2022 Ford Maverick XLT cargo test | Truck enough

Pickup trucks are so big today - it's easy to confirm in any parking lot where these trucks strain the edges of a typical parking lot. And "normal" is bigger than it used to be: today, a mid-size Ford Ranger is about the same size as an F-150 a few decades ago. Even the compact 2022 Ford Maverick is bigger than the old-generation Ford Ranger in many ways. Still, it and the Hyundai Santa Cruz are the smallest trucks on the market.
The arrival of a little Maverick for a few days of driving was a chance to answer a big question: Is the Maverick really a truck?
Sure, it has a bunk, so to speak. As a result of a four-door cab, the bed is tiny: a hair over 4.5 feet long and a hair under 4.5 feet wide. When I said the Maverick was bigger than little trucks of yesteryear, that didn't include the bed size. The old Ranger came with 6' and 7' long boxes. I owned a couple of Chevy S10s at the time that had 7.5 foot boxes and could carry a lot of cargo. A memorable load was a brand new, boxed, two-door, two-foot-tall Sub-Zero refrigerator. This snazzy fridge was so big it took four swearing men to maneuver it into the kitchen. But a compact pick-up towed it.
Such a burden would probably be too great for a Maverick. In a way, its four doors make it a car or compact SUV that leaves luggage out in the rain. It's great at transporting people, but does so by sacrificing some of what actually defines a truck.
Of course, Maverick isn't the only one who has an impaired bed size. The smallest bed on an F-150 is only 5.5 feet long. At the very least, Maverick is displacing the Santa Cruz box, which is just a 4-foot box.
With a bowl on top, I used to use a truck bed as... a bed to sleep off the ground on backcountry trips. The only way to do that on a Maverick is to lower the tailgate - assuming it's not a cold night, you're not in bear country and you're under 6ft tall so your feet don't dangle.
But Ford has a tape measure. Its engineers know the bed is too short and they've done a lot to mitigate this with their Flexbed system (explained in the video at the end of this post). For example, you can transport lumber using the many tie-down straps and cleats, and the tailgate can be partially opened to carry flat sheets of plywood. The bed is short but clever.
So the usage test for this particular Maverick would focus on volume. Also, I needed a lot of garden compost, so that's it. Cargo capacity is 33.3 cubic feet. A cubic yard of material measures 27 cubic feet, so the math should say it should fit — and even flush with the top of the box. So we drove to the material yard to test it. Also, it would be interesting to see how a front loader would drop the compost into such a small target. Would they perhaps even refuse to try?
@autoblog How much can the 2022 Ford Maverick XLT carry? We're uploading it to find out #ford #fordmaverick #carsoftiktok #truck ♬ O-Ton - Autoblog
As I stood in line and watched the loader fill larger trucks, I pinched my teeth and only paid for half a meter of material. What they called a courtyard looked like way too much. The loader driver solved the size problem by positioning the bucket at a corner-to-corner angle over the truck bed, allowing just a bit of spilling from the tailgate. The apparent two-foot load was stacked higher than the side rails, in a sloping ridge. Perhaps the loader driver was being generous, but the truck was pretty full. We crouched and drove off.
The story goes on

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