The Trukbed 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid Review. There are quite a few reviews of the all new 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid published on the internet today. Many are media reviews with loaned trucks for one day initial drives. Others may be a week. Media outlets (such as the big car magazines) MAY put one in their long term fleets. Many YouTubers simply drove a 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid for a few hours from a Ford dealership. Few publishers actually spend some real intimate time with the Powerboost as a daily driver and legitimate owner. Like Tim Esterdahl of www.pickuptrucktalk.com, Trukbed owns our pickup truck. We’ve managed to log 12,000 miles in just under 3 months leading up to this Ford F-150 Powerboost long term review. All said, we are pleased to offer you this 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Long Term Review.
Trukbed’s Report Card
|Overall Driving Impressions||B|
|Towing/Hauling||n/a – ungraded|
|Miles Per Gallon (MPG) vs. EPA Estimate||A|
|Sound System (B&O)||A|
|DIY Maintenance Ease||C|
|Extra Credit – Zone Lighting||A|
|Extra Credit – Onboard Generator||A|
|Overall Grades:||GPA Grade = B+ (after Extra Credit = A-)|
- Delivers on it’s MPG promise, if driven the way I do
- Faster than it needs to be, but who’s complaining?
- Updated, modern Styling
- Nearly 12,000 miles with non-stop use, and not a single need for a dealership visit!!
- Braking feel is herky jerky/tight
- Engine on/off at idle can seem abrubt
- Oil filter placement is inconvenient
- Still has an exterior antenna??
- Here are the Top 10 Things We HATE about our 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid
How much does a 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid Cost?
Our Trukbed Powerboost Hybrid is a 2021 Ford F-150 Lariat with the 501A package. Here is the window sticker for your perusal. The sticker price was $65,040.00. It was a March 2021 Build, and purchased from dealer stock in Mid May, 2021.
First Impressions of the 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid
Not even a test drive before the purchase. I wanted it that badly.
Yes, that’s correct. I never even test drove a 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid before I bought mine. It’s not smart, but I often do that. I don’t recommend the practice for anyone, but my life circumstances somewhat allow for it. My “excuse”? I’ve owned many cars and trucks of all types. For work I rent loads of different cars and trucks for weeks at a time. I feel like I know the different general feels of virtually every vehicle make out there. From Acura to Volkswagen, and every letter vehicle in between.
Our previous truck was a VERY cushy and comfortable all-new body style/redesigned 2019 Ram 1500. And, it was the Longhorn trim. It’s practically the Cadillac of trucks as far as the general consensus of truck reviewers and experts are concerned. And I agree with them. Despite my personal and some mechanical issues, I really did like Ram 1500 Longhorn with it’s classically beautiful sounding Hemi V-8 engine. So, there’s an idea of what I most recently have as a baseline for standards and expectations.
All that said….WOW. I was VERY impressed with this 2021 Ford F-150 Lariat Powerboost when I first drove it off the dealership lot.
The 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid Is Smooth
The theme here is “smooth”.
The 2021 F-150 Powerboost Hybrid was immediately smooth in almost every aspect (remember though, it’s still a truck). The initial quick ride to an empty parking lot to study all the features of the truck was very smooth. This Powerboost hybrid engine was unnoticeable as it triggered on and off during the drive. Gears shifted through the transmission in outstanding fashion. The way the steering felt was predictable. Going over moderate road imperfections were very acceptable. The leather wrapped steering wheel felt thick and smooth. The radio’s dials were even smooth as you turned them, with gentle silent clicks as you rotated them. There were no unexpected noises in the cabin, vibrations from suspension, or creaks anywhere.
Interior Quality of the 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid – Lariat
We think Ford would do well to soften some of the door panel plastics a tad. Those traditional Ford interior hangups appear to hang around for 2021. But overall the feeling we perceived from the truck is that it’s very smooth.
Seating Comfort Is No Cadillac, But It’s Easy to Find
With a finnicky back, we still found our preferred seating positions rather easily.
As a 6 foot male with 180lbs of mass to carry, the 10-way heated power seats are easy to become settled into. The steering wheel adjustment is mechanical (not powered) up and down, and mechanically telescopic (in and out). Some mechanical steering wheel adjustments in other cars feel cumbersome, sudden and jerky. Not this 2021 F-150. It’s just fine, leaving no regrets on not having that feature as powered.
