Winter here in Chicago is grudgingly making way for spring, and after more than a year of owning our Best of 2021 award-winning Ford F-150 Limited hybrid, it’s time to reflect on our ownership experience once again.

We’ve got all sorts of special reports on our F-150 ownership experience, so be sure to check those out for all the details thus far. For now, we’re going to focus on a few key areas: fuel economy, repairs and editor impressions.

MPG: Still Not Great

2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid Limited | photo by Christian Lantry

When we last updated you on our mileage experience with the F-150 hybrid in August, we’d traveled 12,015 miles at an average of 16.6 mpg (including significant time towing), well below the truck’s EPA combined estimate of 24 mpg. Since then, we’ve traveled 7,915.6 additional miles and added almost 448 gallons of premium fuel. Our calculated fuel economy is 17.7 mpg — an improvement of more than 1 mpg but still nowhere near 24 mpg. On a single fill-up, our highest calculated mpg was just over 22 mpg, which is better but still below the truck’s official rating.

Not being able to achieve 24 mpg has been one of the biggest frustrations of owning an F-150 hybrid.

“It would be a shame to lose Pro Power Onboard, but the hybrid operation is so intrusive and the mileage so marginal that, for our purposes, we could have gotten by with a less powerful, non-hybrid engine and gotten better mileage than we’ve seen from this one,” said executive editor Joe Wiesenfelder. “In the past we’ve found that EcoBoost engines lose some of their favorable mileage when burdened, such as when towing, but we’ve towed infrequently. For that matter, we might have been more satisfied with a 5.0-liter V-8 if it actually hit its mileage estimates, which this one clearly doesn’t.”

Repairs: No BlueCruise, More Recall Work Still Needed; Other Issues Seem Resolved

2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid Limited | photo by Christian Lantry

Our F-150 currently has an open recall for a driveshaft issue, but we haven’t been able to get the necessary repairs yet because of the ongoing parts shortage. It’s also unclear when the necessary parts might become available. So that’s fun!

The good news is that two other issues we’ve had crop up seem to have been repaired effectively: a failed 12-volt battery and chattering gear selector. We had those fixed this winter and haven’t again encountered either issue.

Besides fuel economy consistently lower than estimates, another major sticking point with our F-150 has been a lack of BlueCruise, Ford’s driver-assist system that combines hands-free lane centering with adaptive cruise control. And … we’re still waiting. It feels increasingly likely that we’ll sell our truck before an effective over-the-air update (or some other means of getting the technology) actually happens, but we’ll keep trying.

Closing Thoughts: Do We Still Like Our F-150?

2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid Limited | photo by Christian Lantry

Since our last update, we’ve bought another Ford hybrid pickup: the 2022 Maverick. It, like the F-150 before it, swept our Best of the Year and Best Pickup Truck awards. Like kids with a new toy, we’ve flocked to the Maverick and perhaps neglected the F-150 a bit. But we’ve also had new faces join our staff, giving them a chance to experience the highs (and lows) of the year-old truck.

“The F-150 handled well on curvy back roads and retained good traction even in snow and ice,” reported news editor Jane Ulitskaya. “I was also impressed by the hybrid powertrain’s acceleration and passing power on the highway (though I’m mainly comparing it to my HR-V, which sets a low bar). I found the brakes brought the truck to a confident stop even in inclement weather. Again, I’m mainly comparing it to the HR-V, but I had more confidence in the F-150’s brakes, which was surprising since it’s a much heavier vehicle.

“As far as tech, connecting my phone to the wireless Android Auto was mostly seamless. There were just a handful of times when the vehicle took a few minutes to recognize the phone and reconnect, but once connected it functioned well. The infotainment was intuitive and responsive. One random issue I experienced was following several inches of snow, the power-retracting mirrors did not retract and the windshield wipers took a while to work even after I cleared them of the snow and ice. I’m not sure if that’s just related to the cold temps.”

Copy Editor Corinne Hanshaw was less charitable about the F-150’s power but still enjoyed her overall experience.

“While the ride is considered to be quite rocky, which is typical of trucks, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I wish it was a bit more responsive when merging on the highway or trying to switch lanes, but again, it’s a giant vehicle so I didn’t really expect it to be super speedy. Parking it is a nightmare.

“I am impressed by its interior and the features within it — good speakers, solid infotainment system, comfortable seats. I am also impressed with how large the cabin is. All occupants have plenty of legroom and headroom … and then some.”

Despite what he said earlier in this post, Wiesenfelder can still find some positives in the F-150.

“I still like the truck a lot, and I love Pro Power Onboard, as I detailed in the recent post, but it’s the only thing I like about the hybrid aspect.”

As the weather warms up and landscaping, home improvement and camping trips are once again on the table, perhaps the F-150 will prove its value over the smaller Maverick in the months to come.

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