Ford F-150 Lightning 2022 review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ford F-150 Lightning: ride and handling. Because the revised chassis ditches the standard truck’s leaf-spring suspension.

Americans just can’t quit their Ford pick-up trucks. The Blue Oval has moved over 26 million F-150s in the States, making it the top-selling vehicle in the land of the free for nearly a half-century. It’s no wonder Ford hustled to offer an electrified version of its full-size best-seller, modifying the well-worn platform for the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Quick – give ’em a zero-emissions option before they fall for that new Chevy EV. Or a Rivian.

Whichever number you pluck from the Ford F-150 Lightning’s spec sheet, you can guarantee it’ll be a whopper. Power, torque, weight, girth – they’re all much plumper than anything presented by cars we dare call ‘pick-ups’ over here in Europe. It’s the girth that proves most OTT on sinuous British roads, though. Taking up a whopping 2.4m with its elephant-ear mirrors folded out, this isn’t a car you’ll thread carefree down country lanes. 

Performance

For all the pleasantly squishy aspects of the Lightning’s ride and handling, 775lb ft of twist on tap makes this dual-motor truck the torquiest F-150 yet. In extended-battery trim, which produces 581bhp, the EV is also the fastest-accelerating F-150 available – even quicker than the brappy Raptor, dispatching 0-60mph in the mid-four-second range. Opt for the milder standard battery, and its 452bhp output will scoot to 60mph in five seconds flat. 

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You’ll be feathering the throttle, too. There are currently two versions on sale in the F-150’s American homeland, both with a motor at each axle for four-wheel drive. The standard-range model peaks at 446bhp and 775lb ft, while the extended-range version boasts 572bhp but the same torque figure. I doubt you’ll mind too much, nor even notice. Despite weighing a sliver under three tonnes, it hits 60mph in 4.3sec. You know, like supercars used to…

However prodigious its power, though – all served up instantly, as is the electric way – this is an easy car to potter around in once you’ve got used to its size. The steering is quick by commercial vehicle standards, so even though it lacks any meaningful feel, the Lightning’s monstrous frame can be controlled with welcome ease. While independent rear suspension arrives as an F-150 first, there’s still a somewhat rudimentary feel to the chassis set-up, at least with a relatively empty bed. Nothing major, just the odd shudder over more sudden bumps and ruts that an SUV would comfortably iron out.

If that doesn’t seem like a fair comparison, then try sitting in a Lightning. With a huge portrait touchscreen transplanted from the Mustang Mach-E – alongside a swathe of luxurious trim and equipment on this Lariat spec – the vibe is closer to plush family transport than rough ’n’ ready workhorse. It’ll happily play the latter role, of course, and with a whole new trump card over the petrol-fuelled F-150s that have dominated US sales charts for decades.

The behemoth 131kWh battery doesn’t just turn a 2989kg block into an unfeasibly quick projectile but it can also power a dozen tools while out on the job. There are plug sockets everywhere, with a handful in the huge 400-litre frunk (which also has a drainage hole at the bottom), more in the vast five-seat cabin, and another bank just the other side of the electrically whirring tailgate. If a storm knocks the power off at home, the Lightning can tag itself in as a generator.

Ford F-150 Lightning: ride and handling

Because the revised chassis ditches the standard truck’s leaf-spring suspension, the F-150’s bouncy/jouncey ride is replaced with a placid glide. It’s not quite as languid as the Rivian R1T’s hydraulic set-up, and we wouldn’t call it a waft. But its road manners are nearly as well-tempered as Bach’s clavier, exhibiting a sense of serenity that is simply absent from its internal-combustion counterpart. 

Battery range, towing capacity

Opt for the standard-range battery and towing capacity drops to a still-useful 3493kg. The Lighting uses an intelligent range estimator that considers traffic speed, ambient temperature, route topography and driving patterns to factor in a charging strategy for road trips. Nifty. However, we would have liked more control on regen, which can be set to high or low via the menu displayed on the multimedia screen, and is automatically fine-tuned within each driving mode. 

Ford F-150 verdict

In other words, it’s a genuine work truck that discards pretension and stays fixed on its mission to get stuff done. It’s that lingering earnestness that ensures the F-150 Lightning will be a sales winner, already garnering over 200,000 orders. Sure, you can still spec it to near six-figure prices, but the workaday versions are what convince us that there’s a bright future for this electric gem. 

 

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Sarah Meere
Sarah Meere
Executive Editor

Sarah looks after corporate enquiries and relationships for UKFilmPremieres, CelebEvents, ShowbizGossip, Celeb Management brands for the MarkMeets Group. Sarah works for numerous media brands across the UK.

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