Ford unveils the all-new 14th-generation F-150

It has been a little over two weeks since Ford took the wraps off the all-new, 14th-generation F-150. While the unveiling has not made it to the headlines in this part of the world, it was a big deal for folks in the United States of America. It had to be! Ford's F-Series trucks - of which the F-150 is an integral part of - has been America's best-selling vehicle since 1981. With sales just shy of 900,000 units in 2019 - an otherwise tough year for Ford - it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say Ford's fortunes depends on this model. 

With the all-new model set to take over later this year, Ford would be hoping to continue their stay at the top of the sales charts. In the meanwhile, let's look at what's good and what's not so good in the new F-150 to see if they have done enough.

Good: F-150 reads the pulse of Americans like no other

Not for nothing are the F-Series America's best-selling vehicles 38 years in a row and top-selling pick-ups 43 years on the trot. These trucks have been - and still are - doing something right to enjoy the kind of popularity that's hard to believe for those not in America. If there ever is a vehicle that understands the pulse of Americans and their needs and wants well, it has got to be the F-150. Trust Ford to have put in all this experience to good use in the new F-150.

Not so good: Design is evolutionary, not revolutionary

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Clearly, that's the proverb Ford's designers have taken inspiration from while working on the new F-150. The truck is an evolution of the outgoing model which itself drew heavily from the bad-ass Atlas Concept that debuted way back in 2013. In essence, the design and proportions are eight years old already. What helps though is the fact the Atlas Concept was so futuristic that the new F-150 still looks quite good borrowing cues from it.

Those large headlights wear what Ford calls its new 'C-clamp' signature pattern outlined by LED DRLs. Housed between them is one of the eleven grilles on offer. Mind you, that wasn't a typo! In profile, the stepped-up window line is carried over with the character line running along the doors becoming a bit more prominent now. Taillights mimic the pattern of the headlights on either side of a tailgate which, again, looks different for different variants. Overall, the new F-150 is a truck that won't put you off.   

Problem is, your perception starts changing the moment you bring Tesla's crazy Cybertruck and Rivian's sleek R1T into consideration. Remember, the new F-150 would face off with these two electric trucks too at some point and not just its traditional rivals - Chevrolet Silverado and Ram Pick-up.

Good: America's workhorse goes 'hybrid'

FCA stole a march on Ford and GM by equipping the current Ram range with a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Ford has now gone one step ahead with a segment-exclusive 'full hybrid' powertrain available as one of the six options in the new F-150.

Dubbed 'PowerBoost', this is essentially Ford's 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 adapted to work in tandem with a 35-kilowatt electric motor to deliver what the car-maker claims would be class-leading power and torque figures (Ford hasn't released the numbers yet). The 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack mounted between the frame rails below the load floor takes care of energy storage while an inverter on-board can convert that into alternating current to power tools and devices through 120V or 240V outlets on the loading bed. Yes, this is effectively a generator on wheels!

Other engine options include the familiar 3.3-liter V6, 2.7-liter 'EcoBoost' V6, 5.0-liter 'Coyote' V8, 3.0-liter 'PowerStroke' diesel and the same 3.5-liter 'EcoBoost' V6 sans electrification.

Not so good: Interiors could do with more pomp

Look at the F-150's cabin in isolation and all you see is a good, feature-loaded cabin. The 12-inch digital cluster provides a plethora of information to keep the driver happy while the 12-inch center screen with SYNC 4 and a multitude of connectivity features would keep the passengers and the rest of the occupants engaged. The quality, fit and finish appear better while pictures released of higher variants look properly luxurious.

Where's the problem, then? Ram is the problem. FCA raised the bar for the segment and the new F-150, looking at the initial pictures, isn't going to threaten Ram's supremacy in this department. 

Good: Clever features take the 'Utility Quotient' up

Ford's official press release quotes Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley stating, "Since 1948, our hardworking F-Series customers have trusted Ford to help them get the job done." With the all-new F-150, the engineers at Ford have empowered such customers further by incorporating features that are sure to make their lives better and job-site duties easier.

The "Interior Work Surface" offers a flat mini-table in the center console that can be used for work or that quick meal in the middle-of-nowhere. This clever feature can be accessed by folding the gear lever forward in a recess and flipping the console hand rest by 180 degrees. "Max Recline Seats" fold flat to nearly 180 degrees offering business class levels of comfort for a quick nap. The "Fold Flat Rear Storage" is another interesting solution that locks, folds flat and can accommodate longer equipment away from the prying eyes.

Ford hasn't disappointed the outdoorsy types either. "Zone Lighting" that allow occupants to turn on and off individual sections of exterior lights to light up the work or camp zones in the dark. Thoghtful touches like cleats mounted to the sides, built-in clamp pockets and integrated rulers, pencil holder and mobile device holder and cupholder make the "Tailgate Work Pro" a delight for the hardowrking types.

The party trick though is the "Pro Power Onboard" which makes the F-150 a power source for your outdoor work activities. Depending on the variant, Ford's workshorse comes equipped with 120V and/or 240V outlets that can supply 2.0, 2.4 or 7.2 kilowatts to power everything from a 200-watt battery charger to a 2,400-watt electric dirt bike and a host of other tools and equipment.

Be it a leisurely day at the park or a hard day at the worksite, the F-150 has you covered. Now you know the real meaning of an Utility Vehicle.

Its evident Ford has taken a measured approach with the 14th generation F-150. This is quite unlike the last time around when they turned the segment on its head with extensive use of aluminium for the F-150's construction. While that paid off handsomely, Ford has cleverly retained the bits that worked, reworked the bits that could do with improvements, added a hybrid into the mix and voila, the new F-150 is here! Chevrolet and Ram might inch closer but the F-150's hold on the top step looks set to continue.