2022 Ford Maverick Review

Ron Sessions, Independent Expert | Oct 05, 2021

Introduction

Channeling the no-nonsense spirit of compact Japanese pickups of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, the Ford Maverick is the first offering in the entry-level pickup space in decades. As former compact pickups like the Chevrolet ColoradoFord Ranger, and GMC Canyon grew to nearly full-size proportions in recent years—and full-size pickups outgrew their garages and nudged into luxury-car price territory—an obvious opportunity to reclaim entry-level buyers with modest, around-the-house pickup-truck needs surfaced.

Car companies love discovering fresh white space. But why launch a smaller, less-expensive pickup with thin profit margins when buyers are lining up to buy the larger ones that make investor's stock portfolios swell and can help fund the transition to electrification? Ford is looking to court underserved buyers with a model that starts around $20,000 in a market where the average vehicle transaction price is nearing $45,000.

Is Ford crazy or maybe crazy like a fox? With the Maverick, the company offers a product to buyers who would like a pickup for dirty jobs around the house or runs to the local home improvement or garden store but can't afford a larger pickup. Or maybe they are just looking for an affordable new vehicle, but with entry-level models such as the excellent Fiesta and Focus gone from the Ford lineup, they are relegated to perusing used-vehicle lots. Good luck with that.

As with all other things Maverick, Ford keeps the lineup simple. Trim levels include the base XL, more generously equipped XLT, and range-topping Lariat.

The twist is that the base powertrain with each trim is a full hybrid with front-wheel drive (FWD). Ford offers an optional EcoBoost turbo gas engine as well; buyers can configure it with front- or available all-wheel drive (AWD).

With AWD, buyers can upgrade to the FX4 Off-road package, which includes all-terrain tires, upgraded suspension, hill-descent control, added Mud/Rut selectable driving modes, skid plates, upgraded engine cooling, front tow hooks, and a 4-pin trailer-hitch receiver.

The Maverick arrives with a single body configuration: a 5-passenger, 4-door SuperCrew with a 4.5-foot-long pickup bed. Bumper to bumper, the Maverick measures 199.7 inches—nearly a foot shorter than the 210.8-inch-long Ranger SuperCab or SuperCrew, but also about the same overall length as a Ford Explorer SUV. Bottom line: If an Explorer fits in your garage, so will a Maverick.

As with the larger Honda Ridgeline and just-introduced Hyundai Santa Cruz, the Maverick has unitized body construction with no separate steel ladder frame for the body and bed upon which to mount. So, the Maverick sits just 68.7 inches high road to roof—4.6 inches lower than the body-on-frame Ranger.

While the Maverick's cabin has the space and feel of a small crossover SUV, the cargo bed is a blank slate. It's a do-it-yourselfer's delight with up to 12 anchor points, dual-level stacking capability, available 110-volt, 400-watt inverter, factory-harness 12-volt plug-ins, and more than 150 accessories.

What Owners Say About the Midsize Pickup Segment

2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid XLT Blue Front Quarter View

Photo: Ron Sessions

The Ford Maverick competes in the Midsize Pickup segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 86 percent of new Midsize Pickup buyers are gender (vs. 61 percent for the industry), and the median age of a Midsize Pickup buyer is 57 years, the same as for the industry.

As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated Midsize Pickups in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you'll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about their truck to their least favorite:

  • Exterior styling
  • Driving feel
  • Feeling of safety
  • Setting up and starting
  • Interior design
  • Powertrain
  • Infotainment system
  • Driving comfort
  • Getting in and out
  • Fuel economy

What Our Independent Expert Says About the Ford Maverick

In the sections that follow, our independent expert provides an analysis of a 2022 Maverick Hybrid XLT equipped with the following options:

  • XLT Luxury package (power 8-way driver's seat, heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, windshield-wiper de-icer, heated side mirrors, remote start, LED box lighting, spray-in bed liner, trailer hitch receiver with 4-pin connector, bed tie-down locking rails and brackets, 400-watt inverter for cab and bed, rear USB ports, six D-link bed connectors)
  • Ford Co-Pilot 360 upgrade (adding blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, lane-keeping assistance)
  • Manual sliding rear window
  • Full-size spare tire
  • Accessory rubberized floor mats

The price of the test vehicle came to $26,950, including the $1,495 destination charge.

Getting In and Getting Comfortable

2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid XLT Blue Front Seats

Photo: Ron Sessions

Thanks to the Maverick's unitized body construction, getting in and out is easy. There's no 3-4-inch-tall ladder frame underneath raising the step-in height of the floor as in most other pickups. Seat height is comparable to that in the Ford Escape crossover SUV. The front buckets offer good comfort with modest lateral support for thighs and more enveloping lower torso support. Headroom and legroom are ample. XL and XLT trims have cloth seat coverings, which I found more comfortable and less sweaty in humid, 90-degree Tennessee summer heat than the attractive, but vinyl-like, ActivX synthetic coverings in the Lariat.

