Sometimes smaller is better. Sometimes smaller is cheaper, and sometimes smaller is smarter. That’s the 2022 Ford Maverick, a compact pickup truck sharing the same unibody platform as the Ford Escape and Bronco Sport. Yeah, it’s small, but that’s great if you want something with a bed, but don’t have the need or the extra cash for a mid- or full-size truck. Instead, the Maverick is an easy-to-drive, efficient pickup that won’t break the bank and has to make intelligent use of the space it’s got.
The Maverick is peerless, with its small stature and a standard hybrid powertrain. The closest competitor is the also-new Hyundai Santa Cruz. That Hyundai shies away from the pickup vibe, maintaining its crossover aesthetics. The Maverick leans into the fact that it’s a pickup, and built by a company that’s been selling countless pickups for many, many decades. And the Maverick totally succeeds at being just enough truck for a lot of people. We have no doubt it will be popular — and for good reason. We just wonder if Ford can keep up with demand.
What’s new for 2022?
The Maverick is a brand new model, with 2022 being its inaugural model year.
What are the Maverick’s interior and in-car technology like?
The Maverick interior is an interesting place. Cost-saving measures dictate the inclusion of a lot of hard plastics, but one can see and feel interesting shapes, textures and colors. The plastic across the top of the dash has a grain reminiscent of canvas. There are interesting colors from the inclusion of ground carbon fiber byproduct in other hard plastics. The door panels are molded to provide storage for a multitude of water bottles of various shapes and sizes. The door armrest is cut out, leaving a cantilevered grab point complete with exposed fasteners for a rugged, utilitarian look. There are storage cubbies below the center stack, next to the infotainment screen and on top of the dash behind the screen.
An 8-inch infotainment touchscreen is standard across the lineup that runs Ford’s Sync 3 tech interface. It’s technically not as advanced as the Sync 4 system in F-150 and Bronco, but the last-gen is still perfectly functional and feature-rich. There are two USB ports up front (one of which is USB-C format), and two more can be had in the rear of the center console in the Lariat. A six-speaker sound system is standard (as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), but can be upgraded to an eight-speaker B&O sound system with subwoofer and HD Radio. SirusXM satellite radio is also available, as are 110-volt outlets in the rear and in the bed. You can also opt for a wireless charging pad for your phone.
How big is the Maverick?
It’s pretty small. It’s a compact pickup, a step below the Ford Ranger. Every Maverick is a SuperCrew configuration with four side doors and a 4.5-foot bed. Despite its diminutive stature, it uses its available space brilliantly. There are plenty of cutouts in the door panels to accommodate bottles of various sizes. The storage bin below the rear bench seat is generous, and a great place to store tools.
Although the bed is 7 inches shorter than that of the Ranger SuperCrew, it’s still much longer than the cargo areas of even the biggest compact SUVs. Plus, while small for a pickup, the bed is still big enough to accommodate a shipping pallet when closed, or full 4×8 sheets of plywood in a flat, level position with the tailgate opened in its mid-position. As many as 10 bed tie-downs and a cargo management system allow you to secure your load. A pair of tailgate tie-downs double as bottle openers. There are two pre-wired 12-volt outlets for wiring in your own accessories, and an available 120-volt outlet allows you to plug in tools or appliances. Cubbies in the side of the bed allow for further storage, and a false floor in those cubbies can be removed to accommodate something like a two-liter bottle. So, yeah, it’s not the biggest bed around, but it’s one of the smartest. (The Hyundai Santa Cruz has its own set of unique bed features as well)
The Maverick offers two different powertrains. The hybrid is standard, mating a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to an electronic continuously variable transmission with integrated electric motors and a small battery pack. In all, the system makes a total of 191 horsepower 155 pound-feet of torque. The Maverick Hybrid is only offered in front-wheel drive. It has impressive fuel economy figures: 42 miles per gallon city, 33 mpg highway and 37 mpg combined.
The other available power plant is the “EcoBoost” turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four producing 250 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive. The front-drive EcoBoost is rated at 23 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 26 combined. All-wheel drive only hampers that slightly, with an EPA rating of 22/29/25 mpg. These are basically 3-mpg combined better than what the turbocharged Hyundai Santa Cruz gets.
The EcoBoost can also tow up to 4,000 pounds, while the Hybrid maxes out at 2,000 pounds. The turbo Santa Cruz is good for 5,000 pounds.
What’s the Maverick like to drive?
