QOTD: Nowhere to Hide?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd nowhere to hide

Like the server who came to your table that one time, Ford’s 2021 F-150 boasts many appealing attributes — so many, in fact, it may have you thinking about ditching your current ride for a new one.

Evolutionary on the outside and innovative within, the next-gen pickup offers owners ample space for both sleeping and work. It’s the latter feature we’re discussing today, as it seems Ford had a simple solution to its table problem all along.

According to past reports, F-150 owners aren’t hot on the idea of unsatisfying shifters that don’t require a firm grip of the user’s hand. Truck people don’t like the dials and push-buttons cropping up in sedans and CUVs — they like levers. Shifting into drive should feel like you’ve just thrown one of those comically large power switches in an old monster movie. You author understands this desire.

If a mile-wide console is something you must have in your pickup, a manly shifter may as well take up space on that surface, as there’s only so many cupholders an OEM can cram into a vehicle. But for ’21, Ford’s offering an “ Interior Work Surface” option — essentially, a console lid that unfolds into, well, an interior work surface covering the entire console. To get that lever out of the way, Ford tasked its braintrust with creating a fold-down shifter. Out of sight, out of mind.

However, as the 2021 F-150 retains regular and SuperCab body styles, the front bench seat isn’t dead — which means the stupidly functional but non-innovative column shifter lives on in some F-150s. There’s plenty of real estate for it.

Does an unintrusive column shifter not seem like a simpler and cheaper solution to this console-as-table problem, rather than designing a fold-away console shifter (which, in the pessimist’s view, is just another thing something can go wrong with)? Was it really necessary to create this trick shift lever? Obviously since we’re talking about the most popular and lucrative product on the market, the answer is yes. Anything capable of wowing (and wooing) buyers is, um, on the table when it comes to this profit generator.

And one supposes that console would look pretty bare without a shifter, though some high-end SUVs would beg to differ.

Given a choice, would you have preferred Ford outfitted your workspace-equipped F-150 with a tried-and-true column shifter over this fancy gear selector solution, or is the novelty of such a unit all you need to stay smiling?

[Images: Ford]

Join the conversation
3 of 43 comments
  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Jun 30, 2020

    I'm born in and have lived in western Canada (truck country) my whole life. Often I sit at traffic light completely surrounded by trucks, yet I have never owned one. Who can afford these things?

  • MiataReallyIsTheAnswer MiataReallyIsTheAnswer on Jul 10, 2020

    Seems like a lot of extra hassle in design and manufacture, and no doubt cost, when the column shift works fine. I have it in a 2016 F150 and 2006 Tahoe, and the Tahoe has a nice big center area of bins, cubbies and cupholders that I prefer to the "floor shifter" that would otherwise take up a chunk of that space with zero added benefit. Sometimes the simplest answer really is the best answer.

  • Drnoose Probably just cutting conservative talk radio off at the knees. They can’t beat it, so kill it one way of the other.
  • Teddyc73 Looking forward to this. Hopefully it doesn't succomb to the leftist agenda and only come as an EV. If there is a gasoline version and a decent sized bed I'll consider this to replace my Ram 1500 when the day comes. Please let it be available in colors other than the same boring ones Ram has offered for years.
  • Xidex i haven't even turned the dial to AM since the 90's I think at that time it was only because there is one station i liked was on the AM dial (it is no longer around) Someone had to point to the station otherwise i wouldn't have even scanned the AM dial. I still think the AM dial should be left on radios though, If no one listened to it then there wouldn't be any stations would there.
  • Kwik_Shift I have five AM stations preset, each different from one another in terms of content. Some politics, some day to day, some do it yourselfing or help. Focus is more on local news and events. FM is just about pushing crap music and djs pushing the MSM message for their corporate overlords. FM is about making radio sound exactly the same all over North America. I like ONE FM station that plays different varieties of country music and has an entertaining dj. Overall, to each their own.
  • Kat Laneaux What's the benefits of this as opposed to the Ford or Nissan. Will the mileage be better than the 19 city, 24 hwy? Will it cost less than the average of $60,000? Will it be a hybrid?