We are genuinely excited for this baby pickup.
In a year where Ford revealed the first-ever all-electric F-150, it's crazy to think the Blue Oval had another internet-breaking truck reveal planned. While it may not boast the technological advancement of the F-150 Lightning, the 2022 Ford Maverick is hugely important because it recognizes a major flaw with modern pickup trucks; they are too darn big. Even the smallest trucks like the Chevy Colorado, Ford Ranger, and Toyota Tacoma are massive these days, making them tricky to maneuver in traffic and even tougher to park. Buyers who wanted a genuinely compact pickup truck to use for work or adventure purposes literally had no options until now.
It's not hyperbole to call the Ford Maverick a game-changer, as it gives buyers a small, frugal pickup option that didn't exist before. Though the Maverick is not creating this new compact truck segment without competition, we think it has the specifications to dominate the market like its much larger sibling, the F-150.
Seeing the Maverick next to its larger siblings perfectly illustrates just how small it actually is. At 199.7 inches long, it's more than 11 inches shorter than the Ranger and a whopping 32 inches shorter than the F-150. These tight proportions make the Maverick more maneuverable, with a 40-foot turning circle. It may be tiny, but the Maverick looks sufficiently macho with a unique face that won't be confused for one of Ford's other truck models.
Unlike larger pickups, the Maverick has no gap between cab and tailgate, giving it a more unibody appearance. Ford will offer a smorgasbord of colors and trims, wheels, and packages so owners can tailor the Maverick to fit their personal style. The First Edition and FX4 Off-Road packages make the Maverick look decently rugged.
Inside this baby truck, we can see a few elements plucked straight from the Bronco Sport, another small Ford model that utilizes its space well. With less space than a traditional truck, Ford created several clever storage areas, including a new Ford Integrated Tether System (FITS) feature. It's a small slot positioned at the back, allowing owners to install attachments like a cupholder, trash bin, or cord organizer.
The cabin is simple but not basic, with standard features like an eight-inch touchscreen packing Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Ford Co-Pilot360 safety technology comes standard with pre-collision assist and automatic emergency braking, while more advanced options like adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring are available.
We were shocked to learn the Maverick's base powertrain pairs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor to produce 191 horsepower and 155 lb-ft. The hybrid's continuously variable transmission might raise a few eyebrows in the truck community, but the estimated 40-mpg figure in the city seems worth the trade-off. Ford says the Maverick hybrid will travel around 500 miles on a tank. It's no powerhouse, but the base drivetrain can tow up to 2,000 pounds and comes with a 1,500-pound payload capacity.
Those who need more power can opt for the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, producing 250 hp and 277 lb-ft. This engine pairs to a more truck-like eight-speed automatic, yielding a better towing capacity of up to 4,000 lbs with an optional package. Final fuel economy figures for both engines will arrive closer to launch, but it seems like the Maverick offers buyers an excellent choice between power or efficiency.
It's not uncommon to see full-size trucks driving around with nothing in the bed, meaning most owners purchase trucks that are bigger than they actually need. The Maverick's Flexbed measures four and a half feet by four feet, with special slots for 2x4s or 2x6s to create racks or dividers. Ford will sell accessories to make full use of the Flexbed and encourages owners to DIY their own solutions. A built-in 12-volt outlet is available on either side of the bed, transforming the Maverick into a useable workstation. Since the Maverick is so small, owners can easily reach into the bed to grab items without dropping the tailgate.
Pickups have gotten bigger and so have their price tags. The Maverick bucks this trend with a seriously low starting price. A base XL hybrid model starts at just $19,995 (before a $1,495 destination fee), and even the top Lariat trim with the EcoBoost only costs $26,575 before options. A fully-loaded example can push above $40,000, but most Mavericks will sell far below that.
Ford wasn't the first company to identify a need for a smaller pickup. Hyundai beat Ford to the punch with its compact pickup, the Santa Cruz. We don't have pricing for the Santa Cruz yet, but it offers sharper styling, a swankier interior, and a greater towing capacity. Hyundai is not the first brand buyers think of when shopping for a pickup, so Ford could capitalize on its strong reputation to crush the upstart Santa Cruz in sales.