2022 Ford Maverick: First Drive Review

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFord Knows Trucks
Ford Motor Company reigns as a rightful juggernaut in the American truck market — along with the popular midsize Ranger, the F-Series full-size pickup has been the best-selling truck in America for more than 40 years. So the introduction of a brand-new Ford pickup — the 2022 Maverick — is a big deal, and this one is unlike anything Ford has ever built. The automaker plumbed its extensive truck knowledge and applied it to an entry-level unibody pickup and the result is impressive. The 2022 Ford Maverick combines hybrid efficiency, truck utility and excellent economy into what will likely be a big win for consumers — and the company.

Like Nothing Else
“The Maverick product proposition is like nothing else out there. It’s a great-looking truck featuring four doors with room for five adults, plenty of towing and hauling for weekend trips or do-it-yourself projects, and it starts under $20,000,” said Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager. “Maverick challenges the status quo and the stereotypes of what a pickup truck can be. We believe it will be compelling to a lot of people who never before considered a truck,” noted Eckert.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLooks Like a Truck
Even though the 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 F-Series sibling with unique headlights that stretch around the front corners, giving the small truck a wide stance.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceCompact Dimensions
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.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceModel Lineup
The 2022 Ford Maverick is available in three primary trims: XL, XLT and Lariat, each available with a gas or hybrid powertrain. A First Edition Package based on the Lariat is also available in limited numbers. Hybrids come exclusively with front-wheel drive, while non-hybrids are available with all-wheel drive. Prices listed here do not include a $1,495 destination charge.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFord Maverick XL
At a base price of $19,995, the Maverick hits the market as one of the least expensive hybrids and pickup trucks available in America. Standard features include air-conditioning, cloth seat trim, two USB ports, an 8-inch touchscreen display, an AM/FM stereo with six speakers, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices, and rear underseat storage bins. The XL also features a black mesh grille with a black surround and 17-inch Sparkle Silver steel wheels.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFord Maverick XLT
One rung up on the Maverick trim ladder, the XLT has an MSRP starting at $22,280. This version adds to the XL with unique cloth bucket seats, a keyless entry pad, LED headlights, a gray grille bar, a power tailgate lock and 17-inch painted aluminum wheels.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFord Maverick Lariat
The top-level Maverick Lariat has a starting MSRP of $25,490 and upgrades the XL with a 6.5-inch driver display, pushbutton start, ambient lighting, an acoustic windshield, a power driver’s seat, a powered sliding rear window, two rear-seat USB ports, a leather wrapped steering wheel and dual-zone climate control. The Lariat gets differentiated from the rest of the lineup with body-color door handles and mirrors, LED headlights with signature accent lighting, a silver grille bar and 18-inch bright-aluminum wheels.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFord Maverick First Edition
To celebrate the launch of the new Maverick, Ford offers a First Edition Package available only on the Lariat Hybrid or Lariat EcoBoost AWD trim. Priced at $1,495, the First Edition Package includes a black roof, First Edition decals and design elements, a power moonroof, a soft tonneau cover and 17-inch aluminum wheels with all-terrain tires on the EcoBoost versions, and 18-inch black painted alloy wheels on the hybrid. The First Edition is also the only Maverick available in Rapid Red Metallic Tri-Coat.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLariat Luxury Package
The First Edition also requires purchasing the Lariat Luxury Package, which gussies up the Maverick with adaptive cruise control, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, a B&O premium audio system, remote start, a wireless charging pad and evasive steering assist. Also included are a 400-watt inverter, a spray-in bedliner, LED box lighting, bed tiedown locking rails and a trailer hitch receiver.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFord Co-Pilot360
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. Additionally buyers can opt for adaptive cruise control with stop & 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.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHybrid Powertrain
The standard drivetrain on the 2022 Ford Maverick is a hybrid that uses a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine producing 162 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a 126-horsepower permanent magnet electric traction motor to produce a total of 191 horsepower. The engine gets paired with an electronic continuously variable transmission. The Maverick is only available with front-wheel drive.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceEcoBoost Power
The non-hybrid option for the Maverick is a 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; front-wheel drive is the standard setup, with all-wheel drive optional. Upgrading to the EcoBoost engine adds $1,085 to the truck’s base price.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFuel Economy
Ford is still waiting on official U.S. EPA fuel economy numbers for the Maverick’s hybrid powertrain; however, during our testing the trip computer indicated 43 mpg in mostly city driving, with a range of more than 500 miles. The more powerful EcoBoost still delivers respectable fuel numbers, rated at 23 mpg city / 30 mpg hwy / 26 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive versions. All-wheel-drive Mavericks should be about 1 mpg lower.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTowing and Hauling
The Maverick couldn’t really be called a truck if it wasn’t capable of towing. With the hybrid powertrain the 2022 Ford Maverick can tow up to 2,000 pounds — not much compared to a full-size pickup, but enough to pull a few jet skis or a lawn tractor. With the EcoBoost engine and an available 4K towing package, the Maverick gets an upgraded transmission, integrated brake controller, a hitch receiver and better engine cooling allowing it to tow up to 4,000 pounds. All Mavericks — regardless of powertrain — can haul at least 1,500 pounds of cargo.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceHigh Tech