Visibility is very easy with it’s big, flat and square windows. Additionally, the 360-degree surround view camera option helps the parking situation in immeasurable ways. With a big vehicle like this, it’s difficult to imagine all the years I’d gone without a luxury such as this.
Low speed maneuvering with the steering wheel was relatively effortless in this F-150 Powerboost Hybrid. We expect this out of vehicles in this class.
I drove 2 round trips from Virginia to Texas recently with this truck. Each of those 4 trips were essentially non-stop with one 2 hour rest stop nap each time. Separately, each trip was just over 1400 miles. So, with a finnicky lower back issue:
I never ached or hurt once in any of those trips. Needless to say, I am satisfied with this 2021 Ford F-150’s seating positions and overall comfort.
Button, Knobs, Switches and Dials of the 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid
Not too cluttery, and pretty straight-forward.
Ergonomically, we found all the buttons and knobs to be easy to find and use in this 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost. Perhaps a little embarassingly, it took me about a week or two to finally figure out the location of the Drive Mode (to use Sport, Eco, Rock, Mud, Normal, etc.) button. I could’ve searched the manual, but I tend to explore my new cars like a new girlfriend – and find what turns on what. Eventually, I broke down and Googled it (the modern man’s equivalent to asking a gas station attendent for directions). And then I felt as dumb as I deserved. It was in my face, labeled in all CAPS and everything, literally spelling out DRIVE MODE.
So, for anyone like me Googling for the answer, here it is: the Drive Mode function knob is attached to drivetrain selector (2H, 4A, 4H and 4L). Don’t be ashamed, this at least makes two of us. You turn the knob left and right to select the Drive Mode. More on the Drive Modes in a bit.
Power/Flush Gear Selector
There’s a feature that flattens the gear selector flush into the console. I’ve only used it once, and that was merely to see it work. I haven’t found much use for it. It’s powered, and it’s cool. I don’t have the fold out work bench option (which go for less than $200.00), so I suppose the fold down feature was there in case I did get that option.
So What Does The 2021 F-150 Powerboost Hybrid Feel Like Driving?
The 570 feet-pounds of torque truly makes me forget this is a 5,800 pound truck.
It may help first, I think, to know my usual driving style and experiences. Having a little background on those things usually help provide a baseline for a readers to better understand someone else’s subjective opinion about things like these. In my trucks, I usually take it pretty easy. The driving position and comfort of trucks seem to easily allow for a very mellow and chilled out way of driving. Conversely, when I’m driving a sedan, I tend to be more spirited. In a sports car, I have the ability to go madhouse on some pavement, and do.
So with this information, I’m evaluating this truck on the basis that I expect truck like behaviors. I know what fast is for a truck. I know what slow is and know what feels good at highway speed at what final gear ratio, and what doesn’t feel good. I’ve been known to amaze the dealer techs and shop techs at my ability to precisely predict exactly what wheel is “off” its measurements before an alignment, and about how much “off” it probably is. I tend to be pretty in tune with a vehicle. So, I hope that helps you understand what I am about to write.
This. Truck. Is. Fast. (AF).
Trucks like these don’t even NEED to be fast. But this 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost is fast. Don’t believe me? Check out any magazine’s test results. Look at some YouTube videos (there’s a great video by TFL Truck on YouTube where they race a Powerboost against a Raptor, check them out). It’s fast in Sport Mode, Normal Mode, and even Eco Mode. I don’t have measured times (no access to test tracks). But, I have my experiences, from trucks to sports cars and my life’s experience refining my butts relationships with automobiles, to gauge my opinion. You simply won’t be disappointed with it’s get up and go.
Comparing this 2021 F-150 Powerboost Hybrid to my 2019 Ram 1500 Longhorn with the Hemi V8
Our 2019 Ram Longhorn has the 3.92:1 final gear ratio with it’s Hemi V8, with 395 hp and 410 torque. It also weighed in at around 5200 pounds. This 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid has the 3.73:1 final gear, and has 430 hp and a whopping 570 torque. The F-150 weighs in at 5800 lbs – about 600 lbs more than the Ram. Both are crew cabs with near identical dimensions.
