I recently spent some time with a Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum, driving it from Boston to Rockport, Massachusetts and back. Whether I was jetting through lane changes with stunning torque or using the overhead camera to silently maneuver the narrow cobblestone streets of a coastal New England village, I couldn’t shake the sensation that I was getting a front-row view of a watershed moment in American automotive history.
I felt this shift when a grizzled Rockport fisherman came up to tell me that he owned an F-450 Super Duty, and that seeing the Lightning was the first time he’d ever taken electric vehicles seriously. He said the battery range would be perfect for his daily commute to his chrome plating company and for hauling, one assumes, plated chrome.
And I felt it when I walked out of our vacation rental to find the owner of a brand-new F-150 Raptor standing in front of the Lightning, just staring at it. He pointed at his own truck parked down the street and said, “That Raptah costs me over two-hundred bucks to fill these days—now I’m thinking maybe I shoulda bought one of these.”
Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum Driving Experience
The Platinum Lightning I tested had 580 horsepower, 775 pound-feet of torque, and a zero-to-60 time of about 4 seconds. Having this kind of performance in a vehicle this large is a strange sensation. To me, it was even more dramatic than pushing the boost button in an EV sedan. You expect a small sedan to be quick, but driving a full-sized truck, your body is used to feeling and hearing the effort involved to move it.
With the Lightning, it translates pedal input to torque and speed instantaneously and without any discernible strain, which just feels like black magic. You know this thing weights a lot, but the powertrain sure doesn’t act like it. The Platinum has Ford’s upgraded battery, and the 300-mile range matched the physical scale of the truck.
I didn’t get to test it for towing, but it can tow up to 8,600 pounds and has Ford’s trailer assist feature, which lets users maneuver with a trailer automatically. In terms of standout tech features, the 360-degree camera is fantastic for maneuvering safely. I threaded it through the tiny village of Bearskin neck to get a morning shot of the marina, and it kept me safe on the tiny lanes. Another great tech-related feature I loved was the lane assist mode that allows you to relax at the wheel so long as you keep both hands on it.
In terms of design elements unique to the Lightning, the star for me was the frunk, or front trunk. It’s massive, it has a drain plug so you can use it as an ice chest, and it’s the perfect height for loading luggage or groceries. Something about popping the automatic hood leaving a grocery store made me feel like this was a feature I’d enjoy using every day. On the way …read more