2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro Review Update

Christian Wardlaw, Independent Expert | Sep 22, 2022

Introduction

You may have heard something about an electric Ford F-150 called the Lightning. You may have also heard that it has a base price under $40,000 (before applying the destination charge). You may not have heard that this miraculous price applies only to the base Pro trim level, which Ford aims at commercial businesses by stripping it of standard equipment. Oh, and now the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro price has jumped to $46,974, not including the $1,795 destination charge. Oooof.

While that new price is much higher than when Ford first began taking orders for the 2022 F-150 Lightning, it remains a bargain compared with the truck sitting on the next rung up the trim level ladder. The F-150 Lightning XLT costs $59,474, plus destination. You can also choose the F-150 Lightning Lariat ($74,474) or the F-150 Lightning Platinum ($96,874).

Suddenly, the base Pro trim is looking pretty good. But would you want to live with a Lightning equipped with only the basics? That’s what I wanted to find out. Previously, J.D. Power reviewed a well-equipped Lariat trim. This time around, we spent a week with the F-150 Lightning Pro to see if you can happily live without any of the luxuries.

What Owners Say About the Large Light Duty Pickup Segment

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro Blue Front Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

The Ford F-150 Lightning competes in the Large Light Duty Pickup market segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2022 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 89 percent of new Large Light Duty Pickup buyers are male (vs. 62 percent for the industry), and the median age of a new buyer in this segment is 56 years (vs. 54).

As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated Large Light Duty Pickups in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you’ll find their preferences, from their most favorite thing about the vehicle to their least favorite:

  • Exterior styling
  • Driving feel
  • Powertrain
  • Interior design
  • Feeling of safety
  • Driving comfort
  • Setting up and starting
  • Getting in and out
  • Infotainment system
  • Fuel economy

In the 2022 APEAL Study, the Ford F-150 ranks second out of five Large Light Duty Pickup models.

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Ford F-150 Lightning

In the sections that follow, our independent expert analyzes an F-150 Lightning Pro equipped with the following options:

  • Ford Mobile Power Cord
  • Pro Power Onboard
  • Tow Technology package
  • Spray-in bedliner

The test vehicle was a 2022 model-year truck. However, its order books are closed, and Ford has released 2023 prices. For the 2023 model year, the test truck would cost $53,014, including the $1,795 destination charge.

Ford assembles the F-150 Lightning in Dearborn, Michigan, and it remains eligible for the $7,500 federal income tax credit for purchasing an electric vehicle (EV), as well as any state or local incentives in your region.

However, because the rules established by the Inflation Reduction Act call for adjustments in the years ahead, it is best to do your research and make sure the federal tax credit remains available for this truck. Since the Lightning, its electric motors, and its battery pack are all made in Michigan, it will likely remain eligible for the credit in the future.

Lots of Plastic and Vinyl Inside

2022 Ford F-150 Ligntning Pro Interior Front Seats

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Remember when pickup trucks weren’t trying to be luxury cars? They were refreshingly simple machines, and you didn’t care much about getting them dirty or scratched and banged up because they were meant for work. The Ford F-150 Lightning Pro is a little like that, thanks to its plastic-lined cabin, rubberized floor coverings, and 4-way, manually adjustable vinyl seats.

However, Pro trim also includes digital instrumentation, a large infotainment touchscreen, dual-zone automatic climate control, and power-operated door locks, windows, and exterior mirrors. The padded dashboard and center armrest even have exposed contrast stitching to class up the joint. So, the Lightning Pro is not bare-bones basic like in the good old days. And that makes it easy to live with.

You’ll need to step up into the Lightning’s cab—a task made easier by robust grab handles on the windshield pillars. Once aboard, you’ll likely find the front seats comfortable despite their lack of adjustment. You can manually slide them and recline the seatback angle, and that’s all.

Nevertheless, they are large and accommodating, with supportive cushions, and the vinyl upholstery doesn’t feel much different than the simulated leather available in many modern vehicles. It gets extremely hot on warm sunny days, but so does leather.

Rear passengers in the Lightning Pro don’t get short shrift, either. Ford provides air conditioning vents, a USB port, a 12-volt outlet, a 120-volt outlet, and access to four cupholders and storage carved into the door panels. Just like in front, there are oversized grab handles mounted to the middle roof pillars to assist with entry and exit.

As for cargo space, the F-150 Lightning Pro has a roomy 5.5-foot bed with 52.8 cubic feet of volume, rear seat cushions that flip up to provide lots of locking in-cab storage room, and, of course, a huge 14.1-cubic-foot front trunk, or “frunk.” No gas-powered F-150 crew cab can match it.

Design That’s Anything But Basic

As you can see in the photos accompanying this review, the F-150 Lightning Pro doesn’t look basic, either. The test vehicle’s Antimatter Blue paint masks the amount of black trim on the Lightning Pro. However, we live in an era where many people will pay extra to obtain a trendy blacked-out appearance, so the lack of bright work isn’t a detriment. Plus, the standard 18-inch alloy wheels and Michelin 275/65 all-terrain tires are quite stylish.

Unlike existing and future rivals from ChevroletGMCRivian, and Tesla, the Ford F-150 Lightning looks like a typical truck. Glance at it, and you might not even notice that it’s the Lightning because it hews closely to the F-150 with an internal combustion engine (ICE). Only you can decide whether this is a good thing or not. I prefer to fly under the radar, so the standard F-150 costume was fine with me.

