DEARBORN, MICH. – Ford has got the message. Consumers, especially homeowners with endless do-it-yourself projects and garden maintenance needs, as well as young, active-lifestyle devotees, appreciate the conveniences and flexibility of a light-duty pickup truck, but don’t want – or have room for – a full-size rig in their urban/suburban driveways.
There was much anticipation when Ford introduced its new Ranger that it would meet those needs – and in many cases it has. However, for a segment of the pickup market even this new iteration of the brand’s very popular original compact hauler is too much truck. The solution: the all-new 2022 Ford Maverick pickup.
The Maverick, with a starting price of $25,900, is a four-door compact-sized pickup with a unibody design that offers seating for five occupants, plus plenty of storage space. Its trimmed-down size makes it to maneuver and park, yet it can carry 1,500 pounds of payload in its 4.5-foot bed.
Today’s market demands the latest connectivity and smart technology features and the Maverick doesn’t disappoint. An eight-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard, as is FordPass Connect with embedded modem and Ford Co-Pilot360 technologies such as automatic emergency braking and automatic high-beam headlamps. Five drive modes are standard: Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Tow/Haul.
Challenges the status quo
“The Maverick product proposition is like nothing else out there,” says Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager. “Maverick challenges the status quo and the stereotypes of what a pickup truck can be. We believe it will be compelling to a lot of people who never before considered a truck.”
To appreciate the downsized dimensions of the Maverick, compare it to the length of the original Ranger: the crew-cab Maverick (the only cab format being offered at this point) is 507.2 centimetres bumper to bumper, while the ol’ Ranger was 517.1 cm long in its stretched configuration. The Maverick stands 174.5 cm tall, compared to the previous Ranger’s height of 172 cm. The new Ranger is 535.4 cm long and 180.6 cm tall.
What can’t be compared with any pickup on the market is the Maverick’s powertrain. It’s the first pickup in North America that comes with a full-hybrid powertrain as standard equipment. A 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder hybrid powertrain combines with a Ford-designed electric traction motor to deliver 191 horsepower and 155 lb.-ft. of torque.
That output is channeled through a continuously variable transmission to the front wheels. Ford says this hybrid powertrain is projected to deliver city fuel consumption of 5.9 L /100 km, which is better than a Honda Civic. (Actual fuel consumption ratings will be available later this year.) It’s also projected to have a range of 800 kilometres on a single tank of gas.
The hybrid Maverick has a standard payload of 1,500 pounds, while its towing capacity is rated at 2,000 pounds – enough for a pair of personal watercraft or a good-sized pop-up camper trailer.
If the hybrid powertrain doesn’t have enough grunt to meet your needs, you can upgrade to the turbocharged 2.0-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder delivering 250 horsepower and 277 lb.-ft. of torque. This engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive is standard. Add the optional 4K Tow Package to your order form and the towing capacity doubles to 4,000 pounds – enough to haul a typical 23-foot camper trailer on a weekend getaway.
The Maverick’s 4.5-foot bed can be extended to six-feet with the multi-position tailgate down. It opens normally, but also has a half-open position – just unclip the support cables and hook them onto the latch pins. In this configuration, the tailgate lip and wheelhouses can support long, wide loads, such as up to 18 sheets of 4x8-foot three-quarter-inch plywood. The tailgate also features tie-down clamps that double as bottle openers, and it’s rated to hold 500 pounds of tail-gating friends. The bed floor and sides are low, so almost any size adult can reach over and grab items off the floor.
A handy feature in the bed is a pair of built-in 12-volt, 20-amp prewired power sources with removable covers to support DIY electrical projects.
“People have forever been hacking into their wiring harness to run things like lighting, air pumps and other useful accessories,” says Gaby Grajales, an electrical engineer who helped develop the feature. “This is a better solution – we’re enabling customer needs while protecting the taillamp wiring and creating a fused circuit to avoid compromising the overall electrical system. With this, you have the option to select the factory-available box lighting or install your own home-built lighting setup, or even invent a whole new use for the 12-volt access points.”
