- Scott Murdock
The Ford Maverick is Full of Surprises
About 30 minutes into my first drive in the 2022 Ford Maverick, my eyes rapidly flicked back and forth between the road and the digital dash. My brow furrowed with focus as I tried to coach myself along the winding Natchez Trace Parkway. I wasn’t hustling the little truck along the ragged edge of grip, mind you; I was desperately trying to break 50 miles per gallon on the average consumption gauge. That particular Maverick was the first hybrid truck I had ever driven and it was bringing out a part of myself I didn’t know existed. When I backed into my parking space at the midday meet-up spot, the gauge ticked up to an average of 52 miles per gallon on the dot.
My general thoughts on marketing are well-known and oft-lamented, but I’m here to tell you that the Maverick lands almost exactly where the brochure says it does. Whether you prefer Maverick the rebellious pilot or mavericks the unbranded livestock, this little truck fits the bill. It really can’t be evaluated like its F-series and Ranger siblings, but it’s also not a crossover SUV or some kind of open-air wagon. The more time I spent with the Maverick, the more intrigued I became.
The design cues come straight from Ford’s F-series. See that little crease under the front windows? It looks an awful lot like the dipped shape of a full-size truck’s window. The lights and front quarter-panel badges are equally F-series. It even has the most adorable little beer window I’ve ever seen. Inside, the Maverick is built to work. Materials are durable and easy to clean. There’s so much storage room and organizational potential that you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a much larger vehicle.
Hard plastic is everywhere. Normally that’s something journalists whine and moan about, but in the Maverick it makes sense. This kind of plastic saves money, holds up to abuse and time, and honestly looks just fine in this utilitarian setting. The same goes for the exposed fasteners. Rather than spend money on costly (and fragile) integrated plastic clips, Ford’s interior design team opted for machine-thread screws made out of metal. They’re functional, durable, and make a lot of sense. The Maverick is aimed at people who prefer projects over products, so it makes sense that interior panels can be popped on and off with a hex key.
Brawn with Brains
On the road, the Maverick drives a lot like the Bronco Sport. Two four-cylinder engines are available: a 2.5-liter hybrid and a 2.0-liter turbocharged option.
The hybrid is more fuel-efficient than I expected. I achieved my 52 miles-per-gallon driving relatively normally, but I heard about one journalist who broke 60 miles-per-gallon during careful city driving that leaned heavily on electric power. The Maverick’s regenerative braking is equally impressive. Not only does it recharge the hybrid system’s battery, it provides enough braking power that the maximum towing capacity doesn't seem to affect braking at all.
Ford’s 2.0-liter EcoBoost has been around long enough to benefit from extensive refinement. The inline-four shines under unladen acceleration and hooked up to the 4K Tow Package’s maximum trailer weight of 4,000 pounds. Fuel economy is obviously nowhere near what the hybrid engine offers, but roughly 60 extra horsepower and 120 pound-feet of torque are a fair tradeoff.
There’s a Maverick for That
The two engine configurations create a pair of Mavericks that feel completely different from one another. The front-wheel drive hybrid embodies everything Ford espouses about a new kind of truck for people who live in the city and suburbs. It glides comfortably through gridlock traffic and sips fuel so gently that urban drivers might genuinely forget the last time they filled up. If I lived someplace like San Francisco or Seattle, a hybrid Maverick would be a top contender for navigating potholed city streets and hauling adventure gear into the mountains on the weekends. At the same time, the EcoBoost engine paired with all-wheel drive and off-road drive modes can tackle rougher terrain than most people will ever encounter. I’d feel confident using an FX4-equipped Maverick to access a remote cabin and explore remote parts of the local wilderness.
In either case, the Maverick caters to people like me who can’t leave well enough alone. Sure, you can buy accessories like Yakima bike racks for the Maverick, but Ford will also provide you with a shopping list to get supplies from the hardware store and instructions to build your own for a fraction of the cost. Smaller things like cup holders and storage dividers can be purchased from Ford or can scan a QR code on any of the attachment points to download 3D-printing files free of charge and make them yourself. If that’s not customer empowerment, I don’t know what is.
So, is the Maverick the game-changer Ford claims it is? I believe it is. For less than $20,000, you can get a real truck that can be used for work or play. It'll carry cement mix and tools or beanies and acoustic guitars. It uses technology to add value rather than cost. Ford is planting its flag in the unibody sub-compact truck market with a serious contender. What else can you find on the new lot for that kind of money? Beyond that, I think if you compare it to most of the full-sized trucks on the road, choosing one over the other will be harder than you think.
If you’re enough of a car person to be reading Everyday Driver, you owe yourself a test drive to see what the fuss is all about.
Scott is a lover of motorized fun, whether on four wheels or two. A child of the ’90s, he has a particular soft spot for hatchbacks and believes all aging cars deserve a second chance at life. If he’s not behind a camera or a computer, he’s probably chasing down new coffee shops with his wife or throwing a frisbee for his dog.
The views and opinions expressed here are his own and may not align with the founders of Everyday Driver.