2022 Ford Maverick Lariat Hybrid new car reviews

Photography by Tom Suddard

The return of the compact, unibody pickup? Ford’s entry into that scene is the Maverick. We sampled a hybrid Lariat model over the course of a 1000-mile road trip. Is this the glorious return of the minitruck, or just another reason to buy an F-150?

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Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard
Director of Marketing & Digital Assets

Automotive journalism is a weird profession. We’re asked to render verdicts on every new car, even though most of us are the sort of weird car dorks that would never ever buy most of the vehicles we drive.

I’ve written diss tracks about how six-figure cars could be better, then proudly closed the laptop and turned the key of my paid-off beater to go for a drive without a hint of contradiction. It’s pretty rare for one of us to actually put their money where their mouths are and buy one of the cars they review.

So I’ll start my review of the Ford Maverick this way: I bought one. Or, well, I’m trying to. These little trucks are so popular that buying one today means paying $10,000 over MSRP (no) or waiting a year for Ford to build one you’ve ordered (yes, please). My local Ford dealer has my name on their list, so in theory Ford is going to build me a Maverick someday.

[Buying and Living With a Hybrid Ford Maverick]

Why so popular? Simple: There’s a lot to like here. And the first thing I noticed was that sure, this is a cheap car. But it seems to be built in a way that recognizes, embraces and exploits that constraint rather than be defeated by it.

It’s the difference between an interior that’s full of hard plastic but feels fun, interesting and useful, and the inside of a C5 Corvette. The Maverick exemplifies clever engineering, and that’s why I loved my time with it.

Let’s start with the exterior: It’s actually compact, meaning the Maverick drives around a city like a sedan instead of a giant truck. The best part, though, is the bed. It’s not huge at 4.5 feet long, but it’s way lower than a real truck and easy to reach into. If I had to carry a fridge home in this or my F-250, I’d pick a Maverick any day of the week.

Bonus points to Ford for including storage cubbies, tie-down hooks, and some clever tailgate tricks to make carrying 4x8 sheets easy despite a width of only 42.5 inches between the wheel wells. I loved seeing two 12v circuits chilling in the bed, too, with matching pigtails in the glovebox.

What are these for? They’re for whatever you want, and I’ll be using them to install an air compressor and a 120v outlet whenever Ford gets around to sending me my truck.

The outside may be small, but the interior is plenty big enough—we fit four full-sized adults in the Maverick without issue, and even on the highway it’s a comfortable, pleasant place to be.

Every Maverick comes with a decent stereo and Apple CarPlay, which means Ford must have asked somebody in my demographic what our deal-breakers would be, even on a truck that stickers at $20k. (See also: Why I would never buy a Tesla. Sorry, but I love me some CarPlay.)

Let’s talk about the drivetrain. Every Maverick trim comes with a 2.5-liter hybrid drivetrain by default, though you can upgrade to a 2.0 liter EcoBoost for a slight upcharge. Our test truck was a hybrid, and handily delivered on the Maverick’s core promise: Fuel economy.

Driven like a normal car, I averaged 40 mpg across 1000 miles of driving. On stretches where I tried hypermiling, I was able to average nearly 50 mpg. So, uh, wow. I’d be amazed if Ford sold a $20k car with four seats that got this mileage, but it’s incredible that it happens to be truck-shaped, too.

The drivetrain wasn’t completely soul-sucking, either: It had adequate power, decent response, and overall drove like a treat. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but–I’m skipping the turbo and ordering a hybrid.

How’s it handle? Like a car–meaning pretty darn good. I actually enjoyed carving twisty mountain roads, something I wouldn’t say in an F-150 or even a Honda Ridgeline.

So can the Maverick actually do truck stuff? To test, I loaded up the truck with 1500 pounds of gravel in the bed and two adults in the front, technically overloading it. And, well, it drove like a truck. So yes, this little thing can actually do truck stuff. The only downside of this ability is a fairly stiff ride when empty, but better aftermarket shocks should help.

Overall, the Maverick is a little car that gets amazing mileage, has a bed to carry my engines and mountain bikes around, handles well, and stickers at a shockingly low price point. What’s not to like?

