By on September 29, 2020


The urination for distance competition (that’s a metaphor, and not literal, thank heaven) continues among the automakers who produce full-size pickups.

This time it’s the Blue Oval, firing a shot across the bow (or over the balcony, as it were), with the towing numbers for the 2021 Ford F-150 released today.

The Dearborn crew will announce today that the F-150 has a maximum available tow rating of 14,000 pounds and a maximum available payload of 3,325 pounds. Ford claims that the towing number is best in class, and a quick spec-sheet search seems to back that.

Additionally, the 3.5-liter “PowerBoost” hybrid setup will offer 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque. That latter number is the most ever in an F-150, says Ford. The 5.0-liter V8 and 3.5-liter EcoBoost turbo V6 get unspecified power bumps, as well, to 400/410 for the V8 and 400/500 for the EcoBoost, respectively.

“F-150 is the flagship of Ford’s dedication to building the best trucks and represents our commitment to not just meeting customer needs but exceeding them,” said Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager, in a statement. “With capability and functionality foundational to F-Series, the all-new F-150 not only tows more and hauls more than any other light-duty full-size pickup, it is built to surpass customer expectations with smart innovations that will make them even more productive every day.”

Expect Ford to market that towing figure heavily, complete with Dennis Leary voiceovers. Let the pissing contest continue.

[Image: Ford]

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25 Comments on “2021 Ford F-150 Towing Numbers Released, Truck Wars Continue...”

  • avatar

    It’s not how big it is, it’s how you use it.

    Aside from the stress on the structure of your vehicle, from 130F Death Valley to Vail pass, MFRs must anticipate all sorts of stupid human behavior when they establish the “ratings,” while considering the inevitable ‘protect the stupid’ lawsuits. While considering the ass-clown management structure’s effect to one’s career.

    I towed a 1900 lb. dead, POS Subaru 90 miles, with a 2400 lb. POS Subaru; mostly flat terrain, but some hills. It worked. No problem. Just pull over to let traffic pass, pick your opportunities, use your gears, and do all the things that the average American can’t be troubled to understand–let alone be proficient at.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      All good points.

      In mechanical engineering terms, most structures can withstand some shock loads at the expense of cycle life.

      In addition to actual improvements in the truck, mfrs are likely shaving safety margin from their calculations in order to beat the other guy by a few pounds. This would be balanced by marketing data that says most of the fleet never hauls more than the driver, and most of the hauling is light duty stuff.

      Then they’ll blend in legal calculations for expected warranty claims for the guy who actually hauls 14000 lbs up hill every day, and who should have bought a bigger truck.

      • 0 avatar

        It will be interesting to see what the manual actually says. In the last Ford manual the max tow rating was specifically at sea level and had a reduction for every thousand feet above sea level. The max tow rating also had a major reduction for frontal area- so basically the max tow rating was a flat bed trailer with low profile cement blocks at sea level. By 5000 feet the tow rating was the same as a chevy since chevy’s didn’t have an elevation reduction.

        Either way, it should give you plenty of headroom for towing a boat or travel trailer.

      • 0 avatar

        They know it’s a very rare consumer that would take them up their max tow rating on a daily or frequent basis.

        The truck will keep breaking drivetrain components until it becomes unfeasible, even under warranty. Thanks to downtime, they’ll need 2 or 3 half tons to do the job of one. Or one 3/4 ton.

        • 0 avatar

          I agree. We aren’t going to routinely see people towing 14k with a 1/2 ton. I had friends store a 33 foot trailer in my yard. It was listed as GTW 9,800 lb. My truck could tow it if I emptied the pickup and had one passenger.

          The one advantage of companies building to a higher standard is that it means the vehicles will hold up better under “normal” use.

          Statistically 5k is the typical tow load for a 1/2 ton and 10k is typical for a HD. In my province anything over 4,600 kg or 10,120 lb. requires an endorsement to one’s driver’s licence.

    • 0 avatar

      I pulled a 3500 lbs boat with my 97 hp toyota pickup on 33″ tires. It worked but highway on ramps were ummm interesting. An that’s the thing my parents towed a 28′ travel trailer back in the 80’s and 90’s with various fullsize vans with smaller v8’s. did it struggle on hills, yep but that was just kind of accepted back then. In Europe and down under that’s still the way, but in the US we have become accustomed to towing very heavy things with little slow down from normal driving.
      I remember the first time I towed something with a mid 90’s cummins, it was crazy how eazy it lugged things around compared to the 318,351, and slant six vehicles I had towed with before it.

  • avatar

    “Expect Ford to market that towing figure heavily, complete with Dennis Leary voiceovers. Let the pissing contest continue.”

    I haven’t heard a commercial with his voiceover in awhile – just some anonymous voice actor. The new PC Ford.

    And yes, I’m sure every exterior panel is new, but it looks an awful lot like the outgoing 2018-2020 styling.

  • avatar

    Leave it to Ford to put people lives in danger just to win a male anatomy swinging contest.

    As much as I loathe government intervention (because they usually just end up screwing everything up), it’s about time they step in and put limits in place to prevent this kind of nonsense. Nobody can safely tow 14,000 on public roads with a half ton truck. This is reckless but Ford has been severely inflating their capability numbers for years. Just erase the old figures and write in some new ones.

