TopGear SA gets behind the wheel of the ‘Forbidden Fruit’ of Bakkies - Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum.
In 2022, when Ford announced its production plan for the new Ford F-150 Lightning, TopGear SA thought to share the news on our Facebook platform. The post featured a short video of a F-150 Lightning drifting across a sandy landscape. It was a good video - but we had no idea how much South Africa would love the post. To date, it remains our most popular post as far as reach is concerned reaching 900 000 people organically.
It was clear that bakkie-mad South Africa was genuinely interested in this all-electric blue-oval truck, so when the opportunity to drive the F-150 in Detroit came, well, TopGear SA wasn’t going to disappoint. So here, we bring you some highlights of the F-150 from the driver’s seat in its hometown of Detroit, Michigan.
The F-150 Lightning represents a turning point in Ford’s commercial history. It emerges from a newly upgraded factory at Ford’s Dearborn plant with new state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, upgraded to meet the unbelievable demand for this car in the US alone. Estimates from Ford were some 300% lower than the actual demand for the car and so Ford had to do something. The newly upgraded factory is set to produce 200 000 vehicles withing the next 3 years. None of those cars will land here though…sorry South Africa.
I did get to drive the flagship F-150 Lightning Platinum model that retails in the US for just over $90 000. It is the most complete pick-up truck I’ve experienced. Where the idea of the pick-up truck represents utility, freedom and simplicity, the F-150 Lightning is the pinnacle of what a pick-up truck could be. The Platinum spec throws a myriad of technology into a ginormous cabin, fatly padded with white leather seats and trim, contrasted with piano black and chrome finishes. The 15.5-inch portrait screen is the nerve system, and it sports familiar but new Ford SYNC UX. It’s a genuinely smart cabin designed with practical initiative and with a touch more flare than you may expect. And in genuine space-conscious thinking, there are so many storage bins throughout the cabin. It feels like a top-spec luxury SUV as opposed to a pick-up. It’s mighty impressive and that is simply on the experience of spending about an hour in this car.
The drive is equally, or perhaps more impressive. The Platinum model is built upon a 131kWh battery pack with one electric motor on the front axle and then one electric motor at the rear. Power output is a jaw-dropping 433 kW and 1050 Nm. If you’re not surprised and engaged right now, let me confirm that the 0 – 100 km/h time is under 5.0 seconds…for a truck that weighs in at 2.5-tons, thanks to a lot of Aluminium used in the construction process. This ‘truck’ can light up the tar every time you floor it from a standstill and yet, despite that, never have I experienced such a comfortable ride quality from a LCV before. In fact, I would go as far as saying the ride quality feels more Range Rover than anything else…that’s saying something.
Of course, as a LCV product, the Ford F-150 Lightning remains fully able to play workhorse and business asset with aplomb, but it’s made even more practical due to the fact that it has electrical power available for means beyond driving. The F-150 is awesome for campers who need plugs for appliances and lights for instance. Or for construction teams that need power for their power tools. There are also some instances where the Fords have been called in to power homes for a few days. It’s a great product in and of itself…
But you can’t have one…and that’s it. The likelihood of you having one is lower than the chances of Eskom fixing our power crisis. Anyone thinking of moving to America?