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Comments
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Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
9/12/22 12:04 p.m.

Looks like the only negative thing to be said of the Maverick is availability–which seems like a not-too-terrible problem to have as a car maker.

sir_mike
sir_mike Reader
9/12/22 1:00 p.m.

OK why name it after a car you once marketed??

singleslammer
singleslammer GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/12/22 1:07 p.m.

So Tom, which trim level are you after? 

Toyman!
Toyman! MegaDork
9/12/22 1:54 p.m.

In reply to sir_mike :

So they don't have to spend millions to research, trademark, and defend a new name. They already own Maverick so they can do what they want at no cost to them. 

 

MarveH
MarveH
9/12/22 2:15 p.m.

My wife and I will be ordering a Maverick as soon as the orders reopen. We are replacing our last 50MPG Ford, our 2016 3 cylinder Ecoboost Fiesta that was taken out by 2 suicidal deer. The huge downside is the Fiesta had a manual and in the Maverick we have to down grade to an auto box.

We, however, are ordering the base model with zero options except a trailer hitch. I never saw the point in making a cheap car expensive and if I have air conditioning that's all the luxury I'll ever need. Every review I see of the Maverick they compare it to a truck but I think many people will cross shop it with a Golf, Elantra, or Sentra. This is the truck for people who might have never considered owning a truck.

John Prieve
John Prieve New Reader
9/12/22 3:04 p.m.

Too bad the hybrid has a CVT and can only tow 2000 lbs.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/13/22 12:41 p.m.

In reply to MarveH :

That's a good point. Is the (new) Maverick an Elantra or whatever with a really big trunk? 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/14/22 2:00 p.m.

Also, very eager to drive one. 

The Ford booth at the Tampa Auto Show had a white XL AWD Ecoboost on display. This was the first Maverick that I was able to crawl all over. I really liked the size. Its not a very tall vehicle but had plenty of headroom for my chunky 5'10" frame. I'm also very interested to see how they drive, especially the hybrid.

Kendall Frederick
Kendall Frederick GRM+ Memberand New Reader
9/14/22 3:10 p.m.

I went to the Ford dealer today and got in line to order one (2023 orders aren't open yet, supposed to be next week or so..).  We're getting a basic hybrid with the only options a receiver hitch, a sliding rear window, and the power inverter.  I'm going to replace a Prius and my old 1980 C10 truck with this; I have basically been using my Priuses (Prii?) for trucks and towing a trailer for years, this is the natural next step.

malibuguy
malibuguy GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/14/22 4:52 p.m.

I almost bit the bullet...but I just cannot bring myself to buy a modern domestic, especially a Ford.

I love it, I love the execution of it.  It would suit my truck needs well which is 98% programmed and based around my dads Elco, that I use to haul motors and E36 M3 around.  I have an 88 2wd Toyota that whenever I get around to removing the junk 22R, will kind of take place of the Elco, but it has to have similar flavor.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
9/14/22 5:09 p.m.

Idk, does brand really mean anything anymore? Mavericks are built in Mexico, Honda Pilots are built in Alabama, and both are sold and serviced by horrible franchises that are designed to take advantage of you every step of the way. I figure if I'm going to have a miserable experience no matter what buying a new car, the badge on the front doesn't mean much. 

singleslammer
singleslammer GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
9/14/22 8:21 p.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

I feel this in my soul.
Every manufacturer has its ups and downs. Some more than others but yeah none are perfect. 

mechanicalmeanderings
mechanicalmeanderings New Reader
9/14/22 8:55 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

In reply to MarveH :

That's a good point. Is the (new) Maverick an Elantra or whatever with a really big trunk? 

I often refer to my F250 as an 8500 pound sports car with a large trunk!

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
9/14/22 9:17 p.m.
mechanicalmeanderings said:
David S. Wallens said:

In reply to MarveH :

That's a good point. Is the (new) Maverick an Elantra or whatever with a really big trunk? 

I often refer to my F250 as an 8500 pound sports car with a large trunk!

I refer to my 75 Stingray as the best looking Chevy truck ever built!

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