This Powerboost feels a LOT lighter than the Ram, despite the weight difference. The +160 lb/ft of torque in the Powerboost over the Ram’s 410 makes pulling 5800 lbs to whatever speed you want a breeze. The Ram, with only 410 lb/ft to it’s lesser 5200 lbs mass, felt like effort, despite sounding beautiful with it’s Hemi. Once at speed, such as a highway at 70mph, the Ram, due to it’s high final gear and only 395 hp, felt stressed while trying to keep it’s own 5200 lbs at desired speed. The Powerboost however, despite it’s 5800 lbs of weight, stays at speed with ease due to the help of 35 more hp than the Ram.
While the Ram is tested at only .5 seconds slower than the Powerboost, it just feels so much slower. The Powerboost inspires it’s drivers with it’s air of weightlessness. It’s a very confident and capable feeling.
About those Drive Modes in the 2021 Ford F-150
To get the best and most useful experience with all of the Drive Modes, one needs to understand the following:
2 and 4 wheels drive modes and their dial abbreviations:
- 2H – two wheel drive high speed, rear wheels only
- 4A – automatic all wheel drive (the system senses slippage and provides automatic power to the wheels which have grip)
- 4H – 4 wheel drive high (all wheels go when the accelerator is pressed, higher speeds allowable). The difference between this and 4A is that 4A senses slip, and this mode doesn’t. This is why when a vehicle is left in this mode, or 4L, the truck will grind its tires and make horrible sounds when making sharper turns.
- 4L – 4 wheel drive low speed (all wheels go when the accelerator is pressed, for low speeds only)
The Traction Control button:
- Traction Control – is the button above the radio screen that has the vehicle icon with squiggly lines underneath the icon. This can be turned OFF or ON. NOTE: Traction control is automatically ON by default. So, pressing the button turns the function OFF and is indicated as OFF on the dashboard display area. This function turns OFF automatically for some of the dialed up drive modes and 4WD selections. In other circumstances, the driver can elect to turn it OFF for various other needs and reasons. Two common reasons: 1. A possibly quicker launch of the vehicle when on dry pavement – the wheels will ignore slip and spins the wheels on demand. And 2. for helping to get out of snowy slippery situations – by turning the function OFF, you’re telling the wheels to just go. When a vehicle is stuck because the elements are creating slip on all 4 wheels and the traction control is ON, virtually all 4 wheels just stop spinning…. the traction control is designed to stop slipping wheels from spinning. By turning the traction control OFF in that scenario, you tell the system to just GO, and have a better chance to drive yourself out of a stuck situation.
Drive Modes of the Ford F-150 – Good Variety
- SPORT MODE: You’ll know you’re in Sport Mode because the screen goes into a red and black color (for those F-150’s with digital productivity screens like this 2021 F-150 Lariat Powerboost Hybrid). It switches to 4A (All Wheel Drive) if you were previously in 2H (two wheel drive) because the torque is going to require some traction to grab hold of the pavement for traction. You CAN opt back into the 2H mode, if desired. There is also a sporty looking “S” just under the “4A” or “2H” in the display to remind you of your mode. The gears are electronically tuned to retard and delay their shifts, keeping the engine ready for instant torque when commanded. You’ll be forfeiting your MPG goals in this mode. The Powerboost rarely, if ever, switches to “electric only driving” in this mode, unless you’re at a complete stop.
- NORMAL MODE: You may use 2H or 4A in this mode as well. The way to best describe Normal Mode is to say it feels like the 5800 lbs truck is smoother and lighter than it actually is. It’s a very comfortable feeling. This is the mode the truck generally turns on into when started. If you were in Eco Mode in your prior drive before you shut the car off, the truck will ask you if you’d like to return to Eco Mode when you start the vehicle again. After you don’t respond within a few seconds or so, it will just stay in this Normal Mode. I’ve found Normal Mode to be almost as fuel efficient as the Eco Mode. If driven the way I drive my Hybrid, one can still average a decent 22 to 24 MPG on a consistent basis. In fact, I have an article spelling out my top 25 Tips and Tricks on how to Drive a Hybrid to Optimize MPG and beat EPA estimates. Check it out.
- ECO MODE: What I’ve noticed in Eco Mode, versus Normal Mode, is that the throttle feels just a slight bit heavier than when in Normal Mode. I believe the reason behind this is because the Eco Mode is limiting the torque so much by being in a lower gear, you get some of that light feeling taken away. The software, engine and gearing altogether make it so that you feel like getting frisky is making the truck work… therefore inspiring you to stay mellow. You can choose either 2H or 4A, depending on your traction needs. Even though the Eco Mode feels heavier, if you need to lay it down to pass someone or something, it’s still going to give you a very decent jolt back into your seat. Eco Mode (and Normal Mode) are where I continously see my MPG numbers stay about 24MPG.
