Compact trucks are experiencing a renaissance. Hyundai and Ford are at the forefront of it while other automakers are scrambling to develop competitors. This is a good thing because consumers now have more practical options beyond a traditional car or SUV. The 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid is currently the standout. Between its affordability, broad range of models, efficiency, and practicality, this rig just set a high bar. Let’s take a look and see how it did that and kept the starting price attractive.
2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid: The F-150’s Baby Brother
You’re not mistaking the 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid for anything but a member of the Blue Oval lineup. From its boxy appearance to its distinct yet familiar face, you know this small truck is related to the Ranger, F-150, and Super Duty models. However, it has a character all its own; tough and practical yet approachable and youthful. The latter shines in the cabin of this XLT test car with its two-tone Light Gray and Navy Blue upholstery, diamond patterns, and orange trim and contrast stitching. This brightens up the cabin, giving it a modern yet sophisticated vibe. It’s quiet, too, thanks to generous sound insulation reducing noise levels at all speeds. Yes, there are lots of hard plastics but they don’t feel cheap and contribute to the Maverick’s utilitarian character.
Speaking of utility, Ford’s latest truck is a textbook study in space efficiency and clever packaging. You have eight tie-down points in the 4.5-foot bed, an available 110-volt outlet, and secret cubbies on the side (XLT and Lariat only). The rear seat cushions fold up to reveal a storage area while the seatback folds down in a single piece. You also have lots of cubbies for small items and large door pockets. Four average-sized passengers fit comfortably and five will work in a pinch.
The Maverick’s user interface keeps things simple with a responsive 8.0-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as standard. If you want the full Sync 3 UI, choose the Lariat grade, which also gets a built-in voice control system and a larger 6.5-inch instrument cluster display replacing the smaller 4.2-inch unit. Overall, the system is user-friendly thanks to intuitive controls and big icons on the main display. The standard six-speaker audio system offers good sound coverage but audiophiles will want the optional B&O unit.
To get to the $20,000 starting price, Ford omitted many driver assistance features from the standard equipment list. Every model has forward collision warning, front automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. The available Ford CoPilot360 package adds blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping, and rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control, lane centering, and evasive steering assist are part of the Luxury package on the Lariat trim. These systems work well and do a great job keeping you out of harm’s way. Gentle inputs and corrections ensure that they don’t feel like they’re trying to take over from the driver.
Electrification is the Way to Go
If you don’t haul over 1,500 pounds or tow 2,000 pounds, the Maverick Hybrid will more than suffice. Power comes from a 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired to an electric drive motor, a lithium-ion battery, and a planetary gear set for a combined output of 191 hp. Like Toyota’s hybrid systems, you get smooth power delivered in a single wave, adding to the truck’s impressive refinement. Contrary to what the ratings suggest on paper, the truck moves without much effort. It’s easy to get up to highway speeds, pass slower traffic or climb up steep inclines even with five people on board.
EPA rated at 42/33/37 mpg city/highway/combined, the Maverick Hybrid’s efficiency matches electrified subcompact and compact SUVs. That’s realistic, too. During my week with the truck, I averaged 38 mpg on the first tank. The second fill-up, which included a day trip to Palm Springs, California, checked in at just over 45 mpg, and that included a lot of highway driving. This makes the Maverick Hybrid a legitimate 500-mile truck, adding to its desirability.
Great Road Manners Run in the Family
Since it uses the same underpinnings as the Ford Escape, the Maverick offers a nice blend of comfort and agility. Squeezing it into tight spaces and navigating winding roads is a breeze thanks to the well-tuned suspension. Accurate, communicative steering allows it to drive small, as one expects out of a compact truck. Equally impressive is the ride comfort. Although it’s tuned on the firm side, the Maverick offers good levels of compliance thanks to the suspension doing a great job absorbing all types of road imperfections. Despite the torsion beam in the rear, it doesn’t buck around or get bouncy, adding to its confident demeanor.
Ford’s electrified vehicles have a natural brake pedal feel and it’s no different in the Maverick Hybrid. You can’t tell where the handoffs from regenerative to mechanical braking happen. Additionally, stopping power gets delivered linearly, meaning it won’t suddenly give you a massive amount after you press past the halfway point. There’s also an L mode for additional energy recuperation. Although it slows the truck down a lot, it won’t bring it to a complete stop.
The Best Small and Affordable Vehicle Available
It’s fair to say that the 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid is a home run. The fact that Ford can’t keep up with demand is proof of it. However, there’s more to it than the $21,490 starting price. You also have that fantastic hybrid powertrain, quiet cabin, the practicality of a truck, and a pleasant driving experience. Although it doesn’t have AWD, this little guy provides more than enough capability for the average consumer and doesn’t sacrifice much over your typical compact SUV. This rig is inexpensive motoring done right, checking off all the basics without feeling like an appliance. The Maverick has character in spades and when combined with its inherent goodness, you get a vehicle that’s hard to ignore.
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