Skip to main content

2024 Ford F-150 First Drive: Don't Mess With Success

The refreshed F-150 doesn't move any benchmarks, but it's certainly no step backward

2024 Ford F-150 Tremor off-road
  • The F-150 isn't all-new, but there have been a lot of minor changes for 2024.
  • Revised styling, additional standard features, and improved tech are some of the biggest changes.
  • The 2024 refresh keeps the F-150 feeling current against updated competition.

Making any revisions to one of the best-selling vehicles in America — truck or otherwise — has the potential to alienate loyal customers and change what makes it so popular to begin with. It's no surprise, then, that the updated 2024 Ford F-150 isn't all that much different than last year's model. The full-size truck segment is arguably the toughest around, with automakers fighting tooth and nail for every sale. Combined sales for the Ford F-Series, the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500 pickup total over 1.7 million trucks. Playing it safe isn't a bad thing.

3010 for sale in your area
See All for Sale
2024 Ford F-150 Tremor off-road

Refreshed but not redesigned

The 14th-generation F-150 debuted in 2021, so it's not what I would call long in the tooth. It's been at the top of Edmunds' full-size truck category since then, and updates to the Chevrolet Silverado or the debut of an all-new Toyota Tundra haven't been enough to unseat it. The Ram 1500 has a refresh coming for 2025, though, like the F-150, it's not an all-new design.

The most noticeable changes for the 2024 F-150 are tweaks to the truck's exterior design. On most trims, the new grille is a sharp-looking, one-piece full-width design. There are also new headlight and taillight treatments, and a new tailgate with a neat trick. In addition to dropping like a normal tailgate, a small section in the middle swings outward like a door. It's similar to the tailgate on the Honda Ridgeline, though the Ford's smaller swing-out section makes it easier to use in tight spaces. The swing-out access makes grabbing items out of the bed far less of a reach.

2024 Ford F-150 tailgate

Inside, the 2024 F-150 is nearly identical to its predecessor. There are some new colors for the upholstery and trim, but that's about it. All F-150 trims from the base model on up now come standard with a 12-inch touchscreen display. It was already standard on higher trim levels, so it's good to see Ford has made it standard across the range. The infotainment interface is still well organized, though there's some lag in the menus when using navigation or scrolling through settings. It can take a second for something to recognize your input, leading to frequent double tapping.

While top trims might not be set apart with a larger screen, they do offer an optional head-up display, a first for the F-150. It's a full-color system that can display everything from turn-by-turn directions to speed to the radio, though like most head-up displays, it's nearly impossible to see while wearing polarized sunglasses. A 12-inch digital instrument cluster is now standard across the range too.

The old naturally-aspirated 3.3-liter V6 has been dropped entirely from the lineup, making the 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 (325 horsepower, 400 lb-ft of torque) the new base engine. The F-150's other engines — a 5.0-liter V8 (400 hp, 410 lb-ft), a 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 (400 hp, 500 lb-ft) and a 3.5-liter hybrid turbocharged V6 (430 hp, 570 lb-ft) — are still available, though all are nearly unchanged from before. All engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission.

Trucks with Ford's BlueCruise suite of driver aids get a few new features. BlueCruise version 1.2 adds improved lane centering and hands-free lane changing. The former will adjust the truck's position in a lane to give a wider berth to larger vehicles like semis. The latter works by simply tapping the turn signal. If the lane is clear, the F-150 will automatically move over. If you're behind a slower-moving vehicle and the lane over is clear, the truck will suggest a lane change for you.

2024 Ford F-150 XLT

How's the new F-150 drive?

Really, it's not all that much different than before. Edmunds owns a F-150 Hybrid, and the new truck doesn't feel all that much different from our long-termer. The F-150 remains comfortable and smooth on the road, soaking up bumps well, though you still feel the typical body-on-frame shake on particularly rough pavement. It's not quite as refined as the Ram, but it's not far off either.

The hybrid powertrain is excellent, and if it's available on the trim you're looking at, it's the one to get. It's the most powerful powertrain outside of what's available in the Raptor (more on that truck in another review). The fuel economy is the best in the F-150 range, too. It doesn't make any more power for 2024, but the hybrid powertrain has been recalibrated for better response and quicker transitions between the gas and electric components. The updated hybrid doesn't feel markedly different from the pre-refresh model, though it feels smoother and less clunky from a dead stop than before.

The quick steering makes the truck easy to park, even with the F-150's formidable dimensions. Visibility is good, too, with big windows and well-placed mirrors. The optional surround-view camera system provides a multitude of angles, making it easy to park, hook up a trailer, or maneuver a tight trail. The F-150 has a number of available features to make backing up a trailer relatively simple.

The updated BlueCruise 1.2 is particularly impressive; I was able to drive about 100 miles on Interstate 10 from the Palm Springs area to Los Angeles entirely hands-free. The lane centering is much improved over earlier versions of BlueCruise, like the version in Edmunds' long-term Ford Mustang Mach-E. The Mach-E with the older version of BlueCruise tends to ping-pong back and forth between the lane lines, but the much larger F-150 with the updated system keeps the truck centered without all the back and forth. The hands-free lane changing works well, too.

Although it's hands-free, this is still a Level 2 driver aid system. That means the driver has to watch and be ready to take over at any time. The lane change system only activates if you tap the turn signal. The system isn't perfect either. BlueCruise gets flustered in denser traffic, prompting frequent enough prompts to take over steering that I turned it off entirely. There's another rub: It's not included. New owners get a 90-day trial, but beyond that it's a $2,100 fee for three years.

2024 Ford F-150 Tremor off-road

Off-roading in the F-150 Tremor

Outside of transit time between my staging point and the trail, the entirety of my time in the F-150 Tremor is spent on unpaved roads, with the tires aired down to about 25 psi. Think of the Tremor as Raptor Lite. It's more capable than the F-150's basic FX4 off-road package, though it's not nearly as hardcore as the wide-body Raptor. Available with either the 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 or the V8, the Tremor sits taller than the standard F-150 thanks to larger 33-inch all-terrain tires on 18-inch wheels, increasing ground clearance a bit. Four-wheel drive is standard, and the Tremor's front suspension has been beefed up with twin-tube dampers.

The trucks I'm driving has the 402A package, an $11,170 option that includes a long list of features like a surround-view camera, towing package, an upgraded audio system, and a lot of other welcome creature comforts. In addition to all of that, the 402A package includes even more off-road goodies like a locking transfer case, a Torsen-type mechanical front differential, and Ford's "modular" front bumper that can be fitted with a number of accessories straight from the factory.

2024 Ford F-150 Tremor

All of the features and upgrades make off-roading in the Tremor relatively light work. The Tremor seems nonplussed and not nearly close to its limit on light trails. The F-150's physical dimensions are more of a limiting factor on some tighter turns or crawling over rocks, though things like a forward-facing trail camera make it much easier to maneuver through tight corners. A new feature called Trail Turn Assist can effectively shorten the truck's wheelbase by locking the inside rear wheel.

Edmunds says

There have been no major changes for 2024, though a handful of small but notable tweaks and upgrades keep the F-150 looking strong against other full-sized competitors. Considering this F-150 has been an Edmunds favorite since its debut in 2021, we're not exactly complaining.