2022 Ford Maverick Review | A Lot of New Truck for the Money
In all my years covering new Ford vehicles, I’ve never seen one polarize the SVTP community quite like the new Ford Maverick pickup. At the time it debuted it seemed the membership was evenly split among those who really dug the little truck and those who thought it was a complete waste of a perfectly good Blue Oval badge. I admit, I was initially less than enthused by the photos and specs released by Ford. However, after getting to spend a week driving one my mind has been changed.
After spending some time with the Maverick I came to appreciate the utilitarian nature of the interior. I particularly like that Ford chose to go with unique designs and textures rather than try to mimic the look of costlier materials. Honesty is a virtue.
The Ford crew dropped their compact (mid’ish-sized???) truck to me at Pro-Dyno in Fort Mill, SC. We had just finished dynoing our Bronco tester, so it seemed like a great opportunity to throw the Maverick up on the lift to get a look at what was going on underneath. If you’re interested in seeing the underpinnings, that content is part of our full review video. Check it out:
All the editorial content generation work we did with the fine folks at Pro-Dyno meant that we were going to get a late start driving back to the SVTP HQ. Unfortunately, that would force us to drive across the great state of South Carolina in the middle of an ice storm. Those of you in more northern climates may not realize it, but here in the south the locals tend to freak out and lose their minds for a good three days leading up to any kind of winter weather. Forget about finding any bread and milk.
The Area 51 paint and black wheel combination on this First Edition package produces about the best looking Maverick I've seen.
Fortunately, the package on our test truck includes a fairly competent all-wheel drive system and some decently aggressive Falken Wildpeak all-terrain tires. The drive started out with just some light rain, but after short pitstop to partake in a Popeye’s chicken sandwich the flurries were starting to fly. Over the next three hours we passed through snow, sleet, and freezing rain on the drive to the coast. As I hooned around to varying degrees the Maverick took it all in stride. The traction control kept me between the ditches and the ABS worked perfectly. When driving like a sane person, as opposed to a test pilot seeing what she was made of, the Maverick was quite comfortable and confidence inspiring. This wasn’t the most severe winter storm of 2022, but I walked away with the feeling that the Maverick could handle business on most northerner’s daily drives.
The Bronco Sport, along with the Escape, shares the Maverick's unibody C2 Platform architecture.
Once back to beach weather I had a chance to get more familiar with the overall characteristics of Ford’s new small truck. We’ve previously posted a basic overview of the interior and exterior on 5 Star Tuning’s Maverick (while it was strapped to the dyno and having a tune developed for it) which you can see by clicking here ::
However, with a little seat time I have come to appreciate some of the features I down-voted in that article. The solid surfaced interior, while not the most luxurious, is extremely utilitarian and should hold up quite well for many years to come. There’s something to be said about an interior that’s easy to keep clean and maintain. The seats are decently comfortable, and should hold up well over time. It’s clear that Ford designed the Maverick’s interior for an active life style, and it seems well suited for that. The biggest complaint I have is a lack of Apple Car Play, which IMO should be standard equipment on any ford with a screen in the dash.
I really like the open console design on the Maverick, which allows plenty of room for the driver's knee when manspreading. The inductive charging pad for your cell phone is a nice touch as well.
Out on the road the Maverick delivers a fairly generic driving experience. It’s essentially a marshmallow; satisfying, but not filling. The best word I can think of to describe the driving dynamics is competent. There no hint of awe inspiring levels of performance, but also not a dearth of said performance. The 2.0L EcoBoost can move the 4-door modern day mini-truck well enough. The shifts from the 8–Speed transmission are basically imperceptible. The drive is basic transportation done very well. You not going to set in records at the strip, but a 4 hour drive isn’t going to leave you feeling like you were beat with a sock full of quarters. IMO, it shows that Ford knows the target market for the Maverick and the engineers executed a vehicle aimed directly at that demographic segment.
Admittedly not exactly a heavy duty load here, but the Maverick handled it well. The factory spray-in bedliner is one of Ford's best options.
Not satisfied with normal driving (which was returning about 32 MPG) I decided to hook up a little utility trailer with some 20-Year-Old Ford EV ballast and do a little tow testing. The trailer setup probably weighed close to 2,000 pounds, which is the max rating for our Maverick tester. A 4,000 pound rating is optional, and that’s an option I’d go for if not getting the hybrid model. I’ve towed a lot over the years, including cross country trips, so I feel I’m a pretty good judge of towing performance. I’d rank the Maverick as OK. Tow Mode kept the 2.0L I-4 wound up in its power band , and the grade/engine braking works as well as you can expect from such a small engine. Power is adequate, but even with our modest load you could feel the truck having to work much harder than usual. The suspension also transferred quite a bit of trailer motion to the driver’s seat. The ride wasn’t disconcerting, but you definitely knew there was a trailer back there. That’s just the nature of towing with a light weight vehicle. The Maverick is perfectly capable of towing a small load for a local run, but for anything approaching its limits I’d start looking for something a bit more capable.
Our ballast is my 2002 Ford Think. I had my Electric Ford truck way before any of these people waiting on the new F-150. Big thanks to the dog for loading it on the trailer for me.
Toward the end of our time with the Maverick I decided to take it on one of my favorite back roads to see how it handles a little unpaved surface and sand. I have to say, it’s not bad. While it’s definitely not a Gen 3 Raptor out on the trails, it did handle itself well. It was comfortable at reasonable speeds on a washboard dirt road and was able to power through the little bit of sand we found. The interior was rattle free and the suspension soaked up the bumps much better than the King Ranch Explorer we tested on a similar surface. Ford obviously wanted owners to feel comfortable taking this little truck down some mild trails to hit a bonfire or their favorite fishing hole. I’d call that mission accomplished.
I really like the molded floor liners Ford is now producing. They are much better than the rubber floor mats from a decade ago.
The black roof really sets the look of this truck off. I'd like to see this option available on more Ford trucks.
Another common use the Maverick will see is hauling a small load in the bed. Ours was equipped with Ford’s factory spray-in bedliner, which IMO is a must have option on any new Blue Oval truck. We made a trip to the local garden center and picked up about 400 pounds of soil while we had the First Edition in hand. That weight was enough to squat the rear suspension about half an inch, but not enough to really feel a difference in ride quality or performance. The Maverick is well suited for handling light around town chores such as that.
The 2.0L EcoBoost fits nicely under the hood of Maverick. I have an extra turbo laying around that just might fit one of these...
Ultimately, in all our travels we found the Maverick to be a surprisingly good little truck. It’s loaded full of unique features, has decent quality, and comes in at a killer price point (our tester stickered for $35,800). It left me really wanting to drive the hybid model to see how much of a difference it makes versus the EcoBoost, both in terms of driving dynamics and economy. It really left me with one thought; if you can only have one new vehicle, and it has to be efficient and affordable, the Ford Maverick would be a great choice. It’s not the best at any one thing, but it’s pretty good at just about everything. Think of it as the Multi-Tool of new cars. Whether you’re running out for work or fun, the 2022 Ford Maverick can get you there with some change left over to fill your cooler.
Photos by StacyStangz (the good ones) and SID297 (the ones shot with a potato)
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