Ford’s bold plan of being a pure SUV and pickup company (Mustang excluded, of course) generated its fair share of criticism and faced a test courtesy of surging gas prices. But despite all of this, Ford is still generating massive profits and is rocketing towards an all-electric future. The Ford F-150 and the Ranger pickups are two vital cogs in the company’s broader sales machine. However, the family still had room for a smaller offering, and Ford has delivered the goods with the all-new Ford Maverick. But can the Maverick be the urban-entric truck offering that will allow the company to appeal to urbanities? Or does it come up a bit short?
Cute Styling Doesn’t Keep Maverick from Looking Like A Truck
When one first looks at the Ford Maverick, the notion of it being rough and tough might be a bit hard to find at first glance. Unlike the bigger F-150 and Ranger models, the Maverick has a design that seems to be the delicate mixture of a toaster and the cute lines in a design catalog, with the rounded front fascia and the puffed-up angles making it look more like something out of a Barbie Dreamhouse commercial than being for the Levi set.
But don’t let that first impression fool you because the Maverick still packs some pretty cool tricks in its highly versatile sleeve. The F-Series cues bleed through in other ways, with the headlights featuring C-clamp style elements, a large front grille, and sizeable Maverick lettering stamped into the tailgate. It doesn’t go too overboard in its attempts to be like every other truck. Its unique look is a nice fresh detour away from rivals like the Hyundai Santa Cruz and even borderline contenders like the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon.
The Maverick’s bed is where the bulk of the magic happens, and it’s here where Ford’s insistence on adding DIY charm has paid off. The space itself has cutouts that allow it to accommodate a wide range of DIY hauling creations. At the same time, several bed-mounted outlets enable the truck to power a wide range of gadgets and other accessories. The tailgate itself even adds an integrated bottle opener for tailgate parties, and buyers looking for information on how to use select areas of the truck can scan stamped QR codes that give you tutorials and suggestions on what you can do with the space in question.
Functional Interior Greatly Enhances Maverick’s Storage
The Maverick is a budget-centric offering, but that doesn’t mean the cabin is a cheap penalty box either. Hard plastics are a prominent part of the experience. Still, Ford designers were thoughtful enough to add distinct shapes, textures, and colors to distract you from the plastic situation. We liked how the doors incorporate cubbies to accommodate large water bottles and other items without them falling out. Splashes of adonized bronze accents also spice up things, and the exposed bolts proudly show off its ready-to-work character.
The rest of the cabin gets the bulk of its parts from the Ford parts bin, with numerous dials and switches being carried over from the Bronco Sport. The front seats are comfortable, but they are not going to set the bar when it comes to providing segment beating levels of support with the bolstering in our XLT tester’s cloth seats lacking side and lower back support. The rear bench houses rear occupants in reasonable comfort, and the space can be flipped upward, revealing a floor-mounted storage bin that can swallow small amounts of cargo and even several jugs of water.
The 8.0-inch infotainment system is also borrowed from the Bronco Sport. The SYNC software here does an excellent job of making the system easy to live with, and there were minimal amounts of lag when navigating between various menus. The surroundings might not have the flash that defines larger pickups or even some of its rivals, but sometimes it’s how usable space can ultimately define an interior. We suspect that most Maverick buyers are willing to sacrifice frills for maximum utility.
Hybrid Performance Nets Maverick Class-Exclusive Fuel Economy
When it’s not impressing people with its ability to haul cargo and DIY charm, the Maverick is also winning over buyers with its segment-leading fuel economy. That fuel economy comes in the form of the Maverick Hybrid model, which is the first mid-size pickup to bring a hybrid engine to the segment. The hybrid in question is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired with a small electric motor that produces a combined 191 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque. A novel eCVT is the lone transmission here, and the setup gets up to 42 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the freeway.
That’s an impressive amount of mileage, but buyers that choose to go for the Hybrid will have to sacrifice all-wheel drive (to reduce weight) and towing capacity due to the engine’s middling performance numbers. Buyers that value those two things will have to go for the 2.0 EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder, which makes 250 hp and not only can add all-wheel drive but also helps the Maverick hit its maximum 4,000 lb towing limit.
Moving back to the Hybrid, and it proved to be a very impressive offering in its own right, acceleration is not the best in the world. Still, the engine impressed us with its ability to transition between all-electric and traditional motoring seamlessly. There’s no dedicated electric driving mode, but that’s not a big deal since the Maverick is not meant to be a Prius beating green machine anyway. While we didn’t have any urban-focused errands for our tester, the Maverick did get picked to go on our periodic trek to gather spring water for the office. This time around, we brought six water jugs with us, and our tester proved to be the perfect tool for this task, with the rear storage bin holding four of our jugs while the other three were stored in the passenger floor well.
The 2022 Ford Maverick has proven to be a popular value pick for buyers, and it has generated so much demand that the Hybrid model is currently sold out. When the order books are reopened, a base XL model starts at $19,995 ($20,000 with fees), and this model is clearly targeted at small businesses that would need one for their operations or even stores like Home Depot that would have one wrapped in their colors for customer rental.
The $22,360 XLT is the volume-focused model, and our tester was a prime example of some of the balance that is baked into the XLT, with an impressive roster of equipment being balanced with some of the inner value that was engineered into the Maverick’s flanks. The $25,860 Lariat is the range-topper (for now) in the Maverick family and is the one to go to if you want maximum amounts of tech in your drive. A 6.5-inch instrument cluster mounted “productivity screen” is standard here, while leather thrones and a premium sound system further enhance the luxury factor.
As mentioned, a beefier 2.0-liter non-hybrid turbocharged four-cylinder is available for those that want all-wheel-drive and better towing, but prices will inch up accordingly across all three trim levels if you choose to make the upgrade. This pricing allows the Maverick to be a more affordable alternative to the Hyundai Santa Cruz, and it can even outprice the bigger Ford Ranger when select trims are factored in.
In summary, the 2022 Ford Maverick appears to have succeeded where others have failed. It’s a pickup, but unlike larger models, it has managed to carve out a unique niche for itself as an urban-focused trucklet that can not only do the big hauling jobs that many truck buyers expect but to also morph into a city dweller that can go through narrow alleyways and tight parking spots when moving from job to job. Ford has a hit on its hands and look for the Maverick to continue its winning ways for the next several years to come.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.