By now you surely must have heard of or seen ads for Ford’s new 2022 Maverick compact pickup. Maverick slots below Ford’s iconic Ranger pickup that is now rated as a midsize because it grew 11.1 inches.
The four-door Maverick is based on the Bronco Sport SUV, Escape crossover platform. It’s offered in XL, XLT, Lariat, Lariat First Edition version we tested, plus an FX4 package on XLT and Lariat models. It differs in that it has terrain tires, unbody protection, plus off-road modes of Mud/Rut and Sand. And for 2023, there’s a Maverick Tremor Off-Road coming that should really be interesting and exciting.
There’s also a hybrid to go along with a gasoline version. All models come with the same 4-doors and bed length and can be ordered as a FWD or AWD pickup.
Maverick is built on a unibody platform that differs from the Ranger that is based on a body-on-frame platform most trucks use. The advantage of unibody is that it offers a car-like - or I should say Escape-like - ride and there’s no gap between the cab and bed like the Ford F-150 pickup has.
Step-in into the cockpit is a low 19 inches for the AWD Maverick Lariat we drove. As the First Edition, it came with a stylish interior and comfy saddle tan and grey heated front leather seats. There’s an 8-inch touchscreen that serves the rearview camera with 360 view, audio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, FordPass Connect w/Wi-Fi, HVAC selections and more.
As for HVAC, their controls are large and simple to use with man-form switches for air direction selections.
Below them is a wireless phone charger that shares the console with a rotary gear selector that many auto makers are now using to replace handle shifters. Situated there as well is a drive mode selector switch that offers Normal. Sport, Eco Tow-Haul and Slippery modes. Sport mode increases rpm’s a bit as does Tow-Haul mode.
The only feature missing in the cockpit is an AWD Lock switch that some compact SUVs and crossovers have. For an impressive little pickup, the Maverick should have it. With the coming of the Maverick Tremor, it’ll probably have it. And maybe a locking rear axle.
Mavericks’ rear seats are rated for three, but two adults would be more comfortable. Like the full-size F-150 pickup, the seat bottoms flip up against the bulkhead exposing a 9.5-inch deep, full-length small item storage bin.
Called FLEXBED, the bed measures 53x52 (ID) inches or a full six feet with the undampened multi-position (fob lockable) tailgate down. The bed walls are notched to fit in 2x4s for two-tier loading capability, plus there’s two sliding tie-down hooks and four fixed hooks and a 400-watt outlet (a 110 volt in the cabin) to charge phones laptops, cordless tools and other appliances. There’s also a Ford cargo management system optionally available.
Ride quality is un-truck-like. As said, it rides more like an Escape crossover on Falken 17-inch tires that are 8 inches wide. It’s smooth and quiet. Ford engineers tuned the suspension for comfort and with a load in the bed, it rides even better.
It’s also possesess stable handling and remains planted in sharp turns with nary any body lean. And it parks easily thanks to a tight turning radius and short 199.7-inch overall length. With 8.6 inches of ground clearance, Maverick can negotiate fairly deep snow and moderate rugged off-road trails.
So far, there are two powertrains offered for the Maverick. Our AWD Maverick came with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder that generates an impressive 250-hp and 277 lb/ft of torque for EPA mileage estimates of 22 city, 29-highway mpg. Coupled to the standard 8-speed automatic transmission, it has a tow capacity of up to 4,000 pounds or enough, says Ford, to tow a 23-foot camper. It also carries a payload capacity of 1,500 pounds.
The other is the hybrid version equipped with a 2.5-liter Atkinson inline 4-cylinder plus 94-kW battery pack that generates 162-hp and 155 lb/ft of torque for 191 total system horsepower. It’s hooks to a CVT transmission for EPA mileage estimates of 42 city, 33-highway mpg (FWD only).
When equipped with the hybrid powertrain, Ford lists it as the most affordable pickup (FWD) at $19,995. So equipped, it can travel up to 500 miles on a single tank of petrol.
Our Lariat 4x4 test truck carried a base price of $25,490. Options included Equipment Package 500A ($3,305); Rapid Red paint ($495); Mats ($135); Lariat Luxury Package ($3,340); First Edition Package ($1,495); Ford Co-Pilot360 ($540). With delivery, the bottom line reflected $36,295.
As for the CoPilot360, it includes pre-collision assist w/automatic emergency braking; auto high beam headlamps, blind spot system w/cross traffic alert, lane centering, evasive steering and more.
Maverick AWD is a formidable entry into the compact pickup market. It’s a good choice for those who didn’t think they needed a pickup, but it’s nice to have as it can do things and go places a sedan or most crossovers can’t.
Maverick is covered by a 3 year/36K mile bumper-bumper; 5/60K powertrain; 5/60K roadside assistance; and 8/100K for the hybrid components if so equipped.