The 2021 Ford F-150 comes with plenty of innovative features that competing pickup trucks don’t offer yet. Take 100,000 miles of hands-free driving, for example, and a Pro Power Onboard inverter system with up to four 120-volt, 20-amp outlets. Yet one particularly exciting comfort feature is Ford’s new Max Recline seat, which enables you to have a nap in your pickup without paying the consequence of a sore neck or back. That’s because Ford’s design team had thought about this, and went further than simply tweaking their existing seats to fold flat.
As a result, the new F-150’s seats not only go down nearly 180 degrees but also lift the back half of the seat bottom 3.5 inches to make a flat surface that supports your lower back. The upper seatback can also be moved forward for neck support, similar to higher-class aircraft seats.
According to Ford’s seat design and release engineer Ben Kulhawik, their system was inspired by “those adjustable beds you see on TV.” Since then, Ford’s Max Recline seats have been awarded five patents.
To create their new power seats, Ford engineers created mockups by attaching prototype parts made of foam core, hot glue and pins to a standard seat frame. After going through hundreds of hours of video and thousands of photos showing how people use their trucks, Ford managed to identify the “pain points” and come up with workarounds to get rid of them. After that came a fully functional metal prototype made to refine the motion and comfort of the seat, followed by series production for 2021 at the Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan, and the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri.
The Max Recline seats will be offered on 2021 King Ranch, Platinum and Limited F-150s. If you’re looking to combine them with manual crank windows on a work-spec XL, then you’re simply out of luck.
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