Design | Comfort | Technology | Performance | Safety | Efficiency | Price | FAQs
The EV revolution needs pickup trucks to truly win over the American market. In terms of sales volume and general consumer affinity, the truck is king in the US. That makes the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning the single most important new-car debut of the year.
Glitzier options like the Rivian R1T and GMC Hummer EV will surely attract some away from the Lightning, but this is the truck to have for anyone who needs… a truck. The F-150 Lightning is a whole new world for Ford, but in reality, it’s still the same pickup that we’ve known and loved all along.
A vehicle’s ratings are relative only to its own segment and not the new-vehicle market as a whole. For more on how Motor1.com rates cars, click here.
|Quick Stats||2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat ER|
|Motors:||Dual Permanent Magnet|
|Output:||580 Horsepower / 775 Pound-Feet|
Gallery: 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat: Review
- Exterior Color: Rapid Red
- Interior Color: Black
- Wheel Size: 20 Inches
Let’s get the obvious part out of the way. The Lightning looks like an F-150, for better or worse. Weeks ago when I tested the Rivian R1T, I had daily conversations with people who were curious about it. Not a single person asked about the Ford, save one guy who gave a thumbs up while he jogged by.
This will not command attention like a Rivian or a GMC. There are a few changes to call out, mostly in the front fascia. The Lightning features a lightbar that connects the two headlights, creating one illuminated element. A sealed “grille” is unique to the Lightning and improves aerodynamics, while active slats in the lower intake area cool the battery or reduce drag, just like on the Mustang Mach-E.
This Lariat test vehicle features 20-inch alloy gray wheels, with a fun aerodynamic design. With the truck colored in bright Rapid Red paint, the dark wheels are a subtle complement that works well. The only other indicator that this thing runs on electrons is the blue “Lightning” wordmark on the side of the bed – and of course the conspicuously absent exhaust out back.
Ford stayed true to the F-150’s winning formula in the cabin. The design is simple and straightforward with novel features like the fold-flat work surface. Small sections of wood trim adorn the door panels and sections of the dash, but black material dominates the area. The all-black interior is the most exciting thing to look at, but it will likely stand up well over time to usual truck torture testing.
- Seating Capacity: 5
- Seating Configuration: 2/3
- Cargo Volume: 14.1 / 52.8 Cubic Feet
What the Lightning lacks in groundbreaking interior design, it makes up for in overall space. Both rows have masses of room for people to stretch out in any direction, with enough legroom to accommodate humans big and small. Don’t overlook the size advantage compared to the R1T. Yes, this is a bigger truck, but you’re rewarded with interior space that fares much better on a long trip.
With independent rear suspension, in-place of leaf springs, the Lightning’s ride quality is excellent. At over 6,000 pounds this is the heftiest F-150 in the range, but Ford tuned the suspension to handle the weight confidently. Some bigger EVs with their enormous mass tend to lose their composure over bumps in the road, but Lightning does extremely well in this test. The only sore spot is slightly too much wind noise coming in the cabin at highway speeds – the same thing that holds it back from a perfect score.
|Interior Dimensions||Headroom, Front/Rear||Legroom, Front/Rear||Frunk/Cargo Box Volume|
|2022 Ford F-150 Lightning||40.8 / 40.4 Inches||43.9 / 43.6 Inches||14.1 / 52.8 Cubic Feet|
|2022 Ford F-150 (ICE)||40.8 / 40.4 Inches||43.9 / 43.6 Inches||N/A / 52.8 Cubic Feet|
|2022 GMC Hummer EV||42.5 / 38.6 Inches||45.6 / 38.9 Inches||11.3 / 36.7 Cubic Feet|
|2022 Rivian R1T||41.1 / 38.1 Inches||41.4 / 36.6 Inches||11.0 / 29.2 Cubic Feet|
- Center Display: 15.5-inch Touchscreen
- Instrument Cluster Display: 12.0 Inches
- Wireless AppleCarPlay / Android Auto: Yes/Yes
When purchasing a Lightning Lariat, one option makes the biggest difference in price and features: the extended-range battery pack. With this upgrade comes an obvious increase in range, but it also commits you to the Lariat Equipment Group which costs $10,000.