    • 0 avatar

      Unless I’m mistaken, Ford fully complies with SAE J2807. They can’t artificially inflate their tow ratings.

      • 0 avatar

        Last I saw the SAE standard still allows manufacturers to play some games with frontal area and tongue weights.

        If TTAC wants to do some journalism they can ask Ford for some more details on how the trucks were rated and what configuration was used (although I’m guessing they’ll be told to buzz off).

        • 0 avatar

          My opinion on all of this is that when a car company releases a “new” pickup they already know what all of the upgrades will be for the life cycle of that product. The car companies know that upgrades are required to keep people motivated to buy new products.

          Automotive engineers are professionals accountable for their work and if they do not perform in keeping with “the public trust” they are subject to disciplinary actions by their governing body. In other words, they can loose their professional status and be unable to work. They can also be held financially and criminally responsible.

          • 0 avatar

            Yup they have the life cycle planned when it goes on sale. The “mid cycle” styling updates are already done by now and may have even been the original design.

            If you look back at the full size GM vehicles from the 60’s when they had a 3 year cycle with a styling refresh every year the cleanest version was always year 2 which was the basis for the design. The 1st year used some styling cues from the previous generation to maintain continuity while the 3rd year update often included a hint of the next generation.

  • avatar

    So where do these half ton PU tow ratings stop? Half the weight of the truck? I thought 12 K lbs. was a decent limit, but it seems they, all manufacturers, are indeed involved in a pissing contest, or perhaps a “mine is bigger than yours” mindset.

    Tow ratings aside, why does it appear that Ford for 2021 has all but copied the the 2019 Ram grille and headlight design…with the exception of the bar across the grill, take the name off and insert Ram…same look…

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Basically midsized specs

    • 0 avatar

      The current F-150 basically has a much higher tow rating and higher payload than the current Ranger.

      The current Ranger basically has the same payload as a 2015 F-150 XLT [the available payload ranges basically align neatly].

      The peak sales year for Ranger in the U.S. was basically 1999 (over 348,000 units sold). That’s basically a large number.

      Full-year sales for the Ranger in the U.S. were basically less than 90,000 in 2019. That’s basically a big drop (in a ‘normal’ sales year).

      The Ranger basically grew a lot from 2011 to 2019. Basically refer to the “RANGER SIZES THROUGH GENERATIONS” table basically at the bottom of this page:

      Some people basically prefer the size of the older Rangers, based on:
      • Basically listening to their opinions, and
      • Basically comparing the sales figures

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Preferring one form factor does not make it “basically as capable” as was argued in a prior thread. Not sure what the capabilities of five year old trucks bears on this decision other than that being basically new in your world.

  • avatar

    So at what point do you buy an F-250? It’s just getting ridiculous with what passes for a “half-ton” truck. If you need that tow rating just get an F-250. At what point does Ford reintroduce a “more affordable” F-100?

    • 0 avatar

      They kind of do you have to order very specific packages to get these numbers and they are not always common on lots. I know one RV publication once did a search to actually find a f-150 with Max payload ratings and found only 1 or 2 trucks within 150 miles of their East Coast office. I have argued before GM and RAM should copy this practice, with different tire and spring rates to meet the higher payloads.

    • 0 avatar

      They’re just figures for comparison. You may tow 6 to 7,000 lbs frequently and the truck with the biggest tow numbers is theoretically better built or equipped to deal with or handle it.

      Or for the very rare occurrence you need the max rating in a pinch, short distance.

      It’s the same with 0-60 times listed or bragged. No it doesn’t imply anyone is going street racing their big pickups. Except it characterizes getting a heavy load up to traffic speed from a dead stop. Or pulling a hill.

  • avatar

    My worry about this peeing match is that someone with no trailering experience could see that this has a capacity of 14,000 lbs and buy a MASSIVE travel trailer that is seemingly safe to haul because it ‘only’ weighs 12,000 lbs. The problem is the front and especially the side area of a trailer that would weigh that much. Even in light crosswinds and even with your anti-sway control locked in tight this thing would be a handful – and dangerous. Maybe the new F-150 could tow 14,000 lbs of gravel on a low trailer with little side area but I suspect that most people see the towing capacity and fantasize about heading down the road with their 37′ travel trailer behind them.

    • 0 avatar

      Or they don’t comprehend that it has tow ratings “up to 14K, when properly equipped” and see that as all F-150’s are capable of that, including their base engine, MPG geared truck. Especially because the after market hitch the previous owner installed says it is good to 15K.

      I dealt with this with my idiot brother in law, who swore his truck had the “tow package” because someone had installed a cheap aftermarket hitch that said it is up to 10k. Of course who ever installed the 4 wire flat plug cheesed it with crappy connectors and a wad of tape.

      • 0 avatar

        The required F-150 for maximum towing (with Max Tow) is the 3.5 EB V6 XLT 2wd crew cab with the (longest) 6.5 ft bed and 3.55 gears.

        The most common F-150 on the lot is the 2.7 EB V6 XLT 4X4 crew cab 5.5 ft bed with 3.31 gears for a 7,600 lbs max tow rating (2019).

        The Silverado/Sierra requires LTZ trim (extended cab, 6.5 ft bed) and 4X4 to get the 6.2 V8 required for their max tow plus various other options and selections.

        It makes for fairly uncommon trucks otherwise, depending on brand trim/option manipulation.

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