Since Ford decided to remove cars from its lineup, the role of entry-level car fell to the EcoSport. Unconvinced, the latter is about to be usurped in its place by a type of car we haven’t seen in 10 years: the minivan. Check out the hybrid version of Ford Maverick 2022the cheapest of the lot, which I could drive for a day.
Descendant of the Ranger
Those who didn’t like the old Ford Ranger have a lot of comfort with the arrival of the Ford Maverick. It’s very close to the 1990-2011 Ranger in size, except that it offers a configuration not previously offered: four doors with a 4.5-foot bed. Here, there is no single or extended cabin, and it is not in the plans to offer.
Another big difference is that the Maverick is based on a monocoque chassis borrowed from the Bronco Sports. The style of this truck is therefore similar to that of the Honda Ridgeline or Hyundai Santa Cruz and it moves away from the more powerful Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado or Toyota Tacoma, all bigger.
Wisely, Maverick makes it look like a candy truck. The curvaceous front end and its large headlights don’t mark a connection with other cars in the range, but the squared-off profile and rear save the day and ultimately provide a balanced approach. Also note the cutout in the front doors that mimics that found on the F-150.
Despite its “SUV” origins, Maverick versions use truck nomenclature. Five versions are offered: XL Hybrid, XLT Hybrid, XL EcoBoost, XLT EcoBoost and Lariat EcoBoost. While we usually drive the fully equipped versions, I tested the stripped-down version of the Ford Maverick, the XL Hybrid that retails for $29,845. This is also the reason behind the sheet metal wheels and small accessories on board.
The Maverick’s interior was first thought from the practical side. The storage spaces in the doors are large, among other things because of the reduced door handle, the central console is wide and provided with various storage spaces, the ergonomics are good and the top screen and the instrument are easy to read. Availability on board is also a strength; you don’t feel like you’re standing up like in a Ranger, but not lying down like in a car; The sitting space is half a square.
Obviously, the XL doesn’t have a lot of equipment, but the essentials are there: an 8-inch screen, automatic climate control, electric windows, automatic emergency braking are standard. The only thing missing is heated seats. This design does not prevent a little stupidity on the board. Some plastics are made from recycled bottles and there is a unique color scheme for each version. For example, the XLT has seats that appear to be upholstered in denim. There is even the possibility of 3D printing equipment that can be inserted everywhere on board and that completes the cabin.
The biggest shortcoming of the cabin is the quality of the materials. The assembly is good and looks too, but the plastic is cheap.
Performance and flexibility
Rear access is facilitated by doors that are small, but with a wide opening angle. The space is big enough to accommodate two people, and the central part that can help. There is storage space under the bench seat, but I regret that we have to lift the bench seat immediately to get to it. This does not leave the possibility of carrying an additional person and luggage in the cabin.
Despite the small size of the crate, it is full of tricks. In the more equipped versions, there is a side rail that can be used as a strap holder, as well as six other included fasteners. The rear panel can be stopped mid-travel to support 4×8 sheets that are mounted on the wheel arches. There are also other devices available, and even suitable for home devices.
An affordable hybrid
The tested version had a hybrid engine shared with the Escape hybrid, which is the entry-level option for this car. It is 2.5-liter 4-cylinder which is added electric motor, giving a total power of 191 horsepower. Those riders are directed to the front wheels – sadly, there’s no all-wheel drive option here – via a CVT, resulting in a towing capacity of 907 kg (2,000 lbs).
On the road with this front-wheel drive version, I was surprised by the mechanical exuberance. 191 horses are more than enough to move the Maverick on the highway and in the city. The CVT shifts smoothly and even simulates gears in Sport mode. Only engine noise and road noise at high speeds invade the cabin, a sign that the soundproofing needs to be improved.
The longer wheelbase and lower body compared to the Bronco Sport has a lot to do with overall stability. Through the curves, the Maverick does not stumble and stays on the ground despite the bumps and potholes. This is a pleasant surprise because I expected the worst with the torsion beam rear suspension, which generally struggles to stay on track. The suspension adjustment is quite stable, the steering is precise and the visibility is clear, which means that, in short, we get a lot of pleasure from driving it.
Since it is a hybrid, the usage is something to watch. With about 235 kilometers of highway and city driving, we achieved 5.0 liters per 100 kilometers, a very low number that will undoubtedly be higher in real daily driving conditions.
Missing all-wheel drive
Alas, the Maverick Hybrid doesn’t offer all-wheel drive, a missing configuration that would have been popular in Quebec, I’m sure.
Buyers who want one have no choice but to choose one of three versions equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, which produces 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. It is also this mechanism that must be selected to increase the towing capacity to 1,814 kg (4,000 pounds). To do this, select the Max Trailering Package.
A short jaunt with the XLT with the EcoBoost engine revealed that it’s a more powerful system, which is still suitable for the car. Gear changes are smooth and road handling is similar to the hybrid version. With an AirStream Basecamp trailer in the back, which weighs about 1,320 kg (2,900 pounds), the Maverick didn’t lack power, nor did it have plywood in the bed. For full details on this EcoBoost version, check out my colleague William Clavey’s review.
The placement of the 2022 Ford Maverick, especially in the hybrid version, means that it has no direct competition. It’s hard to keep up with its peers, especially since no other pickup truck is offered at such an attractive price, not even two-wheel-drive versions of the Chevrolet Colorado.
So the niche was free and Ford takes it well enough with this useful truck that has what it takes, especially in its hybrid version. As this is a new product and given Ford’s history in this area, we recommend you wait before buying it. However, there is almost a year to wait.