UPDATE: The 2023 Ford Maverick order books are scheduled to open the first half of August.
For all practical purposes, the utility of your regular, run of the mill pickup truck goes mostly under used.
I don’t work as a contractor or even a rancher. So you won’t see me loading up building materials. Nor am I towing around heavy duty equipment on the regular.
Odds are you’d find me in something like an SUV. Or a crossover. Both ideal for hauling people and the occasional trip to my local Costco.
But what about those instances where you just need more? Something versatile enough for work and play. A daily-commuting, family car that can serve as a go-anywhere getaway vehicle on the weekends. And yet still remain a light-duty workhorse that’ll let you transport some serious cargo when the situation calls for it
You get this.
It’s 73 inches wide. 69 inches tall. And 200 inches long. 117 of those inches being between the wheels. And it’s called the Ford Maverick.
It’s one of the most promising entry-level cars to enter the market.
With four doors and seating for five, the one thing that sets this apart from other entry-level cars… is the four-foot bed in the back.
It comes standard with a hybrid powertrain that’ll give you an estimated 42 miles per gallon in the city.
But most importantly it has a starting price just under $20,000.
With a price that low, it is not only one of the most affordable vehicles available today, but also one of the most cost effective.
2022 Ford Maverick Ecoboost Lariat FWD: Quick Specs
- MSRP base: $27,295 (As tested: $34,945)
- Powertrain: 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
// 8-speed automatic transmission
// front-wheel drive (AWD Optional)
- Horsepower: 250 bhp @ 5,500 rpm
- Torque: 277 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
- Seating capacity: 5
- Cargo volume: 33.3 cubic feet
- Towing capacity: 2,000 pounds (4,000 pounds with AWD)
- Payload capacity: 1,500 pounds
- Curb weight: 3,563 pounds
(AWD: 3,731 pounds)
- Fuel economy: 23 mpg city
// 30 highway
// 26 combined (27 achieved in testing)
Performance and Driving Impressions
The Maverick comes in 3 trims. There’s the XL, XLT, and Lariat. And 2 different powertrain options.
Standard is the hybrid powertrain, running on a 2.5L Atkinson Cycle inline-4 cylinder engine paired with a 94kW electric motor and a CVT.
Combined, that gives you 191-hp and 171 lb-ft of torque. Getting you from zero-to-60 in roughly 7 seconds, which isn’t too bad for a 3700-pound pickup…
Driving it, you don’t get the rubber-banding you’d normally expect with a CVT. But that’s because Ford isn’t using a traditional CVT in this car.
Instead… they’re using an eCVT transaxle that is common in Hybrids like the Prius. There are no pulleys or belts that are never in gear. Instead there are two electric motors and a single planetary gear-set that take the place of a normal transmission.
The e-motor sends power to the wheels, while the motor generator starts the engine, charges the high voltage battery, provides regen and performs other power balancing activities.
The car switches between gasoline and electric seamlessly, which… it needs to as there is no way to select EV or Gas only.
Regenerative Braking is definitely not as strong as in a battery EV, but noticeable when releasing the throttle and feathering the brake. This does affect brake pedal travel to some extent as it’s possible to feel when the car switches from the regen braking to the regular brakes.
2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid Lariat FWD: Quick Specs
- MSRP base: $27,295 (As tested: $34,945)
- Powertrain: 2.5-liter Atkinson Cycle inline four-cylinder
// front-wheel drive
- Horsepower (combined): 191 bhp @ 5,600 rpm
- Horsepower (engine): 162 bhp @ 5,600 rpm
- Torque: 277 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
- Seating capacity: 5
- Cargo volume: 33.3 cubic feet
- Towing capacity: 2,000 pounds
- Payload capacity: 1,500 pounds
- Curb weight: 3,674 pounds
- Fuel economy:
// 42 mpg city (47 achieved in testing)
// 33 highway
// 37 combined (38 achieved in testing)
But if you don’t go for the hybrid, then you’ll sit with the 2L EcoBoost, which is a turbocharged inline-4 paired with an 8-speed automatic, producing a peppy 250-hp and 277-lb-ft of torque with the ability to tack on the AWD package, like this one has, and you’ll make it off the line and up to 60 mph… in just under 6 seconds.
But it’s front wheel drive.
And listen, I know that there’s nothing inherently wrong with front-wheel drive.
It’s the most economical setup and many great cars are FWD, for example the Golf GTI and the Civic Type R.
Unless you know what you’re feeling for, you might not even notice the difference.
But if you do… then you’ll feel some torque-steer as you throttle the gas and the ever-so-slight under-steer as you round the sharper corners.
The sensation of being pulled rather than propelling yourself forward is stronger than you might expect, especially off the line, but I noticed that with auto-hold turned off some of that twitchiness goes away.
Driving both is wildly enjoyable. At highway speeds, the Maverick holds its own, with a strong command of the road.
The throttle responds quickly to your input, and puts out more power than you would expect from something like this.
The steering is breezy without being overly assisted, yet responsive. You feel a proper balance between being connected to the road with little roll, and insulated from the outside because there’s little wind and road noise, plus the engine isn’t quite loud.
