Readers who are enamoured with monster-truck haulers and their gasoline-binging engines and/or belching diesel stacks won’t find this review of much interest. For everyone else, especially those who secretly crave to park a small pickup in their driveways, the Ford Maverick could be to their liking.
How the 2022 Ford Maverick came to be
At one time, the Blue Oval automaker dominated the small-truck market with the original Ford Ranger, until it was retired following the 2011 model year. After applying the Ranger brand to a midsize pickup for 2019, Ford has once more jumped back into the compact class with the Maverick.
If the name sounds vaguely familiar to some folks, it’s because Ford originally applied it to a compact car dating back to 1970. At the time, the Maverick was the most affordable Ford you could buy, that is until the sub-compact Ford Pinto arrived a year later.
The 2022 Maverick pickup is also the least costly Ford and is already garnering plenty of attention from both traditional and non-traditional pickup buyers.
For the Maverick’s official launch, Ford’s PR team devised a three-day gathering of automotive journalists on the island. No, not nearby Prince Edward Island, but farther-away Vancouver Island, including a diversion to nearby Salt Spring Island.
During this period, both base and well-equipped Mavericks were available, including demonstration runs for testing the truck’s towing and hauling capabilities.
In addition, various remote drive routes throughout southwest portions of Vancouver Island (including Port Renfrew, Sooke and into Victoria) came with an abundance of winding roller-coaster roads along with spectacular mountain, lake and ocean vistas.
Overview of the 2022 Ford Maverick
The Maverick’s structure originates with Ford’s Bronco Sport and Escape unitized (frameless) platform but has been strengthened in key areas to accommodate payloads of up to 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms) and towing capacities that max out at 4,000 pounds (1,820 kilograms).
The Maverick’s standard SuperCrew (crew cab) body style with four full doors and seating for five passengers makes it family friendly as well as practical. The 4.5-foot-long bed is about 15 centimetres (six inches) longer than the one connected to the new-for-2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup and it’s also slightly longer than the Honda Ridgeline’s box.
Ford claims the Maverick can carry up to 18 4×8-foot sheets of ¾-inch plywood lying flat on the load floor and with the tailgate lowered on a slight angle.
The styling conveys some resemblance to the full-size F-150 pickup, in particular the grille and headlights. In total, Ford has done a good job designing a handsome rig that should help win over converts to the trucking lifestyle.
Inside the 2022 Ford Maverick
The Maverick’s interior gives off a minimalist vibe that fits with the truck’s purpose in life. Knobs and buttons control most functions, including the audio and ventilation systems plus an oversize rotary gear selector on the console. The gauges and standard 8.0-inch touchscreen are pretty straightforward, so as to be easily mastered.
The rear-seat cushion flips up to reveal storage bins for safekeeping valuables. There’s also a slot beside the touchscreen plus spaces on the floor console for stowing smaller items.
The front seats are reasonably supportive, and the rear bench offers sufficient legroom for adult-size passengers. Headroom, however, is in short supply for tall folks, owing to the Maverick’s low roofline (a nod to form over function).
What’s under the hood
The standard hybrid powertrain is as unique to pickups as the Maverick itself. A 2.5-litre four-cylinder is teamed with an electric motor to produce a combined 191 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque.
Optional for all trim levels is a turbocharged 2.0-litre I-4 with 250-horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque.
A continuously variable transmission is standard with the hybrid, while an eight-speed automatic takes care of the shifting duties for the 2.0.
All-wheel-drive is available, but only with the more powerful turbo engine. The system lacks a two-speed transfer case, which means you can’t shift into low range when crawling through muck and mud.
Base-engine Mavericks can tow up to 2,000 pounds, or double that weight when the turbocharged 2.0-litre is fitted with a factory towing package. That’s less than the maximum 5,000 pounds that both the Santa Cruz and Ridgeline can pull.
Where the hybrid really shines is in fuel economy, with ratings of 5.6 l/100 km city, 7.1 highway and 6.3 combined. By comparison, Mavericks with the turbo powerplant are rated at 10.7 city, 8.1 highway and 9.6 combined.
Pricing and trims
Maverick pricing starts at $29,850, including destination charges, for the base XL hybrid. The standard equipment list is pretty light — on the work truck side— and strangely cruise control is absent.
The mid-grade XLT ($32,450) gets upgraded seat coverings, rear-seat armrest, heated steering wheel, power-locking tailgate and 17-inch alloy wheels (steel versions are standard). For either trim, add $1,600 for the turbocharged I-4 plus AWD).
The top-end Lariat lists for $37,500. Along with the turbo and AWD, it includes dual-zone climate control, leather seat surfaces (including power driver’s seat) power-sliding rear window and 18-inch wheels.
Among the numerous options, FX4 Off-Road Package ($1,120) is available for all Maverick trims when ordering all-wheel-drive. With it you get protective skid plates, higher-capacity radiator, unique aluminum wheels with all-terrain tires and hill-descent control that maintains the Maverick at a slow and steady pace when heading down steep inclines.
As for active safety, the Maverick XL comes only with automatic emergency braking, but you’ll need to pay extra and/or move up to the mid or top trim levels to obtain additional dynamic technologies that are part of Ford’s Co-Pilot360 package. It comes with lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist and blind-spot warning with cross-traffic backup alert.
Can this little pickup pick up some new fans?
Given today’s sky-high fuel costs, the hybrid Maverick is in a league of its own, yet is potent enough to handle most day-to-day tasks.
The AWD turbo-engine variant, which is linked to an eight-speed automatic, excels in increased stability when cornering and added punch when accelerating. Steering feel also seems more precise.
The Maverick is also the least expensive pickup on the market, costing thousands less than its closest-in-size competitors.
That fact, plus its towing and hauling virtues makes this pickup an attractive alternative to most small SUVs. Factor in the hybrid powertrain’s super-low fuel consumption and both non-truck and trucker types could be climbing aboard.
In fact, the order book is closed for purchasing a 2022 Maverick, so great is the demand. If you aren’t able to source one from a Ford dealer lot (some were ordered on spec), you can order a 2023 version beginning in mid-August. It’s definitely worth the wait.
And Vancouver Island is definitely worth the visit.
Just The Facts – 2022 Ford Maverick
Base price: $29,850
Type: Four-door front- /all-wheel-drive compact pickup truck
Engines (h.p.): 2.5-liter I-4 with electric assist (191); 2.0-liter I-4, turbocharged (250)
Transmissions: Continuously variable (hybrid); eight-speed automatic (tubo-2.0)
Base fuel economy (L/100 km, city/highway/combined): 5.6/7.1/6.3
Base weight (kg): 1.670