Simply put, I'm absolutely in love with the Ford Maverick and it is the first vehicle that has compelled me to put in a pre-order when they open later this week on July 17th. While many guys like big trucks because they ooze masculine power and brute strength, that isn't why I love trucks. My love of trucks is focused more on them being a tool for off-road prowess and exploring un-reachable places rather than the everyday experience of driving one. Regardless, there are times like picking up a grill, doing DIY projects, or going camping where a small utilitarian vehicle would be nice to have.
That's exactly where the Maverick shines over it's brothers - Bronco Sport and Escape that share the same platform. This is the truck for non truck buyers and I'm hooked!
Ford - and indeed the industry at large - misunderstood the market and withheld compact pickups for years. Even today, manufactures like Dodge - now Ram - make their trucks bigger and bigger without backfilling their portfolio with fuel efficient, light duty, easy to drive, sporty vehicles that fit our modern lifestyle.
One could make the argument that there are so many SUVs on the market that anyone who wants something with a bit of space in the back can fill that need with a compact SUV such as the Ford Escape - on which the Maverick is based. It's not the same though.
Right now I drive a 2013 Kia Soul and it can hold a shocking amount of space with the seats folded down but I don't want to throw some bags of mulch, firewood, or even a bag full of dirty stuff from a picnic in the back.
On the other hand, that's exactly what appeals to me about the Ford Maverick.
Let's see how it stacks up against our My Truck Buying Journey criteria that we're looking at for the vehicle we'll be buying later this year or in early 2024!
Surprisingly, this is an area that Heather and I really enjoyed driving the Ford Maverick. While we're bigger people, the layout of the cabin was such that while it's not "spacious" was comfortable even though the entire experience is basic compared to mid-sized trucks and SUVs.
However, it is critically important to evaluate things based on context. While the suspension was good and the seats were fairly comfortable even after an hour or two of driving - is it as smooth and comfortable as a $60,000 F-150? No ...
Realistically, this is a vehicle that is going to get maximum benefit driving around town where we topped out at 40.8 mpg.
Compared to SUVs that we're looking at, this is where the Maverick really shines. While this truck isn't going to win any competitions when it comes to towing and hauling, it is more than sufficient for things like bringing a new grill home from the store or loading up boxes of stuff to donate to Goodwill for instance.
While you can get a trailer hitch, the hybrid can only tow 2,000 pounds while the turbo four-cylinder with tow package can do as much as 4,000. The would allow for towing a small travel trailer such as a Teardrop style or some pop-up campers with the max tow package.
One thing I really did appreciate about the Maverick's bed though was that it was surprisingly well designed - well maybe not surprisingly since this is the baby brother of the F-150, possibly one of the best designed trucks on the market today.
Specifically, I appreciated that there were plenty of tie-down anchors and you can even unhook the wires on the tailgate to allow it to fall flat like a traditional bed - or at an angle - allowing you to load longer pieces of wood and other items that might just need a few extra inches.
If you have a family, an SUV may be the better option but just as my Dad needed a cheap Datsun pickup for weekend projects, driving back and forth to work, and other utilitarian needs - Maverick is unique compared to other options.
While the Maverick will certainly be competent driving in winter, our search for a second vehical is predicated mostly on having something that can work well on snow and ice, conditions that the Soul was never designed for.
Realistically, I think we're going to have a similar level of performance here though possibly better control and stability compared to the Soul so we're not going to take all the points away here.
While the 2.0L EcoBoost engine configuration does offer both AWD standard and Advanced 4WD as an upgrade option, part of what I loved about driving the hybrid was the joy of getting more than 40 mpg around town and 30+ on the interstate. With the petrol engine, those numbers drop significantly.
This one is sort of challenging since there are multiple prices to consider and Ford has already announced that they are not taking any new 2023 orders via their website. Any models on dealer lots are going to see markups. Likewise, we already know that the 2024 will be at least $2-4,000 more expensive than the 2023 model year.
The vehicle we tested - a pretty much fully loaded Lariat came in at about $35,000 and it starts at about $22,000. For 2024 we know that the Hybrid engine is no longer the default and so that likely means we're seeing an increase in the base price and then an increased fee for the hybrid but we'll know that better in a few days when those details are released finally.
Ultimately though, at a price under $40,000 it comes at a price point where I don't need to have "everything I want". For instance, despite having AWD Hybrid on the Escape - it is unlikely that the 2024 Maverick will add that feature.
Likewise, compared to the Canyon Denali in the mid-50's that has everything I want, that is a heck of a lot more money.
This is really a spectacular truck. For hit it out of the ballpark but seemingly didn't quite understand what it had and so it's taken multiple generations to finally ramp up production to the level where it needed to be at launch.
While it is clearly missing some features - like AWD/4WD that I really need to fit my requirements, this is nearly the perfect truck for me and my lifestyle.
I don't need a big truck for work purposes and unlike in San Diego where we have so many great off-road trails, I don't know that the extra cost to get a fancy off-road truck is worth the expense.
However, fuel efficiency, comfort, affordability, and utility are where the Maverick shines. It truly is the truck for guys that aren't really truck guys and so we're looking forward to putting our money where our mouth is and putting in an order later this week!