2021 Ford F-150

Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The redesigned 2021 Ford F-150 has even stronger capabilities to take on fierce competition from the likes of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra and GMC Sierra 1500. Towing and payload capacities have risen with the latest F-150, up to a class-leading 14,000-pound maximum (class-leading at the time of publication, anyway). A full-hybrid powertrain also joins an already extensive lineup of engines. But how do you unlock the best towing capabilities for each motor? And let’s not forget the myriad ways an F-150 customer can mix and match cabin size, cargo beds and towing option packages. Relax, because this handy guide breaks down everything you need to know about the towing capacity of every variation of the 2021 Ford F-150. 

Related: Owning the 2021 Ford F-150

The 2021 Ford F-150’s headline-grabbing 14,000-pound maximum tow rating doesn’t require a degree in rocket science to understand, though it does require careful reading of the full-size Ford F-150’s towing selector. There are three cabin choices: regular, SuperCab (extended cab) and SuperCrew (crew cab). The regular cab is the workhorse version and has seating for three people. The SuperCrew and SuperCab are roomier, offering seating for up to six people. There are also three sizes of cargo beds: 5.5, 6.5 and 8 feet. 

With the introduction of a new 430-horsepower hybrid system, the 2021 F-150 offers a total of six engine choices. This will increase to seven once the updated version of the performance-oriented Raptor rejoins the F-150 range. For the time being, the F-150 can be had in a total of seven different trims: XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, Limited and Tremor (expected this summer).    

Before you reach for the aspirin, let’s uncover the best pick when it comes to sheer towing grunt. 

What’s the 2021 Ford F-150’s Maximum Towing Capacity?

To unlock that class-leading, 14,000-pound towing capacity, you have a choice of the SuperCab or SuperCrew. With the SuperCab, you’ll need the 400-hp, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, two-wheel drive (through the rear wheels) and the Max Trailer Tow Package. This option includes features such as a 3.55 or 3.73 electronic locking rear differential (the difference depends on whether the Heavy-Duty Payload Package is ordered; the 3.73 version is included when the HD option is added), 36-gallon gas tank, seven-pin wiring harness, Class IV trailer hitch, integrated trailer brake controller, smart trailer tow connector, Pro Trailer Backup Assist and upgraded rear bumper. The SuperCab’s only bed option is the 8-footer. 

In the SuperCrew, you’ll also need the 400-hp, EcoBoost V-6; 2WD and the Max Trailer Tow Package. As with the SuperCab, the 3.55 or 3.73 electronic locking differential depends on whether the Heavy-Duty Payload Package has been added. The SuperCrew capable of towing 14,000 pounds can be had with either a 5.5- or 6.5-foot cargo bed.

Keep in mind that higher trim levels have more comfort and convenience features, but they also add weight to the truck. This is why lower trims, such as the XL and XLT, offer the highest maximum tow ratings. 

What’s the F-150’s Fifth-Wheel Towing Capacity?

A fifth-wheel attachment in a half-ton truck is uncommon, but the F-150 offers towing capabilities with the attachment point that’s typically reserved for heavy-duty trucks, and can tow up to 14,000 pounds configured for fifth-wheel towing. It takes the 400-hp, 3.5-liter EcoBoost with the 3.73 axle ratio and Max Trailer Tow and Heavy-Duty Payload packages to hit that mark in two-wheel-drive versions of the SuperCab and SuperCrew with the longer bed option of each.  

What’s the 2021 Ford F-150’s Minimum Towing Capacity?

The minimum towing capacity of the 2021 F-150 with a Class IV trailer hitch is 5,000 pounds. This figure applies to the regular cab with the base 3.3-liter V-6, 2WD, 3.55 axle ratio and the 6.5- or 8-foot cargo bed. This towing limit also applies to the SuperCab fitted with the same powertrain and a 6.5-foot cargo bed.

Max Towing Capacity by Engine

Ford offers a total of six different engines for the F-150, including the new hybrid powertrain that joins the lineup for the 2021 model year. Every F-150 engine comes paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. As stated above, the 400-hp, 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 with Max Trailer Tow Package is the powertrain that uncorks the most towing potential. But let’s see how capable each of the F-150’s engines is when it comes to towing.

3.3-Liter V-6 (290 hp, 265 pounds-feet of torque)

The F-150’s non-turbocharged 3.3-liter V-6’s maximum tow rating is 8,200 pounds. This can be had with the regular cab with either the 6.5- or 8-foot bed and with 2WD or 4WD. This same limit of 8,200 pounds is also available in the 2WD SuperCab with the 6.5-foot bed or the 2WD or 4WD SuperCrew with the 5.5-foot bed. All of the highest tow ratings with the 3.3-liter V-6 are achieved with the 3.73 axle ratio. The second highest rating is 8,100 pounds for the 4WD SuperCab and 6.5-foot bed. Coming in a distant third for the 3.3-liter V-6 is 5,100 pounds of towing capacity for the 4WD regular cab with the 8-foot bed and the 2WD SuperCrew with the 5.5-foot cargo bed.

5.0-Liter V-8 (400 hp, 400 pounds-feet of torque)

The 5.0-liter V-8 engine achieves its highest tow rating of 13,000 pounds across a wide range of models. Like the 3.3-liter V-6, the 5.0-liter V-8 manages its highest tow ratings when coupled to a 3.73 axle ratio. The V-8-powered F-150 models that can tow 13,000 pounds include the 2WD or 4WD regular cab with the 8-foot bed, the 2WD or 4WD SuperCab with the 8-foot bed, and the 2WD or 4WD SuperCrew with the 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed. Coming in second with a 12,900-pound tow rating is the 2WD SuperCrew with the 5.5-foot bed and 4WD SuperCrew with the 6.5-foot bed. Only trailing by 100 pounds, the third highest rating is 12,800 pounds for both the 4WD regular cab with the 8-foot bed and the 2WD SuperCab with the 6.5-foot bed. 

