As the best-selling pickup for 43 years, Ford has delivered two knock-out punches for the competition with the debut of their F-150 Hybrid (Ram also sells their 1500 eTorque hybrid pickup and Chevy also had one at one time) and F-150 Lightning, the latter an all-electric half-ton pickup. While the Lightning is not yet available at dealers, the F-150 PowerBoost All Hybrid is, and the one we had the privilege of testing.
The F-150 is offered with six engine choices and in three cab sizes, three bed lengths and six trim levels of XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited. We tested the Hybrid SuperCrew 4WD in Lariat trim version that was equipped with Ford’s FX4 Off-Road package and of course the hybrid system.
The F-150 Hybrid comes with a few “firsts” that we’ll cover.
For starters, the F-150 Hybrid had a console housed transmission selector that can be powered down so the console box lid can be flipped out and over the folded shifter for a 21×13.5-inch flat work surface were a laptop, iPad or clipboard can be used. A novel Ford idea.
The next great Ford idea is their PowerBoost onboard generator which includes three 110v electrical outlets for powering electrical tools and equipment, appliances, to charge phones, computers and more. Or, as a power failure that crippled Texas’ power grid this past winter, some F-150 Hybrid owners used their trucks’ PowerBoost generator to provide up to 7.2kW of power for their home appliances and other electrical essentials.
(Since this feature is only available and in concert with the hybrid model, it would be nice to also have this on their workhorse F-250 three-quarter ton truck we recently reviewed.)
While it’s not brand new, the test truck was equipped with Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist that eases backing/parking a trailer by merely turning a knob on the dash in the direction you want trailer to go.
As for the PowerBoost Hybrid powertrain, it consists of a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine, a 35 KW (47-hp) electric motor and a 1.5 kWh lithium-ion battery that’s mounted beneath the rear seat. Boasting 430-hp and a whopping 570 lb/ft of torque, the combination, when coupled to a 10-speed automatic transmission, has a tow rating of 12,700 pounds and carries EPA mileage estimates of 24 city, 24-highway mpg with auto start/stop engine technology.
Another Ford idea are active grille shutters and auto air dam which contribute to increased fuel economy.
The F-150 Hybrid can also run on electric power only, however for only short distances. But in combo, it produces gobs of power from a standing start to highway passing.
For added towing needs, Ford offers their Smart Hitch option that can notify the driver when the trailer tongue weight is either too high or too low.
Upon a low 13-inch step-in via the powered running boards (or 23 without them), F-150s heavily padded, heated, perforated leather front seats have contrasting stiping and stitching and are nicely supportive and fold almost flat if you decide to take a snooze. Powered pedals are nice too and cater to drivers with short legs.
The vertical stack is adorned with a large 12-inch touchscreen that serves the audio, navigation, Ford’s Sync4 infotainment system, rearview camera, apps, battery charge indicator, Pro Power Onboard display that shows the remaining wattage, and more. HVAC controls below the display are large and easy to view and use even with gloves hands.
The gauge cluster in the F-150 Hybrid is all digital and includes a driver information display between the speedometer and tach.
Ford’s proven 4WD system offers 2High, 4High, Auto and 4Low gearing. For added traction when the going gets really tough, there’s a rear axle lock plus wide, deep cleated Wrangler 18-inch tires.
F-150 Hybrid’s heated rear seats can seat three adults in complete comfort with gobs of leg and headroom. They flip up against the bulkhead where a full-length, 8-inch deep, lockable, folding bin can hold a myriad of small items.
Back in the cargo bed that has a 35-inch lift-over, Ford’s pull out from the top of the tailgate bed assist step with a pull-out assist bar, is the best and simplest on the market. The bed is complete with moveable tie-down hooks and was factory punched-out for a third wheel if that could be a future need.
With the FX4 Off-Road package, you get dual shocks and skid plates plus a ground clearance of 9.4 inches. As equipped, the F-150 Hybrid can handle extremely tough terrain and modestly deep water.
So robustly endowed, F-150 Hybrid offers a comfortably smooth and quiet ride. It handles like a large truck and as such strong cross winds buffet it a bit although it remains stable despite this.
With an extremely long list of safety features and functions like Ford CoPilot360 with lane keeping assist, post collision braking, pre-collision assist, reverse brake assist and sensing, post-crash alert and many more, the F-150 Hybrid was base priced at $50,980. But after adding Equipment Group 502A ($6,920); Rapid Red paint job ($395); 3.5L EcoBoost Full Hybrid engine ($3,300); power running boards ($1,220); Ford CoPilot360 ($995); panoramic moonroof ($1,495); Pro Power OnBoard ($750); Interior Work Surface ($165); trailer tow package ($1,090); FX4 Off-Road Package ($1,005); partitioned lockable storage under the rear seat ($215); power down tailgate ($695); Lariat Sport Package ($300); wheel well liner ($180); sprayed-in bedliner ($595) plus delivery ($1,695), they took the bottom line to $71,995.
If this is too steep for your budget, Ford recently announced their new Maverick compact hybrid pickup that’s 10 inches shorter and 13 inches narrower than Ford’s Ranger pickup. And get this. It’s base priced at $21,490 and is reported to attain a city fuel economy rating of 40 mpg. They’ll be coming to Blue Oval dealers in fall.