Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As (almost) always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Ford debuts refreshed F-150 with some major changes, Nissan embraces their heritage with the Frontier Hardbody Edition, GMC upscales the Acadia, Cadillac refreshes the CT5, and the UAW is striking against the big three.
2024 Ford F-150
The juggernaut that is the Ford F-150 is getting its mid-cycle refresh for the 2024 model year. The usual enhancements that come with a refresh, those being new styling tweaks and features, are of course included. But there’s a lot more going on here than just a new face and some new tech. It’s safe to say that the half-ton pickup market has never been more competitive than it is now. Ford is responding with numerous changes to the truck’s functionality and user features as well as packaging and standard equipment. It’s also making the PowerBoost hybrid powertrain more accessible than ever.
Starting with the design changes first, it has all new lighting elements front and rear as well as new grille designs which change with each trim level. Even the lower trims have a much more interesting grille design now. Interior design hasn’t changed much if at all, but notably, the once optional 12″ LCD touchscreen in the center console is now standard across the entire lineup, as is the fully digital 12″ gauge cluster. Being able to charge up front for a feature most buyers likely went for anyway while also streamlining the production process a little makes this a logical choice. And for the first time on the F-150, a heads-up display is available which can display information for Ford’s BlueCruise hands-free driving, tow/haul, and off-road drive modes.
Ford is also playing the fancy tailgate game now. Their first big new upgrade to the tailgate since the introduction of the folding tailgate step in 2006 is the Pro Access Tailgate. This feature splits the tailgate into three sections with a swing gate in the middle which can open up to 100 degrees out for easier access to items in the bed. They’re not the only ones offering a dual-function tailgate like this, but the benefit of this system is it’s designed to operate even with a trailer in tow, which is why their system looks a bit different than Honda’s and Ram’s. If you’re not into this sort of thing, a standard tailgate is… well, standard. Another standard feature a bed storage box located behind one or both wheel wells in the bed. This locking box can be used to store tools, straps, jumper cables, definitely not drugs, or any other little thing you’d rather not have sitting freely in the cab or out in the open in the bed.
The process of ordering a 2024 F-150 will be easier than before with numerous simplifications to what’s standard and what can be ordered outside of a package. They say ordering complexity has been reduced by 90% compared to the 2023 model. Don’t know what exactly that means, but anyone who’s spent time on the 2023 configurator knows there’s a shit load of options to choose from. For the new and improved process, the examples Ford gave are popular options like the 36-gallon fuel tank and Class IV trailer hitch. Those used to be things you had to add to the truck individually, but now they’re included as standard equipment on all models. Other popular freestanding features like the moonroof, Max Recline Seats, axle upgrades, and tow mirrors can still be added in without having to pick a package. This will help simplify the ordering process, but also the manufacturing process.
Some notable differences in the powertrain department include a new standard engine. Well, the engine itself isn’t new. But the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6, which used to be a some $1,200 upcharge on lower trims while being standard on mid grades, is now standard on every mid-to-lower trim, replacing the naturally-aspirated 3.3-liter V6. The biggest change powertrain wise though is the price change for the PowerBoost Hybrid, which now matches the price for the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 in which it’s based on. On the 2023 models, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost was a $1,500 upcharge while the PowerBoost was a $3,300 upcharge. Now, both the 3.5-liter EcoBoost and PowerBoost are $1,660. But according to the configurator, that can only be applied to 4WD trucks now. For 2023 and prior, you could get PowerBoost in a RWD truck as well. That no longer appears to be the case, assuming the configurator is correct. So you’re really only saving money if you were planning to get 4WD anyway. Regardless, Ford hopes the price parity will entice more hybrid buyers.
If you’re one of those F-150 buyers that likes to get dirty, the 2024 Tremor and Raptor were revealed alongside the standard trucks and each have some new features as well. For the Tremor, Ford developed an optional modular front bumper that can be used for a wide range of off-road accessories, such as a 12,000-pound WARN winch and a brush guard, both of which can be installed as dealer accessories. The Tremor also gets its own grille design with orange “coast-to-coast” detailing. With the usual range of off-road features carrying over from the current truck, the Tremor remains a solid choice for buyers who crave adventure, but aren’t quite in need of a desert racer.
Those who do want a desert racer will be pleased to know that the Raptor is still completely bonkers. And with the Ram TRX riding off into the sunset, the Raptor once again stands at the top of the pile. New updates include new Fox Dual Live Valve shocks with position sensitive compression control and new continuously variable rebound control. The end goal is even more control over rough terrain and there’s no reason to doubt their efforts haven’t succeeded. The Raptor also gets a new modular front bumper as well as the ability to spec your Raptor with 37″ tires (previously this was exclusive to the Raptor R). And yes, the 700+ horsepower Raptor R is still available.
