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The Best of 2021 Ford

What Does the Ford Lineup for 2021 Look Like so Far?

Ford Bronco R Baja 1000 prototype

Ford holds the second position among the best-selling car brands in the U.S. behind General Motors and in front of Toyota in spite of the fact it’s also exhibited the sharpest decline among the top five brands compared to previous year. Speaking of which, Ford’s 2019 U.S. sales have dropped by 3.5 percent compared to 2018, or more precisely, they fell from 2,393,731 units to 2,310,494 vehicles. Lincoln has, meanwhile, recorded a healthy growth of 8.3 percent but considering how Ford luxury division’s sales amount to less than one tenth of those under the blue oval badge, this result turns out to be rather insignificant on a grander scale. This time we’ll focus on the forthcoming 2021 Ford models and their role in company’s future.

Before we do that, however, let’s take a closer look at Ford’s results from last year. As it’s been the case for years now, FoMoCo can still boast with having the best-selling vehicle on the U.S. market in its portfolio. The F-Series pickup truck has found 896,526 new owners in 2019 which is a slight drop of 1.4 percent compared to 2018 when Ford had delivered 909,330 of its full-size trucks.

The biggest winner in terms of sales increase percentage-wise (not counting the low-production Ford GT) is the recently overhauled Expedition SUV whose sales grew by 58.1 percent or more precisely, from 54,661 third-gen models from 2018 to 86,422 fourth-gen models in 2019. Other strong sellers include the Transit Connect and Transit vans (30.3 and 11.7 percent increase respectively), EcoSport with 19.1 percent increase in sales over 2018, and surprisingly Flex and Fiesta (20.6 and 16.3 percent increase respectively) but neither of the two will live to see MY 2021.

On the other end, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Ford’s passenger cars have had a torrid year, sales-wise. Company’s decision to discontinue every single one of them has had the most detrimental effect on the C-Max MPV whose sales dropped by 99.4 percent. The compact Focus followed closely with only 12,480 deliveries during 2019 which accounts to an 89 percent drop compared to 2018. The full-size Taurus’s sales have dropped by 65.4 percent, but surprisingly, the mid-size Fusion clings with a mere 4.4 percent drop. It’s also worth mentioning that the Explorer and Escape SUVs haven’t enjoyed their best year either with respective losses of 26.1 and 11.3 percent.

Let’s now take a look at what to expect from the Ford Motor Company in 2021.

2021 Mustang Mach-E

A lot of fuss and buzz surrounds what’s arguably, the most anticipated 2021 Ford model coming our way. The all-new Mustang-inspired all-electric crossover is as unconventional as it sounds, but don’t let that fool you. Ford brass obviously know what they’re doing as Mustang name and likeness are there to help boost the compact SUV’s sales once it finally arrives to dealerships. And arrive it will in late 2020 as a 2021 model.

The all-new 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E doesn’t only pay homage to the iconic pony car, but also its Mach 1 performance iterations of old. The EV boasts Mustang’s hallmark three-slat tail-lights and “Mustang haunch” at the back, while also sporting a recognizable shark nose and “Mustang brow” up front. What’s more, the late-arriving performance-oriented Mustang Mach-E GT variants will also come without the body-colored grille cover as performance buyers apparently favor a more traditional approach to design. The most technologically-advanced Ford model to date rides on a heavily modified Euro-spec Focus C2 architecture the Dearborn company likes to call the Global Electrified 1 (GE1) platform.

Inside, the newest Ford electric crossover gets a large 15.5-inch vertically mounted touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration standard from the get-go as well as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. With up to 60 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded, the Mustang Mach-E is also a competent utility vehicle. It’s got a lot less in common with the original Mustang from interior’s standpoint though.

Prices are starting from $44,995 for the entry-level Select models and they include destination charges. However, base models will only be available at a later date. Initial Mustang Mach-E owners will get to choose between the $61,000 First Edition and $51,700 Premium models which slot just above the entry-level models. Alongside them, Ford will also offer the mid-grade $53,500 California Route 1 trim as well as the aforementioned performance-oriented GT units which should set you back $61,600.

Power comes either from standard 75.7-kWh battery pack or a larger 98.8-kWh one which provides extended range. Alongside them, the Mach-E also sports either a single or dual electric motors for available rear and all-wheel drive setups. The most rudimentary of options in standard range and rear-wheel drive configuration generates 255 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque while simultaneously providing up to 230 miles of range. All-wheel drive option lowers the total range by 20 miles.

At the same time, extended range models crank up either 282 ponies in rear or 332 horses in all-wheel drive configs while their respective range amounts to either 300 or 270 miles. The most powerful GT models provide more than respectable 250 miles of range on a single charge, together with up to 459 horsepower and 612 pound-feet of twist.

