2022 Ford Maverick: A Small, 40 MPG Hybrid Pickup That’s $20K

2022 Ford Maverick Towing Camper

Manufacturer images

By Brian Normile

Looks like: Modern, smaller Ford Explorer Sport Trac

Competes with: Hyundai Santa Cruz, plus compact and mid-size SUVs

Powertrains: 191-total horsepower, 2.5-liter gas four-cylinder and electric traction motor hybrid powertrain; 250-hp, turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder; continuously variable transmission (hybrid) or eight-speed automatic (EcoBoost); front- (hybrid, EcoBoost) or all-wheel drive (EcoBoost)

Hits dealerships: Fall

The latest member of Ford’s pickup truck family, the 2022 Maverick, debuts as affordable and fuel efficient like its compact car namesake from the 1970s, but this time around the new Maverick is a small hybrid unibody pickup. With a starting price just north of $20,000 including the destination fee, buyers will be able to get a vehicle with a pickup bed that Ford hopes will average 40 mpg in city driving.

Related: 2022 Ford Maverick Joins the Herd Next Week

An affordable compact pickup with hybrid fuel efficiency may cut into a healthy slice of small SUV sales like the Kia Seltos and Chevrolet Trailblazer, or front-wheel-drive-only near-SUVs like the Nissan Kicks or Hyundai Venue — the latter of which won Cars.com’s inaugural Best Value award.

Size Matters

2022 Ford Maverick Side Profile

The new Maverick is small by today’s pickup standards. It’s smaller than the current-generation Ranger and smaller in some ways than the previous-generation Ranger. The Maverick is just an inch taller than a 2011 Ranger and a little more than an inch wider, but almost 4 inches shorter than an extended-cab 2011 Ranger with a 6-foot bed. 

The Maverick is more similar in size to the upcoming 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, which is 195.7 inches long versus the Maverick’s 199.7 inches, while the Maverick is a maximum 68.7 inches tall versus the Santa Cruz that’s 66.7 inches tall. 

2022 Ford Maverick With Tailgate Open

Ford envisions the Maverick buyer as the type of urban-dwelling person who devours do-it-yourself content and then tries his or her own projects, so they need a small, easy-to-maneuver pickup that can carry a decent amount of things from the home improvement store. To that end, the bed may be small, but it has a lift-in height of only 30.1 inches and was specifically designed to provide easy access to cargo for smaller individuals. The bed itself is approximately 4.5 feet long and 3.5 feet wide at the wheel wells, small by pickup standards but likely enough for most use cases Ford envisions.

Interior passenger room is roughly on par with the current crew-cab Ranger, with less front headroom and front legroom but more rear legroom. Hip and shoulder room are all within an inch of each other. 

Efficiency Matters, Too

2022 Ford Maverick With Hybrid Powertrain (Left) and EcoBoost Engine (Right)

Full EPA estimates aren’t available, but Ford says it’s targeting up to 40 mpg in the city, which is an incredibly high figure for any sort of pickup and very good for any class of vehicle. That 40-mpg figure is for the standard FWD-only hybrid configuration, which uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine and electric traction to produce 191 total system horsepower and 155 pounds-feet of torque.

Those looking for a sportier compact pickup can choose the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder, which produces a robust 250 hp and 277 pounds-feet of torque. Unlike the hybrid’s continuously variable automatic transmission, the EcoBoost gets a traditional eight-speed automatic. The EcoBoost can also be equipped with all-wheel drive. No fuel economy numbers are available for the gas-only powertrain, but in the Bronco Sport it’s rated at 21/26/23  mpg city/highway/combined, and the Maverick is slightly lighter.

Towing, Payload Capacities

As the baby of Ford’s truck lineup, the Maverick isn’t the most capable pickup in the corral, especially when compared to a Super Duty or F-150, but it has an entirely different mission. Towing maxes out at 2,000 pounds for the hybrid Maverick, which Ford says is enough for a small camper or personal watercraft. EcoBoost-powered Mavericks can be equipped with an optional tow package that doubles the capacity to 4,000 pounds. The Santa Cruz can tow 3,500 pounds with its base engine and a maximum 5,000 pounds with its optional turbocharged engine. The Maverick’s payload is impressive for something of this size with both powertrains maxing out at 1,500 pounds.

Technology and Safety

2022 Ford Maverick Multimedia Screen

An 8-inch touchscreen with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard, as is an embedded modem that can connect to a maximum of 10 devices (data charges may apply). The FordPass app allows owners to remotely start and lock/unlock the Maverick, and can even locate the truck and report current fuel levels.

Standard safety features include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, and automatic high beams. Additional advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning with lane-centering steering and lane-keeping assist, and reverse parking sensors are optional.

DIY Innovation

2022 Ford Maverick Flexbed

Ford believes the urban DIY-er — really, any DIY-er — is part of the Maverick’s target demographic, and Ford designed the Maverick’s bed with that in mind. Dubbed the Flexbed, it’s full of features for homebrew craftspeople.

Slots stamped into the bedsides can fit two-by-fours and two-by-sixes for DIY items like bike racks. Ford will even provide a few ideas for customers via a scannable QR code in the bed, and there will be video tutorials as well. Owners can also slide in the boards to divide the bed storage.

With so many DIY electrical projects involving owners performing “off-warranty” surgery to access a vehicle’s wiring harness, Ford gave the Maverick a prewired 12-volt access panel that can power bed lighting, other exterior lighting or any number of other projects. There are also additional power sources in the Maverick in the form of two 110-volt outlets, one in the bed and one in the cabin.

2022 Ford Maverick Multiposition Tailgate

The Maverick has a multiposition tailgate, too, with cables that clip to different stays in the bed to keep the tailgate partially open to support longer loads. Tie-down clamps that are also bottle openers adorn the tailgate, and it’s rated to support 500 pounds of weight when fully opened.

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Trims, Pricing and Release Date

The Maverick goes on sale this fall and will be available in XL, XLT and Lariat trims plus a special First Edition, which is based on the Lariat and gets a graphics treatment, black 18-inch wheels (hybrid) or unique 17-inch aluminum wheels (EcoBoost), a gloss black roof and more.

There were questions about Ford’s decision to end sales of sedans and hatchbacks in North America — really, any car other than the Mustang — but it seems Ford has found a solution. The Maverick seems like a smart way for Ford to get back into the affordable small vehicle market. Pricing starts at $19,995 before destination and, by the time you’re reading this, the configurator will be live on Ford.com for shoppers to build their ideal Maverick. 

Related Video: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz: First Look — Cars.Com


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