The Ford Maverick Is The Perfect Truck For $5 Gas Prices

Opinion / 13 Comments

We did the math, and the Maverick Truck objectively rules.

The Maverick has been a smash hit for Ford. Dealerships can't keep the pickup truck in stock, Ford can't build them quickly enough to meet demand, and every automotive outlet is gushing over it. With a starting price of under $20,000, it's no wonder why CarBuzz awarded it as our 2021 People's Car. We are quite honestly running out of praise for the Maverick, so instead, we decided to run some math to prove why it's all the truck most people actually need.

With gas prices surging in the US, reaching over $5.00 per gallon in many states, smaller trucks like the Maverick now make more sense than ever. Rather than driving around a full-size or midsize truck and putting political stickers on gas station pumps, we are going to show you why trading your old gas guzzler for a Maverick is one of the smartest financial decisions you can make.

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Our Baseline

Our baseline for this analysis is a 2022 Ford Maverick XLT Hybrid, which starts at $22,360. Our Hot Pepper Red tester included a few extras, including Equipment Group 300A ($495), metallic paint ($135), power moonroof ($795), Ford Co-Pilot360 ($540), a spray-in bedliner ($495), and some miscellaneous items bringing the as-tested price to $24,895 plus a $1,495 destination and delivery fee - $26,390 all in. This is pretty close to how we'd spec our ideal Maverick, though we might consider the XLT Luxury Package for $2,500 to get powered heated seats, remote start, and some other goodies.

The only features we missed on the XLT, which require an upgrade to the Lariat, are push-button start, adaptive cruise control, and an upgraded B&O audio system. But since a done-up Maverick Lariat Hybrid can easily exceed $31,000, we were happy to use the mid-range XLT as our starting point. We even kept all the options to replicate any possible dealer markups there might be on a base XLT.

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Better-Than-Rated Fuel Economy

During our week with the Maverick, we managed to crush Ford's 37-mpg average fuel economy rating. In over 300 miles, we averaged 44.1 mpg with mostly around-town driving sprinkled in with a few short highway trips. Depending on your driving style, the Maverick's 13.8 gallon tank can yield more than 600 miles between fill-ups, matching many full-sizers with their optional 30-plus-gallon tanks. Though our real-world numbers outmatched the estimates, we decided to calculate all of our numbers based on what Ford (and the EPA) claims the Maverick can do, meaning the true cost savings are likely higher than the following math indicates.

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The Math On Buying A Maverick

For the sake of this exercise, we created a fictional truck owner named Jim who currently drives a 2012 Ford F-150 that he's owned since new. After averaging around 12,000 miles per year, the truck currently has around 120,000 miles on the odometer. Jim doesn't require a flashy truck, so his F-150 is a modest XLT trim with the base 3.7-liter V6 engine and rear-wheel-drive. With the described mileage and "good" condition, Jim can expect to trade his truck in for around $9,000-$11,000. Since the used car market is pretty dry right now, we went ahead and calculated an $11,344 trade-in value (based on blue book estimates) to put down on a shiny new Maverick.

If the Maverick costs $26,390, that means Jim will need to finance approximately $16,629 with taxes included. Assuming he spreads that over a four-year term (which is fairly short in today's market), the monthly payment would come out to approximately $375. That's not terrible, but the monthly payment becomes more tantalizing when we factor in fuel savings.

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Fuel Savings

Before we get into the deeper math here, remember two things: we are basing this off Ford's conservative 37-mpg estimate, and our fictional Jim character owns a basic F-150 XLT with a V6, not a newer or more valuable truck with a more efficient engine.

At 37 mpg, the Maverick should yield approximately 510 miles per tank on the low end. The 10-year-old V6 F-150 only manages 18 mpg on average (which is optimistic), so its 26-gallon tank only provides around 468 miles. If Jim fills up once per week, at $4.83 per gallon, this will cost $125.58. Filling up the Maverick's 13.8-gallon tank would cost $66.65 plus you get an extra 40 or so miles.

With four fill-ups per month, Jim currently spends $502.33 to drive his F-150 around. That cost would drop to just $266.62 in the Maverick. If we add that to the $375 monthly payment, Jim will now pay $641.62 per month, which works out to be just an additional $139.29 a month to drive a brand new truck and burn less gas.

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The Trade-Off

After those four years, Jim will own the Maverick outright and it will start paying for itself in fuel savings. Of course, if Jim traded in something newer and nicer, he could likely pay for the Maverick with cash to spare, saving money immediately. So according to the math, it makes sense to trade in an old truck on a Maverick.

We will undoubtedly have commenters objecting to these calculations on the basis of "the Maverick isn't a 'real' truck and it can't tow my boat." To those people we say, sure. If you need to tow a boat, the Maverick isn't your truck. In hybrid form, it's only rated to pull 2,000 pounds and even the EcoBoost model can only tow 4,000-lbs max.

The Maverick will not suit all truck owners. If it did, we'd have no need for the entire Super Duty line. However, we hope this new compact truck will make certain truck owners think twice about what they really need. If the only reason they bought an F-150 is to be commanding on the road and because the midsize options sucked at the time, that's a great excuse to trade out now. Asking Americans to live is never easy, but the Ford Maverick proves less can be more.

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2022 Ford Maverick

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