Needless to say, rapid charging is supported but even a household 240-volt outlet will recharge around 80 percent of battery overnight. Ford is also building what they expect to become the largest charging network within the country with which will consist of around 35,000 stations in the U.S. and Canada.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E is one of the most anticipated electric SUVs 2021 will bring our way and as such, definitely one of the finest Ford models you’ll be able to buy once it arrives in a few month’s time.

2021 F-150

It’s safe to say that Ford can remain comfortable knowing that title of the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. will remain in their household for years to come. However, no one in the auto business can afford to rest on its laurels for too long and the same goes for the undisputed champion of sales. Thus, the F-Series is heading into an overhaul year in 2021 – at least that’s the case for the half-ton F-150 models. The Super Duty trucks have only recently been refreshed and they’re expected to carry over mostly unchanged for a t least another year giving the blue oval engineers time to focus on the smaller lineup instead.

The upcoming redesign will be more of an evolution than a revolution as overall dimensions and design won’t be affected radically. The new truck will provide more room for its occupants, however, alongside an all-new cabin with the latest updates from Ford’s R&D center. This includes the new SYNC 4 infotainment system but it still remains to be seen whether a 15.5-inch display will be adopted as well. A wider array of advanced driver’s aids is also expected to be offered in basic models as well. At the moment, the Co-Pilot 360 safety bundle is standard starting with the Lariat trim which is a full $14,000 upgrade over the base XL trim.

Speaking of prices, don’t expect too many changes on that front either. A sub-$30,000 price tag (prior to destination charges) is expected to remain in place but Ford will probably find a way to squeeze more out of premium truck buyers. At the moment, the most expensive factory F-150 Limited starts from $69,000.

Powertrain department is also in for an extensive overhaul (read electrification), albeit at a later date. Initially, the next-gen F-150 is expected to carry over mostly unchanged in that respect. The current lineup of engines is as diverse as they come, consisting of naturally aspirated and turbocharged V6’s, a V8, and even a turbo-diesel V6. Most F-150’s rely on a base 290-horsepower 3.3L V6, but a 325 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque 2.7L twin-turbo V6 serves as a solid option.

Although a 5.0L V8 with 395 ponies and 400 lb-ft definitely is the larges engine available in a half-ton Ford truck, it’s not the most capable. This spot belongs to a 3.5L twin-turbo V6 which provides 375 hp (450 hp in the Raptor form) and class-leading towing ratings of 13,200 pounds. Finally, the optional 3.0L turbo-diesel V6 cranks up 250 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque – 30 lb-ft short of the mentioned EcoBoost mill (70 lb-ft if we’re comparing it to the off-road-oriented F-150 Raptor). All engines pair with a contemporary 10-speed automatic transmission, and as always, both a rear and all-wheel drive setups are offered across the board.

The 2021 Ford F-150 won’t be offering any surprises but it’ll still be fresh enough to pique the interest of numerous prospective new pickup truck buyers, earning it the best-selling automotive nameplate in the U.S. status for years to come.

2021 Bronco

Back by popular demand; the all-new eagerly anticipated Ford Bronco will finally see the light of day during MY 2021. One of the most anticipated new arrivals will make its official debut this Spring before arriving to dealerships across the country later in the year. Not only will Ford finally fulfill our wishes by giving us the next-gen Bronco, but they’ll also create a smaller spin-off “baby” Bronco SUV that’s actually expected to arrive before the main course.

After nothing but renderings for years (even before the official announcement of the next-gen model), we finally have a picture of the real deal. Or something close to it at any rate. Actually, there’s both the test mule and the Bronco R prototype created with only one purpose in mind – to compete in the Class 2 of the 2019 Baja 1000 (a feat it performed poorly if I might add since it never crossed the line in the end).

And, while the one-off Baja prototype showcases some cues the production model is expected to take, it’s still very far from the actual production model. The test mule, on the other hand, while hiding under lots of camo, still provides a slightly clearer picture. As expected, the 2021 Ford Bronco is a squared-off boxy off-road SUV that’s expected to be on equal terms with the Jeep Wrangler. Doors and roof are removable which is a feat Jeep has pioneered decades ago. Likewise, both the two and four-door versions will be available. However, unlike the Wrangler which gets solid axles with coil springs all over, the Bronco sports a live rear axle with coil springs and an independent front suspension.

Sharing platform and assembly with the mid-size Ranger pickup truck, the Bronco also gets the truck’s powertrain. Initially, every Bronco is expected to be offered with a 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder mill capable of putting up 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission will be the only choice initially as well but there are rumors of an all-new 7-speed manual transmission in the works.

Further down the line, the Bronco is expected to receive a larger 2.7L twin-turbo V6 as an option, and a hybridized variant has been more or less confirmed too. A 3.3L V6 with a transmission-mounted electric motor might be the answer much like it is in the Explorer/Police Interceptor hybrids, but there’s still plenty of time before the hybrid Bronco models arrive so that’s likely to change.

