The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning continues to impress with each successive time we get behind the wheel. It’s an electric F-150 without any major barriers or quirks to turn off the average truck buyer. Judging by the ravenous demand, Ford appears to have gotten this formula right. That’s no surprise, though, as very few brands know truck buyers better than the king of full-size truck sales, Ford.
Here, we have a Lariat model with the extended-range battery pack. Based on pricing, the level of equipment and the range provided by the big battery pack — 320 miles — it’s likely going to be a popular grade to buy. The AWD Lightning with this extended range pack produces a walloping 580 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque, and with our tester’s Max Trailer Tow package, can tow up to 10,000 pounds. Payload capacity sits at a slightly less impressive 1,800 pounds, but you do get the Technology of the Year award-winning Onboard Scales and Smart Hitch tech to make towing and hauling easier.
Pricing for the Lightning has changed between when we tested it and when this review was published (to give you an idea of how often Ford has increased the Lightning’s prices this year). When we had the truck, it stickered for $80,739, but today, a similarly-equipped 2023 F-150 Lightning will run you $89,314. Even for an already expensive truck, that’s a big uptick. Even so, there’s so much to love about this electric truck that looking beyond that price increase is possible. The F-150 Lightning is truly one of the best trucks you can buy today, electric or not.
Consumer Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski — The Ford Lightning seems designed specifically not to wow onlookers. Besides the blunt-nosed face with its grille-less opening, you pretty much have to look underneath to see that this isn’t a run-of-the-mill F-Series truck. Next to the Hummer EV I drove on the same day, the Lightning just didn’t stand out.
If that sounds like a demerit, it’s not meant to be. Not only is the appearance like that of a standard Ford truck, so too is the experience from behind the wheel. Except that it’s really, really powerful. I’ve put thousands of miles on dozens of Ford F-150 models, and the Lightning is easily the most fun to drive (I’m excluding the Raptor for obvious reasons). There’s power whenever and wherever you want it. Considering its mass and the fact that it’s a pickup truck and not a sport sedan, it even rides and steers pretty darn well.
It’s honestly hard to believe that this is Ford’s very first electric pickup truck. It’s refined, drives well, has a lot of range (though towing a large load will cut that in half), and well packaged. If only they weren’t so hard to find for sale without ridiculous dealership markups …
Associate Editor Byron Hurd — The Lightning is the most conventional EV I’ve ever driven. It just feels like a truck, albeit a quiet one. Fittingly, we invited the Lightning to be evaluated for Tech of the Year because its tow/haul tech just plain works — consistently — and serves a practical purpose for people who actually use their trucks for truck stuff. It’s simple, smart and useful and doesn’t feel like a gimmick, much like the Lightning itself. Maybe this truck is too sensible for the typical EV consumer, but I’m betting that’s why it will appeal to more than a few typical truck people.
News Editor Joel Stocksdale — Man, trailering technology just keeps getting better and better. I’m amazed at how clear and responsive the Onboard Scale and Smart Hitch systems are. They’re super-easy to understand, and they’re not hard to dig up in the infotainment system. Having that guide for loading a trailer correctly is also really helpful and important for safe use of a trailer. It’s great that there are all these tools for making trailering easier and safer for even amateurs, who really will need the help the most. It sure would be nice if more of these tools were just standard, though.
Road Test Editor Zac Palmer — The F-150 Lightning is easily my new favorite full-size pickup. It’s the most comfortable, smoothest, quietest and effortless F-150 money can buy. Now, the amount of money necessary to purchase an F-150 Lightning keeps going up, but that doesn’t mean you should turn away quite yet. Even with the price increases, the Lightning is a stellar EV.
I think Ford nailed what people want in an electric truck from virtually every perspective. If you want to drive it around like a normal vehicle, that can be done. Prefer a one-pedal experience like many EV fans do? That can also be done. Acceleration off the line is potent, and the first time you go full throttle, you’ll understand why President Biden was raving about the prototype he drove a couple years ago. Typical truck buyers should enjoy the truck-like handling and feel of the F-150. This is no sports car masquerading as a pickup. It’ll roll and move like a regular truck will, but the inherent low center of gravity still makes for a more stable-feeling truck than any gasoline-powered F-150.
The interior tech encompassing the massive infotainment system and digital instrument cluster work well. However, I do wish it had a few more physical controls like gas-powered F-150s do. The central screen can be a touch laggy on initial startup, leading to delays to inputs — don’t make anybody wait an extra few seconds to get those heated seats rolling on a cold morning! Last on the list of complaints is the charging technology itself. Ford promises 155 kW of fast charging capability, and while respectable, that’s still not super-quick when you’re dealing with such a large battery pack. If you’re towing long enough to require charging stops, it could make for an excessively long road trip, which is never fun. That said, I’m convinced the Lightning could replace a massive amount of gas-powered F-150s on the road right now, and everybody’s truck lives would be significantly better for it. This thing rules.