2024 Ford F-150 Sports Flashy Tailgate, Better Raptor Ride

The refreshed 2024 Ford F-150 has a new tailgate Ford hopes will aid bed access and the Raptor gets Fox Dual Live Valve shocks.

Though the 2024 F-150 is a mid-cycle refresh, there are a few innovative touches to the exterior (tailgate) and software (better theft-detection and deterrence tools). Ford

To say Ford believes it has lightning in a bottle with the Pro Access tailgate debuting on the refreshed 2024 Ford F-150 would be an understatement. “We’re going to end the tailgate wars, once and for all, said John Emmert, Ford’s general manager for trucks in North America. The updated model also receives revised grillework, upgraded connectivity and other feature additions.

The 2024 Ford F-150 Pro Access tailgate makes for an easier reach into the bed to access Pro Power ports or a storage cubby at the bed's right rear. (Ford)

SAE Media was able to see the new tailgate at an event previewing the changes to the 2024 F-150 lineup in advance of Tuesday’s reveal in Detroit on the eve of the North American International Auto Show. The Pro Access tailgate’s calling card is a 37-inch, horizontally swinging gate hinged on the right. It is positioned in the center of the tailgate. It has three opening positions, the maximum being 100 degrees. When in its open position, it allows easy access to the bed, Pro Power ports and storage cubbies with the user standing right at the bumper, meaning they don’t have an awkward reach for any items. With a tonneau cover and an optional bed divider installed, it functionally turns the rear of the bed into a trunk.

A 37-degree opening position avoids trailer jacks (preventing damage) while still providing bed access. The middle option is a 70-degree opening, which Ford says is good for close quarters like parking lots or when you’ve backed into a garage.

The Pro Access door can be operated by one hand or via the key fob. The tailgates will come with power up and down to help counter the weight increase of the swinging door’s parts. And an available rear bumper step has been made wider and deeper for better footing when climbing into the bed.

Milton Wong, chief engineer for the F-150, said the Pro Access tailgate was “not just about the technology, but about transforming what you can do with the back end of the truck.”

Looking a little tougher

New FOX shocks on the F-150 raptor have additional valving to keep the wheels planted a higher percentage of the time by second valve for controlling rebound. (Ford)
The bumper step on the F-150 Tremor. (Ford)

So, what else is new with the F-150 lineup for 2024? First, the fully boxed steel frame with aluminum alloy body is unchanged. Aesthetically, though, Ford has significantly updated the look of the front and rear. Lariat and Platinum-trim trucks have a redesigned front end meant to be more sophisticated and modern. The front also receives standard LED lighting, which Ford

says improves visibility while reducing maintenance costs. Trim levels from Lariat to Platinum now have C-Clamp daytime running lights (DRLs). F-150 trims below the Lariat receive amber horizontal turn-indicator lighting.

Trim options, such as the STX package, receive what Ford is calling its “coast-to-coast” grille/. The STX package also includes lime-colored accents throughout the vehicle, including on the fender badging. The Black Appearance Package, available on models from STX through Lariat, features blacked-out interior and exterior accents. Ford says what it internally calls the “black pack” has proven extremely popular with customers. A new Platinum Plus series replaces Limited as the top of the non-Raptor lineup and includes an exclusive Smoked Truffle interior theme with bronzed copper accents. “Everything in the Platinum Plus is going to be calm, relaxing and inviting, said Rob Brancheau, senior color and materials designer.

In seeking inspiration of various earth tones, Brancheau said he even had samples of dirt delivered from different parts of the United States. He said that the lime accents on the interior of the STX are the only real splashes of color in the 2024 lineup. In talking about the array of wheel packages and options, he said he was particularly proud that different wheelsets pick up different bits of texture from a given trim’s other design features, such as the grille. “It makes for a much more complete look,” he said.

Price parity for hybrid

Ford noted that hybrid-powertrain truck sales are up 28% in the first half of 2023 and Emmert said the company is eliminating the hybrid premium by making the 430-hp, 570 lb-ft (773 Nm) PowerBoost hybrid the same price as the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. And speaking of V6 engines, fans of the base 3.3-liter V6 will have to snap them up on any remaining 2023 models. It’s gone for 2024, meaning the 2.7-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost is the new base engine. It brings 325 hp and 400 lb-ft, both increases over the outgoing V6.

Pro Power Assist auxiliary electrical power is available at 2 kW, 2.4 kW (the standard level with the PowerBoost hybrid) and 7.2kW, which Ford says is enough to power a small construction site for 32 hours straight.

5G LTE and improved security Ford is introducing a class-first 5G LTE onboard wireless connection that powers much of the connected technology. In addition to its usual lineup of safety technology, some models can be equipped with Exit Warning, which alerts occupants leaving the vehicle to detected traffic from behind, including cyclists, vehicles and even pedestrians.

Sync 4 and other features now are displayed on a standard 12-inch touchscreen. And as fits a truck with towing as one of its go-to uses – Ford claims 75% of F-150 owners tow something regularly – it offers Pro Trailer Hitch and Pro Trailer Backup Assists, which markedly ease the learning curve and difficulty of both hooking up and backing a trailer, particularly for a lone driver. The r2024 models have a maximum towing capacity of 13,500 lb. (6126 kg) and a payload of 2,455 lb. (1114 kg). The BlueCruise hands-free driver-assist system will be available as a 90-day trial, but will be

All F-150s have 12-inch touchscreens that run Sync 4 and can accommodate two camera views at once. (Ford)

based on a subscription model after that. Debuting on 2024 models is a software-driven theft-detection system that can detect things like your car being moved without being started (in the instance of being towed) or is being jacked up (in advance of a wheel theft attempt). The subscription service will alert an owner via the Ford Pass smartphone app, when can then aid the owner in contacting authorities. It can even detect a hand/arm moving through an open window to open the door or if someone tries to return the software settings to its factory defaults.

Ford says 75% of F-150 owners use their trucks to tow something on a regular basis. (Ford)

Better rebound for Raptor The 2024 F-150 Raptor now comes with Fox-developed Dual Live Valve shocks for a more controlled ride. The revised dampers now have position-sensitive compression control now as standard and rebound control is continuously variable. A new rebound valve has two stages: as oil flow increases, a spool valve opens a secondary flow path, making for more comfortable return to the original (or next) wheel position. The Raptor – and the Tremor trim of the regular F-150 – now have an available modular bumper. The bumper has removed extra material around the wheels for more room, but features a modular mounting surface in the middle. On the Raptor this can only be used for lighting, but on the Tremor, an available Ford winch can be mounted for off-road rescue and other tasks.

Ford will begin delivering the 2024 F-150 in early next year.