2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Assessment

PROS:

  • Lengthy vary
  • Fast acceleration
  • Large-truck practicality

CONS:

  • Gigantic proportions
  • Busy inside
  • Price

EDITOR’S QUOTE:

The F-150 Lightning is an excellent truck and a wildly versatile EV. I solely want it had been smaller.

Ford offered over 650,000 F-150s within the U.S. in 2022, 653,957 to be precise. That’s a outstanding variety of automobiles of any kind — Toyota solely offered lower than half that many Camrys. It’s that quantity that made the discharge of the F-150 Lightning in early 2022 so important. This truck really has the potential to be a game-changer, taking thousands and thousands of probably the most environmentally unfriendly automobiles off the highway and changing them with emissions-free successors.

That was the promise, and with a sub-$40,000 preliminary asking worth the Lightning was a really tempting launch. Now, although, the scales have modified dramatically. As of this writing, the most cost effective Lightning, the Professional, begins at $59,974 — $63,474 if you’d like something apart from the stripped, fleet particular. The truck you see right here, in the meantime, value simply over $100,000. On condition that, is the Lightning nonetheless the world-changing uber-truck that it was presupposed to be?

It’s, however the monetary equation is unfortunately much more sophisticated than earlier than.

Exterior Design

The design of the F-150 Lightning doesn’t supply a lot in the best way of nuance or progressive pondering. This factor seems, very a lot, only a truck. An enormous one at that. That’s not essentially a nasty factor, as patrons on this phase don’t are inclined to need something radical, however you’d actually be forgiven for not selecting a Lightning out of a crowd of F-Sequence vehicles in a parking zone.

In movement it’s somewhat simpler to identify due to the distinctive working lights back and front, which span up across the headlights on the nostril and between the tail lights on the rear. These particulars are far and away the largest visible differentiator between Lightning and a extra pedestrian F-Sequence. However, look somewhat nearer and you’ll spot another cues.

The place the grille needs to be is only a large swath of black plastic. As a substitute of a gasoline filler cap on the rear fender, there’s a charging port on the entrance fender, and some Lightning badges are scattered right here and there.

For each nuance that’s subtly completely different within the Lightning there are a dozen parts carried over wholesale from the common F-150. The mirrors nonetheless stand out large and proud, every with roughly the identical aerodynamic finesse as a shoe field. Physique and mattress are nonetheless break up by the identical, vertical, inch-wide hole and there’s even the identical quantity pad on the B-pillar for keyless entry of the old-school selection.

Most importantly: the F-150 Lightning is large, similar to an everyday F-150. Vans on this class have been placing on weight for generations now and this present implementation is positively overweight. At 231.7 inches, the Lightning is a whopping 33 inches longer than a Tesla Mannequin X SUV, 45 inches longer than the Mustang Mach-E. It’s 96 inches large and 78.3-inches tall — too tall even to suit into my storage, because it seems.

It’s exhausting to argue with the outright capabilities, and it is sensible for Ford to come back out of the gate with a top-shelf electrical truck as a substitute of one thing somewhat smaller and extra manageable (dearer automobiles have larger revenue margins, in any case), however I can’t assist wishing this had been somewhat extra Maverick and so much much less large.

Inside Design

That dimension does create a truck with an expansive inside. 5 adults, even these of a beneficiant girth, will match comfortably right here with enough headroom and shoulder room and each different sort of room, too. Rear-seating isn’t precisely luxurious, however it’s completely acceptable, with heating, a pair of USB ports (one A and one C) plus a 12-volt outlet and even a straight-up, three-prong 120V outlet.

Within the Platinum trim, the 2 seats up entrance add on air flow plus the same old energy changes together with lumbar. The enormous arm-rest flips as much as reveal a chasm sufficiently big to retailer a pair six packs of your favourite beverage. Or, you’ll be able to fold out the cushioning on prime to create a wonderfully serviceable workspace. One other pair of storage cubbies lower in on the perimeters of what can be the transmission tunnel if this factor had a transmission, plus one other compartment forward of the shifter with wi-fi charging and a pair of USB ports.

The doorways are equally riddled with space for storing and there’s not one however two glove containers. Loads of locations to lose loads of issues, but additionally a beneficiant place for working. The USB-C ports within the middle will hold your laptop computer charged when you work when you forgot your adapter, and the truck’s built-in WiFi will guarantee your children within the again can carry on streaming on the best way to highschool.

When it comes to visible attraction, there’s so much happening within the inside, contrasting and clashing patterns and subtly completely different darkish shades. White wouldn’t be my first upholstery shade for a piece truck, however it does present a little bit of good distinction when getting into the Lightning.

As soon as seated, you’re confronted with a sea of black plastics, some gloss, some textured, some knurled, some embossed with a pretend leather-based sample, some with a fake brushed steel look, and a few wrapped with pseudo woodgrain. This mixture of supplies is a bit jarring and a bit disappointing in any car costing this a lot.

Know-how

The most effective a part of the inside is the large, 15.5-inch, vertically oriented show sitting proper in the course of the sprint. This provides loads of actual property for all the things from local weather controls on the underside to fast entry to settings alongside the highest, with quite a few tiles slotting in by way of the center relying on what you’re doing.

