2021 Ford F-150 Looks to Avoid Enemies

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2021 ford f 150 looks to avoid enemies

Given that domestic full-size pickups generate more money for their respective builders than a war bonds drive, every redesign is fraught with danger.

OEMs walk an especially fine line in this segment, fearful of making a vehicle too bland or too similar to the previous generation, but understandably nervous about breaking out of the box and alienating loyal return customers. Polarizing styling isn’t a recipe for success — the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado taught us a lesson about that (though GM might disagree).

As it prepares for a launch later this year, spy shots of the upcoming Ford F-150 reveal enough to show Ford’s playing it safe… but not too safe.

Thursday brought photos of a lightly disguised 2021 F-150 SuperCrew tooling around Michigan, photos which we don’t have. We can point you in the right direction, however, as the world’s most important vehicle deserves a good look.

Your author is of the opinion that the F-150’s most recent refresh offered no visual improvements to the 13th-generation model, which bowed for 2015. On the other hand, Ram earns applause for replacing, after a full decade, the still-in-production 1500 Classic with a model this writer can’t say a bad word about, design-wise. The Silverado is another story, though we should all be thankful GMC kept its adventurous streak in check.

As seen in the photos linked to above, the 2021 F-150 seems to blend what’s good about the new-for-2019 Ram and GMC offerings. C-shaped LED running lamps surround stacked head lamps, seemingly mimicking the Sierra, while the grille becomes less rectangular in nature, donning a thick chrome border and securing the Blue Oval logo with a similarly shiny crossbar. Black honeycomb mesh fills the F-150’s mouth. Ford avoids further Ram associations by keeping that chrome away from the headlamps’ borders, except for their most inboard point.

The new pickup’s face does harken more than a bit to the smaller Ranger, though the grille shape is not a match. Foglamps grow horizontally, and are no longer contained within a pair of bumper openings.

To the untrained eye, the cab looks like a direct carryover, while the tail lamps and lenses evolve into a slightly new shape. Nothing here looks like something that’s going to put off a Ford diehard, which suits Dearborn’s purposes just fine. As the best-selling vehicle in America since the Pilgrims landed, Ford knows not to mess too much with a good thing (the current-gen’s aluminum body swap being an exception to that rule). No Cybertruck clone with bed-mounted e-scooter deployer here, though avante-garde truck buyers will have a hybrid version to choose from when the model goes on sale later this year. Come 2021, an all-electric version joins the fray.

[Image: Ford]

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  • Danio3834 Danio3834 on Feb 24, 2020

    "The recent RAM update was essentially only sheetmetal from the a-pillar forward with some bolt on differences for braces underneath." The new Ram 1500 (not the Classic, the new DT) was/is all new aside from one of the 4 power-trains that carried over from the DS. New cab (4" longer) new frame, new axles, new sheetmetal, new suspension, new brakes, new everything.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Feb 24, 2020

    highdesertcat--Thank you for the suggestions I want to check those out. I plan on retiring at the end of December 2021. Starting to get rid of some of my things now because I don't want to move them.

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Feb 24, 2020

      You're welcome and happy hunting. Do a GoogleEarth to get an idea of the lay of the land.

  • Mike Beranek If they really want your car, they'll just drag it up onto a rollback and drive away. In about 15 seconds.
  • Analoggrotto Critical Tassos Meltdown in: .... 3.....2.....1
  • Dukeisduke I'm not convinced that the "software update" installed by Hyundai/Kia dealers on later cars without an immobilizer (like my middle daughter's 2014 Kia Forte sedan) actually does anything. I'm able to lock the car with the remote, which is supposed to disable the ignition, then reach in through an open driver's window, insert the key, and start the car. That shouldn't happen.I opened a case with Kia corporate two weeks ago and haven't gotten a response.
  • Wjtinfwb I see all three backing away quietly and slowly. Between political winds and corporate green mandates plus the previously mentioned mandates, automakers will have to thread a needle between public demand and acceptance, and the extremely loud voices of the minority screaming for fossil fuels to be abandoned by 2030, which of course won't happen. Ford jumped in early with the Lightning and Mach-E, but since has tempered their enthusiasm and probably spent less money as the Lightning shares a lot with the gas F-150. GM however has built some bespoke platforms out on the edge that will end up being a gigantic waste of money. The Hummer EV is a joke and the new Silverado EV while impressive is both expensive and less practical than an electric version of the current gas Silverado could have been. The Cadillac EVs are the dumbest move yet, especially their upcoming 400k model. Ford seems to have a leg up on GM in Hybrid which would seem like a better interim measure, I'd be surprised if a Hybrid Explorer isn't in the works and could see a Gas/Electric Expedition and Super Duty being successful as well. US energy policy and gas prices into the next administration will play a significant role in consumer demand, if prices stay high and supplies artificially constrained, demand will increase for more efficient cars and trucks. If we go back to a self-sufficient energy policy and prices drop, demand for Hybrid's and EVs will moderate even more.
  • Wjtinfwb Poor cousin to the Blazer & Bronco that dominated this segment. The 1st Gen Ramcharger was a much better and better looking truck, with the 440 available and without the AMC Pacer style real windows. The Bronco and Blazer felt and looked much more modern and cohesive than the Mopar's, and that's not saying very much. Probably attractive to the Mopar faithful but for the rest of us... No thanks at any price.