There is arguably no more important a vehicle for Ford than the F-150 pickup truck. It prints money for the Dearborn firm, which is critical at a time when cash is in rather short supply in the business.
At first glance, it’s very much a case of evolution rather than revolution, with the bodywork being unmistakably an F-150. However, there have been significant changes under the bonnet and in the cabin in order to appeal to the huge numbers of commercial users in the US.
Most noticeable is the upgraded cabin that can now include seats more akin to those in the first-class cabin of a long haul airline. These new Max Recline seats fold flat to almost 180-degrees, allowing hardworking users to grab a bit of rest between jobs.
If there’s work to be done, a deployable work surface can be utilised for placing a laptop, dealing with paperwork or just somewhere to have lunch. To ensure it’s completely level, the gear shifter folds out of the way, allowing the work surface to spread out across a much larger area.
And, once you’re done, you can place any valuables in a storage box that sits under the rear seats. Extending to the entire width of the truck, the box is invisible to outsiders, fully lockable, and easily accessible.
While driving, users will appreciate the new 12-inch digital instrument cluster that displays relevant information depending on the selected drive mode, as well as navigation updates. Another 12-inch screen sits in the centre stack, looking after all infotainment needs, and operating as a screen for the 360-degree camera system.
Driving aids support users on the road, from blind-spot monitoring to adaptive cruise control, but Ford has also added a host of extra features to the F-150 to aid drivers in all situations. Pro Trailer Backup Assist, for example, makes backing up with, or to, a trailer as easy as turning a knob, with the truck being lined up using the rear camera, large screen and electronic guidance.
An on-board power supply replaces the need for a generator. Able to provide up to 7.2kW of power, it’ll drive a plasma cutter, TiG welder, chop saw, air compressor, angle grinder and work light, all at the same time. The tailgate can be used as a workbench, with measures, pencil holder, clamp pockets and even a cupholder in place – mobile metal shop, perhaps?
Of course, the leisure market hasn’t been forgotten, so there’s also a bottle opener. Taillight circle barbecue, anyone?
Power comes from a range of engines, starting at a 2.7-litre V6 through to a 5.0-litre V8. There’s one diesel option, a 3.0-litre Power Stroke V6, while new for 2020 is a full hybrid option.
This combines a 3.5-litre petrol engine with a 47-horsepower electric motor powered by a small 1.5kWh battery pack. Combined with a belt-driven starter motor, the system is designed to boost efficiency, with an EPA-estimated range of 700 miles from a single tank of fuel expected. That suggests a cruising economy of around 27.5mpg. Despite the improved economy, Ford is also promising best-in-class power and torque, as well as heavy payload and towing capabilities, with the hybrid rated for a towing limit of at least 5.4 tonnes.
The biggest news is that the new Ford F-150 is available with (checks notes) 11 different grille designs. With six engines, five wheelbases, three cab types and six trim levels, there are certainly enough options to get the F-150 you want. The new truck won’t appear in US showrooms until the autumn, with prices still to be announced. There’s little chance that the F-150 will make it to the UK.