Keeping in mind that the Maverick starts around $20,000, I didn't mind the standard manually adjustable driver's seat and urethane steering wheel in the XL and XLT. Buyers wanting niceties such as a power-operated driver's seat, heated front seats, or a leather-wrapped steering wheel can opt for a Luxury package for the XLT or move up to Lariat trim, where those things come standard.

The Maverick's interior trim on the dash, doors, and console is predominantly hard plastic but looks and feels durable and comes in interesting colors and textures. The design is purposeful yet playful. There simply isn't a lot of clutter. Switchgear is well laid out and simple to use.

One area where the Maverick excels is interior storage. The center console, which includes the rotary transmission shifter knob, electric parking brake, and a few other dynamic controls, has a pair of cupholders, three open bins of various sizes, a shelf for an optional wireless charger, and another covered bin under the padded center armrest. At the rear of the center console is a slot custom made to accept a variety of Ford accessories, including a litter basket, more cupholders, a hook for a purse or grocery bags, and more. The doors have lots of storage, too, with deep enough bins to handle a tablet or several tall refillable water bottles.

There's still more storage in two deep wells beneath the flip-up rear bench seat cushion.

Rear-seat legroom and headroom are good for this vehicle class, with better legroom for rear passengers than in the larger Ford Ranger SuperCab or SuperCrew.

2022 Ford Maverick Infotainment System Review

2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid XLT Blue Interior Dashboard

Photo: Ron Sessions

As with other aspects of the Maverick, its infotainment system is simple but up-to-date. Standard features with all trims include:

  • 8-inch color touchscreen
  • Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Ford Pass Connect AT&T-powered 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices
  • Ford Pass Connect cellphone access to start/stop the engine, lock/unlock doors, check the fuel level, find the truck location
  • One each USB-A and USB-C port up front
  • 6-speaker AM/FM stereo
  • SiriusXM satellite radio with 3-month trial

Included with the Lariat Luxury package is:

  • Sync3 with enhanced voice recognition
  • B&O 8-speaker, 660-watt surround-sound audio system
  • Wireless charging pad

In the Maverick Hybrid XLT test truck, I was able to pair my Android cellphone quickly and easily. And subsequently, working through Android Auto, I accessed destinations using voice control and followed voice prompts and screen directions generated via Google Maps.

The sound quality of the base 6-speaker system in the Maverick Hybrid met my expectations for this segment and vehicle price point. Controls are simple and straightforward with large, legible screen tiles for changing sources, choosing favorites, and selecting phone, audio, settings, and apps, as well as steering-wheel inputs and basic physical analog volume and tuning knobs under the screen.

What It's Like to Drive the 2022 Ford Maverick

2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid XLT Blue Side Profile

Photo: Ron Sessions

A full-hybrid powertrain is standard with all Maverick trims. The system, shared with the Ford Escape compact crossover SUV, uses a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine with 162 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque working together with a single permanent-magnet electric traction motor powering the front wheels. The total hybrid system output is 191 hp. The hybrid battery sits under the passenger side of the floor.

An optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder is also shared with the Escape, with 250 hp and 277 pound-feet of torque on tap. It's available with FWD or AWD. The EcoBoost turbo is the hot rod of the two, but the differences in acceleration aren't as significant as you might think. Both the hybrid and the gas turbo can carry a 1,500-pound payload. The hybrid can tow up to 2,000 pounds, which I did on a 17-mile run with a trailer and a pair of jet skis, while the gas turbo can trailer 4,000 pounds when equipped with the optional tow package.

The remarkable thing about the hybrid is that it's the base powertrain in a truck with a starting price of around $20,000. To get the hybrid powertrain in the Ford Escape SUV (albeit with a few more convenience features), you'd have to pay about $8,000 more.

Even more remarkable is how civilized the Maverick rides and handles in both hybrid and gas turbo form. The Maverick uses Ford's modern C2 platform. Front-drive models use a MacPherson strut front suspension with a semi-independent twist-beam rear axle, while AWD versions substitute an independent multi-link setup at the rear. Both use twin-tube gas shock absorbers.

The key here is the unitized body construction, which removes the jiggles and wiggles of a traditional body-on-frame pickup and removes hundreds of pounds of weight. The Maverick's ride height is lower as well, reducing side-to-side motions and taking body lean in corners out of the driving experience in the bargain. The Maverick's steering response is direct and crisp, as is the brake pedal feel, which brings the small pickup to a tidy stop with confidence, even when towing a trailer.