- WET/SLIPPERY MODE: It hasn’t snowed where I am since I bought this 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost in early summer. I’ve only used this mode a couple times. Once when it rained locally by my house, and another during a torrential downpour in Tennessee on the interstate. This mode, in 4A, is designed to limit toque. This helps prevent fishtailing even more than Eco Mode. I’ve found that on average and typical rainy days, the Eco or Normal modes work just fine limiting any and all slip. Especially when paired in 4A. The factory issued Pirelli Scorpion ATR’s have yet to slip.
Rock Mode, Deep Snow Mode, Tow Mode, and Mud Mode
- ROCK MODE, DEEP SNOW MODE, TOW MODE (which is 4A), AND MUD MODE: I have yet to utilize any of these modes.
All modes can be changed on the fly, at any normal driving speed. However, you need to, and should be, not aggressively using the accelerator at the moment.
I have also not had a chance to use 4L (4WD Low).
2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid and the Transmission
The automatic transmission in this 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid is a transmission designed specifically for this hybrid. It shifts into and out of any gear on a moment’s notice, and I rarely ever feel it shifting. It seems to have no problems shifting whether it is driving electric only, or when using the actual engine.
Driving in Hybrid Mode does NOT mean Electric-Only Mode.
In fact, it’s the opposite.
This truck distinguishes itself (on the display screens) when driving with the engine, or by battery only like this: “Electric Only” is obviously when it’s using only battery. But, for engine mode, it calls it “Hybrid Driving”. Since most people associate Hybrids as those battery powered cars with engines, it’s easy to think that Hybrid Driving means you are in battery only mode. Just wanted to clarify that one for people.
2021 F-150 Powerboost Hybrid Review – Changing between engine and battery only
When the engine shuts on and off WHILE driving, I never notice it. Ever. BUT – WHEN AT IDLE when the engine comes on and off to charge it’s battery, you’ll notice that. It’s rather startling sometimes if you’re deep in a calm state after a nice quiet time with engine off at idle, air conditioning blowing, and you’re completely into your own mind. Then BLAM, engine starts up, shakes the truck for a millisecond, and the engine runs.
Even more: the Sync 4 provides the owner with the option for a quicker charging of the battery at idle with a higher RPM. This startling situation happens in the LOWER RPM mode.
Fuel Efficiency and MPG, and Tank Range
The 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid comes with a 30.6 gallon tank. No other size is available for the Powerboost. My logic deduces that it has something to do with the size of the hybrid’s battery taking up most of the room underneath the truck. Whatever the reason, we have been able to get a comfortable 650 or so miles to any full tank of gas. Given the capacity, it makes sense, averaging about 21 MPG of spirited driving.
However, if one uses the 26 tips and tricks I published, and average say, 26 MPG, you can easily see well over 700 miles per tank before requiring a refuel of regular unleaded gas. By the way, nothing more than regular unleaded (87 octane) has been needed by me to attain 27mpg.
The big question – How good is the Powerboost Hybrid’s gas mileage (MPG)?
Oh, it’s good. Quite good, actually. For not being a diesel, and for weighing upwards of 5800 lbs, getting even the EPA estimate of 24 MPG is something any full size truck owner/driver should be very happy to be achieving. If driven without too much aggression, 24 MPG is easily attainable. Once you properly learn how to optimize driving in a hybrid vehicle in particular, you will then see the MPG’s rise even higher. Remember: This powerboost’s hybrid battery will likely give you 1 to 2 miles of free electric only miles for every 10 miles driven in total. 10 to 20% of miles will end up being electric, even more if you drive the hybrid correctly.
And not unlike any other hybrid , your best gas savings will be when driven at lower speeds. In this Powerboost, I feel like I have discovered that the prime driving scenario is when you are in 10 gear, at about 51mph. The shift point in Normal and Eco Modes for 9th to 10th gear seems to be right around 50mph. When you are at the slowest speed possible in the highest gear, holding the lowest RPM possible before a downshift, you should get the best MPG’s offered.