Despite being a unibody construction, the ride quality in the hybrid is definitely slightly on the stiffer side, which I attribute to the torsion beam rear suspension–the Ecoboost AWD dampens that slightly by using a multi-link setup instead, making the ride handle the undulations of the road more smoothly.
The Hybrid powertrain makes up for this with its fuel economy however.
Getting a solid 43mpg in the city and roughly 37mpg combined.
I had the opportunity to take the Hybrid on a little road trip from NYC to Washington DC and in my 253 miles on the road, with a bit of a heavy foot, and even then I was able to average just shy of 38mpg, which is incredible.
Prior to that, I’d done 100 miles locally between highways and the city, driving more economically, and was getting a wallet-friendly 47mpg.
And that is what makes the Ford Maverick truly brilliant.
Because this is an entry-level car, at an entry-level price and that is precisely the value you’re getting from it.
Value that you might notice when you step inside.
For a company whose economy offering has long been thought to serve primarily as a fleet for the likes of Avis or Budget, Ford’s attention to detail and thoughtful design stands out in the Maverick.
Granted, most of the interior materials are hard plastics, they’re made to be rugged and durable. A reflection of the idea that despite its stature, it is still Built Ford Tough.
Certain surfaces are coated in a soft touch material that adds a slightly premium feel to the otherwise basic-looking dash.
The minimalism feels almost Scandinavian, as panels tightly meet each and the curves of the trims are integrated smoothly.
The Maverick offers a wholly distraction-free cabin, with a lot of practical space for something that can double up as a DIYer’s truck.
Ford decided to keep buttons on this car for practically all of the primary controls. Wonderfully, everything is within the driver’s reach. You don’t have to extend yourself beyond your comfortable seating position in order to make a minor adjustment. From media to climate, but they didn’t skimp out on the tech.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard on all Mavericks, which makes sense considering it is less costly than building their own UI, and more practical since people tend to gravitate towards responsive software, especially when built-in to the device in their pocket.
I will say one of the things that I do find odd while I’m driving is the placement of the screen. What I mean by that is if you take a look at the infotainment screen it is flat against the dash, which might be the perfect viewing angle for a small Asian mom like mine, or a child sitting in middle seat of the back row. It’s just not ideal for most drivers, yet not too problematic.
I would just tilt the screen, or provide a tilting mechanism that allows an adjustment for taller drivers or anyone who likes to ride higher. Then again, that costs money. Would it have been nice for the screen to also have been angled toward the driver? Of course beggars can’t be choosers, but they can still be observant.
And the more time you spend inside this truck, you start to notice the little details that honestly do not take away from the experience of living with it. They are elements so trivial you might not even think to think about it.
The driver doesn’t get their own headliner handle, for one thing.
Then take the buttons on the steering wheel. While you have the ability to raise and lower the volume, go back a track or skip to the next one, there’s no way that you can pause your music from it. You do have the option to mute, but then your music is still playing in the background you just can’t hear it. And I don’t quite understand what the point of that is. Sure you can just reach to the dash and hit the pause button, but it just seems more intuitive to have that ability from your steering wheel.
Another strange decision was the placement of the heated steering wheel button, which for some reason is located on the passenger half of the climate controls. I would have no problem with this, if there wasn’t a cut out for a button on the driver side that just sits empty. But now I have to break the barrier of my passenger’s personal bubble just to keep my hands warm, which… sounds wrong.
Meanwhile, as far as storage is concerned, there’s a lot of it. In particular, there are two cubbies, one beside and one behind the screen that don’t entirely have clear use cases. Although a friend suggested that one of the cubbies is the ideal size for a carton of cigarettes. The other, I assume, is for placing an EZ-Pass or dash ornament? (We ultimately worked out what these were for.)
The ignition switch is mounted quite low, at least in the trims that don’t come with a normal steering-mounted key-ignition. But it does keep your hand close to the PRNDL. Perfect for a quick getaway.
The gear shift here is similar to the shift by wire system Ford uses in its other cars, such as the Mustang Mach-E. Just put your foot on the brake and shift into gear by rotating the knob. But like the Mach-E, it feels a bit flimsy. No resistance and no limitation, spinning freely like a volume knob even after you’ve reached the end.
Yet, Ford makes up for this break in thoughtfulness with the practicality of the rest of the center console. Fitted with rubberized materials and custom cutouts for a wireless phone charger, a phone dock, and what I can only assume to be a snack storage space, you’ll notice that your peripherals stay firmly planted as if they’re placed in their own version of personal bucket seats.
Meanwhile, cupholders are a great size for even a can of soda. The armrest is cushioned enough for people with glass bones like myself, Micah Muzio, and the man selling chocolate to SpongeBob and Patrick. Plus it has reasonable storage inside.
The driver seat is an 8-way power adjusting seat and understandably, the passenger seat is not…even on the Lariat luxury package, as is featured in this model, with its upholstered brown leather as opposed to the standard cloth interior.
You get reasonably large seats and a nice commanding driving position, with ample visibility. The two large wing mirrors, when set correctly definitely reduce your blindspot to virtually nothing. But don’t worry, because with modern technology ignorance is BLIS. In that, you do have a Blindspot Indication System.
