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2022 Ford F-150 Lightning First Drive Review: Worth the wait

SAN ANTONIO — The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning had already confirmed to be successful earlier than we even had an opportunity to drive the factor. The order books already closed for its first mannequin 12 months, so for 2022 at the least, this evaluation is principally for all these people who’re already getting one. And it’s simple to see why they jumped on the likelihood to face in line. The method consists of taking the best-selling car in America — the F-Sequence pickup — and giving it an all-electric powertrain. If that weren’t sufficient, Ford additionally made it essentially the most highly effective F-150 and the quickest to speed up, and packed it distinctive advantages like a entrance trunk and means to energy your whole home within the occasion of an outage. The query is, then, does that method translate into an electrical truck that’s nearly as good because it sounds? Ford invited us to coronary heart of truck nation, San Antonio, Texas, to search out out.

The F-150 Lightning has two powertrain choices, however irrespective of which you choose, you get two electrical motors — one entrance, one rear — offering all-wheel drive. The Customary Vary model contains a 98-kilowatt-hour battery good for 230 miles of driving vary between costs. This powertrain offers 452 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque. Ford claims this can do the 0-60 dash in 5 seconds.

A 131-kWh Prolonged Vary Battery is optionally available on the fleet model of the Professional trim, the buyer variations of the XLT and Lariat, and customary on the range-topping Platinum. This offers a driving vary of 320 miles in Professional, XLT and Lariat, and 300 miles within the Platinum. Selecting this battery additionally ups the output from the electrical motors to 580 hp, sustaining the identical 775 lb-ft of torque. This shrinks the 0-60 time to the mid-4-second vary.

All trim ranges have a couple of customary options in widespread. The one Lightning configuration is a SuperCrew cab with a 5.5-foot mattress, 4×4 powertrain, and an digital locking rear differential borrowed from the common F-150. Every has at the least eight 120-volt shops unfold all through truck, a 12-inch digital instrument panel and a 20-foot cell charging cable able to each Degree 1 (120 volts) and Degree 2 (240 volts, 30 amps utilizing a NEMA 14-50 plug). There’s loads of shared customary gear as properly, together with the Ford Co-Pilot 360 suite of driver help tech, however there’s in the end a lot to inform you in regards to the numerous trim ranges, that we thought it was higher to interrupt it down in a separate article right here.

Our first driving stint within the F-150 Lightning came about on public roads in and round San Antonio within the Platinum trim with the Prolonged Vary battery. After our first trip within the Lighting prototype final September, Autoblog Street Take a look at Editor Zac Palmer famous that “Any F-150 proprietor may hop into the Lightning and immediately really feel at dwelling.” Whereas he was talking in regards to the expertise as a passenger, it holds true from the driving force’s seat of the manufacturing truck as properly. The 15.5-inch infotainment display shared with the Mustang Mach-E is the inside’s headlining function (and we usually prefer it), however the remainder of the inside could be very a lot widespread with different F-150s. That features the fold-down shifter and deployable workspace borrowed from the common F-150 that’s good for when you must cease to take some notes (or take pleasure in a tidy meal) inside your truck.

Firing it up, we headed out from downtown San Antonio, creeping silently by means of the streets. There, the driving felt just like different electrical autos — prompt, clean acceleration and supremely quiet operation — however, simply, greater. On the expressway, the Lightning’s powertrain actually started to set itself aside from the F-150s we’re used to. Regardless of its dimension and weight, this pickup can hustle. It will get on top of things in what appears like an prompt, making merging simple as you simply choose your hole and seemingly teleport into it. The motors are so potent that there was by no means a scenario throughout our drive once we really wanted to place the pedal to the ground.

The electrical motors aren’t the one revolutionary factor about this F-150, although. It’s the solely full-size truck to return geared up with an unbiased rear suspension fairly than the same old stable rear axle. It additionally has coil springs, which is one thing . This packaging, Ford says, was to raised accommodate the battery, in addition to the full-size spare tire under the mattress. That mentioned, the Lightning nonetheless felt like every other F-150 happening the highway. It nonetheless exhibited a truck-like trip, although a premium one. It will trundle over imperfections with a comfortable rebound, extra of a tender bounce than a crashy jolt. We didn’t discover a lot vibration by means of the body construction both, maybe due to the high-strength metal body encasing the inflexible battery pack, with a suspension designed to deal with the additional weight of all of it.

After a pair dozen miles of freeway driving and protected, uneventful BlueCruising (see our separate evaluation of the semi-autonomous driving system coming quickly), we made our method onto some extra meandering rural highways, the place the steering wheel would get some train. The steering felt direct, however digital and synthetic. There wasn’t lots of play on-center, and the weighty feeling builds rapidly if you dial in additional angle. It’s in a position to hustle by means of the corners, constructing lateral g forces with out an extreme quantity of lean, although we have been nonetheless pulled to the perimeters of the huge seats of the Platinum. We later discovered the softer seats within the lesser trims held us in place higher, however did miss the fancier thrones’ massaging functionality.

