As Ford likes to remind the world every chance it gets, its F-series trucks (which includes both the light duty F-150 and medium/heavy duty Super Duty family), have been the best selling nameplate in the US market for more than four decades. While technically accurate, the case can be legitimately made that the GM full-size trucks outsell Ford although they are under two brands Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. Who gets the bragging rights is really only relevant to marketers because customers care about what the trucks can do. With that in mind, Ford is freshening the F-150 for the 2024 model year.
The current generation F-150 got a full makeover in 2020 when it came out as a 2021 model year vehicle. Despite relatively few players in the full-size pickup truck market, it remains highly competitive, mainly between Ford, Chevrolet/GMC and Ram with Toyota a distant fourth and Nissan on the verge of dropping out. It remains to be seen if the controversial Tesla Cybertruck can actually make a dent in this highly profitable segment.
The big truck market has always been a cash cow for Ford, GM and Stellantis and it’s more important than ever right now as those companies have to invest heavily to launch electric vehicles. The profits from truck sales are what fund all of the money losing efforts. That’s why Ford and others have to keep the trucks fresh.
The 2024 F-150 has no fundamental changes and most of the aluminum sheet metal is unchanged. The only visual exterior changes are to the front fascia, taillamps and wheels. The 2021-2023 trucks had a variety of grille designs for different trims, but all featured a similar daytime running lamp that surrounded the headlamps and was meant to evoke a C-clamp.
For 2024, the base XL, STX and XLT get a new look that is a bit of a call-back to early 1980s F-150s. The grille now extends to the outer edges of the face and surrounds the now standard LED headlights. A horizontal DRL splits the stacked high and low beam lights. The C-clamp theme remains on the Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Platinum plus but now extends down to wrap around the fog lamps in the bumper. Revamped taillamps finish off the rear end look with premium trims getting LED lighting that looks more upscale.
The cabs of the F-150 are effectively carryover in design with the biggest changes being the adoption of the 12-inch infotainment screen as standard across all trim levels and some new colors and materials on the premium trims. Previously the lower trims had an 8-inch screen. The SYNC 4 system has been upgraded with a 5G modem now replacing the previous 4G LTE connection. The previous Limited trim is being replaced by a new Platinum Plus for 2024.
Among the features enabled by connectivity is Stolen Vehicle Services. When enabled, the truck will automatically alert the owner’s phone if any attempt to tamper with or steal the truck is made. As GM’s OnStar has done for more than 15 years, the stolen vehicle service can also allow police to track the vehicle and recover it.
Ford is also updating BlueCruise hands-free driver assistance packaging on the F-150 for 2024. The BlueCruise hardware will be included as standard on all trim levels from Lariat and up and will be optional on the XLT. Owners get a 90 day free trial of BlueCruise and can then opt for various monthly or annual subscriptions after that to keep using it. The 2024 launches with version 1.2 of BlueCruise that adds automatic lane change assist and lane repositioning when passing large trucks. Using BlueCruise on the F-150 should be improved with the optional heads-up display that is offered on this truck for the first time. The HUD will have distinct display modes when used during normal driving, towing and BlueCruise.
Also standard this year are automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist and blindspot monitoring with cross traffic alert. Exit warning is a new feature that uses the blindspot radar sensors to detect if a vehicle is approaching when the door is being opened and provides an audible warning.
Under the hood, Ford is dropping the previous base 3.3-liter naturally aspirated V6 and the 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 is now standard. The 2.7, 3.5-liter EcoBoost, 5.0-liter V8 and 3.5-liter PowerBoost hybrid are all unchanged for 2024. The most notable change is that Ford plans to double production capacity for the hybrid
Probably the most interesting exterior change is the availability of the new Pro Access Tailgate. In addition to the traditional swing down, the center 36-inches of the tailgate can now swing out sideways to the right. The hinge has three dentents to allow the center section to open to 37, 70 or 100 degrees. The 37 degree position ensures that the gate won’t strike a trailer when towing while the wider positions allow easier access to items in the bed. A new optional pop-out step under the bumper also makes it easier to step up into the bed.
On the off-road oriented Tremor model, there is a newly available modular front bumper that is cutaway at the ends to allow a larger approach angle when tackling a tough trail. Another off-road ready option is a Ford Performance winch kit that includes a 12,000 WARN winch. This kit is designed to bolt right up to the modular bumper and unlike the winch equipped bumper now offered on the Jeep Wrangler, this one is dealer installed. However, because the kit was designed by Ford, it includes a new front camera that is mounted to the bracket around the hitch to replace the grille mounted unit that would otherwise be obscured along with ultrasonic parking sensors.
The Raptor and Raptor R also carry on into the 2024 model year. When the third-generation Raptor was launched it debuted new Fox Live-Valve dampers with active electronic compression damping adjustment. These remain standard on the 3.5-liter V6 Raptor with 35-inch tires. Customers that select the optional 37-inch tire package or the supercharged V8 Raptor R will get new versions of these shocks with dual valves that also provide enhanced active rebound damping. That supercharged V8 in the Raptor R is also getting upgraded with more power but Ford isn’t yet saying how much more than the current 700-hp it will have.
While there are still plenty of available trim levels for F-150 along with standard, extended and crew cabs and multiple bed lengths, Ford has been working to reduce complexity. More features are packaged together and made standard on various trims. The number of buildable combinations of the 2024 F-150 have been cut by 90% compared to 2023. For example, there are now only 6 permutations of the Raptor (not including color) compared to more than 40 last year.