From the moment Ford introduced its latest compact truck, the 2022 Maverick intrigued this scribe. Not only was the name quite familiar — my folks had his and hers Maverick’s back in the ’70s — but its combination of price point, practicality, and fuel economy checked all the boxes for daily driver duty.
“The Maverick product proposition is like nothing else out there. It’s a great-looking truck featuring four doors with room for five adults, a standard full-hybrid engine with city fuel economy that beats a Honda Civic, plenty of towing and hauling for weekend trips or do-it-yourself projects, and it starts under $20,000,” Todd Eckert, Ford truck group marketing manager, said when the truck debuted. “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.”
Though it took a while to get behind the wheel for the first time, my week in the new Maverick came with fortuitous timing. I had plotted a family weekend getaway that included a beach stay, plenty of road tripping, and a couple of concerts for good measure.
In short, it was my perfect escape from my days of writing about fast cars, and the Maverick attributes immediately paid dividends. Not only did it have room for plenty of gear and people, but on the hundreds of miles ahead, the hybrid Maverick’s 500-mile range on a single tank of fuel would reward my wallet with its fuel-sipping economy.
The XLT was nicely appointed and featured a hybrid powertrain underhood. Scrolling through the drive mode options revealed that the Eco and Slippery (this one came in handy during a harsh Florida storm) settings tamed the engine’s responsiveness. Selecting Sport, however, really tuned up the throttle response and shift strategy more to my liking.
The combination of Sport mode and a right foot to the floor was mildly entertaining courtesy of the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder hybrid powertrain’s 191 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque. Even the suspension, though soft, delivered enjoyable handling until the body lean kicks in approaching the limit. But, this truck isn’t about performance, it is about practicality, and there the truck shined.
The ride was pleasant on the highway, and it has a surprisingly roomy bed that holds plenty of gear. Even the interior is configured to store bikes in the back seat, and the ability to create custom accessories for its myriad attachment points is something that owners will surely appreciate over the time of ownership. And, it’s not just the possibility for 3D-printed cupholders on the inside, the bed is ripe for customization as well.
“The whole bed is a DIY fan’s paradise,” said Keith Daugherty, an engineering specialist who helped develop the truck box for Maverick. “You can buy the bolt-in Ford cargo management system and we’re happy to sell it to you, 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.”
A vehicle designed for customization and so ready for just about any task is appealing. When I am in the market for a replacement for my Focus ST, the Maverick will get strong consideration as a new daily. And, if those rumors of a Maverick ST come true, I am so here for that.