Pickup trucks are one of the most popular cars in the United States. It’s simple to see why—no matter where they’re driven, they provide exceptional visibility and unrivaled functionality. However, trucks have become so big and pricey that many purchasers are opting for a crossover instead. However, this may no longer be the case.
The 2022 Ford Maverick is the latest in a long line of new compact utility vehicles designed to bridge the gap between crossovers like the new Ford Bronco Sport and mid-size trucks like the Ford Ranger or Chevrolet Colorado. The Maverick is swiftly securing its future home in both suburban driveways and city streets, with a starting price of under $20,000 and a basic hybrid powertrain giving up to 40 miles per gallon.
Ford discontinued the mid-size Ford Ranger about a decade ago to concentrate its efforts on the best-selling F-150. Since then, it has not only revived the Ranger but also developed the Maverick, a whole new compact pickup based on the Bronco Sport, which sits directly below it.
The Maverick isn’t your typical pickup. Simply check under the hood and you’ll see a hybrid powertrain that combines a gasoline-powered 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor to power the truck. The engine and transmission produce 191 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque, and power is sent to the wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This isn’t a combination that most typical truck purchasers would go out of their way to get, but it’s standard on the Maverick—and that’s because the Maverick isn’t designed for typical pickup purchasers. This engine, according to Ford, can achieve about 40 MPG in the city, which is an unheard-of statistic for a truck. That’s similar to the Honda Civic!
However, there is a catch: the hybrid is only available in front-wheel drive and isn’t designed to pull more than 2,000 pounds due to CVT gearbox limits.
Buyers can upgrade to the optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, a turbocharged engine that provides a brawny 250 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, to make their truck more capable. This also adds an eight-speed automatic transmission to the vehicle, as well as the ability to switch from front-wheel to all-wheel drive. The truck gets a transmission oil cooler, an updated radiator, gearing modifications, and more with the optional 4K Tow Package, doubling its towing capacity to 4,000 pounds.
All Mavericks will be offered in the same body configuration: a crew cab with a 4.5-foot bed in each of its three trims—XL, XLT, and the top-tier Lariat. In each of the three trim levels—XL, XLT, and the top-tier Lariat—all Mavericks will have the same body configuration: a crew cab with a 4.5-footbed.
A different-colored vehicle
The Maverick can be customized to blend in with the crowd or stand out like a sore thumb from the outside, a tribute to the younger buyers Ford intends to lure with the compact pickup. Depending on the trim, a total of 11 paint treatments are possible, including several interesting Ford hero colors like Velocity Blue, Rapid Red, and Cyber Orange.
Throughout the lineup, the bodywork is largely consistent. The design language is contemporary, with clean body lines running across the entire external package, all while preserving a Ford-like appearance. However, depending on the grade, the truck’s design changes slightly, including the grille, wheels, mirror caps, headlights, and more. In addition to the more hidden suspension improvements and underbody protection, buyers who opt for the FX4 off-road package will notice further alterations like exposed front tow hooks and special 17-inch wheels with all-terrain rubber.
Of course, the cargo box is the most crucial feature of any pickup, and Ford has made it exceedingly practical on the Maverick. It’s called the Flex bed, and the term is appropriate given how adaptable it is for almost any task.
The 4.5-footbed isn’t the largest pickup truck available, and it wasn’t designed to be. Despite this, it can support 1,500 pounds or a four-by-eight-foot sheet of plywood. To avoid scratching the Maverick’s loudly-painted body while freight is loaded and unloaded, the top of the bed is trimmed with plastic bed railings.
The bed expands to six feet of useful space when the tailgate is folded flat, and Ford offers a variety of supplementary fittings to keep kayaks and other large objects secure. Because the truck’s total footprint is substantially narrower than its larger sibling and the wheelhouses still take up some space, wider things can be a bit tougher. As a result, Ford created an additional tailgate position that lifts the lip by resting it at an angle. This aligns the resting position with the wheelhouses, allowing a large sheet of plywood to sit flat.
Sliding inside bed rails, a small in-bed cubby for extra storage, a power outlet, a bed light, and a bottle opener integrated directly into the tailgate are just a few of the extra party features.
The interior is also rather stylish. Every surface has modern angles and design cues, and the cloth seats and dashboard pieces are lined with current material. The door cards have a nice geometric pattern, and the grab handle has a floating design that makes it look futuristic. The interior plastics are largely a shade of blue, a throwback to old automobiles, though various add-on packages will add bright orange accent colors to the mix.
Due to the lack of a trunk, pickup trucks have traditionally lacked dry lockable storage. As a result, interior storage and organization are quite important. Ford makes use of this in the Maverick, creating nooks and cubbies almost anywhere there would have been vacant space. Even the back seats are used as storage—when the bench is flipped up, precisely divided under-seat storage bins appear, which are ideal for storing and stashing cargo that drivers don’t want to roll around on the floor.
Automakers seemed to be just scratching the surface of the mid-size truck market. Hyundai is now the only other manufacturer to announce a prospective challenger. Its upcoming Santa Cruz is aimed at similar youthful purchasers who live in cities or other areas where a typical full-size pickup is desired but not feasible.
The Maverick will start at $19,995 before destination charges, according to Ford. Most buyers will go for the XLT (beginning at $22,280), which comes with a slew of standard features that the XL lacks—power mirrors and cruise control, to name a few. Even fully loaded, the top-tier Lariat can be had for just over $36,000 with the more powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, all-wheel drive, and every available option package. Even for a pickup truck, that’s still quite reasonable. The 2022 Ford Maverick is expected to hit dealer lots this fall.