Ford Maverick

The Ford Maverick Lariat Hybrid features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine combined with an electric motor. It averages 42 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, according to EPA estimates.

Some dude on the internet (OK, several dudes on the internet): “Maverick? Ford’s gonna use the name of a compact car on a truck?”

Here’s the truth: By the end of this year, more people will know the name Maverick from this truck than they will from the compact Ford sold between 1969 and 1977.

In fact, the new Maverick is worthier of the name. Instead of a very conventional compact car, the Maverick is an innovative pickup that bucks the “my truck wants to eat your house” trend that has taken over full-size trucks. And it comes from the same people who build the F-150 (On the Road, October 2019). Go figure.

The Maverick is small, at least by contemporary truck standards. It’s 11 inches shorter, 5 inches narrower and 2 inches lower than the current Ford Ranger. It’s roughly the same length as a Ranger from 20 years ago, but approximately 4 inches wider.

What’s under the hood is another part of the unorthodoxy of the new Maverick. It comes standard as a hybrid – a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine combined with an electric motor. Total system output: 191 horsepower, with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds won’t set your hair on fire, but it’s far from embarrassing.

And there’s a payoff at the gas pump, with an Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy estimate of 42 mpg city (not a typo), 33 mpg highway – numbers that proved to be reliable during my week of city street and urban freeway driving.

With the hybrid, there’s 2,000 pounds of towing capability. If you need more, switching to the optional 2.0-liter turbo four and eight-speed automatic transmission gets you 4,000 pounds, a quicker truck (0-60 falls to 5.9 seconds with 250 horsepower), but far less stellar fuel economy estimates from the EPA (23 city/30 highway for FWD models, 22/29 for AWD). And if you want all-wheel drive, you can’t get that with the hybrid.

The 4-foot, 6-inch bed is long enough for a lot of what Americans haul in the back of a pickup. My sons-in-law say Ford’s next move should be an extra-cab model, giving up some of the rear seat room and lengthening the bed to 6 feet. As it is, the crew cab in the Maverick is a spacious and comfortable place, especially in Lariat trim, like our tester.

Despite being related to the Bronco Sport (reviewed in the June 2021 On the Road), the Maverick gets its own instrument panel, with logical controls and a simple, yet intelligent layout.

Eye-popping price

The final area where Maverick earns its name is price. And this is probably the only actual connection to the original Maverick. It listed when launched in April 1969 at $1,995. The Maverick Hybrid starts at $19,995. And that’s as eye-catching a price now as $1,995 was then.

That’s for the base XL model, which is essentially work-truck spec. Stepping up to the XLT boosts the entry price to $22,360, and going all-in on the Lariat trim makes the starting price $25,860.

Our Lariat tester only had three extra-cost options: floor liners without carpeted inserts ($135), the Ford Co-Pilot 360 active safety suite ($520) and a spray-in bedliner ($495). With $1,495 destination and delivery, the as-tested price of the Maverick Lariat Hybrid is $27,660.

Look, there are people who need three-quarter-ton four-wheel-drive trucks. And full-size half-tons. But a lot of people who own them never haul anything more than air in their truck beds. For most of them and the rest of us, the new Ford Maverick is exactly what we need – room for hauling (most) things and five people at a low price (even loaded), and with stellar (with the hybrid) fuel economy.

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