Christopher Little

Debut: 2022 Ford Maverick

“He’s too close for missiles, Goose, I’m switching to guns.” And so the big guns at Ford have been hard at work developing 2022 Maverick, an all-new compact pickup. The Maverick is a five-passenger, four-door pickup with a standard full-hybrid powertrain. Cut from the same cloth, and given the same attention to detail, as the new 2021 Bronco Sport we drove this winter, the Maverick is Ford’s way of setting the bar in the emerging compact pickup market. And Ford aimed high.

Starting under $20,000, the Maverick features a 2.5L four-cylinder hybrid powertrain that produces a combined 191 horsepower and 155 lb-ft torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission. Ford is targeting an EPA-estimated 40 mpg city with a total range of 500 miles on a single tank. If hypemiling isn’t you’re thing, the hybrid Maverick has a standard payload of 1,500 lbs or can tow up to 2,000 lbs. If you need more power or more towing capability, an optional 2.0L EcoBoost engine provides 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft torque to an 8-speed automatic transmission with standard front-wheel or optional all-wheel-drive. When equipped with the optional 4K Tow Package, the Maverick’s tow rating doubles to 4,000 lbs. An optional FX4 package on all-wheel-drive Mavericks adds all-terrain tires, unique suspension tuning, additional under-body protection, extra off-road drive modes, and hill decent control.

Around back, the bed is large enough to carry a standard ATV. Ford has also designed a new FLEXBED functionality, which has slots stamped into the side of the bed for 2x4s or C-channel to easily create an elevated floor or any other home-grown design to fit your needs. But you won’t have to go far to build your own bed accessories. The Maverick has standard 12-volt electrical power pre-wired to panels on either side of the back of the bed. If you need more juice, there are two available 120-volt 400-watt outlets onboard, one in the bed and one in the cabin. The Mavrick’s final trick is its multi-position tailgate, which can open halfway so that 4×8-foot sheets of plywood can be loaded resting on the wheel arches and tailgate lip.

We praised Ford earlier this year for maximizing the Bronco Sport’s capabilities and interior features, and the Maverick looks to follow directly in those footsteps. The standard 8-inch touch screen features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and has FordPass Connect for connected driving and phone integration with an available app. Ford alsoused a mix of surface textures and finishes, plus pops of color, to make the cabin feel modern and unique. There’s also real thought into functionality, as well. The door armrests have a split to allow one-liter water bottles to be stored upright (editors note: I get made fun of for complaining about how there’s never any place to store my 1L water bottle in cars all the time….vindication is mine!), and the door pockets have enough vertical clearance to store tablets and notebooks. In back, there’s storage bins under the rear seats, and even a bin in the bed to store a trailer hitch onboard. Ford will also delight home 3D printing enthusiasts with the Ford Integrated Tether System. FITS is a standard slot system that allows for mounting accessories to the back of the front console Standard offerings include extra cupholders, a storage bin, cable organizer, hooks for bags and purses, or storage dividers. But Ford will publish the slot geometry so makers can model and 3D-print their own accessories. There’s even slots under the rear seats to store multiple FITS devices.

If a compact and functional unibody pickup sounds like it could be for you, the 2022 Maverick will go on sale this fall. And while you’ll be able to preorder one starting today, there’s no telling when Ford will be able to manufacture the new pickup given it’s current manufacturing constraints. Just how compact is it? The Maverick’s overall length is 10″ shorter than the Ranger and 32″ shorter than an F-150. While some might not immediately take to the upright design, we can’t wait to try one out for ourselves. Just check out that awesome asymmetric rear license plate placement!

-Christopher Little

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