How do you keep the bestselling truck in the U.S. atop the sales charts for 46 years in a row? When it comes to the Ford F-Series you make sure to offer a steady stream of new features and performance upgrades. And that’s what the Detroit automaker has in store for the 2024 update of the full-size pickup.
Making its debut at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week, the F-150 lineup is getting what would normally be described as a “midcycle refresh.” After all, Ford only launched its 13th-generation truck three years ago. But while it’s certainly not a ground-up makeover, the list of upgrades is a long one, covering everything from the exterior design to the 2024 F-150’s hands-free BlueCruise technology.
There’s a new base engine, a swing-out Pro Access tailgate and, for off-roaders, a number of new hardware features. There’s even a new, hidden storage compartment in the bed. And Ford is also rejigging the model lineup, adding two new variants while dropping the top-line Limited package.
Brains and brawn
“We believe (the 2024 F-150) has the brains and brawn to extend the leadership even further,” said John Emmert, Ford’s general manager of trucks, said during a media backgrounder ahead of the debut of the 2024 Ford F-150 at this year’s Detroit Auto Show Tuesday night.
Ford actually plans to simplify things this coming year. It’s paring down the extensive list of standalone features, opting for a more targeted list of option packages. It’s also restructuring the portfolio, dropping the Limited in favor of the new Platinum plus, while also adding an “affordable” way to get into serious off-roading with the new STX FX4 model.
Meanwhile, buyers will still have plenty of engine options and an extensive catalogue of aftermarket parts and accessories to choose from. “There’s a truck for everybody,” Emmert stressed.
There are several big headlines on the powertrain front. To start with, the old base engine, a naturally aspirated 3.3-liter V-6 is being replaced by a 2.7-liter EcoBoost turbo package. Hard specs aren’t yet available, but F-Series chief engineer Milton Wong promises a 12% horsepower bump and a whopping 50% increase in torque.
While Ford has ceded some ground when it comes to towing capacity, something truckmakers have long battled over. It’s actually lowered the maximum tow rating of the 2024 truck by 400 pounds, to 13,500 pounds.
Payload now comes in at a maximum 2,445 lbs. But only a handful of buyers are likely to be impacted. On the other hand, they’re likely to welcome the reason why the tow rating has been cut. A larger, 36-gallon fuel tank now becomes standard on ’24 models.
Pro Power Onboard
The other powertrain headline really is about power — more precisely, the ability to use your truck as a generator when you might need power at a work or campsite or in the event of a blackout.
Ford scored big when it introduced its F-150 hybrid a few years back, and the Pro Power Onboard system deserves much of the credit. It made plenty of news when Ford dealers down in Texas began loaning the truck out after a massive ice storm collapsed the Lone Star State’s electric grid.
More than 10% of F-150 customers have been opting for the Pro Power package and it will become a standard feature on all hybrid models going forward. That said, buyers will have a choice of a built-in 2.4-kilowatt inverter or an upgraded 7.2-kW version, the latter capable of providing continuous current for up to 32 hours on a tank of gas. Non-hybrid customers, meanwhile, will be able to order a 2-kW version of the Pro Power technology.
Since the start of the Covid pandemic automakers have seen a big surge in demand for off-road-capable vehicles. That’s set Ford’s Bronco division on fire, but there are plenty of options for F-150 buyers, as well. And the automaker is expecting to gain traction with the launch of the affordable new STX FX4 package.
There’s also good news for F-150 Tremor buyers. They now can order the new modular bumper upgrade that makes it easy to mount accessories like a Performance Winch Kit from Warn which boasts a beefy 12,000-pound capacity, as well as a Ford lightbar. While there are similar accessories already on the market, the Ford system has a key advantage, it has built in cameras and other sensors. That means that various safety features, such as Ford’s parktronic, continue to work if the plug-n-play bumper extension is in place.
Raptor also gets an upgrade
The modular bumper is also available for both the F-150 Raptor and Raptor R, Ford’s most capable off-road pickups. But there are other reasons for buyers to check out the 2024 models.
The Gen-13 F-150 already features the vaunted Fox Live Valve shocks, but they now get an upgrade. The Fox Dual Live Valve shocks add a new level of rebound control. That “benefit(s) ride and handling both on-road and off, reducing body roll and improving cornering, while limiting the amount you might have to reposition the vehicle as you swerve around obstacles,” explained engineer Tony Greco during a media backgrounder this week.
Raptor R, meanwhile, may be in for some other enhancements in the coming model year. Ford has yet to finalize specs, but the Raptor V-6 is expected to make 450 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. And Ford insiders hint we could see a boost in the numbers for the supercharged V-8 motivating the V-8-powered Raptor R.
Two ways to tailgate
More than two-thirds of F-Series owners tow, at least occasionally, and Ford wants to make that process easier. It’s added a variety of tech enhancements, like Pro Trailer Hitch Assist. Now it’s got a new hardware package that makes it both easier to tow and to use the cargo bed.
Dubbed the Pro Access Tailgate it lets a portion of the tailgate swing out from the driver’s side by up to 100 degrees — though there’s a détente at 37 degrees to reduce the risk of slamming into a hitch or trailer. This make it a lot easier to get into the truck’s bed since it can be difficult or impossible to lower a conventional tailgate while hitched up.
The system has its advantages, even without a trailer, said Ford, providing quick access to the cargo bed.
And speaking about the bed, Ford is adding a new storage box inside. There’s a single, gallon-sized nook on the passenger side if your truck has a Pro Power inverter. Otherwise, you get two of the covered storage boxes.
Pickups have changed dramatically during the past few decades. Even base models are better equipped including some high-line features. And the new 2024 Ford F-150 Platinum Plus is a viable alternative to a full-size luxury vehicle. And you’ll find plenty of the latest automotive tech onboard, as well.
Slip behind the wheel and you’ll discover twin 12-inch digital displays, now standard on all versions of the 2024 F-150. And the screens are not only reconfigurable but customized for each of the truck’s various trims. The Raptor models, for example, have unique screens geared to off-roading.
Another new feature will send an alert to the registered owner if their truck is being broken into, tampered with or towed. If so, you can use the Stolen Vehicle Services app to contact police.
Consumer Reports recently rated Ford’s BlueCruise technology as the number one hands-free system. It gets even better with a 2024 upgrade that now allow you to simply tap the turn signal to pass a slower vehicle when BlueCruise is operating in hands-free mode.
The new BlueCruise ipdate also adds In-Lane Repositioning which moves your pickup over a wee bit when passing a semi or other large truck.
Even more upgrades are in the works, Ford officials hint, and could be automatically transferred to your F-150 using the truck’s smartphone-style over-the-air update technology.
Pricing and availability
A build and pricing configurator opens up this week for those who can’t wait to get into the 2024 Ford F-150.
Expect the first of the new trucks to be delivered to dealers in the weeks to come, early customers likely to begin driving the new pickup home by the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2023.