2021 Ford F-150 4x4 SuperCrew Lariat Hybrid review
Driving the new Ford F-150 SuperCrew Lariat was like déjà vu all over again, only in winter.
It doesn't happen often, but this week's tester was a new hybrid version of Ford's most popular, in fact, North America's most popular vehicle for a second time in roughly a year. Even more unusual, this was a pre-production model with a few miles on it and decked out in Antimatter Blue Metallic, which is a dark-nearly black paint scheme. I like the name!
Ford’s F-150 hybrid is simply smooth, quiet and packed with power. No reason any truck lover wouldn’t love this beast like an all-expense-paid night at a Monster Truck rally.
Some might not care for the electric hybrid motor whine at low speeds, but if you crank the Lariat’s muscle-bound, watt-crazy Bang & Olufsen (B&O) stereo with subwoofer you’ll never hear that whine over George Strait’s strains.
Like the previous tester, this F-150, already starting at $53,025 with delivery, is packed with options, 13 to be exact, which adds $19,745 to the price bringing it to a total of $72,770. Its more efficient and powerful than many of the other seven F-150 trim levels due to its hybrid system, which itself adds $3,300 to the tally. It’s worth it.
Standard in the Lariat is a powerful twin-turbo 2.7-liter V6 gas engine with 325 horsepower, and you can even still get a 5.0-liter V8 with 400 horses of gas burning. A slick 10-speed automatic comes standard with all powertrains.
The hybrid system conjoins a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 with a 35kw electric motor with batteries under the rear seat. It makes a whopping 430 horsepower and 570 lb.-ft. of torque all while delivering an EPA-rated 24 miles per gallon, city or highway. Combined with a 30.6-gallon gas tank, that creates an optimum 700-mile driving range, both downhill and with the wind.
In warmer weather, I'd managed an impressive 20.5 mpg. In zero to 30-degree temperatures, I recorded just 17 mpg this time. Still, that's what you'd generally expect in straight highway driving with gas-only power. This included plenty of city driving.
The bottom line, the new F-150 is a rocket despite its hefty 5,517 lbs. Power comes on quickly, and the twin-turbo V6 delivers an abundance of power to get up to highway speeds or out-power most anyone at a stoplight. That electric motor also helps boost low-end acceleration.
Handling is reasonable for a big pickup truck, easy to keep in its lane and maneuver, except in a crowded parking lot. Then you’ll want to leave a little extra room, even though this tester had the smallest, 5.5-foot, bed. A 6.5- and 8-foot bed also are available.
How does the truck feel while driving? It's a mix because on straight reasonable smooth stretches, this feels like a luxury sedan, smooth and exceedingly quiet inside. Still, once the pavement becomes cracked and uneven, well, it's still a truck. This fortress becomes bouncy despite its independent double-wishbone suspension up front with coil-over shocks and stamped lower control arm and rear leaf spring with a solid axle. Not harsh, but there's rock and roll that actually shakes drivers and passengers from side to side at times.
Braking is fine, and towing power is impressive at 12,700 pounds. Like the earlier test truck, this he-man added the $750 Pro Power onboard 7.2kw generator in the bed so you can power up your tools, maybe even your house, if need be. A smaller generator is standard. This is a plus for contractors and construction people needing quick access to electricity on a job site. Just leave the truck running, Stop & Go will turn off the gas engine shortly, and plugin. The batteries in the truck do the rest through an inverter and generator.
As mentioned in the earlier review, this Pro Power unit provides enough power to run much of your household electronics for 72 hours during a power outage. So the $750 is pretty inexpensive for backup generator power, after ignoring the total cost of the truck.
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So there’s a lot of usefulness as you’d expect with a pickup, but being a SuperCrew there’s a full rear seat and the interior is luxury car level, helping explain the sticker price. Plus this one includes the Lariat package for $6,920 and including everything from heated and cooled front seats, and rear seats to a heated power tilt/telescope steering wheel.
The interior has everything covered in leather, for example, tan leather seats featuring black trim and a black dash with tan and brushed chrome trim. There's little fake wood trim on the doors. The knobs are satin chrome, while the steering wheel is a soft, thick black leather. Down low are power-adjustable pedals, and the steering wheel is a power tilt/telescope job.
