"The pickup truck you didn't know you needed"
I put the Maverick to work on some Nashville, Tennessee backroads. Uphill, downhill, hauling , loading and off-roading...
What is the Maverick?
The all-new Ford Maverick is actually the return of the compact pickup truck. It's size resembles that of a much older generation Ranger. Ford's lineup is now complete with compact, mid-size and full-size pickup trucks. The addition to the lineup makes complete sense with the stop of production on cars for US (minus the Mustang). Unlike the Ranger and F-Series trucks that use body on frame construction the Maverick is a unibody sharing the C2 platform with the Escape and Bronco. Make no mistake, Ford claims 'Built Ford Tough' is the core of this truck and their years and miles of truck building experience is all built in.
Base trucks start at $19,995, making it a very attractive entry level vehicle. The four door crew-cab is the only configuration. It's available in three trim levels, XL, XLT and Lariat. The hybrid variant is standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor producing a combined 191 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque. Only the Hybrid is mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and front wheel traction. However, an optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 250 hp and 277 lb-ft. The 2.0-liter engine uses an eight-speed automatic transmission and can be paired with front- or all-wheel drive.
Does it drive like a truck or SUV?
The targeted demographics is a much younger, more diverse, and both male and female alike. In fact, it's believed most consumers will be first time pickup truck buyers. Given the circumstances, drivability was a big factor in development. After only a few miles behind the wheel I could immediately pickup on the familiarity, it's not like driving a truck at all. It's an excellent transition vehicle for this younger market. It has the drivability of an car/SUV with the versatility of a truck. It was a very nonthreatening, manageable and smooth ride.
It's not Ford's way to call yourself a truck, drive like a car and have no capabilities. I had the change to tow in both the Hybrid and EcoBoost versions and was quite impressed with it's performance. Maverick has standard payload of 1,500 pounds, the volume to carry a standard ATV and the capability to tow 2,000 pounds – enough for a pair of personal watercraft or a good-sized pop-up camper trailer. For the EcoBoost with the optional 4K Tow Package ($745), towing doubles to 4,000 pounds and truck gets upgraded engine cooling, transmission oil cooler and a shorter final-drive ration – enough for an average 21-foot boat.
My favorite is the DIY concept that Ford is introducing with the Maverick. It appeals to the intended buyers and they will certainly appreciate it. Although Ford will sell you all the accessories you need, they will also teach you how to build your own $40 bike rack for instance and many other custom DYI accessories using only basic items from your local hardware store. With eDIY you can install lights or an air-compressor with built in electrical connection points. Additionally the DIY concept includes the ability to 3D print FITS (Ford Integrated Tether System) that will become available by Ford. In the bed you can haul 4x8 sheets of plywood, it has multiple storage areas and as many as 10 tie-down points, the tailgate also tilts to help keep belongings in place or to support longer items if you don't have the bed extender. I think the ownership of the Maverick becomes very personal, engaging and creates a bond to your vehicle like we haven't seen in a long time.
Keeping vehicle cost down was an intent from the start and was accomplished very creatively so. Interior design was seemingly built using inexpensive plastic and other materials without loosing a sense of value or experience to the consumer. There are strong, tough-looking surfaces that feel like they'll hold up to wear and tear over time. Fun textures, colors and design elements give the cabin a very simple, but contemporary feel. Practicality is found throughout including the door panels that have cut outs intended to place larger sized water bottles where they simply pressure snap themselves in. Like the Flexbed, FITS will carry a variety of accessories like a trash can with placement in various spaces throughout the cabin.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available standard on all trim levels and display is provided by an 8-inch infotainment screen. Two USB ports (one USB-A and one USB-C), 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability and a six-speaker stereo.
I found the interior to be very spacious and it will hold four average sized adults comfortably. Under the rear bench is also a very spacious storage space that allows room for a fully inflated basketball, shoulder pads, gym bags, rollerblades, helmets, toolboxes and more.
Hybrid engine still does not have official numbers, but it has an estimate of 40 mpg with a 500 mile range on a single tank. I think everyone can agree that is impressive especially for a truck. The turbocharged engine gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg with front-wheel drive or 25 mpg with all-wheel drive.
Ford did a fantastic job breaking the mold, yet designing and building what they do best - trucks! It is a purposely build vehicle with a particualr buyer in mind. The truck is small and versatile enough with real capabilities, proper technology, adequate power, good looks and still all within a budget. It's easy and comfortable to drive and it might awaken the DIY-er in you.