First Ride! A Shotgun Blast In The F-150 Lightning Is Shockingly Fun

When Ford pulled the covers off the 2022 F-150 Lightning, it shocked traditionalists and tantalized the industry. It was only natural for the Blue Oval to recharge the Lighting brand for its ground-breaking electric truck. The truck sports up to 563 horsepower and 775 lb-ft of torque – while at an affordable suggested retail price of $39,974. It packs the performance in line with its forbearers and the potential to push electric vehicles into the mainstream.

It certainly resonated, as more than 150,000 people put down $100 to reserve theirs. To help convert those reservations into sales, Ford is hosting the F-150 Lightning Tour in 17 cities across the country. When we got wind of the tour’s stop at Daytona International Speedway, we had to get some first-person experience with this hauler.

The Ford F-150 Lightning Tour showcased the inner workings and features of Ford’s first all-electric pickup to a host of potential customers, many of whom put down $100 to reserve one when they are available next spring.

The tour offers an informative glimpse at the truck’s construction and capabilities. The allure of this event was an opportunity to hop in the passenger seat with a professional driver on an autocross course. That was our first stop upon arrival at the World Center of Racing, and it did not disappoint.

Ride Along

Given that these were preproduction trucks, taking photos wasn’t part of the program, but that didn’t deter this scribe. After the seat belt clicked, the pro driver got to work. Heading to the starting line, he stabbed the throttle, and the truck leaped forward with a torquey push. Given its credentials, the thrust wasn’t shocking. The handling offered a surprise and delight — likely due to what’s under the bed.

The highlight of the tour was the opportunity to ride shotgun with a professional driver on an autocross course. Its power and straight-line traction are ample, but the truck’s handling was a pleasant surprise. There it flatly navigated the course and modulated the power at the edge of grip as if it were a much lighter vehicle.

“…Very unique to the industry and our first for F-series trucks, the F-150 Lightning has an independent rear suspension. This means one side of the suspension can move separate from the other side, unlike a solid rear axle,”  Linda Zhang, F-150 Lightning Chief Program Engineer said when the truck was revealed. “This was done to take advantage of the front and rear motor configuration to provide four-wheel drive on all models. This also improves isolation from different road surfaces and when combined with the rear aluminum control arms, significantly reduced unsprung mass for even greater ride, handling, and comfort.”

That proved true, as the hefty, 6,500-plus-pound truck with the extended range battery deftly navigated the course with the agility of a much lighter vehicle. This experience left us wanting more, but that would have to wait for another day. Until then, know this truck’s performance is, well, electrifying.

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About the author

Steve Turner

Steve Turner brings decades of passion and knowledge in the world of Ford performance, having covered it for over 20 years. From the swan song of the Fox Mustang to the birth of the Coyote, Steve had a front-row seat.
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