However, when I charged the truck at a new bank of Electrify America stations in a trendy L.A. suburb, I got some dirty looks until people confirmed that I plugged the Lightning into the charging station. (Apparently, “ICEing” is a thing that some motorists are doing to protest EVs by parking their ICE-powered vehicles in charging station slots to prevent their use. Imagine such rude, juvenile behavior by people old enough to have a driver’s license and, by extension, who should know better.) Once the Audi E-tron and Mercedes EQS owners waiting for an open charger discovered the Lightning was indeed electric, they wanted to know all about it.

Speaking of charging, Ford says a 150-kW fast charger should bring the standard-range battery (230 miles) from 15 to 80 percent in 44 minutes and can add 41 miles of range in just 10 minutes. If you get a Lightning with the extended-range battery (300-320 miles), those figures are 41 minutes to bring it to 80 percent and 54 miles of range in 10 minutes.

My local EA station charges 43 cents per kWh unless you pay a membership fee to get a lower rate. Based on Ford’s estimate of the standard-range battery’s “usable energy” of 98 kWh, recharging the Lightning from 15 to 80 percent (63.7 kWh) would cost approximately $27.39 while adding 149.5 miles of range. Translated, that’s about 5.5 cents per mile of range. A full charge from empty to full would cost about $42.

During my charging session, the battery went from 65 to 90 percent in 37 minutes (because the fast charger slowed down when the battery reached 85 percent). This increased range from 135 miles to 197 miles; the session cost was $11.61, or 5.3 cents per mile added.

Strong Technology Game

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro Infotainment Cannons Lighting on Display

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

In addition to a 12-inch digital instrumentation display, Ford equips the Lightning Pro with its Sync 4 infotainment technology. Highlights of the setup include:

During the evaluation, I found it easy to pair my iPhone 13 Pro to the Sync 4 system’s Bluetooth and to run Apple CarPlay. Separately, the truck’s enhanced voice-recognition system worked well, though I had to slightly alter one of my test commands to get the desired result. Also, the standard stereo system produces surprisingly good sound quality.

Additionally, the Lightning Pro comes with a Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0 collection of advanced driving assistance systems. This list includes:

You can get more safety features by upgrading to more expensive versions of the truck, including BlueCruise, a hands-free driving-assistance system. But, like many things about the Lightning Pro, the standard package gives you everything you need.

During testing, I found that the lane-departure warning system would sometimes generate false alerts due to construction scars on my local freeways, where workers had scraped off the temporary lane lines. Also, while driving on mountain roads and rural farming community two-lane highways, I sometimes felt I had to override the lane-keeping assist system, causing some aggravation.

What It’s Like to Drive the Ford F-150 Lightning Pro

Every F-150 Lightning has a dual-motor electric drive system that gives the truck 4-wheel drive. However, Pro trim comes only with a standard-range battery supplying 230 miles of EPA-estimated range. Other versions of the truck offer an extended-range battery that can give you between 300 and 320 miles of range, depending on the trim level.

My F-150 Lightning Pro delivered 452 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque, accelerated to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds (according to Ford), and used electricity at the rate of 49.4 kWh per 100 miles (according to the EPA). On my evaluation loop, the truck averaged 45.5 kWh/100 miles (2.2 miles per kWh), beating the EPA estimate. And that result did not include engagement of the truck’s one-pedal driving system.

Ford says the F-150 Lightning Pro’s tow rating is 5,000 pounds unless you get the Max Towing package, which bumps it up to 7,700. The maximum payload capacity is 2,000 pounds. Additionally, the Lightning Pro provides 8.4 inches of ground clearance, angles of approach and departure exceeding 23.5 degrees, and an estimated 17.6-degree breakover angle.

The primary differences between driving an ICE-powered F-150 and the F-150 Lightning are:

1. Speed—The Lightning’s instantaneous and rapid acceleration is addictive.

2. Quiet—Even on the highway, the Lightning’s cabin is nearly silent despite the truck’s brick-shaped exterior and all-terrain tires.

3. Weight—You can sense the weight of the electric motors and battery pack, but not to the same degree as in some EVs. However, the components may have contributed to a bouncier ride.

Except for these qualities, the F-150 Lightning Pro drives like a gas-fueled F-150. Even the regenerative braking system is agreeable, rarely producing the sticky, inconsistent feel that these types of brakes can exhibit in hybrids and EVs. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute spent behind the F-150 Lightning’s steering wheel.

Independent Expert Opinion

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro Blue Rear Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

Based on my week living with the F-150 Lightning Pro, you don’t need to upgrade to XLT, Lariat, or Platinum trim to find satisfaction with this electric pickup truck. It comes with everything you need and nothing you don’t, and its simplicity is refreshing.

Better yet, the F-150 Lightning doesn’t force compromise. Add a 240-volt Level 2 home charging station to your garage or driveway, and the Pro fully recharges in 14 hours. Upgrade to the 48-amp Ford Connected Charge Station, and recharging time drops to 10 hours. Or, you can always drop by a 150-kW DC fast charger and bring the truck to an 80-percent charge in about 45 minutes.

If there’s a downside, it’s the unimpressive towing and hauling capabilities combined with accelerated electricity consumption rates when the truck is trailering or loaded with cargo. But that’s an industry problem, not a Ford problem. And the F-150 Lightning is the automaker’s first attempt at building an electric pickup, so it will likely improve in the future.

The future is electric, and the Ford F-150 Lightning is helping to lead the charge (no pun intended).

Christian Wardlaw is a veteran digital automotive journalist with nearly 30 years of experience in test-driving vehicles. He has held editorial leadership roles with Edmunds, J.D. Power, the New York Daily News, and others. In addition to JDPower.com, his work has appeared in numerous new- and used-car buying guides, newspapers, and automotive industry trade journals including Autotrader, Capital One Auto Navigator, CarGurus, Kelley Blue Book, WardsAuto, and more.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power

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