Ford F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid is the Calm Before the Lightning’s Storm - IMBOLDN
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As we brace for the arrival of mass-produced electric pickup trucks, like the Ford F-150 Lightning, to hit the market, thoughts range from excitement to fear. While some wait anxiously on a pre-order list for their frunk storage space, others stay up late at night worrying about 9,000-pound vehicles capable of reaching 60 mph in 3.5-seconds tailgating them in traffic. There’s a storm coming, and we can hear the thunder in the distance. Trucks like the Ford F-150 PowerBoost serve as the calm before the storm. A stoic silence foreshadows the arrival of great power. At least, that’s what it felt like during a week of road testing a Ford F-150 PowerBoost King Ranch edition. This pickup truck has a jack-of-all-trades configuration with a full-hybrid drivetrain, a luxe interior package, and the stout performance of a trusty pack mule. More importantly, this hybrid F-Series gave me a taste of what to expect with an all-electric pickup truck. 

Ford PowerBoost Hybrid Engine Specs 

The Ford Ford F-150 Lightning features a hybrid spec version of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine. Comparing both engines, the PowerBoost V6 offers an increase in horsepower from 400 to 430-hp. However, the torque rating sees the most significant change increasing from 500 lb.-ft to 570 lb.-ft. Towing capacity remains the same at 14,000-lbs and offers a max payload of 2,120 lbs. Of course, because this is a hybrid pickup truck, you don’t hear the difference in performance. In fact, one must double-check the digital instrument cluster to make sure the engine is even running since the Ford PowerBoost makes as much noise as a silent film. 

Big Torque Energy 

This hybrid luxury pickup truck gives off a Theodore Roosevelt vide. It speaks softly but carries a big stick when it comes to performance. Its interior offers a rough rider experience with beautifully dressed leather branded with the King Ranch symbol. On the road, the Ford F-150 PowerBoost is quiet and docile like a cow grazing in the field. But spur-kick the throttle, and the bovine SuperCrew charges forward in a raging stampede. In addition, the lack of engine noise mimics the instant torque sensation popular among EV fans. On several occasions, strangers in V8-powered trucks were left with stunned expressions as the PowerBoost walked over them during spontaneous stoplight flexing contests. To put it in perspective, a Ford F-150 PowerBoost V6 produces more torque than a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged F-150 Raptor. So, in terms of being a “fast pickup truck,” the Ford F-150 PowerBoost qualifies as a sleeper.  

Photo by Jesus R. Garcia

Real-World Testing 

The latest generation of Ford’s F-Series pickup trucks carries a host of unique and versatile features like the Interior Work Surface and Pro Power Onboard generator. Both received real-world testing during my week driving the Ford F-150 PowerBoost King Ranch. 

 The Ford Interior Work Surface features a small button allowing the center console-mounted gear shift lever to fold up or down. Once the gear lever is lowered, the center armrest/ storage cubby opens like a fold-out couch and turns the center console into a flat surface. Press photos show people using the Ford Interior Work Surface to place a laptop or tablet to turn the pickup truck’s cabin into a mobile office – complete with heated seats and climate control. 

This hybrid luxury pickup truck gives off a Theodore Roosevelt vide. It speaks softly but carries a big stick when it comes to performance.

At the ranch, I discovered that the Ford F-150 Interior Work Surface is large enough to display four handguns at once. As a result, I was able to turn the truck’s interior into a King Ranch leather upholstered gun cleaning station. Now, some may see this as click-bait, but realistically the odds of an F-150 King Ranch owner in Texas cleaning a firearm in their truck are in my favor – speaking from experience. Moreover, after I was done giving each of the four guns a buff shine, I discovered the center console storage space provided a safe place for transporting all of them. 

The second must-see feature on the Ford F-150 Lightning is its onboard generator. This feature gained massive headlights in 2021 during the infamous Texas ice storm. News coverage of Ford truck owners using the onboard generator to supply power to their homes and run vital equipment during blackouts. The generator, located in the truck’s cargo bed, is available in three different power options: 2-kW, 2.4-kW, and 7.2-kW. The standard model for all gas-powered Ford trucks is the 2-kW, while the Hybrid model receives the 2.4-kW as standard. The F-150 PowerBoost feature in this article came equipped with the larger, optional 7.2-kW generator. 

According to Ford, the 2-kW and 2.4-kW onboard generators can run up to 85 hours on a full tank of gas, while the 7.2-kW offers 32 hours of service time. In addition, it features multiple outlets allowing users to power various equipment at once. To put it to the test, I visited a friend restoring a 1965 Chevrolet C-10 pickup truck in his driveway. We were able to supply power to its tig-welder, shop light, and grinder, allowing him to fabricate and weld a new piece of sheet metal to the vintage truck. In addition, because the Ford PowerBoost idles like a church mouse, there were no noise complaints from the neighbors. 

A truck bed full of livestock feed merely scratched the surface of the PowerBoost’s potential for towing and hauling. 

The F-150 PowerBoost offers a 14,000-lbs towing capacity with a max payload of 2,120 lbs. This means the hybrid pickup truck is more than capable of handling the demands of work or play. A truck bed full of livestock feed merely scratched the surface of the PowerBoost’s potential for towing and hauling. 

Ford PowerBoost Pricing and Fuel Economy 

The 3.5-liter PowerBoost Hybrid V6 engine is available in four different F-150 trim levels: XLT SuperCrew, Lariat SuperCrew, King Ranch SuperCrew, and the top-tier Platinum SuperCrew. The hybrid engine option’s price differs depending on the trim level. For example, this article features the F-150 King Ranch with a $59k starting MSRP, and the PowerBoost engine added $2,500 to the final price. Other options like the Interior Work Surface ($165), Pro Power Onboard 7.2-kW Generator ($750), and 360-Degree Camera Package ($765) quickly add up until you’re left with a total MSRP bordering $80k. A hefty sum by any means. 

Moreover, a full tank of gas reads as 550 miles of range, but the real-world range is closer to 400 miles. During a week of testing that included highway travel, ranch work, and plenty of showing off, the F-150 PowerBoost averaged between 17-18 mpg, which is fine considering its size but not entirely impressive, especially with ballooning gas prices. One saving grace is that the hybrid PowerBoost engine does not require premium fuel. However, Ford recommends using 91 octane gasoline when towing with the F-150 PowerBoost. 

Final Thoughts on the Ford F-150 PowerBoost

I was impressed with the F-150 PowerBoost. Even without the King Ranch upgrade, the SuperCrew cabin offers SUV levels of interior space and comfort. Moreover, the hybrid drivetrain’s performance managed to sway my old-soul views on pickup trucks and helped me mentally prepare for an EV future. However, few critics include its nine-to-five work-truck rear suspension designed to haul and tow. As a result, when the bed is empty, the rear suspension is a tad bouncy and can disturb the luxury atmosphere of a King Ranch packaged F-150. Moreover, the folding automatic gear level may look like Star Trek, but it feels like a hand with years of manual labor grip strength could easily snap it off or cause it to jam. However, beyond these nit-picks, the Ford F-150 Lightning is a hybrid pickup truck that can hang with its V8-powered siblings and offers a cargo bed full of party tricks.