Ford’s Newest Maverick Pickup is Plenty Capable and Versatile
Image Credit: Courtesy: Ford
On Tuesday, Ford unveiled its new Maverick pickup, a truck that the company calls the smallest and most fuel efficient yet. With the hybrid powertrain comes a compact bed that is "hackable" and a two-row cabin, resulting in a vehicle that appears to be very powerful and versatile, starting under $ 20,000.
Standard hybrid can withstand 40 mpg city (37 combined) to make the Maverick the most fuel efficient pickup on the market
Also available with a 2.0 liter EcoBoost engine that increases horsepower and torque to 250 hp and 277 lb-ft respectively (from the standard 191 and 155)
1,500 pound towing capacity, 2,000 pound towing capacity
Starting at MSRP: $ 19,995
I recently spoke to my dad and he mentioned how much he wanted the new Ford F-150 Lightning. I don't blame him. I'd love to trade my battered, early Silverado for an all-electric pickup of this size and capability. But the thing is, he and my mom are city dwellers who have to cram their Mustang, Prius, and motorcycle so tightly into a parking garage that sometimes I'm afraid I might hit my head against the ceiling just walking through. And as far as I know, the heaviest transport they perform involves loading bicycles on a luggage rack for trips to the trailhead or in the hinterland.
So good time, then, that Ford this week announced its Maverick pickup, a device intended for people with many of the same needs that prioritize fuel efficiency, flexibility, practicality, and (some) transportation capability. The truck is the cheapest and most economical for its class on the market.
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The Maverick will get up to 40 mpg and 500 miles of range on a single tank in its standard hybrid configuration - twice what the more expensive Lightning is expected to get. This front-wheel drive comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is mated to a 95-kilowatt electric motor that can pull 2,000 pounds. If you want all-wheel drive and double the tractive power, you can opt for higher equipment with a 2-liter EcoBoost engine, but that means foregoing the advantages of the hybrid drive train. Ride modes include Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery and Tow / Haul, with Mud / Ruts and Sand modes replacing Eco and Sport in the available FX4 off-road package.
When I spoke to Jim Baumbick, director of product development at Ford earlier this week, he mentioned how he and the team behind the Maverick took inspiration from the DIY community and watched people hack their vehicles. So they designed the truck's 4.5 foot long bed, called the Flexbed, to make this type of tinkering and customization easier.
Ford built slots in the side of the bed and you can easily put in 2x4 or 2x6 to create raised platforms or separate sections for storage. The company will also sell a screw-on cargo system, but QR codes on the Ford website have a handy list of materials you can buy at a hardware store and plan to build your desired hack, like a bike rack that is suitable for the dimensions of the bed. That'll likely end up being cheaper than the $ 200 pre-built system. Two lashing straps, four D-rings and threaded holes increase the adaptability.
Image Credit: Courtesy: Ford
But the Maverick isn't just a game; It also has some features to cater to the lighter needs of craftsmen. Two 12 volt outlets (which can power a lighting kit that you can buy or use as the base for something you build yourself) and two available 110 volt outlets (one in the bed and the other in the cubicle) feed things like tools and electronics.
In addition, the tailgate can remain half-open, aided by its cables and a set of locking pins. Ford says this is good for lugging things like 4 x 8 foot sheets of plywood that is supported completely horizontally on the gate and wheel arches rather than having to close the gate and angled the wood over it. And should you decide to drink at your destination, there are built-in bottle openers.
Baumbick also described the Maverick as a mashup of the Flexbed with the interior of Ford's Fusion. And the inside of the truck looks comfortable in a limousine. There is an 8-inch touchscreen with air conditioning divided into physical buttons on the center console (always a plus in my book). Storage compartments on the doors provide room for a laptop, while you can pay more for the ability to fold up the back row of seats to reveal a container for stowing larger items. Ford also offers a retention system that allows you to attach things like cup holders and hooks to the shelf under the seat or to the back of the center console.
Safety functions such as adaptive cruise control, collision warning, reversing camera and a range of available steering aids round off the helpful technology.
In short, if the Maverick lives up to its potential, it will be the Ford truck I would recommend to my dad if he buys one. It packs a nice balance of adventure and homeowner-focused skills in a package that makes it easier for you to park in parallel on the street or slide into a tight garage. This suitability for everyday use, combined with weekend demands, makes it an appealing and accessible option.
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