The humble F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in the USA for decades, making the Ford F-150 Lightning one of this century's most influential American cars. Ford has beaten GM and Stellantis to the mark with its F-150 Lightning, and although the likes of Rivian are already selling an electric truck, it will not come close to offering the same number of vehicles as Ford can produce. Upcoming competitors for the Ford F-150 Lightning include the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV and the GMC Sierra EV. Under the hood of this electric pickup truck sits an electric powertrain that kicks out up to 580 horsepower and 775 lb-ft of torque in Extended Range configuration, along with an estimated range of 320 miles. One of the major limitations of an electric pickup is the maximum towing capacity and the impact on range when you do tow, and the top trims are expensive. Get past that, and it's obvious that the new Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck signifies a massive shift in the important pickup segment. In this review of the Ford F-150 Lightning, we'll see if it has what it takes to replace its ICE sibling for good.
After reopening orders for the F-150 Lightning, Ford has also announced a few updates for the 2023 model year. The all-electric truck now gets a range boost in base spec for a grand total of 240 miles (that's ten miles extra). The truck is now also offered with Pro Trailer Hitch Assist. This system controls the steering, throttle, and brake inputs automatically when towing.
Two new colors also join the palette: Avalanche Gray and Azure Gray. The new colors replace Ice Blue Silver, Atlas Blue, and Smoked Quartz.
The bad news is that the F-150 Lightning is far more expensive than before, starting at $51,974 for the Pro. That's $12,000 more than a year ago, and prices for more expensive models have also risen considerably due to supply-chain constraints and increasing material costs.
Brace yourself because this section doesn't make for pretty reading, as all Ford F-150 Lightning trims on the receiving end of some recent price hikes. Originally, the cheapest F-150 Lightning carried a sub-$40,000 price, but a series of increases mean that you'll now need to fork over $51,974 for the base Pro, excluding a destination charge of $1,795. That starting price drastically changes the value proposition of the electric pickup.
Other trims have also been hit with price increases, although not to the extent of the base Pro. The XLT will now cost $59,474, and the Lariat is exactly $20,000 more at $74,474. In Platinum guise, the Ford F-150 Lightning MSRP jumps to $96,974.
One positive is that the single Cab Style means there are fewer configurations to choose from compared to the average pickup.
Obviously, options, any package upgrades, and the choice of an Extended Range battery on some trims will push up the price of the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning even more. It all depends on how much you're willing to spend.
See trim levels and configurations:
The 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning EV is nothing like its ICE siblings, not even when it comes to the way it drives and handles. Its platform has been significantly altered to accommodate its electric underpinnings, and it even features a fully independent rear suspension. The first impression when getting behind the wheels is just how smooth and comfortable this truck is to drive; the ride is compliant and there are no nasty judders or shocks. Whereas the ICE model tends to jolt over rougher terrain, the Lightning soaks it all up. Pushing through the corners will reveal the Lightning's hefty curb weight, but it still manages to remain composed. The steering is perfectly weighted for a combination of city and highway driving, and the brake pedal feel is nice and linear. We did notice that the F-150 Lightning's throttle response can be a bit touchy, but the driving experience is otherwise relaxed and composed.
Other changes from the gas-powered F-150 relate to refinement, power delivery, and acceleration. The top models make 580 hp and 775 lb-ft of torque, and it's a shock to shoot of the line so quickly and with so little noise in a large truck. Even the F-150 Raptor will be left behind by the Lightning.
Undoubtedly, Ford knows how to make a good pickup truck. The F-Series has been dominating truck sales for decades, but can the Lightning stand up and claim the top spot from its ICE brother in the near future? The truth is that it's still too early to tell. Most major competitors are yet to release their alternatives, but we can see that the F-150 Lightning is a well-engineered pickup and not just a rushed media job aimed at making journalists and greenies happy. Ford has thought this product through, from the massively powerful electric motor setup to the ingenious storage solutions and cutting-edge interior. This truck feels well thought out and features a quiet, relaxed ride, a refined and quiet interior, and enough tech to make you forget that you're driving an F-Series Ford pickup truck. We're a bit worried about the truck's load-hauling range, but 2023's range boost should help a little. A bigger concern is the drastically higher starting price this year. But a first attempt, Ford has ticked many of the right boxes, and we can't wait to see how this car develops over the next few years.
This will depend entirely on what you want to use the F-150 Lightning for, but there are fewer configurations to sift through as the Lightning doesn't have RWD, multiple engines, or several cab styles like the gas F-150.
Those looking for a hard-working truck will naturally go for the Pro, which is suited to the work site and features a hard-wearing interior. The XLT is a good choice if your F-150 Lightning will spend most of its days doing the school and grocery run. The Lariat and Platinum are reserved for those who want a more premium experience. For the best all-around experience, we'd happily settle for an XLT, and if its more power you're after, this trim is offered with the Extended Range battery option.
The most popular competitors of 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning: