Ford F-150 Lightning: Buying Vs. Leasing America's Hottest New Truck

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The sticker price only tells part of the story.

It's finally here. After numerous teasers and much speculation about power outputs, the new Ford F-150 Lightning was officially revealed, adding a new dimension to the F-150 nameplate. A big talking point for the foreseeable future will be the price of the new electric truck. Being an EV, looking at the base MSRP doesn't tell the whole story as there are a number of incentives that may or may not apply when buying an F-150 Lightning. Cars Direct analyzed the various rebates and also looked at whether the new truck makes a good lease deal or not. The findings are a bit of a mixed bag.

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Buying the F-150 Lightning for cash seems like a good deal. The entry-level derivative which is targeted at the commercial sector begins at $39,974 while the mid-range XLT has a starting price of $52,974. By comparison, the regular F-150 XLT in Crew Cab guise begins at $40,310 excluding destination. However, the F-150 Lightning qualifies for the $7,500 federal tax credit, effectively dropping the base price to just over $32,000. In addition, the California Clean Vehicle Rebate or Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) comes with savings of $2,000 for eligible EVs. However, this saving could be as much as $4,500 for buyers in lower income brackets.

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The CVRP does have an MSRP cap of $60,000 although this is based on the particular model, not trim, so the F-150 Lightning could still qualify. The Lightning is also likely to be eligible for the $1,500 discount that forms part of the California Clean Fuel Reward. Combined, these savings potentially work out to a substantial $13,500 which could reduce the cost of an XLT model to below $40,000. However, the prospect of leasing a new F-150 Lightning isn't quite as rosy.

As discovered with the Mustang Mach-E, Ford Credit doesn't offer the $7,500 tax credit to customers who choose to lease the EV, something that puts the Mach-E at a disadvantage when compared to the Volkswagen ID.4.

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It remains unclear whether or not the same will apply to the F-150 Lightning for lessees. However, the $7,500 tax credit does apply to the Mach-E if customers choose the Ford Options Plan; this plan keeps the vehicle in the buyer's name but offers lease-like payments due to a balloon financing incentive. You'd need to qualify for the full value of the tax credit, though. If the same pattern repeats itself with the F-150 Lightning, and if Ford also prevents dealers from advertising prices below MSRP as with the Mach-E, then the leasing route may not be the best value for getting behind the wheel of the new truck.

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Source Credits: Cars Direct

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