After three years of production, the Ford SVT Lightning still does not care about you. It does not want to hear you complain about the lack of a rear seat. It will not chip in $10 at the gas pump. It will not tolerate your trepidation behind the wheel whenever rain starts to fall. Like the drill sergeant to the new recruit, when the Lightning tells you hit the gas, you will ask how hard. Thank you sir, may I have another?
At a cursory glance the Lightning looks like the model of impracticality. Two seats (three in a pinch), terrible fuel economy, no traction control--are you kidding? Look closer, though, and you will discover the mad joy of 380 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. Every stint behind the wheel is a war with your self-restraint, which usually ends in a cloud of tire smoke while nearby pedestrians stare in shock and awe.
Take a minute to look at what surrounds that oh-so-mighty throttle pedal and you will be pleasantly surprised, starting with the equally impressive brake pedal. The seats manage to hold you firmly in place during any tail-out cornering shenanigans without losing the many fine advantages of the bench seat ("Slide over, baby"). The cargo space afforded by the truck bed dwarfs any car with similar performance. And not to betray all of its truck heritage, the Lightning can tow 5000 pounds. Despite its size, the Lightning feels a lot smaller on the road thanks to the firmly weighted and direct steering.
As a vehicle that might be best described as a BMW M Coupe for rednecks, the Special Vehicle Team's $33,310 Lightning is not for everyone, but those who can overlook its downsides will be greatly rewarded. Those few and proud Lightning drivers sit behind the wheel like they're wearing a badge of honor. They're looking for a few new recruits; do you have what it takes?