Towing is another story altogether. When towing, you’re highly likely to never go into battery only mode, which means the engine will be running. The engine will still shut off at stops, however. But, since the engine that will be running is still the 3.5 Twin Turbo Ecoboost found in the non-hybrid versions, you can expect the same types of general MPG numbers as any of those.
Ford’s Hybrid-Only Pro Power Onboard 7.2kW Generator Option
The Pro Power Onboard 7.2kW Generator is a genuine $750 option, and quite the deal
Where in the world would someone be able to purchase an invisible, quiet, generator capable of producing up to 7200 watts of electrical power? At your nearest Ford dealership, that’s where. It’s a generator that takes up no room, and can power a house for days on end with a full tank of gas. Can I speak from experience with this generator? Yes. Three times over, in fact.
No less than three times did the power go out due to nasty storms at my house. Luckily, I already had a breaker switch installed as part of the house. I connected the truck’s generator to the 3000 square foot house, and the power was back on. We monitored power usage via the FordPass app, and one by one, turned everything on that I could think of. I turned on the dryer, microwave, the electric oven, the stove top, all TVs, ceiling fans, and even the dishwasher. The fridge was on. I made pot pies in the oven. And watched some Hulu TV. All thanks to this $750 deal of an option on the Powerboost Hybrid.
What about the Air Conditioning unit?
I couldn’t test the AC unit (brand new efficient heat pump). When I would turn it on the breaker in the Powerboost would trip. But, that wasn’t a fault of the truck, it was because my own breaker in the box was too small. I could tell that had I had a large enough breaker, based on the amount of available wattage and what the heat pump required, it would have worked with ease.
Listen folks – this Pro Power Onboard 7.2kW generator is nothing short of one of the better deals you will ever see. It’s a complete game changer on trucks.
The 2021 Ford F-150 Zone Lighting Feature
During the same storms mentioned in the previous section, I had perfect opportunity to test the Ford F-150’s Zone Lighting feature. We had pitch black streets in my neighborhood. With the generator on and running, I also turned on the Zone Lighting to light up our driveway’s alley. From here, I will let the attached photo speak for itself. Keep in mind: EVERYTHING you see in the picture is lit ONLY thanks to the Zone Lighting of the Powerboost Hybrid.
A Log of Dealer Warranty Visits for the 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost So Far
By this time and mileage, my All New 2019 Ram 1500 needed the dealer 4 times. Not this truck.
No Dealer Visits For My 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid
I’ve yet to have any need whatsoever to take this 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid Lariat to the dealer. I have absolutely nothing to speak of regarding dealer service as of yet. And this is a GREAT position to be in.
I will update this section as it becomes relevant!
To summarize: the 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid drives great. It’s fast. Shifts smoothly. Engine on/off at idle is startling. And, I LOVE the generator. We have no regrets about purchasing this truck. As you can see from the report card above, after all was said and done, the 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid received a respectable grade of B+. But after you add in the Pro Power Onboard 7.2kW generator as extra credit, along with the Zone Lighting ability as additional extra credit – those bring the overall grade right into an A-.
It is this grade of an A- that says for the cost, and everything else considered, the 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost Hybrid is an absolute bargain and an overall great value to anyone who can purpose it. Compared to my “Cadillac” of pickup trucks, the Ram 1500 Longhorn, deciding to go with this Powerboost was a winning no-brainer.
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Did you know – we were day 1 reservation makers for the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning? So, we can’t wait for a long term review of the all new electric only F-150.
UPDATE: I published an article detailing the Top 10 Things we HATE about the 2021 Ford F-150 (Powerboost Problems). May be worth a read.
Know someone interested in a 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost? Maybe you could forward them a link to this page.
HOW TO RESET THE OIL LIFE MONITOR (OLM) IN THE 2021 Ford F-150
Resetting the in dash oil life monitor in the 2021 Ford 2021 F-150 Powerboost Hybrid requires this procedure (steps):
- With the key fob with you, get into vehicle.
- Push the start button without turning the vehicle into ready mode.
- Go to Settings
- Go to Vehicle Maintenance
- Scroll to Oil Life and as per the screen instructions, hold OK until it clears.
It may not clear for you right away. I believe the first time I did it, it didnt clear, then after a while when I came back to try it again, the system showed 100%. It may or not may be quirky for you as well. If the above doesn’t work, I would then try the procedure WITH the engine in Ready mode.