Where did all these Ford game changers come from all of a sudden? The 2022 F-150 Lightning electric pickup offers up to 563 hp, 300 miles of range, and 10,000 pounds of towing capacity, and it affordably ($41,669 to start!) electrifies the best-selling vehicle in the world. And now this truck, the new 2022 Ford Maverick compact pickup, looks like it will shake up the smaller end of the spectrum.
If its 1,500-pound payload, 4,000-pound max towing capacity, and DIY-ready 4.5-foot bed don’t catch your eye, its standard hybrid powertrain with up to 40 mpg or starting price of just $21,490 ought to make you think twice. Indeed, with the new Maverick, Ford hopes to sell small pickups to a whole swath of people who have never considered one before.
Why Should I Care About the Maverick?
For years, American automakers generally thought the public was uninterested in any truck smaller than a half ton—that’s F-150, Silverado, and Ram 1500 territory—leaving the midsize segment largely to Nissan’s Frontier and Toyota’s Tacoma. The thinking was that such trucks were too small, too expensive to build and buy, and not capable enough. The introduction of the Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup in 2015 changed that, and it won our Truck of the Year award. Within five years, the segment was revitalized with more than half a dozen entries, as it turned out plenty of folks don’t need (let alone want) a full-size truck. With the new Maverick, Ford is betting that for some, even a midsizer is too much truck.
Cool. So, What Are the New Maverick’s Specs?
Like the rival 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz compact pickup, the Maverick is a unibody truck built on a crossover platform. This makes it less capable than a traditional body-on-frame pickup, but it’s also cheaper to build and buy, and more efficient, too. In the Maverick’s case, it rides on Ford’s C2 platform and shares much under the skin with the Bronco Sport and Escape with which it will share a production line in the Blue Oval’s Hermosillo, Mexico, plant.
The Maverick’s powertrains come courtesy of both the Escape and Bronco Sport lines. The base powertrain is a 2.5-liter I-4/electric-motor combo that drives the front wheels through a CVT. Related to the Escape Hybrid’s powertrain (but with a new in-house developed motor), this powerplant produces 191 total horsepower in the Maverick. Ford says the front-wheel-drive-only Maverick Hybrid will have EPA-estimated fuel economy of 40/33/37 mpg city/highway/combined and can travel up to 500 miles on a single tank.
For those who’d like a little more power or all-wheel drive, the Bronco Sport Badlands’ EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 is optional on the Maverick. As it does in the Bronco Sport, this engine produces 250 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, and it’s paired with an eight-speed auto. Fuel economy estimates will be revealed at a later date, but our best guess is somewhere in the mid 20s. An off-road-oriented FX4 package is optional on EcoBoost all-wheel-drive Mavericks. The Maverick FX4 has all-terrain tires, a revised rear suspension, a higher-capacity radiator and upgraded cooling fan, skidplates, exposed front tow hooks, a hitch with a four-pin connector, off-road drive modes, and hill-descent control.
Front-wheel-drive Mavericks have 8.3 inches of ground clearance, and all-wheel-drive versions have 8.6. The approach, breakover, and departure angles for the Maverick are 20.6, 16.6, and 21.9 degrees for front-drive versions; AWD Mavericks come in at 21.6, 18.1, and 21.2 degrees.
How Much Can the Maverick Tow and Haul?
No matter which powertrain you opt for, the new 2022 Ford Maverick can haul 1,500 pounds in its bed. The rival Santa Cruz on paper has a payload capacity of over 1,700 pounds, but according to a Hyundai spokesperson, it’s only capable of carrying “just over 600 pounds in the bed.”
The Maverick’s towing capacity varies depending on which powertrain you choose. Maverick hybrids and EcoBoosts can tow 2,000 pounds, which, as Ford helpfully points out, is about the weight of a pair of jet skis. Maverick EcoBoosts with the optional 4K Tow package (which includes a hitch with a seven-pin connector, a transmission oil cooler, an upgraded radiator and cooling fan, a shorter final drive ratio, and a trailer brake controller) can tow—you guessed it—up to 4,000 pounds, or the weight of an average 21-foot boat. The Santa Cruz, the only other compact pickup on the market, is rated to tow between 3,500 and 5,000 pounds.