The F-150 Lightning, relying on trim, and choices, can tow as much as 10,000 kilos; particularly, the Professional, XLT and Lariat geared up with the Prolonged Vary battery and the Most Trailer Tow Package deal are rated to tow that restrict. We later hopped in a sufficiently geared up Professional mannequin with a 9,500-pound trailer load connected, and headed out for a fast loop. The truck had no issues with that quantity of weight. With all that torque and horsepower, we have been by no means lagging to maintain up with site visitors, and there was no difficulty merging onto the freeway. The entrance tires would slip a little bit when given practically full throttle, however as soon as traction management introduced the whole lot into concord, the Lightning sped away with ease. Like one of the best vans for towing, we may virtually neglect there was something behind us as soon as underway. We have been much more involved in regards to the dimension of the trailer than the load, and made use of the obtainable rear digicam feed on that huge infotainment display to verify we gave it loads of room round corners or when passing oncoming vans on slim roads.

Subsequent take a look at up, the off-road course. On a unfastened filth path with a giant dip, we managed to get a wheel up within the air – the truck hesitated barely with the locker off, however traction management was in a position to ultimately get us out of the outlet. With the diff locked, there was no hesitation in any respect. We later climbed and descended steep, rock-strewn hills, splashed by means of deep, muddy water and crossed a rocky creek mattress, all with relative ease and luxury.

All through all of it, we have been in a position to really admire simply how properly an electrical powertrain is fitted to off-roading. Since electrical motors produce their most torque from zero rpm, there’s no want for a low-range switch case. Or a transmission, for that matter. So with no gears to handle and deep reserves of energy, it was merely a recreation of linear throttle modulation and discovering the precise path. Simply press a little bit extra deeply along with your proper foot if you must get going, and ease off if you don’t. It’s virtually too simple.

Maybe one of the best factor about an electrical 4×4 is the quiet. Roll down the home windows and you’ll hear the world round you — bushes rustling, birds, the rocks tumbling beneath the tires. In nation as lovely as these hills outdoors of San Antonio, it’s good to have the ability to take pleasure in it with extra of the senses, free from the chug of an engine or the whiff of exhaust.

In fact, there are extra advantages to the electrical pickup bundle than simply the driving expertise. Whereas a entrance trunk in electrical automobiles and SUVs looks as if a waste of area, it’s really an awesome addition for a truck. The Lightning’s 14.1-cubic-foot frunk is comparable in quantity to a midsize sedan trunk. That needs to be sufficient to eradicate the necessity for a locking mattress cowl (or simply leaving valuables open to the weather and thieves), and retains the again seat open for a full load of individuals. Plus, with ProPower Onboard (extra on that in a second) there are additionally 4 120-volt plugs in there, in addition to USB and USB-C ports, which means you should use that frunk area to cost one thing whereas driving (like an electrical scooter to get you that final mile), or to energy instruments or home equipment at your worksite or tailgate celebration.

Each Lightning can present at the least 2.4-kW {of electrical} energy by means of a complete of eight 120-volt, three-prong energy shops unfold all through the truck. The obtainable upgraded ProPower Onboard system provides an additional 7.2-kW of juice for a grand complete of 9.6-kW and contains 4 120-volt plugs within the frunk, 4 within the mattress and one for every row of seating inside. There’s additionally a 240-volt outlet within the mattress for powering greater instruments, or for charging one other EV with the cell charger and an adapter. Principally, it’s an much more sturdy model of our Autoblog Know-how of the 12 months.

The F-150 Lightning may also present energy to the house with Clever Backup Energy. Prolonged Vary fashions include the 80-amp Ford Cost Station Professional (it prices $1,310 in any other case). Not solely can this cost the Lightning at 19.2 kW, it may additionally draw 9.6 kW from the car into your private home, through the House Integration System ($3,895) offered by Sunrun. Within the case of an influence outage, you should use the Lightning like a generator to energy your entire dwelling. It has sufficient vitality storage to energy the typical dwelling (utilizing 30 kWh per day) for 3 days — or as much as 10, Ford says, in case you preserve vitality to solely energy the actually essential issues. When energy is restored, it’ll mechanically start recharging the pickup. In locations with variable vitality charges, the system may even be capable of cost the truck when vitality is reasonable, and use that saved vitality to energy your private home when electrical energy is pricey.

One function we had seen teased beforehand, however had forgotten about till we have been digging by means of a number of the menu screens, is a small suite of video video games you possibly can play when you’re ready to your truck to cost at a public station, or ready to select up a passenger. We toyed round with them a little bit between driving classes, and located them to be nice time-wasters. Nicely, Sudoku has at all times sucked, however we loved the remainder, which embody video games referred to as Blocks, Jigsaw Puzzles, Lane Change, Sketch and Tiles.

For all these people who may use one thing to do whereas ready round for his or her reserved F-150 Lightning to be delivered, relaxation assured that it’ll be well-worth the wait. As suspected, the truck + electrical equation is a no brainer. It’s acquainted, but filled with distinctive improvements and capabilities. It feels no much less of an F-150, and actually, appears like a lot extra. We simply hope the order books for the 2023 mannequin open quickly, and that Ford can rapidly get its expanded manufacturing on-line. And, after all, after the knockout Mustang Mach-E, the brilliantly economical Maverick and this absolute powerhouse of an F-150 Lightning, we will’t wait to see what Ford comes out with subsequent.

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