a hybrid now is an investment in the research and development of future generations of hybrid powertrains.

For many, the regular 3.5-liter EcoBoost is all the engine their F-150 needs. But others believe the PowerBoost is a smart buy, for a variety of reasons.

Next, read about the PowerBoost vs. the hybrid Toyota Tundra or learn more about the PowerBoost’s fuel savings in the video below:

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