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 with 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.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceInner Space
Given the 2020 Ford Maverick’s entry-level price point, shoppers will likely anticipate the use of cost-cutting materials for the interior. However, Ford has done a great job giving hard plastics in the door and on the dash a pleasant texture with splashes of bright colors on higher trim levels, so the Maverick doesn’t feel cheap inside. The truck’s shift-by-wire gear selector means plenty of room in the center console for storage, as well as easy access to USB ports.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFront Seats
Whether trimmed in cloth or leather, the front seats of the 2022 Ford Maverick are comfortable and can be easily adjusted. The cloth materials are attractive, as is the two-tone leather available on higher trims.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRear Seat
The configuration of the rear bench seat in the 2022 Ford Maverick allows for up to three passengers. However, unless the front-seat occupants are kind enough to sacrifice some legroom, the rear seat can be rather cramped. The rear seats in Maverick’s higher trim levels include dual USB ports, and an available sunroof does provide an airy respite for those relegated to the rear seat.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFord 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.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceUnderseat Storage
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.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTruck Bed
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 consumers 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 bed while standing beside the truck, and with the tailgate lowered the liftover height is 30 inches.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFlexbed System
Despite its diminutive size, the pickup bed of the 2022 Maverick can perform 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.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceLong Cargo
The tailgate of the 2022 Ford Maverick has configurable cables so it can be locked at mid position, putting the gate’s edge at the same height as the wheel wells, allowing for a stable platform to carry 4 x 8 sheets of plywood or other sheet stock. Multiple tie-downs ensure loads can be tightly secured.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceAdditional Accessories
In addition to the aforementioned instructions so consumers can create custom features, the automaker also offers a long list of accessories for the new Maverick. Notable add-ons include a bed extender, a hard tonneau cover, a first-aid kit, a toolbox, a bed cap and Yakima bed-rail-mounted crossbars.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceFX4 Off-Road
The Ford Maverick is not set up for severe off-road driving — engineers say this new truck is designed to take people to an outdoor adventure, as opposed to being the adventure (such as off-roading in a Bronco). With 8.6 inches of ground clearance, the Maverick is capable of heading off pavement, especially with the available FX4 package. The package includes front tow hooks, all-terrain tires, hill descent control, skidplates, a high-capacity radiator and an upgraded cooling fan.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOn the Road
We had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of hybrid and non-hybrid Mavericks in a variety of driving situations around Nashville, Tennessee. While piloting the hybrid in a majority of city driving (with occasional high-speed stints), the trip computer displayed a maximum range of more than 500 miles and 43 mpg. The peppy hybrid isn’t incredibly quick, although it possesses decent torque so it never feels underpowered, and the system switches seamlessly from electric-only to hybrid power as conditions demand. For those seeking more performance, the EcoBoost is definitely quicker and offers a crisper drive thanks to its 8-speed automatic transmission versus the hybrid’s CVT.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceTowing and Hauling
To be honest, we were skeptical about the hybrid Maverick being up to snuff for hauling or towing. Our concerns were quickly put to rest after a stint in the Hybrid XLT while towing a 1,600-pound trailer. Even while towing the hybrid’s acceleration is solid and the pickup has no problem getting up to highway speeds, and overall the Maverick feels stable even while running with a loaded trailer. The hybrid Maverick also handles 500 pounds of cargo without problems — during our drive we still achieved 35 mpg.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceBigger Load
For demo purposes, Ford also provided an Maverick EcoBoost hooked up to an Airstream Basecamp travel trailer that weighed around 2,600 pounds. Well below the 4,000-pound maximum, the Maverick easily towed the Basecamp, retaining great acceleration and proper manners at high speeds or driving around town. Also tested with 1,000 pounds of cargo on board, the truck sat lower in the back although performance was undiminished. After more than 250 miles with a 1,000-pound load of cement, the EcoBoost was still averaging around 24 mpg.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceOff-Road Light
We also drove the 2022 Ford Maverick FX4 off pavement on a dirt track, as well as up a steep hill containing rocks and loose dirt. Although it has no low gearing or locking differential, the Maverick FX4’s all-terrain tires and all-wheel-drive system handled this light off-roading with ease.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRight for You?
With the 2022 Maverick, Ford introduces a new vehicle that not only achieves the expected fuel efficiency of a hybrid but also delivers the proper utility expected of a compact pickup truck. With a comfortable, attractive interior along with the ability to customize the storage capability, the Maverick stands out as a great choice for consumers. Add in a starting price less than $20,000 and the 2022 Ford Maverick could easily be one of the big hits of the year.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content ExperienceRating: 9.0
Pros: Excellent hybrid fuel economy; flexible storage and hauling; great value.
Cons: Rear seat somewhat cramped; tailgate not damped for slow lowering.
Bottom Line: The 2022 Ford Maverick offers a great blend of economy, fuel efficiency and utility that currently has no peer.

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