Trucks continue to steal market share from sedans, so a few years ago Ford said that it was abandoning the car segment in the U.S., besides the Mustang. We wondered how Ford would be able to still attract budget-minded buyers that want something more affordable than the F-150 or Ranger pickups. Well here’s the answer, Ford has introduced the 2022 Maverick, a compact truck that is designed to appeal to compact sedan buyers that want more versatility.
Ford decided to resurrect the Maverick name that was last used for a forgettable compact car in the 1970s. While the Maverick pickup is based on the same unibody platform as the Bronco Sport and Escape, it looks the part with its mini-F-150 styling. It’s squared off styling gives it the tough look that buyers want. It also looks more like a truck than its more stylish rival, the Hyundai Santa Cruz.
Unlike most of the midsize and full size trucks, the Maverick is only available in one configuration, a four-door with a 4.5-foot cargo box. That box might seem short, but it’s a half foot longer than the Santa Cruz’s. The Maverick’s Flexbed can haul up to 1,500 pounds and there’s even an available 110-volt power outlet. Also since it’s based on a unibody platform like a sedan, the Maverick comes standard with front-wheel drive, although all-wheel drive is optional.
The Maverick Hybrid can tow up to 2,000 pounds, while the turbocharged version can tow up to 4,000 pounds. That’s under the Hyundai Santa Cruz, which can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Inside the Maverick’s interior is spacious and comfortable. There is a significant amount of hard plastic, which aligns with the Maverick’s cost point, but the materials do have unique textures to make them not look too cheap. Given its low starting price, you shouldn’t be surprised that the Maverick doesn’t have a push-button start, so instead you have to stick the old key into the steering column. Although Ford did some cost cutting, the Maverick does come with an 8-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and Synch 3 software. The screen size is fine, but the graphics look a bit dated and it has a weird angle that makes it a little hard to read at times. In front of the driver there’s a 6.5-inch cluster display.
Compared to the larger Ranger, the Maverick actually has more interior space with more headroom for both rows and an additional 1.4-inches of rear legroom. The rear seat also flips up, revealing a storage cubby.
Under the hood there are two powertrain options. The base powertrain is a 2.5-liter hybrid setup that generates a nice 191 horsepower and get this, it gets up to 37 mpg combined. Who says that a truck can’t be as fuel efficient as a car. The Maverick Hybrid is also rated at 42 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. The hybrid version is only available with front-wheel drive and it’s mated to a CVT.
If you want more power or all-wheel drive, you have to select the turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder that generates 250 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. The 2.0-liter is rated at 23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined, while the all-wheel drive version is rated at 22/29/25 mpg. The more powerful engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Around town the Maverick Hybrid has adequate acceleration, with about the same performance that you’d expect from a compact sedan. It’s not fast, but it’s also not slow. It picks up speed without drama from a stop, making it a perfect companion when you’re running errands around town. It does have a firm ride, but it’s not too harsh when the road gets a bit questionable. The steering is also nicely weighted. Overall the Maverick has a level of refinement that you wouldn’t expect. It easily drives better than any midsize truck, besides the Honda Ridgeline, which is also based on a unibody platform.
The pricing for the 2022 Ford Maverick starts at a reasonable $21,490, including destination. That means that you can actually get a Maverick for less money than a Honda Civic. The Maverick is available in three trim levels: XL, XLT and Lariat. The Maverick Lariat lists for $27,335. The Maverick is also more affordable than the Hyundai Santa Cruz, which starts at $25,175.
At the end of the day the 2022 Ford Maverick is a success, since it offers buyers an alternative to larger trucks. It’s the no compromise pickup for buyers that want the fuel efficiency of a compact sedan, the driving characteristics of a crossover and the versatility of a truck.