Grab handles stick out from everywhere and should, for easy mounting of this high-rider. Thankfully there are 6-inch chrome-trimmed running boards, for an extra $225, to help boost passengers up into the cockpit, a must. The info screen and instrument panel are large (both 12 inches) and obviously easy to see and mostly to use, although programming favorite radio stations is not a breeze. Still, all the gauges and knobs are big and within easy reach. A giant storage box/armrest divides the front seat and includes a flip-up work surface perfect for a computer for $165 extra.
One might wonder how that works since there's a large shift lever at the front of the console that would prevent the flip-up surface from lying flat. Ford solves this with a button to retract the shift lever. This one was much quieter than in the earlier test truck. Seating is comfortable and roomy front and rear with fairly flat seat bottoms and more contoured backs. Everything is powered, and there are three memory buttons for the driver's seat.
Inside is a gas filler door release and automatic tailgate release. The power tailgate for an extra $695 extra is easy to fold down or up, and there's a pop-out ladder in the tailgate that helps a normal to small-size person climb aboard the bed. Even a handle that pops up to steady the climber's ascent or descent. A spray-in bedliner is $595 extra, but you'll want it.
Engaging the 4WD modes is simple too, with a dial on the center stack, while overhead is a button to open the rear sliding window for a bit of air movement or limited access to the bed. Oddly no wireless charger on a $72 grand truck. That’s a $145 option to add. A sunroof also is an add-on at $1,495.
Standard though is a bevy of fine safety equipment from lane-keeping assist to parking sensors, blind-spot warning and emergency collision braking, plus a smart cruise control system. For trailer haulers, the cool Pro Trailer system uses a knob on the dash to help a driver back up to, and attach, a trailer.
Co-Pilot 360, a semi-autonomous driving system to keep you centered in your lane is a $1,595 add on, plus a 360-degree camera that makes parking a lot easier adds $765 to the price. Other add-ons here included a trailer towing package for $1,995, onboard scale with smart hitch for $650, electronically controlled suspension damping for $695 and 20-inch chrome-like PVD wheels for $1,395.
One minor annoyance, like more and more vehicles, the Ford screams out a chime every time the ignition is turned off to warn you to look in the rear seat in case you leave a kid there.
This one is high-end luxury pricey, but don’t let that bother you if you need a full-size pickup. There are so many models and configurations that surely you can find an F-150 in your price range. The base regular-cab XL with 2-wheel-drive lists at about $30,000. While a Limited 4x4 hybrid model can hit about $80,000.
Know that there are three cab style choices, three bed lengths, five powertrains (diesel is dropped for 2022), seven trims and then the performance-oriented Raptor.
Ford remains the technology leader in pickups.
Overview: 2021 Ford F-150 4x4 SuperCrew Lariat (Hybrid)
Hits: Roomy truck with quiet luxury interior, hybrid power and improved mpg, plus a built-in generator in the bed. Huge info screen and instrument gauges, heated wheel and heat/cool front seats, heated rear seats, power tailgate w/step, 360-degree camera, fold-out work area, running boards. Excellent towing power and acceleration, decent handling and good safety systems.
Misses: Big truck bouncy ride, difficult parking in tight lots, an overabundance of buttons and knobs on dash. Rear seat warning sounds every time ignition turned off.
Made in: Dearborn, Mich.
Engine: 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6, 325 hp
Transmission: 10-speed automatic
Weight: 5,517 lbs.
Wheelbase: 145.4 in.
Length: 231.7 in.
Cargo bed: 52.8 cu.ft.
Tow: 12,700 lbs.
Base Price: $53,025 (includes delivery)
3.5-liter V6 hybrid (430 hp/570 torque), $3,300
Lariat equipment group 502A, $6,920
Co-Pilot 360 Active 2.0 Prep Package, $1,595
Pro Power onboard 7.2kw generator, $750
Interior work surface, $165
Max trailer tow package, $1,995
Onboard scale w/smart hitch, $650
Power tailgate, $695
Continuously controlled damping, $695
20-inch chrome-like PVD wheels, $1,395
360-degree camera, $765
Bedliner, spray-in, $595
6-inch extended chrome accent running boards, $225
Test vehicle: $72,770
Editor's Note: Mark Savage's auto review column, Savage On Wheels, looks at a new vehicle every week and tells consumers what’s good, what’s not so good, and how the vehicle fits into the marketplace.