Automobile

2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid Review: One Tank of Gas, 723 Happy Miles

Verdict on the 2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost

As someone familiar with F-150s and just trucks in general, I can confidently report the 2021 F-150 PowerBoost has the chops to do truck things and do them right—and it can even be a sensible city commuter that won’t break your wallet at the pump.

Of course, it’s not perfect, as is usually the case with most of Ford’s first-released models. While everything went off without a hitch over the course of my weeklong test, it was the drivetrain’s clunkiness that stood out as the only mark against it.

Take off from a standstill on battery power and you’ll feel a kick in the pants when the gasoline engine activates, followed by a loud click when it shifts into second gear. The issue was intermittent and I could never figure out exactly what triggered it, but it was definitely a thing. This sort of drivetrain disconnect has existed in previous F-150 models before—non-hybrids, of course—as I clearly remember a similar issue in my truck as well as other press units I’ve tested. You’d think that’d be fixed in this new-gen truck.

This issue doesn’t affect the performance or drivability of the F-150, but it’s not something you want in a brand-new, expensive truck, either.

Aside from those occasional hard and clunky take-offs, my driving experience in the 2021 F-150 PowerBoost was refined and extremely comfortable. And at times—only when necessary—it was pretty darn quick. Lay heavy on the throttle from a standstill or even at highway speeds and the PowerBoost absolutely lurches forward with Raptor-like urgency. It’s no secret that besides making it super efficient, the hybrid system really works wonders for acceleration.

When I initiated my test, I thought that paying $65,000 for an XLT model was simply ludicrous, but by the end of it, I actually walked away from it thinking it was a fair deal. There’s just so much to love about the hybrid system, the cabin, the features, the technology, and even the looks of the thing. While the F-150 PowerBoost doesn’t have a direct hybrid competitor right now, it’s not hard to find similarly-priced full-size trucks out there.

Perhaps my specific loaner’s only demerit is that it was an XLT model with cloth seats (though it had every other option you could ever need and want). Higher-trim models are indeed available, with loads of chrome or leather throughout, but for more money. Cash-wise, it wouldn’t take much to spec a Ram or Silverado up to what Ford charges for its hybrid truck, of course, but going that route would net you a swankier interior and not a hybrid drivetrain, onboard generator, and better fuel economy.

It’s far from cheap, but if you’re looking for a truck that can work hard, play hard, and also play smart, the F-150 PowerBoost should be your top contender at the moment. Oh, and the best grub in Memphis is at Cozy Corner BBQ—it turns out Phil was right.

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