As a result of all the simplifications mentioned previously, regarding the screens and other things that were once options, you can expect prices to increase for every model. According to the configurator (both 2024 and 2023 are available), the very basic regular cab XL F-150 jumps by $2,735 to a new starting price of $36,570. A SuperCrew XLT jumps by $2,390 to $49,980. And for some reason the SuperCrew Platinum jumps by $8,510 to $73,425, but anyone spending that much on a truck will probably be alright. So the F-150 continues to get more expensive. Granted you can easily see where that additional money is going now that everyone gets a 36-gallon tank and the smaller “this is only here to satisfy the back-up camera requirements” screen is gone in favor of one of the best displays on the market. But still, that hurts a little.
2024 Nissan Frontier Hardbody Edition
Nissan is embracing its heritage a little with the Frontier Hardbody Edition, a throwback to the original Nissan Hardbody truck of the 80s. It incorporates some of the styling that made it an icon four decades ago. “Even if you don’t recognize or remember the original Hardbody, you’re still going to say, ‘That’s a cool truck’”, said project lead designer Hiren Patel. I think he’s right.
The Hardbody Edition starts with a well-equipped Frontier Crew Cab SV 4×4 (a King Cab would’ve been a more faithful reproduction, but oh well). It rides on three-spoke, heritage-styled 17″ alloy wheels which closely replicate the look of those on the original truck… and are completely rad. All-terrain tires, an aluminum skid plate, black over-fenders, black side rail, mud flaps, and a med-mounted sports bar only add further to the retro look. Its bumpers, mirrors, door handles, and grille are all painted black, just like the original truck. It also wears a throwback black graphics package and a cut-out Nissan logo on the tailgate, replacing the typical badge. Nissan Design America went all-out on this project, not least because the Hardbody was the first production model designed at their studio. They loved this truck and it shows. One thing I couldn’t find a mention of in the press release is whether this truck was only available in red or other colors as well. Because I have social anxiety, I didn’t ask anyone at Nissan.
Anyways, if you’re interested in a new truck that’s just about the right size with some very well-executed throwback design, the Frontier Hardbody Edition is one worth looking at. The Hardbody Edition package is $3,890. Add that to the $35,670 for a Crew Cab SV 4×4 and you’re looking at $39,560 before taxes and delivery fees.
2024 GMC Acadia
The GMC Acadia is one of those vehicles that I pretty much forgot about. It’s a crossover/SUV thing sold in America, so I likely see a dozen every day without realizing. But starting next year, the Acadia just might be one that’s hard to ignore. It’s getting an all-new redesign and a proper-looking AT4 trim for families looking for a little adventure.
The premium mid-size SUV is longer, wider, and taller than its predecessor. It’s also been reshaped significantly to have a more truck-like appearance. With a more spacious interior and plenty of premium materials and tech features, it’s aiming to be a luxurious family hauler for those who aren’t quite in need of a larger Yukon but don’t want to sacrifice too much space. Seating configurations for seven or eight are available and there’s nearly 80% more cargo space behind the third row and 36% more behind the second row when compared to the outgoing model. It really does seem like they’ve butted up against the Yukon as much as possible without stealing sales too much.
All Acadias are powered by a new 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with more power than before. With 328 horsepower and 326 lb.-ft. of torque and an eight-speed automatic, it’s got plenty of power for just about any family adventure. When properly equipped, it can tow up to 5,000 lbs. All-wheel drive is available as well, including an off-road-capable (to some extent) Active Torque Control AWD system with a twin-clutch rear differential exclusive to the AT4.
The Acadia AT4 won’t replace a Jeep Wrangler, but it does promise to have some kind of capability in tricky terrain and slick road conditions. It has a 1″ lift coupled with 18″ AT tires, off-road-tuned suspension with hydraulic rebound control, the aforementioned exclusive AWD system and rear diff, skid plates, tow hooks, and drive modes including hill descent control. Mild adventures like driving on a dirt road to a camp site or a cabin or even just wintry conditions should be no problem in this.
On the other hand, the Acadia Denali is for those who shudder at the idea of sleeping in a tent. Exclusive styling enhancements and luxurious appointments make this worthy of the Denali name. Some new features include standard one-touch folding second-row seats and power-folding third row, new 22″ wheels, a panoramic sunroof, laser-etched wood decor with Galvano chrome accents, heated and ventilated front seats, and an active noise cancelling feature from the 12 or 16-speaker Bose sound system.
Pricing is not available yet.
