Ford Motor Co. is starting to test the next generation of its F-150 pickup truck on public roads near its corporate headquarters.
Spy photographers spotted a prototype of the 2021 F-150 on the streets of Dearborn, Mich., this week. The light-duty truck is expected to debut next year.
The 2021 Ford F-150 will be the most significant upgrade since the introduction of the aluminum-bodied 2015 model. Though it is a new generation, the 2021 F-150 will mostly be an evolution of the current version rather than a dramatic departure. It is expected to offer new styling and engine options among other changes.
The vehicle in photos is heavily camouflaged, with its exterior body panels in disguise. But it’s obvious it’s a crew cab, the most popular configuration among light-duty pickups, with running boards and a short bed.
The vehicle being tested is a crew cab with a short bed. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
Engine choices in the 2021 F-150 likely will include updated versions of the turbocharged EcoBoost engines in current models. And the 3-liter turbodiesel V6 introduced in 2018 could carry over.
Ford could replace its 5-liter V8 with a more efficient 4.8-liter V8. Also, the automaker is developing hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fully electric versions of the F-150.
The F-150 is the light-duty member of Ford’s F-Series line of full-size trucks that make up the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. market. Sales of F-Series trucks surpassed 909,000 vehicles in 2018. That’s an increase of 1.4 percent compared with sales of 897,000 the year prior and the highest total for any vehicle.
BIGGEST CHUNK OF SALES
Analysts estimate that light-duty trucks like the F-150 account for about 70 percent of full-size truck sales for Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Heavy-duty models such as the F-250 and F-350 Super Duty make up the other 30 percent.
Ford’s F-series trucks, including the F-150, sold more than 900,000 units in 2018. (Photo: Brian Williams/Trucks.com)
GM and FCA introduced new versions of their light-duty trucks in 2018. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 use lightweight materials to shave up to 450 pounds of curb weight compared with previous models. The Ram 1500 features dazzling interior design and advanced safety technology.
The 2021 F-150 will be Ford’s first attempt to counter the advancements made by its top rivals.