F-150 Powerboost Hybrid: Ford’s Stepping Stone to the All-Electric Lightning?

2021 F-150 Powerboost Hybrid Review

A few years ago I got really excited when Ford was the first to come out with a light-duty diesel pickup truck.

The 2018 F-150 Power Stroke Diesel was a dream come true for me because it offered great fuel economy in my dream car: a full-size pickup truck. Here we are just five years later, and again, Ford is first with a hybrid pickup truck, the 2021 F-150 Powerboost.

Related: 2021 F-150 New Features – A Few of Our Favorite Things

F-150 Hybrid

This little Powerboost badge on the door is the only hint that this is a hybrid pickup truck. (Photo courtesy Ford Motor Co.)

A Stepping Stone to an All-Electric Truck?

Shortly after the hybrid Powerboost launched, we learned that the light-duty diesel truck would be discontinued. And that an all-electric pickup truck was close to being announced. We know now that the F-150 Lightning is in production and will probably make its debut at dealerships early sometime next year.

So we have to wonder if the Powerboost will also disappear from the lineup? Are these gradual moves toward electrification just stepping stones?

Even if they are, they’re nothing to shake a stick at. Each of these trucks is amazing in its own right. To be first off the line each step of the way is a major accomplishment and a testimony to Ford’s commitment to the future.

King Ranch Interior

Who wouldn’t fall for the interior of the all-new F-150 King Ranch? (Photo courtesy Ford Motor Co.)

Driving the Powerboost

I recently had the opportunity to drive the King Ranch version of the 2021 F-150 Powerboost around Austin, then off-road in the dark, then on a four-hour road trip up to Dallas. In true King Ranch fashion, it was comfortable every step of the way, and the features we love in the F-150 came in handy, especially the zone lighting!

But this is less about the 2021 F-150 in general (we cover that here) and more about what it’s like to drive a hybrid F-150.

When I first got in and pressed the button to start the truck, my heart dropped. I thought it wouldn’t start! And then I remembered that it was a hybrid and hybrids don’t make much noise when they idle. Sure enough, the truck was on. I just couldn’t hear it. And that’s an odd feeling when you’re used to driving a full-size pickup truck that makes a lot of noise.

Out on the road, the first thing I noticed was the extra torque the hybrid engine provides which gives the truck a lot of pep when you step on the accelerator. I had to be careful driving around Austin, TX, a town where the percentage of highway patrol officers seems nearly double compared to anywhere else I’ve ever visited. The truck really does just want to go. Fast.


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What You Need to Know About the F-150 Powerboost

It looks like this one starts around $53,000. I say that because you have to use the build-and-price tool to get to a price with this engine configuration, and I chose the crew cab with the shorter bed, which is the most popular option. The configurator also set the trim level to Lariat, which is not the base model, so I’m sure that adds to the price. But a starting price of $53k isn’t bad for a full-size truck of any kind, and the Lariat is a pretty nice mid-level trim.

The advertised fuel economy ratings show this truck getting approximately 24 miles per gallon. When I drove it, I got 26 easily, and I did a mix of off-road, city, and highway driving. I was pretty impressed with it.

You can power your house with the onboard generator. Yes, you read that right. This truck has more than just an outlet in the bed. It has a generator that can be used to power anything from the power tools you’ll use on your next DIY project to your home’s lights and refrigerator should you experience a power outage. And the truck’s engine is smart enough to know when to turn on to recharge the batteries and turn back off when they’re full. Our friend Tim Esterdahl has a whole video explaining how this works if you’re interested. We have to say, it’s super cool and we hope to see more trucks equipped with options like this in the future!

Related: Meet the Future of Hauling: The All-Electric Ford F-150 Lightning

Disclosure: Ford loaned me the 2021 F-150 Powerboost to drive so that I could share my experiences here. All opinions are my own.

A web developer, digital marketing consultant, auto journalist, truck expert, photographer and lover of gadgets, Erica is a textbook... More about Erica Mueller