Expert Reviews

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Review and Video

AutoTrader SCORE
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • Safety

I wish I could tell you that the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is every bit as good as the rest of this truck’s lineup.

Except I can’t – because it’s better.

OK, it’s not necessarily better at traditional truck stuff like towing for meaningful distances or driving between faraway job sites and back home again; but even then, it has more than a few tricks that matter while being better suited for the stuff most people do with their trucks the rest of the time. And in that way, this all-electric F-150 is as good as it gets.

Practicality: 10/10

Look, there’s no shame in having a half-ton for a family hauler, but if you’re mostly using it for the kind of stuff a Toyota Camry can do – shuttling the kids to school, or stopping for groceries after work – then it’s time to get serious about electrification. Heck, even if that’s not the case, there’s no time like the present to consider switching to an electric vehicle (EV). And if you are, the F-150 Lightning just so happens to be a very good one.

That’s because it combines all the best parts of the gas-powered truck it’s based on, like outstanding outward visibility and tons of space inside, with a few features that are unique to this EV version. Since the Lightning only comes in a crew cab configuration, there’s ample room in the back for two – or even three – passengers to stretch out, while the 5-foot-5 bed is the same as the one bolted to the back of most half-tons these days.

Where it goes its own way is under the hood, where there’s nothing at all – except all that nothingness amounts to a 400-L cargo hold that’s perfect for stashing tools or grocery bags without taking up valuable occupant space. There’s also a built-in 9.6-kW inverter that turns this truck into a mobile generator, with outlets both under the hood and in the bed (plus a couple more in the cabin).

Power: 10/10

Every F-150 Lightning features a pair of electric motors, with all-wheel drive as a result. (That’s an important distinction, as most trucks feature selectable four-wheel drive systems.) Torque comes in at the same 775 lb-ft regardless of battery size, while the 98-kWh unit makes 452 hp and the long-range 131-kWh pack spins up 580 hp. With electrified urgency, this truck is quick – and water’s wet.

Driving Feel: 9/10

What matters more is just how mellow the drive experience is. Maybe it comes down to the Lightning’s sheer size and weight, but it just might deliver the most zen-like driving manners of all the EVs I’ve spent time with over the years. Sure, it can surge ahead in a hurry thanks to all the torque its twin electric motors generate; but it’s downright docile, feeling much better suited to serene cruising than kicking up dust from stoplight to stoplight.

It’s just one of the ways in which this electric version is the best of the F-150 brood. Even its ladder frame construction is reasonably well masked, the bulky battery pack acting like a kind of permanent payload that quells the front-to-back bucking over broken or precast concrete that’s typical to trucks like this one. It’s still there, but only barely. More noticeable is the way the unsprung weight of the wheels pulls at the suspension over potholes and other imperfections, but even that isn’t as bad as it is in the off-road-ready F-150 Tremor.

Comfort: 9/10

On-road comfort is outstanding otherwise, with a cloud-like ride quality that’s reminiscent of air suspension – which this truck doesn’t offer, it’s worth noting – and cushy seats to match. In the Lariat trim tested here, the front chairs are both heated and ventilated, while the top trim adds massage settings.

User Friendliness: 8/10

Unlike the rest of the F-150 lineup, the switchgear for engaging those seat settings is gone. In fact, most physical controls have been ditched in favour of the same oversized touchscreen found in the all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. It’s certainly the kind of showpiece that’s expected in a modern EV like this one, but it lacks the eyes-free simplicity of a bank of buttons on the console. Interestingly, I had the same iPhone connectivity issues as my first Mach-E test, with the wireless Apple CarPlay sporadically losing contact while driving.

Beyond the massive 15.5-inch screen stuck to the dash, the steering wheel buttons are as straightforward as the ones in any other F-150, providing control over the digital instrument display as well as the standard adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping systems. There’s also a companion smartphone app that can be used to lock and unlock the doors, start the truck, or schedule charging. It even allows a connected phone to function as a key with the Platinum trim (it’s optional with the Lariat).

Styling: 9/10

While the portrait-oriented touchscreen acts as a tech-forward centrepiece for this truck, the rest of the cabin looks and feels like that of any other F-150. It blends form and function well, while this tester’s two-tone black and grey leather upholstery looks and feels like it belongs in a truck that starts at about $80,000 before tax.

Likewise, the exterior almost looks like the rest of the lineup, with barely a few hints about what powers it. Lightning wordmarks span the bedsides, while unique lighting front and rear provide some subtle-yet-striking presence. The bigger hint of what’s hiding under the truck’s familiar form in the facia, with a fully enclosed snout instead of a slotted grille. Neither bizarre nor bland, the Lightning stands out just enough – even in this tester’s understated white paint.

