The Maverick essentially returns to a formula that was thought to be outdated, that of the compact pickup truck. At around 5.1m long, it’s shorter than the Ford Ranger by 28cm, but a hair longer than the Hyundai Santa Cruz. Ford devotes 1.4 m (4 ft 5 in) to the rear box which has the advantage of being rather low, which simplifies the loading of various objects compared to full-size pickups. Overall, the Maverick’s stylistic positioning serves its purpose by cultivating relative simplicity. Essentially cubic, it has a well-proportioned textured grille bordered by C-shaped headlights. A horizontal strip crosses it to give width to the rendering. Plastic moldings are placed behind the rear pillars to ensure a smoother transition.
There are a lot of interesting elements in the make-up of this Maverick’s cabin. First, accessibility, as easy as in many compact SUVs. The doors open to an industrial-flavored interior with exposed screws in various places. There are plenty of storage spaces, both under the rear seat and on the center console and the doors. Compact and fixed handles are bolted on the latter to allow the placement of long gourds. We also appreciate the variations in textures and colors to brighten up the presentation. Ergonomics is also beyond reproach, everything is placed naturally at hand. The only real criticism concerns the quality of the materials, rigid plastics which can sound hollow in places. That said, no cracking affected the specimen tested.
Under the hood
The hybrid livery is driven by the combination of a 2.5 L four-cylinder and an electric motor delivering a total of 191 hp. It may not seem like much, but with a mass slightly over 1600 kg, this Maverick is a featherweight among pickup trucks. The initial torque provided by the electric motor makes it very comfortable in urban driving or when entering a fast lane. The power is sufficient and produced with a nice smoothness. Ford’s experience in hybridization is palpable here. The huge gain that we get from this mechanism is obviously on the fuel consumption side, around 5.5 L/100 km during our test. On the other hand, it drives only the front wheels and can only tow a load of 907 kg, compared to 1814 kg if one opts for the 2 L turbo four-cylinder (250 hp).
Behind the wheel
Directly inspired by the Honda Ridgeline, which for a long time had no direct competition, Ford based its Maverick on a monocoque chassis also used by the Escape and the Bronco Sport. The driving experience is therefore a departure from that of ladder platform pickups. Benefiting from a lower center of gravity than these, it is more agile and makes good use of its reduced dimensions. Failing to have a natural feeling, especially when turning the steering wheel, the direction is of satisfactory precision. The soundproofing is also excellent. That said, it’s on its ride that this Maverick exhibits some shortcomings. Although they are supported by well-supplied sidewall tires, its suspension elements poorly contain rebounds and rebounds, which gives rise to a dry and rather bouncy behavior when passing growths.
The entry-level XL version tested obviously had a reduced list of characteristics, which limits the inflation of its invoice. The fact remains that Ford equips it with a standard touch screen allowing the use of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Admittedly, the features are fewer than in the other versions, but we appreciate its simplicity and the responsiveness of the screen to the controls. There are also a lot of physical keys to press it, which is unfortunately increasingly rare these days. Oddly enough, this Maverick XL can’t be equipped with cruise control, but it does have automatic dipped beam headlights as standard and can receive several active safety assists for a small extra charge of $850. The standard audio system is of low quality.
The Maverick is more than just a pickup truck, it’s Ford’s reinterpretation of an entire segment. No longer offering compact cars, the American manufacturer has filled this void with this formula which makes a lot of sense, especially in hybrid livery. Admittedly, die-hard fans of pickup traditional might not be satiated at the sight of its technical data sheet. Despite everything, it remains a real Swiss army knife on four wheels with an invoice contained under $30,000 which makes it attractive. It does all of this with astonishing refinement, but lays down a roughness on the damping at times. Its cabin is also very well thought out, with plenty of storage space to make good use of every liter of available space. A success in short which justifies its immense popularity.
Return of the Steelies
We saw them on the new Bronco as well as the Land Rover Defender. Steel wheels are making a comeback on some entry-level models. The Maverick also adopts them for the XL version, which gives a truly authentic look that clashes with the fashion for oversized rims.
A crate that adapts
Like other pickup trucks, the Maverick’s rear bed can be outfitted with several features, including hook rails for securing harnesses and an electrical plug for powering electronic devices.
The more fuel-efficient turbo engine
If the appeal of the turbo engine and all-wheel drive is too great, know that its estimated average fuel consumption is 3.3 L/100 km higher. However, you can tow much more with this mechanism, namely 1814 kg or 4000 lb with the 4K towing group.
A hybrid version with all-wheel drive in preparation?
Motor Trend reported a few months ago, with photos, that Ford was banking on an all-wheel-drive hybrid version of the Maverick. This might make it even more competitive, but will inevitably drive its price up.
For camping enthusiasts
The van can be equipped with a Yakima brand bracket bolted to the rear body on which a tent is nestled. This allows camping above ground in less welcoming terrain.
Ford Maverick XL hybrid
- 2.5L L4 DOHC Atkinson cycle + electric motor
- Power: 191 hp (thermal and electric engines together)
- Torque: 155 lb-ft (combustion engine) and 173 lb-ft (electric motor)
Front transverse hybrid engine, front-wheel drive
Price (with options, transport and preparation)
$30,795 (price range between $29,945 and $35,795)
Honda Ridgeline and Hyundai Santa Cruz
New in 2022?