The all-new 2021 Ford F-150 is here with new features, new tech, and new engines, but is it worth the extra cash over a good used F-150? We find the answers.
There’s a good reason that the Ford F-150 has been America’s favorite truck for decades, and that presents a serious question. Is it worth it to pay the premium for the all-new 2021 Ford F-150? Or are you better served by paying less for a used model that’s nearly as capable? Of course, the technology packed into the latest F-150 is the most advanced ever, but is it so much better than the 13th generation 2019 model? Today we dive into the details that differentiate the new 14th generation from its predecessors and tell you if it’s worth those extra pennies.
The 2021 Ford F-150 offers the most advanced drivetrain ever employed by this historic truck nameplate in the form of its first Hybrid entry called PowerBoost. Combining power from a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 and an electric motor, this Ford offers 430 horsepower, 570 lb-ft of torque, and some 700 miles of range. In addition, it sounds like the next Ford Raptor, set to debut in less than 2 weeks, is going to be available with at least two engines, the same twin-turbo V6 found in the current truck, and a 5.2-liter supercharged V8 that should match or beat the RAM TRX’s 702 horsepower.
More traditional drivetrains are found throughout the lineup with a 3.0-liter V6 diesel, a 3.3-liter V6, 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6, and a 5.0-liter V8 available depending on your trim selection. There are only two transmission options, the standard 10-speed automatic that comes with every F-150 except the new hybrid model, that one gets its own version of the 10-speed transmission.
For the used 2019 Ford F-150, a 3.0-liter diesel was available for Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum models. In addition to the 10-speed transmission, there was also a 6-speed automatic for lower-tiered trucks. Because the drivetrains are so similar, there’s no major difference in terms of payload or towing capacity. The biggest and most important point simply comes down to this, the older truck offers almost all of the same specs and capability unless you really want the hybrid powertrain.
2019 Ford F-150 – media.ford.com | Shop used Ford F-150 on Carsforsale.com
In terms of driving experience, it’s nearly impossible to say that either of these trucks is dramatically better than the other. If anything, the latest truck is going to lose some points when driven back to back because it’s not noticeably better. Handling is better than the average vehicle of this size for both the 2019 and the 2021 model. Both the 10-speed and 6-speed automatics can be a bit slow to shift and that’s most evident in the 2019 Raptor, where even shifting in manual mode can take more than a second for the cog change to happen. Hopefully, the 2021 Raptor will have a much quicker switch.
Perhaps the biggest upgrade to the interior of the new F-150 is the center display screen that mimics what we’ve seen RAM start to do, which is simply to provide the biggest screen they could for customers. It doesn’t end there though, the build materials are a step or two above the used model certainly and they make you feel like you’re in an almost luxurious vehicle.
It’s also roomier in there than the previous generation and that matters. Ford wanted this truck to feel like a “Headquarters” for its owners and it does that in part thanks to the improved materials and better controls, but also by simply providing more physical space to stretch out in.
Here’s perhaps where the new F-150 feels like a clear winner more than in any other category. The used Ford F-150 model is not a bad truck by any means, but it was showing its age at that point in its development. When you compare it to the other big brands of 2019, it becomes even more clear. Everything in this truck feels a bit cheap, a bit plastic, and a bit behind the times. Even the King Ranch model seems to lose its luster the longer you sit in it. The seats are fantastic and the door skins also feel great, but after that everything feels like a small bump up from the delivery truck the guy that the parts store might use.
As of this writing, there are 6 different trim levels available on the latest F-150 and they’re identical in name to those of the outgoing model, with the exception of the Raptor which as mentioned above is slated to arrive soon. For now, buyers can choose from XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited. The base truck costs $28,940 and depending on the trim level you choose you can pay as much as $70,825 for a Limited before options.
For 2019, the F-150 sported the same 6 trim levels in addition to the Raptor. Of course, in terms of pricing, numbers will vary with condition, mileage, and trim level. There are no major notable differences between these years and trim levels except that when you get the lower end trims from 2019, like the XL and XLT, you’re going to be stuck with a much cheaper feeling interior, including one of the smallest infotainment screens seen on a 2019 model.
There’s simply no denying that the new F-150 makes even slightly older models look archaic. Ford really considered how its customers use the truck as they developed it. That’s evident when you consider features like the “Generator Mode” which allows you to use your F-150 as a generator on the job site, “Zone Lighting” that provides area lighting around the entire truck, and the fully reclinable front seats for getting a quick nap when it’s needed. There’s even a full-power station in the bed with 110v power outlets that push 240 when you opt for the hybrid powertrain.
The 2019 F-150 isn’t totally outdone though since you’ll get a considerable price break on one. You’ll still be able to find a premium Bang & Olufsen sound system inside many trim levels as well as Ford Sync 3, which was a good system only now outdone by the Sync 4 system in the 2021 model. Remember too that this F-150 still has the innovative tailgate step, heated and ventilated front seats, and even a massage function in those front buckets.
2021 Ford F-150 – media.ford.com | Shop 2021 Ford F-150 on Carsforsale.com
If you’re strapped for cash and all you can afford is a used model, then the 2019 Ford F-150 is not a truck you’ll be disappointed with. It’s capable of doing the same major things that the new model does like carry people and things, provide ample amounts of comfort, and provide the power and torque to make driving and towing enjoyable. In addition, the latest model isn’t much different in terms of exterior design, so many might think you’re in a 2021.
Nevertheless, if you have the cash to splash then spending a bit more on the newest F-150 is the way to go. Not only will you benefit from the entire warranty period of 5 years or 60,000 miles, but you’ll also enjoy the major updates and upgrades that have happened both inside and outside of the truck. Having all the extra small features that improve the overall ownership experience are undoubtedly worth the additional cost.