2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Pros
– Insane power numbers make the Lightning lightning quick.
– Big offers a 515km range, on paper…
– Platinum trim is insanely loaded.
2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Cons
– Real-world range figures vary wildly depending on use and driving conditions.
– Pricing fluctuates just as wildly.
Few vehicles are more North American than full-size pickups. And no other full-size pickup has done more for the segment than the Ford F-150. On the topic of impactful vehicles in 2023, it’s hard to find a more electrifying product than the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning. This all-electric version of the F-150 isn’t just a vehicle; it quite literally represents a significant shift in the automotive landscape. As someone who has spent considerable time behind the wheel of this technological marvel, I can tell you it’s impressive, but it probably won’t be your next truck.
The F-150 Lightning is Ford’s flagship electric vehicle (EV), and rightly so. Ford, known for its bestselling trucks in both Canada and the U.S., has infused their expertise into this EV. Although it doesn’t encapsulate everything Ford does, it comes remarkably close in many aspects. If the Lightning’s been criticized heavily over the last 18 months or so, it’s because its abilities are being compared to those of a petrol- or diesel-powered pickup. The comparison should be made with a large or midsize luxury SUV.
Luxury electric utility vehicle
Taken this way, the F-150 Lightning makes more sense especially in the reviewed Platinum trim which starts at just over $120,000. There’s an abundance of space inside, enough to comfortably fit five adults. The full-length running boards are standard and do aid vertically challenged humans to reach the cabin. Once aboard, you’re greeted with exquisite materials that are not only beautiful but also robust, blending high-tech sophistication with the ruggedness of a truck.
The Nirvana leather seats are exceptionally comfortable and seem durable. From the driver’s seat, technology is impressive. A 15.5-inch display, along with a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, offers a generally intuitive interface for controlling the vehicle’s functions. Navigating the screens is straightforward, with easy access to apps, entertainment, and vehicle settings. The integration of HVAC controls into the touchscreen is a modern touch, though it requires a bit of adjustment. Despite this, the interior of the Lightning is an incredibly plush and comfortable environment, ideal for long drives, work tasks, and everything in between, embodying the spirit of a true modern truck.
Finally, the unique workstation feature, where the shifter retracts to create a flat surface, is a thoughtful touch for those who might need to work on the go. Storage is abundant and cleverly integrated throughout the cabin.
Visually, offered only in a SuperCrew cab with a 5.5-foot box, the Lightning distinguishes itself mostly by is different wheels and LED lighting on each end. The standout feature is the impressive frunk (front trunk) offering 400L of usable space, perfect for storing smaller items and charging cables. The power tailgate, standard in the Lightning, adds a touch of convenience, especially for those of us who appreciate a bit of luxury in our work vehicles.
So much power!
Under the hood, or rather where the engine used to be, the Lightning is a powerhouse. The base model comes with a 98-kilowatt-hour battery, providing around 370-375 kilometers of range. Opt for the extended range 131-kilowatt-hour battery, and you’re looking at about 515 kilometers per charge. With 580 hp and a staggering 775 lb-ft of torque, this truck doesn’t just drive; it soars.
Charging the Lightning is relatively straightforward. With a maximum charge rate of 155 kilowatts, you can recharge from 15 to 100 % in about 41 minutes at a Level 3 charger. A Level 2 home charger will take about eight to nine hours for a full charge – nothing out of the ordinary for an EV of this caliber.
Driving the Lightning is an experience in itself. The instant torque and acceleration are exhilarating, almost giving the sensation of the front wheels lifting off the ground. This power comes in handy, especially when towing – the Lightning can tow up to 10,000 lbs (Platinum – 7,000 lbs), depending on the configuration, and haul up to 2,000 lbs. However, it’s essential to note that towing significantly affects the range, a common limitation among electric trucks. This poses a handicap for those looking to use their Lightnings over a distance. One standout feature is the one-pedal drive mode, offering a unique driving experience, though switching between modes and screens to change the mode can be a bit cumbersome. Unlike other EVs, there is only this one regenerative braking mode.
One concern with the Lightning, however, is its ground clearance, limited to 8.4 inches. It’s sufficient for most uses but might be a limiting factor for those needing more off-road capability.
Premium SUV alternative
The 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning remains a compromise as a truck but perfectly well-adapted SUV alternative. It does somewhat sacrifice some capability however the boost in power and performance compensates. The key is the Lightning’s intended use as it will make all the difference in how the truck will be appreciated.