- The 2022 Maverick is Ford’s new, small truck — and it’s the perfect middle ground between an SUV and a big pickup.
- It offers a bed and truck capability without the hugeness of today’s full-size trucks.
- The 2022 Maverick starts at around $20,000. The well-optioned Lariat model I tested cost around $35,000.
Driving a truck can feel a bit like driving a tank.
Today’s humongous pickups are tall, unwieldy in small spaces, and hard to see out of. Heck, you can practically lose an entire class of kindergarteners in one of their blind spots. For people like me who didn’t grow up in truck country and are accustomed to more normal-sized cars, rolling around in a pickup can impart a constant, low-grade stress.
But there’s a new model on the market that threatens to convert me into a truck guy: the Ford Maverick.
First, the basics
The Maverick, Ford’s newest truck, launched in 2021 and slots below the midsize Ranger and full-size F-150 in Ford’s truck lineup. It takes the usefulness of a pickup and shrinks it to a more manageable size, making it the perfect vehicle for people who like SUVs but crave a little more capability for weekend adventures and DIY projects.
It’s about a foot shorter than the Ranger and is built like an SUV rather than a traditional body-on-frame truck. It debuted with a shockingly low starting price of $20,000, opening up the possibility of truck beds to a wider, more budget-conscious audience. The small-pickup segment isn’t really a thing yet, but the Maverick does have competition from the also-new Hyundai Santa Cruz.
The Maverick comes in three trims: the stripped-down XL, the comfier XLT, and the top-tier Lariat. For the 2023 model year, they cost between $22,000 and $28,000 to start. All come with a hybrid engine and standard front-wheel drive.
The 2022 Lariat Ford lent me for a weekend came out to roughly $35,000, including a destination fee and options like a beefier engine, all-wheel drive, and a luxury package. An F-150 Lariat starts at $50,000.
What stands out: Compact size that doesn’t skimp on utility
In an adorable sort of way, the Maverick resembles an F-150 that someone zapped with a shrink ray.
It’s about as big as an SUV like the Kia Telluride, but it features a boxy shape and conventionally trucky proportions that are cute to see on a pickup of its stature. The Maverick is just begging for you to squeeze it’s front fender and tell it: “You’re a tough little truck. Yes you are.”
Behind the wheel of the Maverick, one rides alongside traffic rather than towering over it. Visibility is good, and maneuvers that would be stressful in a bigger pickup, like squeezing by double-parked cars or parallel parking, are easy in a Maverick.
The little-ish truck isn’t a living room on wheels like the far more expensive F-150, and that’s understandable. But it compensates with clever storage options and a quirky design.
You get little nooks on the dashboard and all over the center console, along with bigger bins beneath the rear seats. The door pockets are designed to accommodate extra large water bottles and outdoorsy lifestyles. All Mavericks are packed with funky textures and interesting molded plastics, but the Lariat I drove delivered extra creature comforts like heated faux-leather seats, dual-zone climate control, and a wireless charging pad.
The back seats are spacious enough, but the middle one will be tight for everyone but children.
Say you want to occasionally haul some lumber, potting soil, dirty bikes, or soggy camping gear without damaging the inside of your SUV. That’s the Maverick’s sweet spot.
Though more petite than most, the pickup’s 4.5-foot-long bed easily fit my mountain bike (with the front wheel removed). And upgrades like a cubby, power outlet, and in-bed lighting can boost functionality further.
Ford created the Maverick’s bed with DIYers in mind. It offers access points to 12-volt power (for wiring in lighting and the like) along with slots that encourage owners to slip in cheap bed dividers and bike racks using 2x4s.
Mavericks can carry 1,500 pounds and tow 2,000. In real-world terms, that’s enough towing capacity for a couple of jet skis or a small camper, Ford says. Buyers can pay extra for double the towing ability if they also choose the optional turbocharged engine, which I’d recommend anyway since it tackles quick highway merges and high-speed cruising better (and quieter) than its hybrid counterpart.
Our impressions: A truck for non-truck people
The Maverick makes so much sense as a quirky and capable alternative to dime-a-dozen SUVs, it’s a wonder Ford didn’t try it sooner. And as it turns out, people love having truck functionality without the hulking size. According to Ford, more than 80% of Maverick buyers are first-time truck owners.
As a driver, I had no issues with the Maverick. But as a buyer, the biggest issue may just be getting your hands on one.