New 2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid Spy Shots: The Half-Ton of the Future

And it's hiding in plain sight. 

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To this point, the next-generation Ford F-150 has mostly succeeded in eluding wandering eyes and cameras, only exposing its chiseled front fascia late last week.

Likewise, few specifics of the upcoming Blue Oval have been leaked to the public, making it anyone's guess as to how it'll stack up against the recently redesigned Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado. As recent spy shots attained by The Drive reveal, the truck will not only tout a new face but also electrified powertrain options when it launches later this year as discussed previously by Ford.

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As the secretive photos show in detail, the new F-150's headlights feature obvious cues that separate it from the generation it replaces. Angular daytime running lights curve around the top and outside of the components' core shape, rather than being housed by the main lens and outlining the entire unit. On the inside, there's a rectangular element that's cut in half by an amber marking light with projectors atop and below it. Notably, the headlight shape is uninterrupted by the grille, a major trait of the current generation that's becoming long in the tooth after six years on the market.

The 2021 F-150's grille is an evolutionary form of the outgoing truck's, but it also bears resemblance to its midsize brethren, the Ranger. Altogether, though, its slender construction helps to shape a lean and more muscular front end. It's bisected by a bar that runs from one headlamp to the other with the Ford logo, of course, plastered proudly in the middle. It's unclear which trim level the photographed truck might be but expect the grille inserts to change between models. This helps distinguish each variant, from the utilitarian XL to the nearly-$70,000 Platinum.

Subtle lines such as a higher hood help construct this new look as well. Blink and you'll miss the front bumper-mounted fog lights, as the camo hides the small cutouts that feature thin DRL strips and define the F-150's appearance during the day and night.

There's not much to glean from the rear of the truck as everything looks fairly standard issue. The taillights are largely unchanged and, from what we can tell, there's no groundbreaking tailgate to rival GMC's six-way MultiPro unit or Ram's swinging barn-door configuration.

When the F-150 prototype was finished road testing in Dearborn, Michigan, our spy photographers report that it was pulled into the same facility where Ford keeps its hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. No visible outlet covers can be seen in the photos, so it's our belief that this truck falls into the former category. This supports former claims that the F-150 will be available with three types of electrified powertrain configurations, including the completely battery-powered EV that's already been teased by the automaker.

Also suspected is a new 4.8-liter V-8 to replace the aging 5.0-liter, though the pickup's range will still be dominated by EcoBoost engines. It's unclear which powertrain configurations will be available featuring hybrid assist, though we wouldn't be surprised if Ford took an approach similar to Ram's by fitting the tech to both V-6 and V-8 models.

The 3.0-liter Powerstroke diesel is also anticipated to return as Chevrolet and Ram now offer compression-ignition-powered half-ton models.

Collectively, the Ford now sports a chiseled face that's decisively less round than the half-ton it currently offers. It's hard to say if the design will be a flop or a slam dunk at this point, though it doesn't look too far departed from the established styling we're used to, save for the headlights and grille. The hybrid options will serve as a formidable buffer between ICE and electric-only pickups, not to mention mark a new era in the F-150's history, and it'll take a major misstep to knock the volume pickup king off its throne.

Got a tip, or more photos of the 2021 F-150? Send us a note: tips@thedrive.com