2025 Cadillac CT5
Cadillac rolled into Detroit with a refreshed CT5. The updates for the 2025 model year include a revised front fascia, more luxury features as standard, more standard tech, and a giant ass 33″ LED touchscreen.
The revised fascia features a new, “bolder” design incorporating a lower and wide front grille, plus revised vertical lighting and stacked LED headlamps. Moving inside, the CT5 gains a 33″ curved LED touchscreen display capable of 9K resolution. The interface, which comprises of the gauge cluster and the central infotainment screen, is widely customizable and can display all sorts of useful (or not) information. It’s also curved towards the driver, as it should be. Some new tech features have also been added – the new standard bits are Blind Zone Steering Assist and Intersection Automatic Emergency Braking. Optional additions are 5G Wi-Fi hotspot capability, Traffic Sign Recognition with Intelligent Speed Assist, and Driver Attention Assist.
If one of the last American luxury sedans sounds enticing to you, order books will open soon and production begins in the spring of 2024. Pricing isn’t available yet.
The UAW is striking against the Big Three all at once for the first time in history
Image source: UAW
To clarify that headline a bit right off the bat, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union has gone on strike against the Big Three, Ford, GM, and whatever Chrysler is called this week, plenty of times before. But this is the first time they’ve done so against all three at the same time. This went into effect last night at 11:59 PM Eastern as negotiators from UAW and each manufacturer failed to reach an agreement on a new contract before the deadline.
At the core of the UAW’s demands is a 36-40% pay raise over the next four years across the board, a 32-hour work week with the pay of a 40-hour week, the elimination of the tiered wage system so everyone’s on the same wage scale, cost of living adjustments, the reintroduction of a pension as opposed to a 401(k) with matching, the ability to strike over plant closures, and the ability for the UAW to represent workers at ten electric vehicle battery plants (which will be important as auto worker jobs are shifted into the EV space).
The Big Three all claim to have made multiple offers, but the UAW has rejected them all, some of which were called “insulting”. Ford claims their offer was “historic”, including a 20% wage increase over four years, cost-of-living adjustments, an end of wage tiers, more benefits for retirement and healthcare, and more paid time off. Ford CEO Jim Farley claims “if we signed up for the UAW’s requests… we would’ve lost $15 billion and gone bankrupt by now”, adding “there’s no way we can be sustainable as a company”.
The UAW counteracts claims like this made by all three companies by pointing out record profits for the automakers, even just this year. According to the UAW, “Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis made a combined $21 billion in profits in just the first six months of this year. That’s on top of the quarter-trillion dollars in North American profits that the Big Three made over the last decade”. The UAW went on further to claim that if each of its 150,000 members received a $20,000 raise, they’d still have $18 billion of that $21 billion in profits left from the first half of this year. But of course, UAW demands are for more than just a $20k raise, but that sort of paints the picture of why they have the demands they have.
Because the UAW was not presented with offers they were willing to accept from any of the Big Three, the striking is commencing. But not all 150,000 members are walking out right away. They’re beginning with one factory per automaker – the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant (Bronco and Ranger), the GM Wentzville Assembly Plant (Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon and Express/Savana work vans), and the Stellantis Toledo Assembly Complex (Jeep Gladiator and Wrangler). These strikes involve 12,700 workers. If negotiations continue to falter, they’ll add more locations to the mix. But already, these are critical plants for each manufacturer. Though it is worth noting that there are still bigger and more important plants they could choose from.
The potential economic impact could reach far more industries than just the Big Three in Detroit. For their part, the Biden Administration has sent acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and Gene Sperling, one of the White House economic advisers, to Detroit, presumably to try and assist with negotiations. Or maybe bring some snacks.
When it comes to hot issues like this that are bound to get political, I try and cover them as neutral as possible. And in fact, I’m pretty much completely neutral on this issue. It’s no secret that the economy is doing objectively well, but not for people like you, me, and those auto workers. Wages have been stagnant for ages while prices continue to rise on basically everything. I support workers who stand up for a fair share. But I also recognize that all these demands are likely very hard to satisfy all at once without some major restructuring or convincing some executives to work for less money (crazy, I know). And even if they do agree to the terms, automakers will simply respond by raising their prices for the rest of us even more than they already have been. It’s a tough situation for everyone involved. And as someone whose occasional side job is to report on the industry when I feel like it, I’m genuinely on the fence here. I hope that somehow everyone gets what they want.
This will also be a rapidly changing story which I definitely will not be able to do justice. So I gotta give a shoutout to Autoblog for their extensive and fantastic coverage on this so far. I sourced some stats and quotes from this article which I’ll recommend for those interested in some more detail and hard numbers.
[Sources: UAW, Autoblog].
What’s your news for the week?
So that’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.