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2022 Ford F-150 Lightning First Drive: No Room for Error

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2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, profile
Photo: B.Charette
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, profile

Auto123 gets in a first drive of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning.

San Antonio, TX - Trucks are the best-selling vehicles on the market in North America. And among trucks, the F-150 has been the best-selling truck in Canada for 56 years, and the most popular vehicle in any category for decades.

Which makes arrival of the all-electric F-150 Lightning, potentially, the biggest thing to hit the EV market to date. If American consumers accept this truck and Ford succeeds in convincing gas-engine Pickup loyalists to switch to electric, the U.S. will have well and truly turned the corner to electric. If not, the transition period could be extended by several years.

We went straight to the lion’s den, the epicenter of the pickup truck cult, for a first drive of this electric pickup. It was a bold and brave move by Ford...

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2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, three-quarters front
Photo: B.Charette
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, three-quarters front

Familiar styling
In terms of appearance, Ford has chosen the path of least resistance with its Lightning, which resembles the gasoline model in every way, and that's deliberate. Ford considers that the F-150's clientele doesn't like too many changes. GM has chosen a different path with the upcoming Silverado, and frankly we can't wait to see which of the two will be proven right. Ford has made the bet that a highly recognizable vehicle like the Lightning won't scare off F-150 buyers.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, steering wheel, dashboard
Photo: B.Charette
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, steering wheel, dashboard
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, interior
Photo: Ford
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, interior

Same story inside
The interior of the Lightning is, you guessed it, similar in every way to the gasoline-engine model. In practical terms, there's a spacious cabin that marries intuitively executed physical controls with an easy-to-use central touchscreen.

The available equipment is also similar to that of the gas-powered F-150. These include an optional folding centre console table, front seats that recline nearly flat so you can stretch out and take a nap, and a lockable storage box under the rear seat.

A notable optional upgrade is a vertically aligned 15.5-inch touchscreen, which we’ve seen already in use in Ford's electric Mustang Mach-E.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, three-quarters rear
Photo: B.Charette
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, three-quarters rear

It drives itself
Safety comes in many forms in the Lightning. Of particular note are smart technology features that stand out from the gas-powered F-150. The BlueCruise hands-free driving system is a good example. It operates on more than 100,000 miles of pre-mapped divided highways to take the stress out of long-distance driving by taking control of the truck's steering, acceleration and braking. Although it is a hands-free system, BlueCruise uses cameras to monitor drivers to make sure they’re sitting where they should be and are paying attention.

Like the Mustang Mach-E and the regular F-150, the Lightning can receive live updates through its infotainment system. These updates keep the truck up to date with the latest software and features without visits to the dealer required.

Beyond that, expect the usual generous roster of electronic driving aids.

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