Quick Spin: The 2022 F-150 Lightning Is Shockingly Fast & Functional

Quick Spin: The 2022 F-150 Lightning Is Shockingly Fast & Functional

With nothing but a wide-open road ahead, I roll to a stop and drop the hammer. It is no longer the gas pedal, but it is still the accelerator and does it ever invoke acceleration. Instantly 775 lb-ft of torque hits the rear wheels of the Lightning and the all-season tires briefly protest, as the truck leaps forward from 0-60 in less than 4 seconds like a silent missile.

The thrust is so significant that I could feel my brain pushed to the back of my skull as a Cheshire Cat grin formed on my face. The acceleration is addictive, even though I risked making myself car sick in a way that only electric vehicles seem to induce.

Lightning

Balancing a distinctive look with those classic F-150 lines, the latest Lightning represents a whole new chapter for Ford’s truck’s business. Based on our experience, the Blue Oval has a hit on its hands.

Though the Lightning moves out much quicker than a 6,015-pound pickup has any right to, it still delivers a more familiar acceleration experience than its Mustang Mach-E cousin, as it transfers weight to the rear of the truck and leaps forward, whereas the Mach-E, particularly the GT, just leaps forward.

While I should have expected it, constantly matting the go pedal does adversely affect the range of the 2022 F-150 Lightning Lariat I was driving. Equipped with an extended-range battery, this truck offers 300 miles of range at a starting price of $77,474.

Lightning

Fitted with an extended-range battery, the 2022 F-150 Lightning Lariat delivers 300 miles of range and a 7,700-pound towing capacity. Towing will diminish that range, but Ford’s onboard scales will more accurately adjust the available range based on the payload.

As the most powerful F-150 ever built with 580 horsepower on tap, it lives up to the history of the nameplate pioneered by the SVT Lightning. Having been around for the debut of the last SVT Lightning — which was powered by a 380-horsepower, supercharged Two-Valve 5.4-liter engine — that truck was fun, if not fuel-efficient, but it did have an impressive 450 lb-ft of torque for its era, which pales in comparison to the 775 lb-ft in the current Lightning.

Of course, time and technology marched forward, so the new truck is not only faster and more powerful, it hauls plenty of modern features. The latest Lightning brings SYNC 4 infotainment and a huge vertical screen like one found in the Mach-E. Likewise, it sports a traditional-style instrument cluster delivering important speed, range, and other information at the ready.

The Lariat interior is nicely appointed. The familiar, large infotainment screen is a pleasure to use, and Ford continues its full-size-truck tradition of making the cabin a friendly mobile workplace. Simply push a button and the shift handle lays flat to allow for the console to open into a sizable flat desk. A traditional plug on the dash allows plugging in a laptop before logging onto the onboard hotspot.

 

“It really is the smartest F-150 we’ve ever made,” said Darren Palmer, vice president, Global EV Programs, Ford Motor Company. “F-150 Lightning gives our customers all the info they want in an instant — a real-time view of where they’re going, what they’re hauling, or how much real-world range they’ve got banked. And with Ford Power-Up software updates, the experience is only going to get better.”

The Lightning look is both modern and familiar, and the carbon-gray wheels help the truck stand out from its ICE cousins.

Among those features is BlueCruise, which lets the truck do most of the driving on enabled stretches of road throughout the country. On a mostly interstate road trip, I was able to sample the hands-free aspects of this feature and it made the long hauls more enjoyable, but it does chastise if the driver doesn’t keep eyes on the wheel. Of course, I turned it off a few times and put the pedal to the floor to feel the rush.

BlueCruise made the two-hour drive to the beach much more relaxing. Meanwhile, the charging infrastructure can still be spotty in some areas. I charged at home to 100 percent on my Level 2 charger, and luckily my beachside destination had one EV Go fast charger locally. In an hour it brought the Lightning from just under 40 percent to right at 90 percent of capacity, which was plenty for running around town and returning home.

The Lightning was a surprise arrival in my driveway after a week in the Maverick, and it too came at a great time. Heading to the beach about 110 miles away for Memorial Day weekend provided a great test for its practicality in transporting people and gear. In practice, the Lightning experience is effortless. It delivered not only that incredible acceleration and surprisingly sharp handling, but a comfortable ride, plenty of room for gear (particularly in the huge frunk), and ample range for a weekend getaway.

Upon arrival at my vacation destination, the truck still retained plenty of range for running around town for grocery runs and dinner outings, but I did make a detour to the one fast-charging station in town where in an hour it restored the charge to 90 percent for $19.95, which would be plenty for the weekend and the trip home.

Lightning

In Florida, rain is always a concern. This is where the huge frunk came in handy. It can hold up to 400 pounds of concrete, which meant it had plenty of room for three carry-on bags and more gear than needed security and protection from the elements.

Once parked at a seaside rental, the Lightning generated a lot of attention overnight. In the morning, the manager tracked me down and asked if I was driving the truck. She had fielded numerous questions about the truck, which had just begun rolling out to buyers when I drove it.

Ford’s marketing of this truck resonated. People know about the Lightning, and when they finally get to experience it firsthand as I did, it is likely to convince a lot more people to give electric trucks a try.

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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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