Is the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning EV a good pickup truck? 6 things we like, 5 we don’t | New

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Ford F-150 Lightning 2022 | Photo from Cars.com by Jonathan Earley

With the launch of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, electric vehicles have become much more mainstream. A far cry from some of its unconventional, funky-looking electric brethren, the Lightning looks and drives largely like a conventional gas-powered F-150. Ford obviously believes the world is ready for an electric version of America’s best-selling vehicle, as long as it doesn’t upset the rest of the winning formula much.

Related: 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning review: Lightning in a bottle is too cliché, but fuck it if we’re not impressed

Early reports have arrived and Ford appears to be having a hit. The Lightning sold out soon after it went on sale, and the waitlist now extends to 2023. The demand is obviously there, and our first experience with one indicates that those early adopters could be on something: the Lightning is notable, at least in part, for its banality. Its driving experience, cabin layout and everyday habitability will be familiar to anyone who has driven a recent F-150, while the electric version brings additional technology and capability.

But as you might expect, there are some things about this electric pickup truck that we’re not so crazy about. For the full review by Cars.com reviewer Brian Normile, click the link above; for the condensed version, keep reading. Here are six things we like about the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning and four things we don’t:

Things we love

1. Not to be outdone

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Ford F-150 Lightning 2022 | Photo from Cars.com by Jonathan Earley

The Lighting has plenty of capability that pickup truck buyers are looking for, with a claimed towing capacity of 10,000 pounds, a not disrespectful payload capacity of 2,235 pounds, and standard all-wheel drive. It’s also ridiculously fast, with a claimed 0-60mph acceleration time of as little as 4.5 seconds, depending on configuration. More impressive is that the power ignites in a smooth, relentless stroke, making it even faster behind the wheel.

2. New, but familiar

One of the most appealing things about the F-150 is how familiar it looks and feels to drive. With few of the funky-style tweaks and controls so common in EVs, the Lightning looks more like any other F-150 than anything else powered and exotic. This should help sales with its target audience.

3. No loss of interior space

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Ford F-150 Lightning 2022 | Photo from Cars.com by Jonathan Earley

The Lightning’s battery runs under the cabin floor, but unlike some electric vehicles, it doesn’t interfere with the cabin. Ford says the cabin is as spacious as any F-150, and our experience backs that up. The Lightning even retains the fold-down rear seat with compartmentalized storage found in conventional F-150s.

4. Funky Frunk

With no engine taking up space up front, the F-150 Lightning has a large secure storage compartment with a weight capacity of 400 pounds under what would be the hood of a conventional pickup truck. As a bonus, the unassuming Mega Power Frunk is packed with nifty features, including four 120-volt power outlets and two USB ports. It’s also water resistant, with drain plugs for carrying really cool stuff that needs to be cleaned with a hose.

5. Personal Power Station

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Ford F-150 Lightning 2022 | Photo from Cars.com by Jonathan Earley

The F-150 Lightning isn’t the first electric vehicle capable of serving as an alternate household power source in the event of a breakdown, but it does bring a significant amount of juice to the party. When equipped with an optional 80-amp charging station and other amenities, Ford says the Lightning can fully power a home for up to three days. If that power is rationed appropriately, Ford says the Lightning can keep the lights on for up to 10 days.

6. At home with the stove

Ford offers two battery choices with the Lightning: the standard range with 230 miles of range and an extended-range unit rated at 320 miles of range in mid-tier trims (where it’s optional) and 300 miles in the higher Platinum version (where this is the standard). That should be enough to keep all but the most anxiety-prone drivers happy.

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Things we don’t like

1. About this towing capacity

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Ford F-150 Lightning 2022 | Photo from Cars.com by Jonathan Earley

For buyers serious about towing, it’s worth mentioning that towing a trailer has a big impact on the Lightning’s range. It’s no big surprise, but we can’t be too specific yet until we have a chance to do some more in-depth testing.

We did have a chance to try pulling an 8,300 pound boat and trailer using a Lightning XLT with the extended range battery, which showed around 80 miles of range remaining with a half-charged battery – far less than its rated maximum of 320 miles. That means towing would probably require stopping to recharge a bit more often than driving without a trailer.

2. Pedal Feel

Most EVs ditch some traditional brake pedal feel compared to a conventional vehicle, partly in favor of regenerative braking to help with charging, but we found the F-150’s brakes harder to modulate than the mostly. There’s a lot of stopping power, it’s just hard to make smooth stops. Throttle modulation can also be a challenge, especially in one-pedal riding mode.

3. Blues on the big screen

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Ford F-150 Lightning 2022 | Photo from Cars.com by Jonathan Earley

Lower Lightning versions use a 12.4-inch touchscreen and a control layout similar to a conventional F-150. The top trims, however, get the latest version of Sync 4A, with a giant 15.5-inch vertically oriented touchscreen in the center of the dash. While the screen is crisp and responsive, it eliminates some physical controls, including those for often-used functions such as heated seats. Worse still, we fear this signals a trend toward similar screens in upcoming Ford vehicles.

4. Charging Challenges

Using a 30-amp Level 2 home charger, a Lightning with either battery adds about 13 miles of range per hour; upgrading to Ford’s 48-amp Level 2 charger boosts that range to over 20 miles per hour. Upgrading to Ford’s 80-amp Pro charging station can add up to 30 miles per hour of range to extended-range variants. All Lightnings also have 150 kilowatt DC fast charging capability, which can add up to 54 miles of range in 10 minutes.

While those numbers aren’t horrendous, they trail rivals such as Rivian’s R1T and the new GMC Hummer EV pickup.

5. Electrical costs

A basic F-150 Lightning in Pro trim starts at around $40,000 (all prices include destination). There’s no Pro version with a conventional F-150, but a base gas-powered F-150 XL is much cheaper than any Lightning at a starting price of $37,680 with 4WD. Much of the price difference can be offset by a $7,500 federal tax credit, at least for now, but the Lightning’s price premium is greater with higher trims. Our extended-range XLT tested came in at $76,384 and a high-end Platinum at over $90,000.

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The Cars.com Editorial Department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In accordance with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers do not accept gifts or free travel from car manufacturers. The editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Robert M. Larson