On the other hand, in the two models I’ve driven, for some reason visibility out of the rearview mirror has been plagued with a fuzzy image regardless of time of day. The auto dimming has certainly helped at night, but lights provide the only clarity for this mirror in my experience.
When you hop in the backseat however, you might notice that it can be a pretty tight squeeze. I am not the tallest, nor the most average, but I was able to sit comfortably for the most part. Not entirely sure how I would fare if I was in the back row on a long trip. If you’re a taller or bulkier build, you might find even short trips in the second row to be uncomfortable. Whereas, if you’re a child, you’ll simply be blown away by the lack of rear entertainment. That is unless you don’t care because you have your own entertainment system in the palm of your hands.
Which brings me to this odd-shaped notch at the back of the center console. Ford says that it’s made for future accessory attachments, of which they’ll share the specifications, so people could 3D print their own, one use case would be as a mount for an iPad. Ford has actually released the CAD files for owners who are ready to 3D print their own accessories.
On the other hand, the folks over at The Drive are engaged in a battle of wits and 3D creativity. Rob Stumpf and Peter Holderith are facing off against one another to see who can create the best 3D-printed accessories for the Ford Maverick.
The bench can be lifted up to reveal some shallow storage space. And you can even bring the seatbacks down to reveal where the cabin meets the bed.
The Ford Maverick has a roughly 4-foot long all-steel truck bed, with optional spray-in bed liner like you see here.
The tailgate is not dampened, but it is adjustable. As is the configuration of the cargo hold. The Maverick uses Ford’s Flexbed system, where indentations ideal for separating cargo enable users to create divided spaces. Drop in a couple of two by fours, lay a sheet of plywood on top, and you’ve got yourself a platform or shelf.
Alternatively, you can purchase Ford’s bed extender to give you additional bed space.
Otherwise, with a wheel-to-wheel width of 42 inches and 20-inches of depth, this bed has enough capacity for most people.
Just the other day, I heard a friend was flying in from Canada, so we made last minute plans for me to pick her up from the airport. The Maverick’s bed could have fit her checked luggage six times over. Which is ideal if you’re a family traveling to the motherland, with gifts for relatives.
Oh and for us shorter folks, it’s lift-in height of 30 inches makes it pretty easy to load heavy items.
Either way, yes it’s a small bed, but again it’s a compact pickup not a heavy-duty workhorse. The Australians would say that this is a Ute, or utility vehicle. And they would be right. The bed is more than enough for fitting what you need.
Up front, you have what is otherwise a normal looking face. Something that looks so much like a truck that you wouldn’t even question whether it is. Whereas opposing drivers might be surprised to learn that it isn’t a car.
The headlights are mounted slightly lower, so you don’t blind oncoming traffic. A feature for the considerate driver.
It sits on either 17 inch or 18 inch wheels. On the 17 inch XL you’ll get steelies, but upgrade to XLT or Lariat and you’ll get aluminum wheels in either 17 or 18 inches.
Its size is noticeably smaller than a standard full-size pickup truck, which means that even a city dweller could own one.
If you’re someone too refined for an activity such as dumpster diving or scrapyard skipping, you could drive around the streets of the city stooping. Alternatively, just wait for @stoopingnyc to post something that interests you, drive out and load it up in the bed of the truck, which has a payload capacity of 1500 pounds.
If you’re trying to get out of the city to go on an off-road adventure, you could get the optional FX4 package on your AWD XLT or Lariat. But don’t think that you’ll be doing any serious rock crawling. At best you can do a moderate gravel crawl.
Despite the FX4 package being one of Ford’s hallmark off-roading packages, the Maverick’s version doesn’t get the full suite.
Sure there’ll be some underbody skid plates, larger all-terrain tires, hill descent control and off-road driving modes, but you don’t get any suspension upgrades besides “off-road tuning.”
There’s no locking differential, no trail control, and no low-range transfer case. If you’re looking for those, you’d be better off being upsold to the Ford Ranger.
On the other hand, if you have jet skis or an ATV, you can surely tow it with the standard 2000 pound towing capacity. If you’re trying to hitch a small camper trailer, hope is not lost. With the AWD you can tack on the 4k towing package, which comes with trailer brake control.
The Value Proposition
At that point, as you add all these features, you add to your bill. A top-spec fully loaded Maverick can come out to $38,000, which somewhat defeats the purpose of this truck, at least from a cost-aspect.
But when you’re buying a vehicle, you’re buying what fits your needs first and foremost.
You’ll be compelled to compare it to other cars on the market across different classes. As you should, when you do your research. You’ll also compare it to other trucks within its class like the competitively priced Hyundai Santa Cruz or the slightly larger Honda Ridgeline.
When it comes to the Maverick, if I were prioritizing cost upfront and cost of ownership, I would probably choose the Hybrid. If I were prioritizing my feelings, I might end up going for the 2L Ecoboost.
Whether you need a family car with extra room for storage, or an affordable truck you could take the crew in, any combination of the Maverick’s trims and powertrains will fit the majority of your needs.
And ultimately that is why you would buy a truck like this, for all its practical purposes.