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Ford’s F-150 48 Years of Success

How and why one vehicle, originally created in 1975, can dominate the market for a long time has a lot to do with what changes and what stays the same over time. This balance between modification and consistent performance has made the Ford F-150 a favorite with pickup enthusiasts. With upgrades to predominately aluminum construction, the F-150 in recent forms has been able to reduce its curb weight by 700 lbs. And with double the number of injectors in the current 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 and the 10-speed tranny in 2018, drivers can enjoy a more robust torque output. Then in 2021 came the introduction of the 3.5L PowerBoost Full Hybrid F-150, the most tech safety, advanced version yet. When asked, though, owners say it's the attributes that remain steadfast across four-plus decades that make the F-150 one of the most popular vehicles on the road.

Rugged Performance

The Ford F-150 is reaching its midlife with a lot of experience under its belt. For the 2016 model, Ford engineers put the F-150 through rigorous testing from off-road performance to hauling heavy loads to temperature tests in the desert. Depending on the model of F-150, 2021 F-150s can haul a maximum payload of 3,325 pounds. The F-150 are put through over 10 million miles of testing before ever going on sale. It is this endurance pedigree that has kept F-150 adorers faithful.

Impressive Fuel Efficiency

Balancing performance with fuel efficiency is achieved through the combination of the lightweight military-grade aluminum body introduced in 2016 and the trademark Ecoboost engine, which was first offered in 2011. Past generations to today have delivered V8 power with conservative V6 fuel consumption. The new 2021 4WD F-150 with the PowerBoost Hybrid engine, while producing 430 hp and 570 lb-ft torque with the unique 10-speed automatic transmission, is rated at an impressive 24 miles per gallon by the EPA. Improving this delicate balance between fuel efficiency and power will continue to keep F-150 followers loyal well beyond 2021.

Towing Capacity for F150 and Hauling

Though lightweight, the F150 still has the towing and hauling muscle of heavier vehicles. In 2009, greater towing capacities were introduced. For anyone working with big hauls, the F-150 has historically delivered payload performance up to 2,250 pounds, and towing capacities of more than 11,000 pounds, depending on the engine model. The towing capacities of the 2021 versions of the F-150vary to a maximum of 14,000 pounds. It's the ideal workhorse for contractors and the perfect pickup for trailer towing.

F150 Payload Capacity

The all-new Ford F-150 has a payload capacity of 2,000 pounds. This means you can haul more gear, more materials, and more equipment with ease. Whether you're working on a construction site or transporting supplies for a home improvement project, the F-150 will get the job done quickly and efficiently.

An Easy-to-Use Accessible Vehicle

Unlike some other pickups on the market, many owners find that the F150 accommodates user-friendly features. In 2015, the F-150 became the first pickup with adaptive cruise control, and in 2021, the F-150 comes standard with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection among other safety sensing features.

Modern designs to the interior make the F-150 as comfortable as any sedan, like door handles with sculpted finger holds. This appears to be a seemingly incidental touch, but it is important for drivers wearing gloves, which is a common characteristic of the tradesmen who rely on the F-150. An additional innovation in the 2021 version includes a center armrest that can be easily flipped into a flat work surface for a computer or paperwork.

Well-designed grooves to the tailgate handle offer a sturdier grip when opening or closing, and steering wheels with finger holds also provide better grip. In 2021, the power tailgate with built-in clamp pockets and side-mounted cleats can double as a workbench. Moreover, the 2021 F-150 pickup bed can be fitted with an onboard generator for powering saws, air compressors, heaters or other work tools and appliances.

In 2022 Ford made it clear that the automaker intends to lead the parade in the electric truck industry with the introduction of the Ford F-150 Lightning, an all-electric version with massive, instant torque upon acceleration, to the best-selling pickup lineup in America.

It's these innovations along with luxury options that matter to F-150 drivers. With features like touchscreens and 10-way adjustable seats, many drivers often forget they are in a pickup. For a complete review of the new F-150 Lightning, read the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning for Work and Fun.

Versatile Enough for Everyone

By far the most outstanding characteristic of the Ford F-150 is its appeal to many different drivers. While the classic pickup seems profiled for cowboys and construction workers, the new F-150, the most advanced version ever, has been attractive to various lifestyles. This versatility comes from three cab designs, three available bed lengths, six different trim options, six engine choices and a variety of other features that can easily accommodate a family traveler, the off-road F-150 adventurer, the cruise control commuter, farmer/rancher or contractor. Consequently, 2023 marks the 48th year Ford's F-150 has been ranked as the best-selling pickup in the U.S.


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