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Verdict

9.1 / 10

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.

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Quick Stats 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat ER
Motors: Dual Permanent Magnet
Output: 580 Horsepower / 775 Pound-Feet
Battery: 131.0 Kilowatt-Hour
Range: 320 Miles
As-Tested Price: $81,124

Gallery: 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat: Review

Design

7/10
  • 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.

Comfort

9/10
  • 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

Technology & Connectivity

9/10
  • 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.

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Performance & Handling

5/10
  • 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).

Safety

9/10
  • 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.

Fuel Economy

6/10
  • 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)

Pricing

6/10
  • 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:

FAQs

How Far Can The F-150 Lightning Go On A Charge?

The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning has two battery sizes. The EPA rates the smaller pack at 230 miles to a charge, while the larger Extended Range Battery is rated at 320 miles.

Can You Tow With an F-150 Lightning?

Yes. You can tow up to 10,000 pounds with the optional Max Trailer Towing Package. Otherwise, the truck can tow 7,700 pounds.

How Fast Is the Ford F-150 Lightning?

Even the base Ford F-150 Lightning can hit 60 miles per hour in 5.0 seconds. With the larger battery and its 580 horsepower, that number drops to 4.5 seconds.

How Much Does The Ford F-150 Lightning Cost?

Ford recently announced an update to the pricing for the F-150 Lightning. It now starts at $48,769 for the entry-level Pro model.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat ER

Motor Dual Permanent Magnet
Output 580 Horsepower / 775 Pound-Feet
Transmission Single-Speed Automatic
Drive Type All-Wheel Drive
Battery 131.0 Kilowatt-Hour Lithium-Ion
Speed 0-60 MPH 4.2 Seconds (est.)
Efficiency 78 City / 63 Highway / 70 Combined MPGe
EV Range 320 Miles
Charge Type 240V @ 32A / 240V @ 48A / 240V @ 80A / 150-kW DC
Charge Time 19 Hours (15-100 Percent) / 13 Hours (15-100 Percent) / 8 Hours (15-100 Percent) / 41 Minutes (15-80 Percent)
Weight 6,590 Pounds
Seating Capacity 5
Cargo Volume 14.1 / 52.8 Cubic Feet
Towing 7,700 / 10,000 Pounds (When Properly Equipped)
Payload 1,952 Pounds
Base Price $39,974 + $1,795 Destination
Trim Base Price $69,169
As-Tested Price $81,124
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