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2022 Ford F-150 Lightning – RUN SILENT. RUN DEEP.

Car Reviews

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning – RUN SILENT. RUN DEEP.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning


If the RAM TRX in my driveway last week, with its Flame Red exterior looking not unlike a spray tan and its flared wheelwells and bulging hood suggesting a dozen-too-many cheeseburgers, Ford’s F-150 Lightning EV could be Mitt Romney, the GOP candidate for president in 2012. Although there weren’t enough people liking Romney to make him president, as candidates go Mitt wasn’t an unreasonable proposition. And as light duty pickups go, neither is Ford’s all-electric F-150 Lightning.

First things first: This isn’t Tesla’s Cybertruck. In fact, in profile and in most of its exterior detailing this is Ford’s F-150, the best-selling platform in all of North America. Its 233 inches of overall length sit on a wheelbase of 145.5 inches, swallowing most of what pretends to be my 2-lane driveway leading to what pretends to be a two-stall garage. With just over 8 inches of ground clearance, along with its fixed running boards (a decidedly last-century spec for an EV pickup), step-in is simple – even for this sub-30” inseam. And once seated inside the 5-passenger cabin, visibility is excellent, although – again – relative to the elevated TRX you’ll feel as if you’re in someone’s vehicular basement. But then, with the Lightning’s low-mounted battery pack you’ll be in that basement with the battery pack.

Whether it’s Ford’s reliance on the existing configuration, or a product team with kids in college (as opposed to some EV teams, whose design decisions suggest they’re still in college…), there’s a lot that seems utterly conventional, from its digitized dash to a traditional transmission lever – there’s even a starter button! With only a week to assimilate all that the Lightning has to offer, intuitive trumps – the non-political ‘trump’ – Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey each and every time.

Given that it’s a truck, it’s worth considering what it can haul. The bed is 67 inches in length and offers just over 50 inches of width between the wheelhouses. Cargo box volume is almost 53 cubic feet, while the ‘frunk’ – the EV’s front trunk – supplies 14 cubic feet. And with the standard range battery and Max Trailer Tow package you can tow up to 7,700 pounds. 

But as you’d guess, towing significantly depreciates range. If I was buying a pickup to tow (and that’s probably the only reason I would buy a pickup), I’d quickly recognize the limitations of existing EV infrastructure, whether close to home or on the road. I don’t want to be without a charge in any scenario, but I sure don’t want to be without a charge while towing 5,000 pounds of trailer. 

When engaging ‘start’ and motoring (with its two motors and a combined 452 horsepower) the Lightning’s 6,000 pounds down the road, it does so with what the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Neil might call ‘alacrity’. Of course, I’m not Dan Neil, so can only guess at its meaning – but a 0-60 time of 4 seconds (in testing by Car and Driver) informs you the Lightning has git-up-and-go, and that acceleration is as drama-free as Mitt hisownself. The ride is about as un-trucklike as anything this side of Honda’s Ridgeline, helped in no small part by all-independent suspension and civilian-grade spec. This isn’t your ne’er-do-well brother’s Ford Raptor; this could be the official truck of Bain Capital. And, with a suggested retail of between $60,000 and $90K it’d behoove you to have some capital before biting off the obviously high monthlies.

The saving grace, of course, to that outlay is an EV’s inherently low cost of operation. Base range is now 240 miles, and when juxtaposed against the 15 (or so) miles per gallon you’ll typically get in a light duty pickup, charging your Lightning – especially if you can charge it at home or work – will be considerably less expensive than fueling your EcoBoost V6. For the right commute or commercial application the Lightning makes great sense. But here’s a proposition that, to my mind and pocketbook, makes even better cents:

For the $75K outlay of a Lightning in Lariat trim, you can buy Ford’s compact Maverick hybrid pickup (think $25K) and have enough coin left over for Ford’s Mustang Mach-E. When you need a bed the Maverick will provide it, and that hybrid drivetrain gives you 40 miles per gallon to boot. Day-in and day-out you can enjoy the Mach-E’s cut-and-thrust capabilities, while the Maverick – if deployed for Home Depot runs – can handle the mower and mulch. 

In political terms, it’d be like having Mitt and Mayor Pete on the same ticket. Or Dan and Dave on the same masthead! It could be tremendous.

Boldt, a contributor to outlets such as, Kelley Blue Book and Autoblog, brings to his laptop some forty years of experience in automotive retail, journalism and public relations. He is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, The Washington Automotive Press Association and L.A.'s Motor Press Guild. David is the Managing Editor of txGarage, a regular panelist on the AutoNetwork Reports webcast/podcast, and the automotive contributor to Dallas' Katy Trail Weekly.

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