As the Maverick’s size would suggest, it’s an easy vehicle to drive, whether navigating the traffic and parking lots of downtown, cruising scenic highways or rambling down rural gravel roads. The hybrid’s instantaneous torque makes it eager to get underway, and its 191 horsepower is ample to help it carry speed uphill. With a half-ton of mulch in the bed and using the Tow/Haul mode, the hybrid-powered Maverick (pictured above) still drives just as easily, though not as efficiently. The one quibble to find with the hybrid was the brake feel — slightly touchy at first, but a little gummy as you dig deeper into the pedal. It was easy to get used to and forget about, though.
Driving the EcoBoost with all-wheel drive provides what most drivers will find to be a more familiar, if slightly noisier, drive experience. It’s definitely quicker to make passing maneuvers and a bit more surefooted in corners and on loose surfaces. Plus, it’s the Maverick to get if towing is on the menu given its maximum 4,000 pounds. Its eight-speed automatic transmission will be more palatable to certain buyers, though the hybrid’s CVT behaves admirably. Either way, there’s no option to shift on your own.
When equipped with the FX4 package, the monotube suspension, we’re told, better dissipates the heat for a more consistent viscosity and a ride that holds up under more activity. The underbody protection does its job, deflecting some of those bigger rocks from the mechanicals underneath the vehicle. The FX4’s Mud/Rut and Sand modes help provide confidence, while hill descent control makes descending those steep grades a lot less fraught. It seemed fine for most of the types of driving one might need to get to a campsite, across a farm or to a hunting blind.
What other Ford Maverick reviews can I read?
2022 Ford Maverick First Drive Review | Little truck is a big deal
Our first drive of the Ford Maverick, wherein we test both the Hybrid and EcoBoost versions, both front- and all-wheel-drive versions as well as thee FX4 off-road package. To summarize, we’re thoroughly impressed.
2022 Ford Maverick vs Ranger and F-150 size comparison: How big is it?
Just how small is the Maverick? Here’s how it compares to its bigger siblings.
We talk Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz, and we bought Suburbans! | Autoblog Podcast #703
Listen to our editors compare the Ford Maverick to its only close competitor, the Hyundai Santa Cruz.
Regardless of the powertrain, the Maverick can be had in one of three trim levels: XL, XLT or Lariat. The base XL trim starts at $21,490 (including $1,495 in destination fees) for the hybrid. The EcoBoost adds $1,085 across trim levels, while all-wheel drive adds an additional $3,305. Finally, for those who want to venture further off the beaten path, the all-wheel-drive Maverick XLT and Lariat trims offer the FX4 package ($800) with all-terrain tires, a specially tuned suspension, extra underbody protection, Mud/Rut and Sand drive modes, as well as hill descent control. A fully loaded Lariat with EcoBoost, all-wheel drive, FX4 package, tow package, Ford Co-Pilot360 and the Lariat Luxury package rings in at $35,715.
The aforementioned base XL trim includes as standard equipment steel wheels, automatic LED headlights, auto high beams, pickup box tie-down hooks and rail, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, manual air conditioning, cloth seats, a height-adjustable driver seat, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, rear under-seat storage bins, 12-volt power outlets front and rear, an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, 4.2-inch instrument panel display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and FordPass Connect with 4G LTE Wi-Fi.
XLT adds 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, cruise control, FlexBed cubby storage, power tailgate lock, keyless entry keypad, power side-view mirrors with integrated spotter mirrors, D-link bed connectors, storage in cargo bed, wiper-activated headlights, unique cloth bucket seats, and a fold-down rear center armrest with two cupholders.
Lariat adds body-color door and tailgate handles, body-color mirrors, proximity entry and push-button start, power-sliding rear window, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver’s seat, ActiveX vinyl upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, ambient lighting, dual rear USB ports and a 6.5-inch instrument panel display.
Also available in packages are features like adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability and lane centering, LED cargo box lighting, drop-in or spray-in bedliner, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated side mirrors, remote start, SiriusXM radio, and a wireless phone charger.
The pricing breakdown based on trim and drivetrain is as follows:
- XL: $21,490
- XLT: $23,775
- Lariat: $26,985
Maverick EcoBoost (FWD/AWD)
- XL: $22,575/$25,880
- XLT: $24,860/$28,165
- Lariat: $28,070/$31,375
As of this writing, the Ford Maverick has not yet been crash-tested by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Standard safety equipment includes forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, post-collision braking, post-crash alert system, and auto high beams,. Also available are a blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist, lane centering assist, evasive steering assist and rear parking sensors.