What Is It?
Pickup trucks are big in America — the three most popular vehicles in this country are pickup trucks, and they sell in big numbers. For decades the Ford Motor Company has had great success with pickup trucks, ranging from the midsize Ranger to the F-Series full-size pickup, which has a winning streak four decades long as the best-selling vehicle in America. And now the truckmaker mines its vast expertise and experience to join the growing compact pickup truck segment via the all-new 2022 Ford Maverick. This entry-level unibody pickup offers impressive utility, commendable fuel economy and a low starting price — no doubt a formula that will prove to be a winning combination.
The Dearborn-based automaker provided us with a 2022 Ford Maverick XLT FWD painted in Hot Pepper Red. Options on this truck included the XLT Luxury Package, a sliding rear window, Ford Co-Pilot 360 and a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine for a total MSRP of $28,540. Competitors to the Maverick include the Hyundai Santa Cruz, Jeep Gladiator and Honda Ridgeline.
North American Truck of the Year
Since the Maverick’s introduction last summer, the compact truck has earned accolades from multiple publications, including being named an Editors’ Pick here at AutoNXT. Perhaps its most important award came earlier in January 2022 when the new Maverick earned bragging rights as the 2022 North American Truck of the Year.
Even though the 2022 Ford Maverick has unibody construction, Ford designers gave the compact pickup classic truck styling with an upright, squared-off look. Up front, the Maverick stands out from its larger F-Series sibling with unique headlights that stretch around the front corners, giving the small truck a wide stance.
With its unibody design sporting an integrated 4.5-foot bed, the compact Maverick is much smaller than other Ford trucks. The new pickup has an overall length of 199.7 inches — 11.1 inches short than Ranger and 32 inches shorter than F-150. Maverick also stands lower at a height of 68.7 inches — 2.4 inches less than Ranger and a full 6.9 inches less than F-150.
Under the Hood
The 2022 Ford Maverick comes with a fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain producing a total of 191 horsepower; however, the test truck we drove featured the upgraded 2.0-liter EcoBoost gas engine producing 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. The EcoBoost engine gets teamed with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Upgrading to the EcoBoost adds $1,085 to the truck’s base price.
The official U.S. EPA fuel-economy numbers for the Maverick’s hybrid powertrain are impressive — 42 mpg city / 33 mpg hwy / 37 mpg combined. Our test vehicle with the more powerful EcoBoost still has respectable fuel numbers, rated at 23 mpg city / 30 mpg hwy / 26 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive versions.
Cargo and Towing
Even with a compact truck, buyers expect to have at least some ability to tow or haul cargo, and this Maverick doesn’t disappoint. With the EcoBoost engine and an available 4K towing package, the Maverick gets an upgraded transmission, an integrated brake controller, a hitch receiver and better engine cooling that allow it to tow up to 4,000 pounds. All Mavericks — regardless of powertrain — can haul at least 1,500 pounds of cargo.
Given the 2022 Ford Maverick’s entry-level price point, shoppers will likely anticipate the use of cost-cutting materials for the interior. However, Ford has done wonders to give the hard plastics in the door and on the dash a pleasant texture with splashes of bright color on higher trim levels, so the Maverick doesn’t feel cheap inside. The truck’s shift-by-wire gear selector translates to plenty of room in the center console for storage, as well as easy access to USB ports.
Inside, the 2022 Ford Maverick pickup offers smart technology including a standard 8-inch touchscreen with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. FordPass Connect is also standard and features an embedded modem and Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices. FordPass allows the driver to use a smartphone to find the truck, check the fuel level, lock and unlock doors and start or turn off the engine.
The 2022 Ford Maverick XLT we drove featured cloth-trimmed seats with two shades of gray and colorful accent stitching for an attractive look. Seats are comfortable and offer decent support for long trips.
The rear bench seat in the 2022 Ford Maverick can accommodate up to three passengers. However, unless the front-seat occupants are kind enough to sacrifice some legroom, the rear seat can be rather cramped. Easing the burden of sitting in back are dual USB ports and a sliding rear window for a little additional ventilation.
The 2022 Ford Maverick manages to squeeze in as much utilitarian space as possible, including additional storage under the rear seat. Hybrid variants have slightly less room under the aft seat since the 12-volt battery resides in this space.
Ford Integrated Tether System
Maverick rear-seat passengers will benefit from the Ford Integrated Tether System — a slot at the back of the center console that can be fitted with accessories for personalization. An available accessory pack includes cupholders, a storage bin, a trash bin, a cord organizer, double hooks for bags and underseat storage dividers. More FITS accessories are in development, and Ford will provide blueprints to customers who want to 3D print their own custom accessories.
At first blush the Maverick’s truck bed looks rather small, measuring about 4.5-feet long and 3.5-feet wide between the wheelwells. However, given that this compact, crew-cab pickup seats up to five and can haul up to 1,500 pounds of cargo and has a range of accessories that maximize utility, the Maverick functions well as an everyday, consumer-friendly pickup. The bed will easily hold items that customers might purchase at a big-box store. The low bed sides mean many adults will be able to easily reach things at the bottom of the pickup bed while standing beside the truck, and with the tailgate lowered the liftover height is a mere 30 inches.
Despite its diminutive size, the pickup bed of the 2022 Maverick performs many functions of larger truck beds thanks to what Ford calls the Flexbed System. The system includes tailgate tie-down cleats that are also bottle openers; two 12-volt connectors for DIY items such as lights or an air compressor; an available 110-volt power outlet; multiple bed tiedowns; threaded DIY bed holes; and pockets designed to hold 2 x 6 pieces of wood to act as dividers or mounts for other DIY projects. A QR code in the bed offers access to instructions for building DIY features for additional utility.
All 2022 Ford Mavericks have Ford’s Co-Pilot360 suite of driver-assist features, including automatic high-beams headlights; a rearview camera; and pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, which includes pedestrian detection, forward collision warning and dynamic brake support. Buyers can also opt for adaptive cruise control with stop and go; evasive steering assist; lane centering; a reverse-sensing system; a blind-spot information system with cross-traffic alert; lane departure warning; lane-keeping assist; and hill descent control.
On the Road
Ford’s EcoBoost engine is a great option for the small Maverick, delivering strong acceleration with quick response; the quick-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission provides seamless versatility. Although the hybrid offers much better fuel economy, the EcoBoost gas engine offers a much more pleasant driving experience.
The 2022 Ford Maverick has commendable steering and handling and a relatively quiet ride, making the pickup a great option for everyday driving, be it on freeways or winding country roads. We wouldn’t quite say the Maverick is fun to drive, although with its low center of gravity and unibody design it delivers a more carlike ride than a typical pickup truck.
Towing and Hauling
We had the opportunity to experience the Maverick’s towing capability thanks to a 2,600 pound Airstream Basecamp riding the hitch ball. Easily towing the Basecamp, the Maverick ran well below the 4,000-pound maximum and retained great acceleration and proper manners even at high speeds or driving around town. We also did some driving with 1,000 pounds of cargo in the bed. Even though the truck sat low on its rear haunches, performance remained undiminished. After more than 250 miles with a 1,000-pound load of cement, the EcoBoost still averaged approximately 24 mpg.
With the 2022 Ford Maverick, the automaker introduces a new vehicle that not only achieves impressive fuel efficiency, it also delivers the utility expected of a compact pickup truck. Add in a comfortable, attractive interior along with plenty of customizable storage solutions and Maverick takes to the streets as a great choice for consumers seeking truck capability with carlike drivability and efficiency.