3.0-Liter V-6 Diesel (250 hp, 440 pounds-feet of torque)

The F-150’s maximum rating with the 3.0-liter V-6 diesel is 12,100 pounds for the 4WD SuperCab with the 6.5-foot bed, along with the 4WD SuperCrew with the 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed. Geared for extra fuel efficiency, Ford offers the 3.0-liter diesel with only the 3.31 or 3.55 axle ratios. Of the two, the 3.55 provides the highest tow ratings. If you want the diesel with the regular cab, sorry, you’re out of luck. That combination is only offered to fleet buyers. The second highest rating is 10,500 pounds and is found on the 4WD SuperCab with the 6.5-foot bed and a choice of 3.31 or 3.55 axle ratios. Coming in third highest is a rating of 10,400 pounds available in the 4WD SuperCrew with a 5.5- or 6.5-feet bed, and 3.31 or 3.35 axle ratio.

2.7-Liter EcoBoost V-6 (325 hp, 400 pounds-feet of torque)

As the smallest of the available EcoBoost engines, the 2.7-liter V-6 offers a maximum tow rating of 10,100 pounds for the 4WD SuperCab with the 6.5-foot bed and 4WD SuperCrew with the 5.5-foot bed. Its next highest rating, 10,000 pounds, can be had in 2WD and 4WD versions of the regular cab with the 8-foot bed, 2WD and 4WD SuperCab models with its choice of two beds, and 2WD and 4WD SuperCrew models, also with a choice of two cargo beds. The third highest tow rating of 8,600 pounds is found in 2WD regular-cab models with the 6.5- or 8-foot cargo bed. The two highest tow ratings for the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 necessitate the 3.73 axle ratio and the 2.7L EcoBoost Payload Package.

3.5-Liter EcoBoost V-6 (400 hp, 500 pounds-feet of torque)

Here we are, the top dog when it comes to F-150 bragging rights. The 14,000-pound maximum towing capacity is for the 2WD SuperCab with the 8-foot bed, along with the 2WD SuperCrew with either a 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed and the 3.55 or 3.73 axle ratio. This figure is 800 pounds more than the 2020 F-150’s maximum tow rating. This gives the F-150 class-leading capabilities, not to mention some full-size truck bragging rights. As we said earlier, the Max Trailer Tow Package is needed to achieve this figure. This holds true for the second highest rating of 13,900 pounds in the 4WD SuperCrew with a 5.5-foot cargo bed. This rating requires the 3.55 axle ratio. Running a close third is the 13,800 pounds available in the 4WD SuperCab with the 8-foot bed and either a 3.55 or 3.73 rear axle ratio, and the 4WD SuperCrew with the 6.5-foot bed and 3.55 or 3.73 axle ratio.  

3.5-Liter EcoBoost V-6 Full Hybrid (430 hp, 570 pounds-feet of torque)

A new addition to the F-150 engine range, the 430-hp, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 is a full hybrid powertrain with a driving range of approximately 650 miles per tank. It also boasts a maximum towing capacity of 12,700 pounds when outfitted in 2WD SuperCrew format with either of its two available cargo beds and the 3.55 axle ratio. It’s worth mentioning that this hybrid powertrain is only offered with the SuperCrew cabin. This explains why the second and third max towing ratings of 12,400 and 11,000 pounds, respectively, are limited to this body style. The higher of the two capacities is provided by the 4WD SuperCrew with the 5.5- or 6.5-foot bed and 3.73 rear axle. Meanwhile, the 11,000 pound limit applies to the 2WD SuperCrew with either cargo bed and the 3.55 ratio or the 4WD with the 3.73 axle ratio and either bed.  

Max Towing Capacities by Cab

The highest tow ratings by cabin size are 13,300 pounds for the 2WD regular cab equipped with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, 8-foot cargo bed and 3.73 axle ratio. The maximum rating for the SuperCab is 14,000 pounds with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, 2WD and 8-foot bed with either the 3.55 or 3.73 axle ratio. The SuperCrew also rings in at a 14,000 max tow rating in 2WD format and with either of the two available axle ratios and cargo beds.

What’s the F-150 Limited’s Towing Capacity?

The F-150 Limited is only offered in SuperCrew format with the 5.5-foot bed. In 2WD models with the standard non-hybrid 3.5-liter EcoBoost, the F-150 Limited’s maximum tow rating is 11,300 pounds, and in 4WD models the maximum tow rating is 11,200 pounds with either the standard 3.31 axle ratio or optional 3.55 axle ratio. The Limited is also offered with the hybrid engine and its 11,000-pound capacity with two- or four-wheel drive. The Limited cannot be equipped with the Max Trailer Tow Package for the F-150’s highest ratings. Sitting at the top of the F-150 range, the Limited starts at $72,520, including destination fee. 

What’s the F-150 Raptor’s Towing Capacity?

The 2021 F-150 Raptor’s towing capacity increases from 8,000 pounds to 8,200 pounds thanks to improved low-end torque from the high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine, though exact numbers hadn’t been announced as of publication. The Raptor comes in one configuration for 2021, the SuperCrew with a 145-inch wheelbase, now that the previously available SuperCab has been discontinued.   

The above ratings are purely maximum ratings; options, passengers and payload will decrease the maximum towing capacity. Read our primer on towing and weight capacity definitions to see what you need to know before towing.

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