Christopher Little

Concentrated: 2022 Ford Maverick

Climbing out of the gargantuan Ford F-150 Raptor and into the compact Maverick is a disorienting experience. Separated by 30 inches in length, a foot in height, and more than $50k in as-tested MSRP, nearly the entire spectrum of the U.S. truck market can be represented in the space between them. And yet the Maverick seems every bit as well-thought out as the mighty Raptor. We specifically opted to spend a week with America’s newest and least-expensive truck, the Maverick XL Hybrid 4×2, to get a sense of the platform’s features and capabilities in the most affordable configuration.

Debuted as a compact platform that prioritizes capability and flexibility, the Maverick‚Äôs diminutive size belies its potential. The hybrid powertrain is standard only in FWD configurations. Producing a combined 191 horsepower and 155 lb-ft torque, and netting an EPA combined 37 MPG, the Maverick can go nearly 500 miles on a single tank. Ford has taken the time to get the details right, like how seamlessly the 2.5L internal combustion engine cuts in and out or how solid the brake pedal feels even during regenerative braking. While it won’t win any performance awards, the Maverick excels in around-town traffic. When we ventured out to a local ski area, however, the Maverick’s light steering and 17-inch all-season tires meant we had to take our time over the snowy mountain roads. Ford has made sure the Maverick’s bed space is as well-thought-out as its powertrain. From built-in retaining areas to slot in 2x4s as cargo dividers to the multi-position tailgate, loading up the bed of the Maverick is flexible and easy. Check out more of the Mavrick’s customizable and configurable details in our launch coverage.

The cabin, like the innovative Bronco Sport, is much the same way. The two-tone cloth seats are supportive and upright, offering comfort and an SUV-like seating position. Interior materials are rugged, scratch resistant, and easy to clean. Door and console storage was designed for modern-sized phones and tall beverage containers. The most questionable interior choice is the odd storage bin next to the bright, 8-inch Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capable touch screen display. Not deep enough for sunglasses, we opted to stuff our winter gloves in that cubby. The biggest takeaway is that Ford made sure some of what full-size truck owners appreciate made its way into the Maverick. Large knobs and physical buttons for critical controls are easy to use with a gloved hand – something that was absolutely necessary during our frigid testing. In the back, under a bench seat that can comfortably seat two adults, is a surprisingly deep bin-like storage area.

Opting for the entry-level XL trim does leave you without some common creature comforts, however. Manual seats and manual single-zone climate control are a reminder of simpler automotive times. Less nostalgic, especially when its 20 degrees outside, are the manually adjustable side mirrors that require rolling down the window to set. A physical key and lack of cruse control are also oddities in the year 2022. And yet LED headlights with automatic high-beam and pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking are both standard. As for the unpainted plastic bumpers and steel wheels, we think that adds a certain unabashed street-cred to the Maverick XL. And honestly, what more could you want for a truck with an as-tested price that is one third the cost of the F-150 Raptor.

Cheap and cheerful isn’t often the case in the automotive world. Budget minded design can often suck the fun out of what could otherwise be a competent and rewarding platform. But credit where credit is due, Ford has maximized the capability, functionality, and customizability of the Maverick without costing it out of its affordable price point. And despite that affordability, the Maverick doesn’t feel like it was ruled by the budget committee. Sure, there are some compromises in its most basic XL trim, but none of them make it feel like compromised on a well-thought-out and well-built vehicle. That feat alone is worth the $21,490 asking price.

-Christopher Little

2022 Ford Maverick XL Hybrid 4×2$19,995
Destination Charges$1,495
As-Tested MSRP$21,490

Debut: 2022 Ford Maverick

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 Bronco Sport, the Maverick is Ford’s way of setting the bar in the emerging compact pickup market.

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