Test Drive: 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum
Class: Electric Vehicle
Miles driven: 204
Battery capacity: 131 kWh
EPA-estimate MPGe: 73 city/60 hwy/66 combined
EPA-estimated driving range: 300 miles
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||A|
|Power and Performance||A|
|Fit and Finish||B+|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||580 horsepower|
|Engine Type||Electric motors|
Consumer Guide range estimate (ideal conditions): 290-300 miles
Base price: $90,874 (not including $1695 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Max Recline driver/front-passenger seats ($345); Toughbed spray-in bedliner ($595)
Price as tested: $93,509
The great: Lightning-quick acceleration, especially for a big pickup; innovative features take full advantage of pure-electric powertrain’s capabilities and packaging advantages; spacious cabin
The good: Pleasant ride quality for a big truck; Lighting retains almost all of the strengths and clever available features of the familiar conventional Ford F-150 pickup
The not so good: Big price jump for extended-range battery and premium trim levels; limited availability, at least for now; towing a trailer will cause driving ranges to drop; disadvantages of America’s current EV-charging infrastructure
More F-150 Lightning price and availability information
Ford’s new pure-electric F-150 pickup is called the Lightning. With it comes the thunder: Starting prices range as high as $92,569 with delivery.
You could have gotten one for less (fleet-oriented Pro, $41,669; XLT, $54,669; Lariat, $69,169) but that was the cost of entry for the deluxe Platinum model that Consumer Guide tested. With just two inexpensive options—at least by modern standards—the test truck stickered for $93,509.
Frankly, what we say here about Ford’s intriguing, if costly, new version of its historically popular full-size pickup is now purely as recap. Already by June, when our test took place, the manufacturer was informing visitors to the 2022 Lightning website, “Due to high demand, the current model year is no longer available for retail order.” If you had not yet acted on your desire to be the first on your block to own one, here’s what you missed:
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The F-150 Lightning was introduced as a SuperCrew four-door crew-cab model with a 5.5-foot bed on a 145.4-inch wheelbase. Though clearly identifiable as a Ford half-ton pickup, it features unique styling details and many new features unavailable on other F-150s. The standard powertrain is a pair of electric motors that deliver a combined 452 horsepower, or 580 with an available extended-range battery that is standard in the Platinum. All-wheel drive is standard—the two motors each drive an axle—and rear suspension is independent instead of the live rear axle with leaf springs used in other F-150s.
On its roomy inside, the inaugural Lightning boasts an available 15.5-inch infotainment touchscreen that’s bigger than anything else you’d find in the rest of the 2022 F-150 lineup. Since the electric motor and batteries don’t require as much underhood space as an internal-combustion engine, the Lightning has room for a front-mounted trunk. This 14.1-cubic-foot “frunk” is roomy enough for two golf bags.
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The 580-horse powerplant makes the Lightning the most powerful F-150 ever, says Ford (a 0-60-mph time of 4.4 seconds is claimed). Power delivery is eye-opening. It’s strong, immediate—and quiet, maybe the most radical departure from the usual F-150 driving experience. The EPA-estimated driving range with the 131-kWh extended-range battery is 320 miles—90 more than the base battery pack is expected to deliver—but the extra features of the loaded Platinum model reduce its EPA driving-range estimate to 300 miles. In this driver’s 113.5-mile turn in the tested truck (with 81 percent city-type operation), he started with an indicated range of 287 miles, on a charge of 97 percent, and had an indicated 176 miles of range (and 62 percent of charge) “in the tank” when he relinquished the keys, which suggests a pretty accurate range projection. Note, however, that the “juicier” battery trades range and power for some payload capacity—a Lightning can carry 2000 pounds with the base battery, or 1800 with the extended-range unit.
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Ride from the all-coil suspension is fairly cushy, though it can still get tossed in back a little bit with an empty bed. Steering has nice heft. There’s a little bit of a wallowy, light-in-the-nose feel without a hefty fossil-fuel engine up front. Platinums come standard with Ford’s BlueCruise semi-autonomous hands-free driver-assistance system. We had limited opportunities to test the system, as it requires approved divided two-lane highways (which Ford calls “Blue Zones”) to operate. BlueCruise isn’t quite as sophisticated as the enhanced version of Cadillac’s Super Cruise: It won’t make lane changes and it seemed more apt to disengage and require the driver to take the wheel again in certain driving conditions. Nonetheless, when this reviewer did use it, it seemed to track very well in the lane. It might ping-pong the first couple of drifts toward the lane markings but then it got its bearings and followed the road quite well.
The interior look and feel is like any F-150 with the same trim save for the massive Sync4A screen. (It was standard on Lightning Lariats as well.) The vertically oriented capacitive-touch device has enhanced voice recognition and incorporates access to the full range of systems and features, including things like the four drive modes and the dual-zone automatic climate control. There is a physical audio-volume dial on the screen face. This centralized control requires a lot of tapping but the choices within desired functions are plainly displayed, which reduces the confusing guesswork found in some infotainment systems.
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What separated the ’22 Platinum from the Lariat that’s a long step down started outside with 22-inch alloy wheels with a bright machined surface and Ebony Black-painted pockets, a twin-panel moonroof, and rain-sensing windshield wipers, all standard. Interior distinctions consisted of power tilt and telescoping with memory for the heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel; heated rear seats; genuine wood accent trim; 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen “Unleashed” audio system; and partitioned, lockable storage under the rear seat. Added tech features—with an emphasis on towing aids—were Pro Trailer Backup Assist, trailer-reverse guidance, an onboard scale with “Smart Hitch,” Active Park Assist 2.0, and Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 with a raft of safety monitors and adaptive cruise control.
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Other standard items found in some or all other Lightnings included Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity; in-dash navigation; a Wi-Fi hotspot; wireless charging; and the high-level 9.6-kW version of the Pro Power Onboard system that can take advantage of the electric powertrain to enable uses like running power tools, plugging in a crockpot for tailgating events, or even powering a home during a power outage. The leather-upholstered seats were heated and ventilated in front, and had a memory function for the 10-way-adjustable driver’s seat. Ride height—ground clearance is 8.4 inches—makes the standard running boards welcome for shorter passengers. The Interior Work Surface function folds out of the large center console to make the interior handier for using laptop computers—and benefits from the fold-down shifter handle. Also, the power tailgate includes Ford’s retractable step-and-handhold feature.
With the 2022 Lightning, Ford managed to get a jump on the emerging EV pickup market, leveraging the popularity of its existing F-150 to do it. If you didn’t know how it was powered—or what it cost—you could easily take it for one.
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2022 Ford F-150 Lightning
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