Ford introduced their first pickup truck in 1917 with the Model TT, based off the Model T. Not many people realized the potential it held from that day forward, but over 100 years later, the Ford Maverick carries much of that potential to the modern era. The bang-for-buck is virtually impossible to beat, and the variety of utility places it in the future hands of more than you might expect.
Out of Spec Score: 78/100
Simplicity is a fine line, but the Maverick walks it well. The exterior is distinctly akin to a stereotypical Ford truck, but there is a hint of miniaturization. The proportions are all well-executed, and until it sits next to a standard F-series truck, it looks appropriately sized. The bed is definitely short, but the unibody construction allows everything to flow together well.
The front end features head light assemblies wrapped around a center bar that extends through the grill. LED signature light is available on the Lariat headlights but all models features LED bulbs in the housings. The mirrors and b-pillars are a contrasting black, along with lower plastics along the base of the truck and the top of the bed-liner. The Maverick also comes in a wide variety of colors, a welcome feature in a general sea of monotone vehicles on the road nowadays.
The tailgate features a cutout where the word ‘MAVERICK’ is etched into the sheet metal. Below you’ll find placement for tow-hook, where you can hook up a small trailer, bike rack, or other accessories. Tail lights are halogen
For once in my life, I can note preference towards a lower trim. The XLT, our specific specification for testing, hosts a unique cloth two-tone seat color and a beautiful pallet of plastic, something I never expected to say about anything, ever.
The dominant color is definitely the navy blue, which coordinates with the seats. But you’ll also find a unique textured gray, almost white, speckled plastic material on the dash and in each door. Though it’s plastic, it feels very high quality and durable, and in the case of the doors, features an etched angular combination of recessed triangular shapes.
To further the interior detail, you’ll find orange accents on the air vents and in various storage cubbies in the center console and doors. The orange accent continues on the door in the floating grab handle. It’s not an obvious handle, per se, but it is functional and adds to the interesting flair of the design of the Maverick interior. This XLT interior is one of the most well-executed interiors at any price point below $40,000 and in this case, only sets you back just over $20,000.
The battery pack is stored under the rear passenger-side seat. But with the 2.0L EcoBoost, you can use the entire under-seat storage area, including notches made for the insertion of 3D-printed accessories. Beyond that, there are plenty of interior storage nooks as aforementioned, including a deep center console and glove box, along with the cubbies in all doors.
On one hand, it’s a bit slow, especially compared to the 2.0L EcoBoost Maverick counterpart. But the CVT is impressively tuned, allowing it to get out of its own way. The automatic transmission tied to the EcoBoost is not quite as smooth, at least in the instances we’ve experienced it, making the CVT preferred in many instances.
The power figures are where it can be a bit confusing. The 2.5L Atkinson cycle I-4 itself makes 162 hp and 155 lb-ft torque, while the total system horsepower including hybrid components is 191. Then the hybrid system itself claims 94 kW (173 lb-ft) battery peak, but doesn’t clarify whether that is what it is rated to accomplish or actually uses in real-driving. In our experience, it is the first option. We monitored the power input and output using live-time OBD readings, and we found approximately 32 kW to be the maximum power over regen input and output to the drivetrain. Again, it’s no slouch, but it is noticeably slower than the turbocharged option, especially at higher speeds.
Another consideration is drivetrain configuration, as the EcoBoost can be had in AWD, but the FHEV limits it to FWD. This is a good time to point out the importance of tires, as many people who assume they need AWD really just need proper snow tires. I would comfortably drive the hybrid in its front drive setup in Colorado winter, but certain use cases benefit greatly from AWD, so it’s worth pointing out.
The backbone of America, cliche as it sounds, should be built around practicality. There are more fuel efficient offerings, and there are trucks with bigger beds, but the impressive blend between those two extremes are what sets the Maverick apart. The bed is 4.5 feet in length, slightly shorter than that of the Ranger, but very useful in most aspects. With plenty of tie-down points and an adjustable rail system, the practicality is blatant.
The cab is also highly useful, with more space than its larger Ranger sibling. With over 100 cubic feet of interior passenger space, the four main seats feel plenty spacious for my six-foot self. With the rear middle seat being something absolutely usable in a pinch.
But the most important aspect of the Maverick’s practicality is the fuel economy. The 2.0L EcoBoost is itself a decently above-average gas truck, with up to 30 mpg highway. But the hybrid powertrain exceeded our expectations. Around town you can easily expect the stated 42 mpg, if not more, and our standardized 70 mph economy test produced an impressive 38 mpg, beating the EPA estimate by 5.
Money can only be stretched to an extent, and the Maverick shows most of the value residing in the powertrain, efficiency, and utility. The technology front is somewhat lacking, but sits right on par for a $20,000 vehicle. Bluetooth and a touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, but SYNC 3 is an optional upgrade, with Ford’s latest SYNC 4 not even configurable to the Maverick. The screen is a bit dim in broad daylight, and I do wish certain things like temperature and volume changes didn’t block the whole screen.
Cruise control, believe it or not, requires the XLT spec, as XL does not have it as an option. XLT also provides 110V power outlets in the rear console of the cab and also in the bed. USB-A and USB-C are both available, as is Ford’s strategy towards gradual USB-C adoption.
Co-Pilot360 can be optioned with adaptive cruise control and lane centering, but only standard on the Lariat trim. Ours featured minimal driver assistance, but as a utilitarian work truck, there may be many buyers with no need for excessive bells and whistles. The Lariat can also be optioned with the eight-speaker B&O premium sound system, definitely an upgrade over the standard system.
I was inevitably stirred by the hype surrounding the Maverick since its introduction. Preconceived hype can often lead to one of two results: comparative disappointment or compounded excitement. I came away much closer to the latter, being absolutely smitten with the lean machine. As with any vehicle, there are a slough of things to nit-pick. But the recursive argument surrounding the bang-for-buck value proposition is hard to beat. Even configured to the highest possible level, the Maverick sits barely above $30k, which is still below many starting prices for other cars on the market, especially truck.
Dealer markups and supply chain shortages have caused a slightly slower rollout of the Maverick. But I expect to see them gradually fill the streets, and by the end of the year, I might even expect them to become a new backbone of America. Manufacturers are beginning to realize a new set of needs in a vehicle, and the Maverick checks an unbelievable amount of boxes on most people’s minds. Even if it’s not your first choice or daily driver, you know your garage would benefit from this being a part of the fleet.
- Exterior design 8/10
- Interior design 8/10
- Materials 7/10
- Build quality 8/10
- Comfort 8/10
- Capacity 7/10
- Acceleration 7/10
- Handling 8/10
- Efficiency 9/10
- Connected services 7/10
- UI/UX 6/10
- Active Safety 8/10
Editor’s Assessment 9.3/10
- Value 10/10
- Market placement 10/10
- Editors Influence 9/10