2022 Ford Maverick Review

2022 Ford Maverick - A true compact pickup truck is back!


From compact car to compact truck, the Maverick name is back in the Ford lineup for 2022. The name was last used in the 70s for a compact sedan that cost around $2,000 and competed with the VW Beetle, Chevy Vega and AMC Gremlin. Fast forward to 2022 and the Maverick is reviving a class of affordable compact pickups. The new Maverick is smaller than the current Ranger and around the same size as the previous third generation 2011 Ranger Supercab. It comes standard as a five-passenger, four-door pickup with a full-hybrid powertrain.

It's the first pickup in America with a standard full-hybrid powertrain that provides impressive fuel economy. EPA estimates are 42/33/37 MPG city/highway/combined. There are two powertrains available. The first is a 2.5L 4-cylinder hybrid that delivers 191 horsepower combined with the electric motor that mates with a continuously variable transmission to drive the front wheels. For a little more power and capability, there is also a 2.0L EcoBoost gas engine that delivers 250 horsepower with an 8-speed automatic transmission and standard FWD or an available AWD.

There are three trim levels known as the XL, XLT, and Lariat. Each trim is available with both powertrains. Prices start just under $20k for the XL hybrid which includes features such as a 4G LTE WI-Fi hotspot, 8" touchscreen, FordPass connectivity, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay integration, 17" silver steel wheels, LED headlamps and more. At the top of the range is the 2.0L EcoBoost Lariat model which starts at $26,945 and adds features such as 18" machined aluminum wheels, 6.5" LCD instrument cluster, push-button start, power driver seat, power sliding rear window, and more. The Ford Co-Pilot 360 suite of driver assist features is included with the Lariat Luxury Package but otherwise available on all other trims for $650 and includes BLIS with cross-traffic alert and a lane-keep assist/alert system. This once popular segment was filled with competition from every major brand but now includes only the Maverick and also-new Hyundai Santa Cruz, which bills itself as a sport adventure vehicle and starts at $24k. After a week in the mid-grade XLT Hybrid, here's what stood out.

Exterior Style (+)

Ford designers did a nice job maintaining the look of Ford trucks while giving the Maverick some flare of its own. Up front the grill stretches from fender to fender with standard LED headlights. The overall design is boxy which maximizes function inside and out. The side profile is upright and features some traditional Ford design cues such as lower base windows and an exterior badging element on the front fenders. It differs from older compact trucks in that there is no gap between the bed and cab, instead it has one seamless panel.  Bed rail caps offer design dimension and protection from dents and dings when hauling cargo. Around  back you'll find Maverick stamped into the tailgate with a Ford emblem at the center. Ford placed the license plate off centered in the bumper on the passenger side to accommodate for a tow hitch.  The overall design blends tradition with a contemporary vibe.

Wheels (+)
Standard wheels on the base XL are 17" silver steel wheels. There's something nostalgic and basic about these steelies that look at home on the Maverick, it solidifies that Ford is offering something modern, but simple. Standard on the XLT are 17" painted aluminum wheels and on the Lariat are 18" bright aluminum wheels. Other available options include 18" black wheels and a unique 17" wheel that comes with the FX4 off-road package. All the designs work well with the rest of the Maverick's style.

Powertrain (+)
I spent a week in the 2.5L 4-cylinder hybrid with 191 horsepower and 155 lb.ft. of torque. The hybrid component gives this lightweight truck immediate power when you punch the accelerator. It has plenty of pep for around town and was quick enough on the highway to merge into speedy traffic. Despite being the lower power option, it never felt dull to me. The CVT was sufficient (didn't add or detract) for the drive. I also found the truck to be planted on the pavement in multiple weather and road conditions. It handled corners well with a firm and controlled ride. Steering is truck-appropriate, well weighted, and responsive making the Maverick a comfortable truck to drive. It does offer multiple drive modes including normal, tow/haul, slippery, eco, and sport. Each mode changes the dynamics slightly to offer the best handling and fuel-efficiency.

Fuel Economy (+)
When the Maverick arrived with a full 13.8-gallon tank it had a range of around 500 miles. The estimated EPA rating of 37 MPG combined proved accurate as after a week of suburban driving, I averaged 38 MPG and never had to fill up at the pump. It runs on regular grade fuel and will be easier on the wallet than most other trucks out there.

Capability (+/-)
This truck remains relatively capable despite its smaller size.  The hybrid offers a standard payload of 1,500 pounds and has the capability to tow 2,000 pounds which is just enough for a decent-sized pop-up camper. Step up to the EcoBoost engine with the optional 4k towing package and conventional towing will double to 4,000 pounds which is enough for a 21' boat.

The Maverick has a smaller 4.5' bed, however Ford has made it as functional as possible with its FLEXBED system. Standard on all models is the ability to organize and store cargo based on how real consumers use their truck beds. The bed features slots stamped into the side of the bed to accommodate 2x4s or 2x6s along with two tie-downs, four D-rings, and built-in threaded holes in the side to bolt in custom creations. For the true DIY expert, there's even a QR code in the bed that can be scanned for more storage ideas.

