Not quite with the quickness of its name, the 2022 Ford Lightning arrived a year after it was announced. There was much fanfare, an avalanche of deposits and now there’s an estimated three-year backlog for delivery.
First teased at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, Ford beat all the others — Tesla to GMC, Chevrolet to Rivian — to the streets to further add to manufacturer’s truck legacy.
The industry’s best-seller for decades, hadn’t Ford already offered every conceivable truck necessary to maintain its sales advantage? The Lightning boldly adds to the mix. It’s a luxury-oriented, full-size electric pickup truck with top-level performance and a 300-plus mile range.
Available in Pro, XLT, Lariat and Platinum trims, the F-150 Lightning splits its battery prowess. The Pro trim is available with a smaller-capacity battery; the Platinum is offered only with a higher-capacity battery. The XLT and Lariat are equipped with the smaller-capacity battery standard, with the higher-capacity battery optional.
The standard-range battery produces 452 horsepower and a 230-mile range; The extended-range battery provides 563 horsepower and a 320-mile range. The standard all-wheel-drive system has selectable Normal, Sport, Off-Road and Tow/Haul modes. Metal skid plates provide underbody protection.
As an electric vehicle and with robust power, the Ford Lightning is unique. Trucks aren’t generally associated with speed, but the Lightning accelerates from 0-to-60 miles per hour in less than six seconds, a superior effort for any vehicle and particularly for a truck.
The reviewed top-line Platinum trim adds features from lower trims and the luxury-loaded Lariat trim, including the ominous 15.5-inch tablet-style Ford SYNC 4A touchscreen infotainment system. There’s also an upgraded front grille, 22-inch all-season tires and aluminum-alloy wheels.
That’s plenty, but a tow technology package, max trailer tow package and Ford BlueCruise semi-autonomous driving system are also in the mix. Perforated luxury leather-trimmed seats, a twin-panel panoramic moonroof and a Bang & Olufsen 18-speaker amplified surround sound audio system take the Lightning into a higher category. With a few other luxury pickup trucks, the new Ford is a small, richly-appointed apartment on wheels.
Despite its high-end look, the Ford Lightning isn’t just for show. It has workhouse capabilities with as much as a 2,235-pound payload limit (with a standard range battery) and a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds. With an unladen load, the maximum range is 320 miles.
Further helpful for buyers keen on versatility, the Ford Lightning has two 120-volt outlets in the cabin, and four exterior 120-volt outlets and two USB ports. It’s all part of a 2.4-kilowatt Pro Power Onboard package (a 9.6-kW version is optional).
The Lightning is replete with surprises, starting with a $50,000-plus difference between the base level Pro model ($39,974) and the Premium ($90,474). Yet there’s only one cab option, the Super Crew, and one-bed length, 67.1 inches.
Ford calls its front trunk a Mega Power Frunk. It features more power outlets, drains plugs and a 400-pound limit for cargo. It’s enough space for two medium-size, soft-sided suitcases.
For mobile work, a large console workspace easily unfolds and expands flat when the gear shifter is tucked forward and flush. The truck’s work versatility is further assisted when the tailgate is lowered. Built-in ruler marks stretch across the gate’s interior.
Exterior surprises include the LED light bar above the front non-grille-like grille as well as integrated side steps. There’s also a rear step assist. It emerges from the tailgate and snaps back into place when no longer needed.
The new Lightning is quick, quiet, comfortable and innovative. Is its top-line worth $92,000 before state and federal rebates?
If Ford’s tallies are accurate more than 200,000 customers are waiting to find out.