2022 Ford Maverick buzzes the hybrid truck tower

The 2022 Ford Maverick touches down as a small pickup truck powered by a standard hybrid engine with an estimated 40 mpg around town, Ford announced Wednesday. 

Just like “Top Gun: Maverick” returns to the big screen later this year, the 2022 Ford Maverick dusts off its forgettable past as a compact coupe from the ’70s and reinvents itself as the latest, slickest, trendiest vehicle not starring Tom Cruise. 

Built on underpinnings shared with the Ford Escape and new Ford Bronco Sport, the 2022 Ford Maverick puts utility on an even par with efficiency. The unibody pickup comes standard with a 2.5-liter inline-4 and electric motor powered by a small 94-kw battery pack, as part of Ford’s planetary hybrid system powering the front wheels. The system’s output of 191 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque should get an EPA-estimated 40 mpg city, 37 mpg combined. Ford claims it’s potent enough to carry a payload of 1,500 pounds and tow up to 2,000 pounds.

2022 Ford Maverick

Compared to the 23 mpg combined in the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz—the only true competitor in the small unibody pickup segment—the Maverick excels in efficiency but can’t quite match the output of the Santa Cruz. An available 250-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 making 277 lb-ft trails the 275-hp turbo-4 in the Santa Cruz, and the optional tow package that enables it to tow up to 4,000 pounds trails the max towing capacity of the Santa Cruz by 1,000 pounds. Ford’s 2.0-liter turbo-4 pairs to an 8-speed automatic with standard front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. Fuel economy estimates were not released yet for the uprated engine.  

Five different drive modes promise some variation in the drivetrains’ responses in Normal, Eco, Slippery, Sport, and Tow/Haul modes. The Maverick weighs between about 3,500 and 3,700 pounds, which is the same as the smaller Bronco Sport. Front struts and a rear torsion beam axle handle the weight in front-drive Mavericks, while AWD versions get a multi-link rear suspension. 

The Maverick wears a bar across its grille that make the standard LED headlights resemble a barbell, and that bar is mirrored on the tailgate with a big “Maverick” stamp. Overall the small truck has the squared-jaw look of Tom Cruise. or the larger trucks in Ford’s stable, with its flat sides and front fender inserts calling out the trim.

2022 Ford Maverick

The 121.1-inch wheelbase spanning standard 17-inch steel wheels is 16 inches longer than the Bronco Sport and the truck itself is more than two feet longer at 199.7 inches. The extra length isn’t solely due to the 4.5-foot-long bed; the Maverick’s cab is larger than either of Ford’s compact crossovers, and the 36.9 inches of rear leg room on the turbo-4 model is 2.4 inches more than the Ford Ranger with a crew cab. The standard hybrid model loses 1.0 inch of leg room due to the battery pack’s placement behind the rear passenger area. 

The four-door truck seats five but four adults would be more comfortable. Ample compartments inside range from rear storage below the flip-up rear seats to a second smartphone bin on the console and door pocket cupholders that accommodate 1.0-liter water bottles. An available tether system allows for even more cupholders and compartmentalization for rear passengers. 

The bed extends the flexible nature of the Maverick with a tailgate that can be lowered to various angles for use as a backstop to haul longer items, such as 4×8 sheets of plywood above the wheel wells without needing a bed extender, according to Ford. Dual covered bins and up to 10 tie-downs also help, as does an in-bed bottle opener, available bed lighting, and a 110-volt AC outlet. Another outlet is available in the cabin.

2022 Ford Maverick

Offered in XL, XLT, and Lariat trims, with an FX4 package sold on the latter two trims with all-wheel drive, the 2022 Ford Maverick comes standard with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The base model costs $21,490, including the $1,495 destination charge. The FX4 package adds all-terrain tires, more underbody protection, 17-inch alloy wheels, two additional drive modes in Mud/Rut and Sand, and it comes with hill descent control. 

Features specific to each trim will be announced closer to the Maverick’s sale date in late 2021.

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