Features: 9/10

More so than any other F-150 in the lineup, this all-electric model is teeming with features. A big touchscreen (12-inch in the XLT; 15.5-inch in the Lariat and Platinum) with wireless connections for both Android and Apple devices, the built-in inverter and various outlets, and a host of advanced safety features are all standard. Opting for the Tow Technology package ($1,200) adds onboard scales that measure payload in real time, as well Ford’s trailer back-up assist system that simplifies the task through the use of a small dial on the dash; simply turn it in the desired direction, and that’s the way the trailer goes.

Otherwise, there’s a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot (that requires a subscription, of course), a folding work surface that turns the centre console into a makeshift desk, and connected navigation with a free three-year trial. The truck is also capable of over-the-air updates.

The smaller of the two batteries features an 11.3-kW onboard charger, while the bigger pack gets a 19.2-kW unit. Regardless, it takes a little more than 40 minutes to boost the battery from 15 to 80 per cent when using a 150-kW DC fast-charger. And with a companion 80-amp charger, the Lightning’s battery can even be used to power a home in the event of an outage.

Fuel Economy: 8/10

Of course, the benefit of the bigger of the two batteries isn’t just the stuff it can be used to power but the distances this truck can travel between charging. While opting for the 96-kWh pack yields a claimed 370 km of range, that number jumps to 515 km with the 131-kWh unit. It also gives this F-150 the ability to cover upwards of 400 km even during highway-dominant drives, where EVs are far less efficient.

Even so, the indicated 27 kWh/100 km I averaged across 420 km or so of testing was better than I expected. So was the 70 kWh of energy I added in 47 minutes spent hooked up to a fast-charging station.

Time spent on city streets allowed me to tap into a regenerative braking system that proved to be as good as any other. Barring emergency there’s almost no need to use the mechanical brakes beyond shifting between park, drive, and reverse; with one-pedal mode engaged, the regenerative system brings the truck to a halt time and again thanks to an easily modulated throttle. When released in a measured manner, it can bring the truck to a stop all on its own while generating kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost and using it to charge the battery pack on the go.

Safety: 9/10

When it comes to advanced safety features, everything from forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking to lane-keep assist and blind-spot monitoring that extends the length of an attached trailer is included. Likewise, there’s lane-centring, rear parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control that works in stop-and-go traffic.

Available optionally with the Lariat trim and standard with the Platinum is an upgraded adaptive cruise that boasts hands-free functionality. Dubbed Blue Cruise by Ford, the system works on pre-mapped stretches of highway by automating steering inputs without driver intervention. While not quite as advanced as the same system from rival General Motors (GM), which also automates lane changes and works with a trailer hooked up to the back, Blue Cruise worked well during this test, travelling along construction-riddled stretches of highways 401 and 403 in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) without issue.

Worthy of note, however, is that the hands-free functionality won’t work until the truck is registered with a companion smartphone app. It’s something of a bizarre addition to the process, as there are no acknowledgements or extra steps required; it’s simply something of a gate-keeping exercise by the engineers at Ford. (In addition to Blue Cruise, the upgraded system also includes self-parking for both parallel and perpendicular spots, and that phone-as-a-key functionality.)

Value: 7/10

Determining the value of a vehicle that currently makes up a segment of one is more than a little difficult. Even so, the $82,095 including freight this Lariat trim starts at seems reasonable – although the big battery adds a significant $13,380 to that asking price. Add in this tester’s few features, and its asking price of $99,815 before tax is eye-watering at the very least. (Interestingly, it’s also a shade less than the federal government’s new luxury tax).

The Verdict

That’s a lot of money, but then this is a lot of truck. The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning retains all its conventional counterpart’s finest traits, including spaciousness and simplicity, but adds better driving manners and emissions-free efficiency. Maybe it can’t do typical truck stuff with the same sort of pay-no-mind proficiency as a gas-powered pickup, but this all-electric one is part of the precipice of a fundamental shift in the way we’re going to have to approach how and what we drive, tow, and haul.

Change is never without resistance, and such is the case with the shift towards electrification. But the reality is that it’s coming whether you like it or not. Thankfully, when it comes to the F-150 Lightning, there’s an awful lot to like.

Engine Displacement 420 kW
Engine Cylinders Dual electric motors
Peak Horsepower 580 hp
Peak Torque 775 lb-ft
Fuel Economy 3.0 / 3.7 / 3.3 Le/100 km, 26.9 / 33.3 / 29.8 kWh/100 km city/hwy/cmb; 515 km est. range
Cargo Space 400 / 1,495 L frunk/bed
Model Tested 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat Extended Range
Base Price $93,380
A/C Tax $100
Destination Fee $2,095
Price as Tested $99,815
Optional Equipment
$4,240 – Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0, $2,100; Ford Charge Station Pro Delete, -$1,580; Tow Technology Package, $1,200; Max Tow Package, $1,120; Spray-in Bedliner, $600; Star White Metallic Tri-Coat Paint, $550; Trays and Carpets, $250