Now Tell Me About the Maverick’s Bed
The Maverick is styled to look like a Bronco Sport and F-150 mashup, with slab sides and a boxy four-door profile that mirrors the baby Bronco’s and a honey-I-shrunk-the-F-150 nose, but the back is unmistakably Maverick.
Behind the Maverick’s crew cab (the only available configuration) sits a 4.5-foot steel bed; it’s 6 inches longer than the Santa Cruz’s composite bed. The tailgate has two open positions. Access its half-open position by unclipping the tailgate’s support cables and hooking them onto its latch pins; in this mode, it can hold up to 18 sheets of 4×8 three-quarter-inch plywood laid flat, provided the overhanging portion of the load is properly strapped down and flagged. Unlike some other trucks with a halfway position—the Gladiator, for instance—there isn’t a retainer lip designed into the tailgate for longer loads. When the bed is flipped completely open, the Maverick offers up a 6-foot floor, enough for most ATVs and motorcycles.
Dubbed FlexBed, the Maverick’s cargo area is designed to be modular, supporting both Ford-supplied and DIY accessories. Using eight standard tie-downs and cleats (two of which double as bottle openers), built-in threaded holes, 12-anchor points, and slots stamped into the side of the bed, Ford says owners can “create segmented storage, elevated floors, bike and kayak racks, and more” in their Maverick. A QR code in the bed can be scanned to provide more inspiration of what’s possible. Optional extras include a spray-in bedliner, bolt-in sliding tie-downs, a bed extender, and an array of soft and rigid folding tonneau covers.
More than just cargo solutions, Ford is providing Maverick buyers with two 12-volt pre-wired power sources in the bed, wired to a dedicated 20-amp circuit, to support add-ons like lighting and air pumps, as well as two optional 110-volt 400-watt outlets—one in the bed and another in the cab.
While the Maverick doesn’t have an in-bed trunk like other unibody pickups, it does offer either a space-saver or full-size spare underneath the bed. Small bedside storage cubbies are standard on XLT and Lariat trims.
What About Inside?
Ford promises the Maverick’s cabin will be just as useful as its bed. The four-door has room for five, and there’s hidden storage throughout the cabin. Most notable are what Ford calls “FITS” or “Ford Integrated Tether System” slots in the back-seat area. Found at the back of the center console and underneath the rear bench, items including cupholders, trash bins, grocery-bag hooks, and storage dividers will be available. Ford also says it’s working to publish the slot geometry so people can 3-D-print their own FITS accessories.
Elsewhere, the front door pockets are sized to fit 1-liter water bottles and smaller laptops or tablets, and the rear under-seat storage is said to be large enough for laptop bags, rollerblades, and, strangely, a fully inflated volleyball—you know, all the tools you’d need for your day job. The rear bench also folds down, though not flat.
As for the traditional bits, Ford says it designed the Maverick’s cabin to be functional and durable, with form following function. The surprisingly spacious cabin gives passengers a commanding view of the road and features high-quality cloth or synthetic leather upholstery, tons of storage cubbies, and mixed materials on the dash and doors, all designed to be easy to wipe down and clean. The dash topper—inspired by synthetic countertops—is off-white and pleasing to the touch; it is complemented by different accent colors depending on which trim you spec. Maverick XLTs, for instance, get orange accents, while higher-spec Maverick Lariats get a neat rose gold look.
On the tech front, an 8.0-inch center screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard, as is Fordpass Connect Wi-Fi. The automaker’s Ford Co-Pilot 360 system featuring automatic emergency braking and automatic high-beam assist is standard. Optional active safety extras include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, rear cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring, and lane centering.
How Much Is the Ford Maverick and When Can I Buy It?
Prices for the Ford Maverick start at $21,490 for the entry-level Maverick XL. Ford hasn’t yet announced pricing for Maverick XLT, Maverick Lariat, or 2022-only Maverick First Edition pickups, but you can expect a fully loaded Lariat or First Edition to top out at around $35,000 or so. The Maverick is expected to hit Ford dealers this fall, and reservations and orders can be placed today.
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