As mentioned above, the Bronco will arrive in late 2020 as a 2021 model with prices likely starting from under $30,000. We’ll know more after or around one of the major auto shows this year (likely New York or Detroit which has been moved to June as of this year).

2021 Explorer

After moving “only” 168,309 units of its mid-size three-row in 2019, Ford finally decided to run a sorely needed major update of its second  best-selling SUV/crossover. And while the final figure isn’t particularly bad, it’s worth mentioning that Ford had actually managed to deliver 227,732 units in 2018 and 238,056 models in 2017. The new, much improved sixth-gen models should see to it that Ford once again starts profiting from its mid-size crossover.

The new Ford Explorer carries into 2021 with no significant changes after being fully redesigned in 2020. Compared to the fifth-gen models, the new car looks better, feels better, and even drives better. It owes it all to the new CD6 platform shared with the Lincoln Aviator. The new car is also some 200 pounds lighter than the outgoing units and boasts more cargo space when all seats are lowered. However, it actually has fewer cubes when all three rows are in use.

Speaking of interior, the new Ford Explorer is much better appointed than its predecessor despite not being a luxury car. Prices start from under $38,000 with destination charges included, and while advanced safety gear doesn’t come standard with entry-level models, it’s at least reasonably priced. The range-topping Platinum models run for just shy of $60,000 and offer plethora of convenience and safety gear that’s otherwise either unavailable or available at extra cost.

Power comes from a 2.3L turbocharged 4-cylinder with 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque; at least in base versions. The Explorer also offers a performance and fuel savings-oriented alternatives. The former is a 3.0L twin-turbo V6 which yields 365 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque, while the latter is a 3.3L naturally aspirated V6 with an electric motor between itself and a 10-speed transmission which together make 318 combined hp and 322 lb-ft of torque. There’s also the “real” performance-oriented Ford Explorer ST model which squeezes 400 ponies and 415 pound-feet of rotational force out of the more powerful EcoBoost engine.

The Ford Explorer is now a legitimate candidate for one of the best mid-size three-row crossovers on the market and indeed one of the best family cars money can buy at the moment. And Ford has managed to turn things around for its mid-sizer in just one year.

2021 Escape

Much like the aforementioned Explorer, the compact Escape too has undergone a full makeover in order to counter the recent sales slump. The best-selling Ford crossover’s sales have plummeted from record-breaking 308,296 units in 2017 to 241,388 units in 2019. After axing all of their passenger cars except the Mustang, Ford can’t really afford to keep on losing the sales momentum in the crossover/SUV field, hence the reasoning behind their decision to rework their most potent model is pretty straightforward.

The new Ford Escape made its debut in 2020 and carries over into MY 2021 with little to no changes. Again, much like the all-new Explorer, the new Escape has also been improved to such an extent that it’s become one of the better offerings in its segment overnight. Design changes are considerable as the new car looks more like a passenger car than a crossover; at least from up front. It’s also 200 pounds lighter than its predecessor despite growing in length and width by a slight amount.

As expected, the Escape’s interior isn’t exactly luxurious or even borderline luxurious as some bits leave a lot to be desired but that’s the name of the game in Escape’s segment. Interior space has been improved, however, as conventional models now sport up to 38 cubic feet of space with the rear seats moved all the way forward. The hybrid models lose 3 cubes due to their battery packs. It needs mentioning that the Escape comes with standard Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of active safety gear which includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, automatic high-beams, and blind-spot monitors. Forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control are available at extra cost.

Speaking of costs, the entry-level models start from just under $25,000 while the range-topping Escape Titanium requires $33,500. The Sport hybrid, on the other hand, slots nicely between the two with a sticker starting at just north of $28,000.

There are three engines to choose from. Most Escapes rely on a fuel-conserving 1.5L turbocharged 3-cylinder engine that’s good enough for 181 horsepower and 190 pound-feet of torque. An optional 2.0L turbo four available exclusively with the Platinum models raises that to 250 hp and 280 lb-ft which is somewhat intimidating for a crossover of Escape’s size. Both engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic gearbox that tends to be sluggish when downshifting.

The Escape hybrid on the other hand, uses a 2.5L 4-cylinder on the lean Atkinson cycle paired with two electric motors and either a 1.1-kWh or a 14.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack depending on whether you go with the conventional or a plug-in hybrid. The former is expected to deliver around 40 mpg combined while the latter throws in 30 all-electric miles as a bonus.

The new Ford Escape is a well-rounded and colorful little crossover with plenty of option in almost every department to satisfy even the pickiest of buyers. It’s got its weak spots, but then again, what compact crossover doesn’t?

About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much!