Ford Maverick reborn as hybrid compact 4-door truck
Ford has relaunched the Maverick nameplate as a standard-hybrid light-duty truck that's smaller than a Ranger. With four doors, better fuel economy than a Honda Civic (40 mpg in the city), a configurable 4.5-ft FLEXBED, and upgradable towing capacity, the Maverick shows some real appeal for light-duty buyers in the market for a pickup that starts at under 20K.
Maverick has unibody construction and comes as a standard five-passenger, four-door pickup with a full-hybrid powertrain and a projected EPA-estimated 500 miles of range on a single tank of gas. Its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder hybrid powertrain delivers 191 hp when combined with its electric traction motor, and 155 lb-ft of torque mated to a continuously variable transmission driving the front wheels. The hybrid technology switches between the gas engine and the electric motor -- or some combination of both -- to optimize the drive and fuel economy. The gas engine and regenerative braking recharge the battery, which doesn't need to be plugged in.
Maverick offers a standard payload of 1,500 lb and the volume to carry a standard ATV, plus it has the capability to tow 2,000 lb, which is enough for a pair of personal watercraft or a good-sized pop-up camper trailer.
Buyers looking for something a little more beefy can upgrade to a 2.0-liter EcoBoost gas engine that provides 250 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, with an 8-speed automatic transmission and standard front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. Equipped with the optional 4K Tow Package, this configuration doubles conventional towing to 4,000 lb, which is enough for an average 21-ft boat.
Maverick is offered in three trim levels: XL, XLT, and Lariat. An FX4 package available for all-wheel-drive XLT and Lariat trucks adds more off-road capability with rugged all-terrain tires and suspension tuning, additional underbody protection, and off-road-focused drive modes like Mud/Rut and Sand, as well as the addition of Hill Descent Control.
As for driving tech features, Ford Co-Pilot360 technology includes standard Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and Automatic High Beam Headlamps. Available options include Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Centering, and Evasive Steering Assist. Five standard drive modes include Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Tow/Haul.
The basic design language features squared-off edges and corners, like a kid-friendly shoebox. Its front end stretches edge to edge, making Maverick look a little tougher. There's no gap between the cab and the tailgate, and the bed rail caps extend from the bed and go vertical, ending at the top of the back window. Ford says it's designed this way to offer greater dent and ding protection, knowing people will load and unload the bed from the sides more frequently.
Ford engineers have put a lot of time into creating the truck's unique FLEXBED, one of the vehicle's standout features, although for some the bed will be too small from the get-go. FLEXBED gives customers organization and storage solutions to secure cargo, while accommodating Ford accessories and creative DIY solutions.
Ford says its team developed the FLEXBED features "after watching people at home improvement and furniture stores as well as college kids moving into their dorms, observing how they struggled to load things into small crossovers and cars while working around the cargo limitations they faced."
The 4.5-ft bed can carry 1,500 lb of payload, the equivalent of roughly 37 bags of 40-lb mulch, and has a 6-ft floor with the tailgate down. Maverick can carry long and wide stuff too, thanks to its multi-position tailgate that has a halfway-open positioning option.
Users can create segmented storage, elevated floors, bike and kayak racks, and more by sliding 2x4s or 2x6s into slots stamped into the side of the bed. There are two tie-downs, four D-rings, and built-in threaded holes in the sides to bolt in cargo. Built-in 12-V electrical power is standard, prewired to an easily removable cover on either side of the back of the bed to support DIY electrical projects. There are also two available 110-V 400-W outlets -- one in the bed, and one in the cabin.
Inside, Maverick is surprisingly spacious. It has a no-nonsense interior, but it's not Spartan or "low-end." It has a standard 8-in. center touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. FordPass Connect -- an embedded modem and Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices -- is standard too. FordPass makes it easy to find the truck, check fuel level, lock and unlock the doors, and start or turn off the vehicle -- all from your phone.
Interior materials are made to be durable and include some weirdly experimental options, which Ford thinks fits the profile of some Maverick DIY buyers. The dash panel has a stonelike finish, like a super-durable synthetic countertop, and there are touches of reground carbon fiber in the interior design too. A lot of thought has gone into storage, including a spacious storage bin under the rear seats that is large enough to fit a fully inflated volleyball, laptop bags, roller blades, tools, and other gear.
In the rear seat compartment, users can take advantage of the Ford Integrated Tether System (FITS), slots that accommodate different accessories for myriad personalization options. An available accessory package includes cupholders, a storage or trash bin, cord organizer, double hook for grocery bags and purses, and under-seat storage dividers.
Available for the first model year only is the Maverick First Edition package. It is built off the Lariat trim level and includes unique graphics on the hood and lower doors, a high-gloss black-painted roof, soft tonneau cover, body-color door handles, high-gloss black skull caps, and gloss black-painted and machined 18-in. wheels. It comes in Carbonized Gray, Area 51, and Rapid Red, unique to First Edition.
The 2022 Ford Maverick goes on sale this fall. Starting price is $19,995 for XL, $22,280 for XLT, and $25,490 for Lariat.