2022 Ford Maverick AT Hybrid Lariat: Super economical useful all-wheel-drive truck?
Price: $32,990 as tested. $3,340 for the Lariat luxury package, $1,495 for the First Edition package, $540 for the Ford Copilot 360, $495 for the red paint.
Conventional wisdom: Motor Trend headlines a review of a comparable model with “thrifty and awesome fun.”
Marketer pitch: “Do it with Maverick.”
Reality: You can have economical Where all-wheel drive; choose one. And “useful” is in the viewer’s bed.
What’s new: The Maverick set. Readers of a certain age will remember the round-bodied Ford of the 70s which was replaced by the square Fairmont for the 1978 model year. Neither was a remarkable car, although some of the early editions of Maverick have something akin to power.
The new Maverick is much more remarkable, putting a hybrid engine in a small pickup, but only if you opt for front-wheel drive. If you want to tow more or take advantage of all-wheel drive, you’ll need to de-hybridize the Maverick: a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine is available.
Ford boasts that it started “under $19,995,” but it would be a very sad truck, indeed, and nothing like what we have here.
Up to speed: The 2.5-liter four-cylinder is mated to a 94 kW electric motor that produces a total of 191 horsepower. The front-wheel-drive version tested hits 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, according to Motor Trend.
An optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost four creates 250 horsepower without hybridization and is the only engine available for the all-wheel-drive version. It takes 5.9 seconds to reach 100 km/h, according to Car and Driver.
The Maverick handles the highways admirably, however. We visited the Hershey Museum at the Antique Automobile Club of America and for the return trip we followed the turnpike to the home of Sturgis Kid 1.0 in Montgomery County. The right lane remains an up and down ride, so many drivers stay in the left lane to avoid bumps.
That means high-speed overtaking in the right-hand lane while trying to weave safely between cars. The Maverick took off without hesitation.
Lazy: The CVT is operated via the Ford dial, which features a rotary knob to switch from Park to Reverse or Drive. A Low button sits in the center. No shifting is available with the hybrid.
On the road: Contrary to the C&D report, the Maverick suspension held up very well on the bump-laden toll highway.
Sport mode provided tight steering and decent cornering fun, but this is no Ranger SXT.
One note: the mode button was completely lost to me until I spent a morning actively deciphering the three console buttons, where I saw the leaf and racing flag icons. But the Maverick also performed well in Eco and Normal modes.
Driver’s seat: Lariat-level seats are comfortable, even for long journeys. The bottom of the seat felt very short to me at first, but I didn’t notice any pain in my right leg while holding it in space.
The two-tone brown is reminiscent of Maverick’s first ride, but it’s definitely not 1970s ugly.
Friends and Stuff: Sturgis Kid 4.0 also found the back seat comfortable; in fact, he even let me leave the spacious Stinger tester in the driveway so I could test the Maverick for that very reason.
The seat sits upright as crew-cab trucks will, and the bottom of the seat is also short. A decent-sized storage bin sits under the seat, and the seat folds down for more storage options.
Issue to note: The seat back did not lock easily after the storage demo. It could have been operator error, but it was worth watching.
The bed is the size of Santa Cruz at 54 inches long, a little disappointing. I find the Ridgeline’s 64 inches to be the bare minimum. (Hyundai is the chunkiest, at 52 inches.)
Ford’s press materials focus on its “Flexbed” cargo system and a plethora of options to enhance its versatility. It could work great for many uses, but I was just stuck without the 10ft fence posts I needed until my Sienna came home.
Payload is 1,500 pounds – not bad for such a small truck – and the hybrid can tow up to 2,000 pounds. The non-hybrid EcoBoost doubles the towing weight with the optional tow package, but it’s still 1,000 pounds lighter than the Hyundai or Honda. (The payload is also 200 pounds less than the competition.)
Play some tunes: The stereo system includes knobs for volume and tuning, buttons for source changes, and a welcoming eight-inch touchscreen that works well.
Unfortunately, the sound from the six-speaker system is only about a B or B+. It does a good job with most songs but doesn’t adjust to make less well-produced tracks sound any clearer.
Keeping warm and cool: The dials control the temperature and the buttons manage everything else.
Fuel economy: The Maverick had averaged 35.9 mpg for perhaps its entire life; I brought it down to just 35.7 after my freeway adventure.
Where it is built: Hermosillo, Mexico
How it’s built: Consumer Reports predicts Maverick’s reliability to be 3 out of 5.
At the end: You can’t have it all, but you can have a lot. I put all-wheel-drive and economy at the top of my list, so it still doesn’t beat a Ranger SXT for me.
Don’t pull my weight: Somehow I found the incomplete towing figures for the Volkswagen Atlas in a recent review, which Atlas owner Sturgis Neighbor 1.0 brought to my attention. The 2,000-pound towing capacity is for the four-cylinder; the V-6 brings that to 5,000 pounds, on par with competitors, and further cements the Atlas as the towing leader in our comparison.