The step up in battery alone is worth it for some people, but Ford packed in some other goodies with the package like the Charge Station Pro, the charger that enables 80-amp home charging, and Intelligent Power Backup. Have you seen the neat commercials demonstrating the truck as a generator if your house loses power? You need to tick this box (and then hire a good electrician) to make it happen.
The 15.5-inch touchscreen first seen in the Mach-E and the 12.0-inch digital gauge cluster from the F-150 are standard. That means Ford’s Sync 4 infotainment software also comes with, enabling great features like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Like in other Ford products, the display is great to work with and responds quickly. My only gripe is that some of the important controls (like climate) are buried at the bottom, so your eyes move away from the road when you need to make an adjustment.
save over $3,400 on average off MSRP* on a new Ford F-150
- Motors: Two Permananet Magnet AC Motors
- Output: 580 Horsepower / 775 Pound-Feet
- Transmission: Single-Speed Automatic
By the metrics of traditional full-size trucks, the F-150 Lightning is a star athlete. But up against new-world competition, it’s actually the least performance-oriented of the bunch. What a time to be alive.
With 580 horsepower and 775 pound-feet to play with, the Lightning is of course plenty quick. It’s just no match for the Rivian’s mighty 840 hp, nor the Hummer’s 1,000 hp. But try not to pay too close of attention to that – if you’re trading in a combustion F-150 for this truck you will be thrilled with its straight-line capability.
What’s more interesting to me is how Ford engineers kept the rest of the Lightning’s character in line with the regular F-150. Even with those similarities, the Lightning has some obvious unique qualities in that it can do one-pedal driving and stroll along in near silence.
On the all-important matter of towing capacity, Ford says this truck will tow up to 10,000 pounds when equipped with the $865 Max Trailer Package. This will reduce the range by varying amounts depending on circumstances, but for short hauls, the EV truck puts in the work. That said, the Rivian R1T can tow up to 11,000 pounds, making it the best in the class (for now).
- Driver Assistance Level: SAE Level 2 (Hands-Off)
- NHTSA Rating: Not Rated
- IIHS Rating: Not Rated
This truck has some of the industry’s best available driver assistance tech, including SAE Level 2 hands-free driving. The only problem is that Ford makes you pay for it: BlueCruise is only available on the Lariat with the Extended Range battery and its accompanying equipment, a $10,000 commitment (it’s standard on the range-topping Platinum). You can read more of our thoughts on BlueCruise and its effectiveness here.
Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has formally rated the Lightning. That said the gas-powered F-150 scored high marks in both cases. It scored 5 stars for NHTSA and was an IIHS Top Safety Pick.
- City: 78 MPGe
- Highway: 63 MPGe
- Combined: 70 MPGe
|EV Range:||Efficiency:||DC Charge Speed|
|2022 Ford F-150 Lightning ER||320 Miles||78 City / 63 Highway / 70 Combined MPGe||41 Minutes (15-80 Percent)|
|2022 GMC Hummer EV Edition 1||329 Miles (Manufacturer Estimate)||N/A||24 Minutes (20-80 Percent)|
|2022 Rivian R1T||314 Miles||74 City / 66 Highway / 70 Combined MPGe||37 Minutes (20-80 Percent, InsideEVs' test)|
- Base Price: $39,974 + $1,695 Destination
- Trim Price: $69,169
- As-Tested Price: $81,124
Like their gas-powered counterparts, electric pickup trucks cover a huge MSRP range. Ford currently offers the best value in the game with the Lightning Pro and its $41,669 starting price (including destination charge, but excluding incentives – 2023 models will cost more). If you’re interested in the improved range, the bigger battery starts at the XLT level and costs $74,269.
The test truck for this review was a Lariat trim, with the $10,000 Extended Range Battery. With its optional red paint, Max Trailer Towing pack, and spray-in bed liner, the total cost came out to $81,124 including the destination charge.
That is not a small number for a truck, but consider that the Rivian R1T can be optioned well over the $90,000 mark and the Hummer EV starts at just under $85,000. More affordable options are coming, but for now, it costs a lot to be an early adopter.
F-150 Lightning Competitor Reviews:
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat ER