A pickup truck with a price just south of $100,000 had better deliver the goods.
The ’23 Ford F-150 Lightning does just that, and it does it well enough to claim a Wards 10 Best Interiors & UX award.
Wards also named the battery-electric Lightning to last year’s 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems list. This time around, judges were impressed by its roominess, convenience features and well-performing infotainment technology.
Judge Dave Zoia likes both the look and the functionality of the Lightning.
The pickup welcomes you inside with an image of Ford’s blue oval on the instrument-cluster screen that morphs into an image of the Lightning itself. From there, driver and passengers settle into a high level of comfort helped along by heated seats that warm up quickly – a feature much appreciated by Wards judges testing 10 Best contenders in middle and late winter.
That comfortable interior is underscored by soft-touch surfaces on the upper doors front and rear, and the lid of the spacious console box, plus suede trim on the doors and seats. There’s not an overabundance of hard plastic, but much of what there is has a metallic sheen, in places such as the cupholders and trim around the shifter.
The heart of the Lightning’s Sync infotainment system is its 15.5-in. (39-cm) screen filled with easy-to-find, easy-to-manage touch controls. Sync responded promptly and accurately to voice commands. Our $97,000 tester came with wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto and an 18-speaker Bang and Olufsen audio system.
There’s a raft of connectivity options, courtesy of three sets of USB ports, two 120V AC outlets and two 12V outlets.
Ford’s Blue Cruise hands-free driving technology keeps watch on the driver’s attentiveness. Yet it allows the driver to glance away from the road for up to about 10 seconds, making it a little less fussy than competing systems.
Other features judges enjoyed in our 10 Best winner included sectioned storage compartments accessed by flipping up the second-row seats, four cameras creating a 360-degree view, front seats that fold flat and the unique shift lever that folds into the console to make room for a work surface the size of a jetliner tray.
The spaciousness found inside the Lightning even extends to the frunk. Some BEV frunks offer no storage space whatsoever, but this truck provides no less than 14.1 cu.-ft. (400 L).
The Lightning impressed judge Christie Schweinsberg, who commented: “You can’t say you don’t get a lot for your $97,000. There’s tons of tech and tons of room for people and stuff. There’s no other BEV truck in the fullsize pickup segment yet, but Ford has set a high bar for those on the way.”
And judge Drew Winter adds, “The Lightning combines great traditional features from the traditional F-150 – such as the fold-up shift lever – and terrific new features such as a frunk that will hold 400 lbs. (181 kg) of cargo, to create an EV that is innovative and practical at the same time.”