That mentioned, I do want it had a couple of of the extra delicate tips from the Mach-E’s implementation of SYNC, like a persistent button on the highest for rapidly getting again to Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, each of which work wirelessly right here and each additionally serve flip directions to the gauge cluster.

That cluster is 12 inches, large in comparison with that on the Mach-E and is configurable, displaying all the things from cost standing to pitch and roll for off-roading. The 360 cameras are additionally helpful whenever you’re hitting the path, however they’re way more useful when making an attempt to fit this factor right into a parking spot. That may be a little bit of a problem, however with self-parking the Lightning is completely happy to deal with that for you – when you’re not in a rush.

Different energetic options embrace adaptive cruise, lane-keep help, and computerized emergency braking with evasion. The hallmark right here, although, is BlueCruise. That is Ford’s hands-off driver help system, able to dealing with steering and pace on highways. It’s solely obtainable on sure, mapped and divided roads. Whenever you get to at least one, there’s nothing to do however let go of the wheel.

BlueCruise will do two issues: pilot the Lightning and watch you. An infra-red digital camera constructed into the dashboard is at all times learning your eyes to make sure that you’re paying consideration, as a result of even when your arms are off the wheel you’re nonetheless chargeable for taking on. Let these eyes wander too lengthy on a curious roadside signal or a very cute canine frollicking in somebody’s entrance yard and the truck will chime at you. Do it once more and it’ll chime once more, extra insistently. Finally, the system will disable itself and also you’ll be by yourself.

BlueCruise works nicely, however the one within the F-150 Lightning isn’t probably the most superior taste of this expertise, unable to carry out automated lane adjustments. You’ll nonetheless have to deal with that your self.

However the truck can deal with itself in numerous different methods, just like the lately launched Dynamic Hitch Help system. Simply again the automotive up someplace close to the hitch in your trailer and the Lightning will use the rear-view digital camera to mechanically determine the place the ball in your hitch must be, then line again itself up completely.

Trip and Dynamics

The F-150 Lightning has a standard look and that very undoubtedly continues to the standard really feel. This factor drives like a truck by way of and thru, however a really snug and compliant one. The Lightning continues to be constructed on the identical ladder-frame design as the conventional F-150, however with impartial suspension right here as a substitute of the standard live-axle.

That absolutely helps to extend the journey high quality and luxury. The Lightning is compliant on damaged roads and surfaces, absorbing railroad crossings and separation joints with out grievance. That mentioned, physique management is a bit missing, the large rig having an inclination to drift and bob a couple of moments longer than you would possibly like after a significant compression.

Steering is relaxed however acceleration is just not. This dual-motor Lightning with the Prolonged Battery will get to 60 mph in lower than 4.0 seconds, which is faster than many sports activities automobiles. It scrabbles off the road with solely a little bit of a whir and a large quantity of thrust. Extra importantly, it could possibly tow as much as 10,000 kilos in XLS or Lariat trim, which isn’t too removed from the utmost 14,000 on an everyday F-150. That mentioned, payload is down from 3,325 to 1,952 when you get the bigger battery, 2,235 with out.

To check that, I loaded the truck up with a pair cubic yards of mulch, simply wanting the utmost payload, and the truck was nonetheless extraordinarily straightforward to drive, accelerating strongly and braking simply as nicely.

When it comes to vary, the F-150 Lightning with the bigger battery pack is rated for a formidable 320 miles. This Platinum truck, with the larger wheels and further goodies, nonetheless charges 300 miles per the EPA.

Maybe extra importantly, the Lightning will serve up that battery capability in many alternative methods, from the onboard USB-C ports to maintain your laptop computer juiced to shops within the mattress and much more built-in within the frunk for charging software batteries. Go for the bidirectional Ford Cost Station Professional, and Ford estimates the Lightning can energy a median house for 3 days.

Whether or not you utilize the Lightning as an emergency backup or a jobsite generator, the practicality is actual. The one disgrace is charging. The Lightning tops out at 150 kW charging price, which is undeniably sluggish contemplating the large, 131 kWh battery pack right here. That’s considerably slower than many different EVs that value much less and have far smaller packs.

Pricing and Choices

The F-150 Lightning you see right here is the top-shelf Platinum trim, outfitted with 22-inch wheels, $495 for the Fast Crimson Metallic paint, and $595 for the spray-in mattress liner. Nevertheless, a couple of issues had been deleted resulting from provide constraints, just like the onboard scale, which knocked the value down by $650.

Complete worth, after a $1,895 vacation spot cost is $100,609. That’s one costly truck.

All these worth hikes for the reason that Lightning’s preliminary launch are a disgrace. The Lightning was merely a compelling possibility for anyone trying to purchase a truck. Now, patrons must do some math. For contractors, having the ability to energy a job website with out a generator rental will certainly be compelling. For householders, utilizing the truck as a whole-home energy supply helps make the value sting rather less.

After which after all there are the gasoline financial savings over a standard truck, which could possibly be substantial.

The mathematics is a bit more sophisticated than earlier than, however that doesn’t change the ultimate outcome. The F-150 Lightning is an excellent truck and a wildly versatile EV. I solely want it had been smaller.


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