Just like the entries in every modern automotive segment, pickup trucks have gotten big. Back in the 1990s, a Ford Ranger or Toyota Tacoma were similar in size to today’s new 2022 Ford Maverick, but consumer preferences along with a push to make everything bigger and better caused trucks to grow. The 2022 Maverick reopens the door that was shut decades ago, and although it ditches traditional body-on-frame architecture in favor of a unibody platform, the Maverick still manages to do truck stuff. It also looks like a serious truck but without the bouncy ride or big proportions most modern pickups are known for.
Although the Maverick’s standard engine is a 2.5-liter hybrid (it’s the cheapest hybrid vehicle you can buy today), we most recently spent time in the 2.0-liter gasoline-only variant. To find out more about the base Ford Maverick Hybrid, make sure you read our first test of it here.
2022 Ford Maverick 2.0: The Drive
Sharing its platform with the latest Ford Bronco Sport and Ford Escape, the 2022 Ford Maverick comes standard with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is optional. Our Cyber Orange Maverick gasoline-powered test truck was powered by the aforementioned 2.0-liter EcoBoost mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. And with 250 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, the Maverick is a charming truck to drive.
In our testing, the 2022 Ford Maverick needed a leisurely 7.0 seconds to reach 60 mph from a standstill, but it feels punchier than that on the street and highway. The engine and transmission work well together to deliver a fantastic drive whether the truck is laden with cargo or not. The unibody architecture helps provide the settled ride, but the suspension also smothers pavement imperfections. More than anything, there’s an element of charm to the Maverick’s driving abilities. Step on the throttle, and the transmission downshifts quickly to provide more forward momentum, and upshifts occur smoothly. The steering is also communicative, offering a balanced sense of what’s happening with the tires.
Despite its unibody architecture, the Maverick can haul 1,500 pounds and it can tow 2,000; an optional towing package doubles the latter figure. Those digits may not be as impressive compared to trucks that are a size up in class, but they’re impressive for a small pickup like the Maverick and are probably enough for many folks.
Our Maverick Lariat test truck came with the FX4 package and the towing package, and during our towing test, the compact Ford pickup proved rather capable. Towing 3,000 pounds, the Maverick didn’t struggle even when driving uphill. Indeed, it felt confident pulling all that weight without hassle.
The Inside Counts
We’ve talked wonders about the 2022 Ford Maverick’s cool interior. Ford’s designers really hit it out of the park by making a generally cheap interior look good. The plastics around the cabin are hard, but their texture and look are outstanding. Besides delivering a dual-tone cabin that looks fresh, young, and cool, the door panels were designed to fit larger water bottles and other common, useful items.
The packaging is also excellent; although the cabin is small, the interior feels spacious. People space is plentiful in the front and rear, and there are useful cubbies around the cabin in which to stow your belongings. The rear comes with an under-seat storage compartment that’s quite roomy and can fit long, flat items like a fishing pole or umbrella—but it’s also deep enough to hide a small backpack or shopping bag from prying eyes.
An 8.0-inch touchscreen is standard across the board, and Maverick Lariat models get Ford’s latest SYNC system, which works better, responds quicker, and is easier to navigate. Choose the Maverick XLT model—the middle version—and you are stuck with the older, more frustrating infotainment system. Regardless, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard. One small complaint here is that there is no larger screen option. The 8.0-inch unit is fine, but you can’t even pay extra for a larger screen, despite the pickup having enough interior real estate to accommodate one.
How Much Coin?
Starting at $21,490, the Maverick is a compelling truck that delivers a lot of value. However, prices escalate quickly when you add the turbo engine and all-wheel drive. Our Lariat trim came well equipped, and it arrived with a $37,820 price tag, almost twice the Maverick’s starting price. For our money, we’d probably go for a front-drive XLT Maverick Hybrid, which comes well equipped from the start and also delivers decent performance. Yes, there are many niceties when you jump from the XLT to the Lariat, but the price increase is dramatic.
The Blue Oval has outsold every truck competitor for the past 40 years, and the 2022 Ford Maverick has the know-how to contribute toward continuing the trend. The Maverick is a compact, capable, and real truck, one that customers will also discover rides comfortably and doesn’t cost a fortune to get into.