New Model News

Sorry Starbucks, Ford wants the F-150 to be your new third place

The redesigned Ford F-150 features a host of amenities.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Remember the last time you went to the bathroom without a kid yelling for you? Days are spent balancing homeschooling, your normal workload, making meals, and cleaning as much as you possibly can. Add in summer camps, the usual roster of activities, grocery shopping, and there's barely enough time for some alone time.

The new, 14th-generation 2021 Ford F-150 is designed to accommodate not just a construction worker's lifestyle, but also the daily routine of a family. The truck is full of fresh ideas for making the F-150 your new third place, and there's even a place where you can hook up an espresso machine.

As part of the F-150s redesign, Ford listened to current and previous F-Series generation owners. They said that they're spending more time in their vehicles completing tasks other than driving. Sitting to talk on the phone, working on their laptop, killing time between practice sessions, grabbing a meal on the go. These are all part of the daily routine of many truck owners.

How can the F-150 help them enhance their lives? Become a part of it rather than just a passive piece of the puzzle? The design team set to work and came up with some thoughtful solutions.

Here's a few of the best innovations.

Relax in style with Max Recline Seats.

2021 Ford F-150

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford boasts that these class-exclusive seats fold nearly 180-degrees flat. That's enough that you can get comfortable enough for a snooze, stay hidden out of the eyesight of kids trying to figure out if you're in the truck hiding from them on a conference call, or transporting something like a ladder inside the cabin.

There's basically a mud room under the back seat.

2021 Ford F-150

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Available lockable, fold-flat, dividable storage container extends the width of the interior under the rear seats. Ford says that it's great for long items like hunting gear, fishing rods, or blueprints. Parents will like that you can throw wet towels, muddy shoes, groceries, or dog toys in there with plenty of room to spare.

It's espresso machine-enabled.

2021 Ford F-150

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

No need to worry about making campfire coffee ever again. The available Pro Power Onboard generator in its most powerful form (there's three levels) gives owners access to enough power to supply juice to 28 refrigerators, charge a bed full of electric dirt bikes, or power your espresso machine for the morning and your blender for the afternoon. If your kids need their bounce house blown up or you want to bring a fan to your tailgate, you'll be able to do so.

There's a complementary work station.

2021 Ford F-150

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

For when you do need to work, the truck's center console turns into a work station that provides a flat surface for your laptop. There's room on either side too so your phone, files, or notepad can be close at hand.

Listen to your own music, wirelessly.

2021 Ford F-150

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Coffee shop music can permeate the cabin thanks to the trucks' SYNC 4 infotainment system. If the sounds of a classical version of a Phish song aren't to your liking, you can listen to your favorite SiriusXM station, click over to a Pandora station, sync your smartphone's music catalog, hear what's being broadcast on your favorite iHeartRadio station, or access your Amazon Music library. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connect wirelessly for even more convenience.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

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