There are also two available 110-volt, 400-watt outlets – one in the bed and one in the cabin – that can power phones, laptops, small TVs, a cordless tool battery charger or a small, corded tool like a jigsaw. There’s also a storage cubby built into the side of the bed on XLT and Lariat trucks that’s perfect for keeping a ball hitch or air pump.
Ford has fitted the Maverick with what it calls a FLEXBED system. The design team developed its features after watching people at home improvement and furniture stores, as well as college kids moving into their dorms. They observed how folks struggled to load things into small crossovers and cars while working around the cargo limitations they faced. FLEXBED provides organization and cargo solutions to fit owners’ lifestyles, with slots to use lumber to subdivide the bed, 10 available anchor points, plus the multi-position tailgate. Users can create segmented storage, elevated floors, bike and kayak racks and more by sliding 2x4s or 2x6s into slots stamped into the side of the bed. There are two tie-downs, four D-rings and built-in threaded holes in the sides to bolt in new creations.
“The whole bed is a DIY fan’s paradise,” says engineering specialist Keith Daugherty. “You can buy the bolt-in Ford cargo management system . . . but if you’re a bit more creative, you can also just go to the hardware store and get some C-channel and bolt it to the bed to make your own solutions.”
The Maverick shares iconic Ford pickup truck styling, such as the brand’s signature door design with drop-down side windows and a front end that stretches edge to edge, connecting the standard LED headlamps and grille. Its overall look is upright and squared off, designed for space efficiency, yet it’s youthful and athletic. Its clean lines are enhanced by the absence of gap between the cab and tailgate, while the bed rail caps extend from the bed and go vertical, ending at the top of the back window. Ford says it’s been designed this way to offer greater dent and ding protection, knowing people will load and unload the bed from the sides more frequently.
Inside, Maverick’s standard FordPass™ Connect with embedded modem offers Wi-Fi connectivity for up to 10 devices, while standard FordPass makes it easy to find the truck, check its fuel level, lock and unlock the doors and start or turn off the vehicle, all from the owner’s phone.
The interior design is stylish and spacious. Surprisingly roomy, Ford says there’s plenty of leg and headroom, shoulder and hip width and a comfortable seating position for both rows.
Clever storage spaces and useful features abound. Door armrests have a split design to allow a one-litre water bottle to sit upright in a bin rather than rolling around on the seats, while door pockets are huge and have lots of vertical clearance to store a tablet or notebooks. There’s a spacious storage bin available under the rear seats that fits a fully inflated volleyball, laptop bags, roller blades, tools and other gear.
Ford Integrated Tether (FIT) slots provide a clever multitasking solution for rear seat passengers. There’s a FIT slot at the back of the front console that accommodates different accessories for endless personalization. An available accessory package includes cupholders, a storage or trash bin, cord organizer, double hook for grocery bags and purses, and under-seat storage dividers. More FIT slot creations are in development and Ford is working to publish the slot geometry so people can 3D-print DIY solutions to further fit their lifestyle. Those accessories can be stored in multiple slots under the rear seats.
The Maverick is being offered with three trim levels – XL, XLT and Lariat. An additional First Edition package will be available for the first model year, built off the Lariat trim level. It includes unique graphics on the hood and lower doors, a high-gloss black-painted roof, soft tonneau cover, body-colour door handles, high-gloss black skull caps, and gloss black-painted 17-inch aluminum wheels unique to the First Edition. The special edition comes in Carbonized Gray, Area 51 or Rapid Red.
An FX4 package is available for all-wheel-drive XLT and Lariat trucks, adding more off-road capability. This package adds rugged all-terrain tires and suspension tuning, additional underbody protection and off-road-focused drive modes such as mud/rut and sand, plus Hill Descent Control.
The 2022 Maverick, being built at Ford’s Hermosillo assembly plant in Sonora, Mexico, is scheduled to arrive in dealers’ showrooms this fall. However, if you’re keen to place your Maverick order now, the build and price website is live at Ford.ca.