Hooniverse Asks: Is the new 2021 Ford F-150 different enough?

The configurator for the 2021 Ford F-150 is on Ford’s website. We know from Jeff’s video that Ford did a lot of work to improve upon the outgoing truck, even if that truck was rather great. Ford openly admits that the configurator is in its “early” phase. Going through it I noticed the 2020 and 2021 trucks are extremely similar. The design, trim models, even colors and options are extremely similar.

There are several theories to the similarity of design here. First is that Ford wanted to be very careful in its design so as not to create a drastically different vehicle from what millions of buyers have come to love. Second that even if the outgoing truck was great, they needed to make changes in order to keep buyers coming into the showrooms. Sometimes customers don’t want better, they just want different.

2020 f-150 versus 2021 f-150 king ranch

There is one more thing I noticed about half-ton truck buyers. Many of those people practice so-called inconspicuous consumption. They want latest and greatest but they do not want the world to perceive them as wealthy. In my small world I have met people who have replaced their truck with the same model and color of truck.

With all of that in mind, today we ask – is the 2021 Ford F-150 different enough from the 2020 model?

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9 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: Is the new 2021 Ford F-150 different enough?”

  1. 0A5599 Avatar

    A half-ton pickup truck is a cab and a box. The last major innovation was adding a second row of seating with a set of rear doors, and then shortening the bed so that it will fit in most garages.

    Pickups are generally pretty durable. The commercials will have you believe that a typical day includes gathering a load of construction materials dropped from a crane, then towing a house-sized trailer up a mountain road. They will generally do this for more than 200,000 miles with only basic maintenance.

    The F150 is the best selling vehicle in America since around four score and seven years ago. There’s already one in every driveway. Ford wants to sell more, so they make changes that are significant enough to cause yesteryear’s version to depreciate, yet have those changes be subtle enough that they don’t wreck the formula that’s worked so well for so long. So, yeah, next year’s 4 doors and a box looks a lot like this year’s, but a little different.

    1. neight428 Avatar

      Agreed, though I’m expecting a 30″ infotainment screen in the mid-cycle refresh.

      1. 0A5599 Avatar

        Of course. Integrated technology is a great way to get customers to upgrade from what they already have, and then that technology will be obsolete by the time the payments are done, restarting the cycle.

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      So when is peak truck? They have been popular forever, there’s not much room for improvement – Rivian & Co. aside – and thus this should signal the end of an era? Or am I reading industrial history wrong?

      1. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

        I think peak truck was actually a few years ago and it’s a plateau now. New trucks are incrementally better but also uglier (GM I’m looking at you) more expensive and more complicated. There are good reasons why the “square body” trucks from the 80s and 90s are still popular and common because as tools for doing work they are sometimes better than new. I certainly have a lower bed height in a 2002 than I would in a 2010 and most of my truck is still driveway fixable although that 5.4 Triton head swap was pushing it.

        1. 0A5599 Avatar

          Some truck innovations from 15 or so years ago have left us, too. Some of the a little silly, like the International CXT, some very practical, like Quadrasteer, and some niche, like Avalanche/Escalade EXT (my lawn guy and my handyman both call theirs the best trucks they’ve ever owned).


  2. Zentropy Avatar

    It’s definitely an evolution, not a revolution, as updates go. I really like the simpler headlight/grille design and the more refined front bumper. But yeah, it’s pretty familiar, and that’s ok with me.

  3. Scoutdude Avatar

    Not surprising that this is more evolutionary in styling rather than revolutionary, last generation was the big revolution in the overall truck, with the switch to aluminum. This generation it is more about the power train with the introduction of the Hybrid and EV versions.

    Being 1st is a tough spot, while stealing buyers from other companies is always the goal, you never want to loose your existing customer base. So you have to be careful to make sure it still appeals to your existing clientele and not slap them in the face by making their current truck(s) look old and out of date overnight causing the trade in value to drop too much, robbing them of some of their purchasing power.

  4. Wayne Moyer Avatar
    Wayne Moyer

    I had to look close to even spot the differences. This feels like one of those games where you have to spot the seven differences on two pictures. We could make it even harder by excluding the grill. It really is a case of don’t break what isn’t broken.

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