On top of those built-in accommodations, the Maverick also has a standard built-in 12-volt electrical power prewired to an easily removable cover on either side of the bed. There are options to select factory-available options or create your own home-built systems without messing with the wiring to the taillights. Beyond the electrical wiring, there is an available 110-volt 400-watt outlet in the bed (and a second one in the cab). The bed can carry 1,500 pounds of payload (around 37 bags of 40lb mulch) and it has a six-foot floor with the tailgate down. It features a multi-position tailgate that allows for transportation of plywood or other longer items that can lay flat rather than pointed up. The tailgate itself can hold 500 pounds.

Interior Materials (+)
The interior of the Maverick feels modern with unique materials and colors, almost as if it came from the IKEA catalog. The design is simple but not necessarily basic. It utilizes textures such as reground carbon fiber for strength and visual interest. The dash panel features a stonelike finish like a durable synthetic countertop. And throughout the design are pops of orange in the vents, stitching, and center console. Even the cloth seats have a unique blend that pairs two colors together. The materials carry over to the doors as well with the similar stonelike finish, a unique handle execution to better accommodate tall water bottles, and more orange accents. Overall, it gives off a very trendy vibe.

Technology (+/-)
From basic to advanced technology, it's all covered in the Maverick lineup. Prices are kept reasonable because Ford offers versions of this truck with manual seats and key-start ignitions. Note that push-button start, heated steering wheel, and power seats are available options. The Maverick isn't missing any significant technology either. In the mid-grade XLT model are features such as an 8" center stack touchscreen that integrates with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Also standard is FordPass Connect with an embedded modem and Wi-Fi for up to ten devices. Standard FordPass also makes it easy to find the truck, check fuel level, lock and unlock doors, and start or turn off the truck all from your phone. The simplified approach is easy to use as are the remaining traditional controls for climate and audio. At the end of the day I didn't mind inserting a key into the ignition and giving it a turn. Although I did learn the hard way that the keys can be locked inside this one, thankfully the touchpad entry on the door allowed alternative access in.

Interior Space (+/-)
As a compact truck, interior space is limited but well designed. Front seats offer enough room thanks to its boxy shape and taller roof height. Head, leg, and shoulder room will accommodate taller drivers and passengers up front. The seats were comfortable enough for a daily commuter but have the potential to lack support for longer road trips. Rear seats comfortably accommodated all three of my kids but would be tight in the leg/hip area for three adults. Ford was creative with the space and includes under seat storage in the back seats and decent sized center console storage along with cupholders and other small spaces.

Final Statement (+)
There's a reason the Maverick is winning all kinds of automotive awards this year such as:

* 2022 North American Truck of the Year
* Cars.com Best of 2022
* Kelley Blue Book Best Buy
* Green Car Journal's Green Truck of the Year
* MotorWeek 2022 Driver's Choice 'Best of Year'

This is a truck that was designed with the consumer in mind. Trucks have gained popularity in recent years just as fast as they have grown in size. At one point in this century the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado and Nissan Frontier were all just as compact as the Maverick, but they grew in size and now take up a mid-size segment. The Maverick comes at just the right time to fill that compact void and Ford has it priced right, designed well, and given it a powertrain that is both fuel-efficient and nimble on the streets. Bottom line, this is a truck to consider if you want that open bed feel with the interior space and amenities of a compact crossover.
First Impression Summary:

Test Vehicle:  2022 Ford Maverick XLT FWD (2.5L Hybrid)
Exterior Color: Hot Pepper Red
Interior Color: Navy Pier- Medium Slate Trim
Options: Paint Color ($390), Ford Co-Pilot 360 ($650), Spray-in Bedliner ($495), and all-weather floor liners ($135)
MSRP as tested: $25,525 (With Delivery/Destination)

Jim OBrill

Jim is Director of Marketing for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association and Chicago Auto Show and a co-host of Drive Chicago Radio on WLS 890 AM Chicago. His passion for cars started young and he’s often referred to as the ‘car-guy’ among family and friends. As a former auto detailer, he has an eye for identifying solid used cars and tags along on many car buying adventures. Early in his career he worked at several car dealerships in various areas of the business. As a co-host on Drive Chicago and member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, Jim has had opportunities to attend track school and drive vehicles on multiple circuits such as Road America and Gingerman Raceway. With a background in photography, taking pictures of vehicles has always been a hobby.

Jim also enjoys the trails and taking trucks like his 4Runner off road. He has a special appreciation for older cars and can often be found spending free time at cruise nights or home washing one his four vehicles. Jim resides in the northwest suburbs with his wife and three kids. Follow Jim on Instagram at @jpcars22 for new vehicle content or @forgotten_survivors.312 for shots of older cars still on the streets of Chicagoland.