What's New for 2000
Completely new in 1999, the 2000 Lightning is the same, except for a new Silver Clearcoat exterior color.
Take Ford's latest F-150 truck in shortbed, flareside form, add in a healthy mix of SVT philosophy and components, and Lightning will strike.
In this case, the spark is supplied by a reworked 5.4-liter Triton V8 engine with forged pistons, reduced compression, and a Roots-type supercharger from Eaton. Complete with an intercooler and a two-channel throttle body, this engine belts out 360 horsepower (100 more than a standard 5.4-liter Triton) and a massive 440 pound-feet of torque. Aided by a beefed-up automatic transmission, 9.75-inch rear axle and 12.1-inch front-disc brakes, the Lightning guarantees a thrill ride with the first turn of the key.
SVT didn't stop with the drivetrain. To keep all those extra horses from getting out of sorts, a unique suspension setup was created for the Lightning. This includes a lower front and rear ride height, specially calibrated shock absorbers, and two antiroll bars. These components ride on 18-inch five-spoke wheels with 295/45-18 Z-rated Goodyear tires for extra stick during acceleration and handling maneuvers.
The standard cab holds a radically non-standard interior featuring black-on-white SVT instrumentation (complete with boost gauge) and black-and-white leather seats. The driver seat is power-adjustable and an optional six-CD changer can be ordered to beef up the standard premium sound system.
Exterior enhancements are limited to a special front air dam with twin driving lights, a black grille, custom rocker panels, the aforementioned 18-inch wheels, and twin ceramic exhaust pipes. Color choices are limited to black, silver, red or white. A soft bed cover, as well as a Class III tow hitch, can be added to accent the truck's looks and utility.
If you're looking for a serious high-performance truck, you can stop your search right here. Nothing else comes close. A lot of "sporting" cars don't even match the Lightning's performance numbers. But the biggest question is why SVT offers the Lightning only as a regular-cab model when the world has clearly been moving toward more room and more doors each year. Dodge, with its Dakota R/T, is the only manufacturer smart enough to realize that performance and utility are not mutually exclusive. That said, the new Lightning is no toy, as its payload and towing capacity is only slightly diminished over the standard F-Series pickup. SVT is obviously betting that the old standard of a full-size, standard-cab performance truck will sell, if executed well. And this new truck is certainly well-executed.