Ford Co-Pilot 360 Review

2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid XLT Blue ADAS Menu

Photo: Ron Sessions

All 2022 Mavericks come standard with the following Ford Co-Pilot 360 content:

The XLT test truck also had the additional optional Co-Pilot 360 content, including:

  • Blind-spot warning
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Driver-alert monitor

The Maverick is also available with a rear-seat reminder system that prompts the driver to check the rear seat for kids and pets that may be left behind if anyone had opened a rear door during the previous key cycle.

Thus far, the midsize pickup segment has been slow to adopt the comprehensive advanced driver assistance technology that's standard in most mainstream sedans and SUVs. But in the Maverick's case, buyers can add these for a reasonable sum. Expanding the Ford Co-Pilot 360 content in the XLT Hybrid test truck to include blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, and driver-alert monitor was a reasonable $540 add. I wouldn't purchase a new vehicle these days without, at a minimum, the blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning features.

Unfortunately, at this time, although regular cruise control is standard, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go is only available in Lariat trim equipped with the Lariat Luxury package, which raises the sticker price substantially.

2022 Ford Maverick FAQ

2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid XLT Blue Pickup Bed

Photo: Ron Sessions

How much cargo space does the 2022 Ford Maverick have?

The Ford Maverick has a 4.5-foot-long cargo bed with 33.3 cubic feet of space. But that's just the start of it. Dubbed the Flexbed, it is a blank slate that offers a lot of cargo-toting possibilities.

The bed itself is painted steel with the option of a spray-in or drop-in plastic liner. It's designed for easy mounting of bed rails, bolt-in sliding tie-downs, box dividers, bike racks, under-rail bed lighting, a flip-over bed extender, soft and hard tonneau covers, and more. Molded into the sides are slots for inserting boards to construct things such as a raised cargo floor. The bed is wide enough above the rear wheelhouses to accommodate 4x8 sheets of plywood. Additionally, the tailgate limit support cables can be unhooked and repositioned at the wheel-well level to enable the tailgate to support the plywood at the back end.

Depending on trim level, the Maverick also comes with up to two covered bedside stowage boxes with access to quick-connect, fused 12-volt wiring for accessories. Also available is LED bed lighting and a 110-volt, 400-watt power source to run laptops, small jigsaws, and such.

Upper Maverick trims also include a standard power lock for the tailgate.

Does the 2022 Ford Maverick get good gas mileage?

The 2.0-liter turbo gas EcoBoost is EPA-rated at 26 mpg combined with FWD and 25 mpg combined with AWD.

Ford is targeting a 40-mpg city rating and 500-mile cruising range for the Maverick 2.5-liter hybrid. That fuel-economy estimate is a couple of miles per gallon less than that published for the slightly more aerodynamic and 120-pound lighter Ford Escape it shares the powertrain with, but still big doings in Truckville. I saw an indicated 35 mpg over 40 miles of mixed rural/suburban and congested freeway/city driving in Nashville. The hybrid fuel tank is 13.8 gallons versus the gas version's 16.5-gallon size. At 35 mpg, the hybrid would still be capable of a cruising range over 480 miles.

Is the 2022 Ford Maverick safe?

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety had completed crashworthiness testing on the 2022 Maverick as of the publishing of this review.

How much is the 2022 Ford Maverick?

Price is a big part of the Maverick's story. With the base 2.5-liter full-hybrid powertrain, the entry-level XL lists at $19,995, the better-equipped XLT runs $22,280, and the top-of-the-line Lariat goes for $25,490. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo engine is optional. Destination adds $1,495.

What are the 2022 Ford Maverick competitors?

The Jeep Gladiator ranks highest in the Midsize Pickup segment in the J.D. Power 2021 Initial Quality Study (IQS). The Ford Ranger and the Chevrolet Colorado are the next highest-ranked models.

In the 2021 APEAL Study, the Honda Ridgeline ranks highest in the Midsize Pickup segment. The Jeep Gladiator and the Ford Ranger are the next highest-ranked models.

Other competitors to the 2022 Maverick include the Nissan Frontier, Hyundai Santa Cruz, and Toyota Tacoma.

Independent Expert Opinion

2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid XLT Blue Rear Quarter View

Photo: Ron Sessions

The 2022 Ford Maverick has all the makings of a game-changer among midsize pickups. It's an affordable, entry-level truck offering great utility, comfort, and practicality without the garage-busting size and fuel thirst. Better yet, it comes standard with a hybrid powertrain with better fuel economy and lower price than most cars. And even though its powertrain and underpinnings, while Ford Tough, are pinched from the Ford Escape and Bronco Sport crossover SUVs, Ford made sure its breakthrough offering looks the part of a pickup truck when its buyers load it up for dirty jobs down at the landscape or home-improvement store.

Ron Sessions is a seasoned vehicle evaluator with more than three decades of experience. He has penned hundreds of road tests for automotive and consumer websites, enthusiast magazines, newsletters, technical journals, and newspapers.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2021 J.D. Power

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