The Ford Maverick’s Base Model Is a Hybrid—and Cheaper than a Prius

·6 min read
Photo credit: Ford
Photo credit: Ford
  • After a few weeks of teasers, Ford released its latest pickup, the new Maverick. The throwback-named truck is a new entry-level model, slotting in the lineup just below the Ranger.

  • Ford said a hybrid powertrain will be standard equipment and that the truck will start at less than $20 grand. The price makes the Maverick the least-expensive hybrid available, regardless of body style.

  • To keep costs down and achieve the sub-$20K starting price, you cannot get the hybrid with all-wheel drive, but Ford said there is nothing technological on the platform or powertrain preventing it from being added later if there is enough demand.

With Ford’s F-150 and Chevrolet’s Silverado sitting atop the sales charts for decades, it’s clear U.S. customers still love their pickup trucks. In fact, according to Ford, passenger-car market share has dropped 56 percent since 2009 while trucks and SUV market share has increased 73 percent (no wonder Ford stopped building sedans for the U.S. market three years ago). So why not come up with as many pickup truck variants as possible? Indeed, after a week or so of teasers Ford released its latest pickup, the Maverick.

Ford calls the 2022 model year Maverick the truck for people who didn’t know they needed a truck. The Maverick is a compact pickup, measuring 199.7 inches long and 68.7 inches high. It slots into the Ford truck lineup below the Ranger, which is 11.1 inches longer. The five-passenger, four-door Maverick shares a platform with the Bronco Sport, and there will be a hybrid version from the start. In fact, the hybrid is standard—an industry first, Ford says. The curious thing is you will not be able to get the hybrid system with all-wheel drive.

Why not? Because, Ford told us, it wanted the truck to start at less than $20,000. That makes the Maverick the least-expensive hybrid you can get regardless of body style.

“The Maverick product proposition is like nothing else out there,” said Ford truck marketing manager Todd Eckert. “It’s a great-looking truck featuring four doors with room for five adults, a standard full-hybrid engine with city fuel economy that beats a Honda Civic, plenty of towing and hauling for weekend trips or do-it-yourself projects, and it starts under $20,000. We believe it will be compelling to a lot of people who never before considered a truck.”

Photo credit: Ford
Photo credit: Ford

Ford’s hybrid powertrain supervisor Manny Barberena said the 2.5-liter Atkinson-based hybrid powertrain for the first time uses an electric motor designed, developed, and built in house. The hybrid system produces 191 hp and 155 lb-ft. It uses a CVT, has regenerative braking, and has a 40 mpg EPA estimated rating in the city. The front-drive hybrid can tow 2000 pounds, Barberena said. Though all-wheel drive is not available on the hybrid, the company said if demand is there, nothing on the truck prevents Ford from adding such a combo to the lineup.

Barberena said a 2.0-liter, 250 hp (277 lb-ft) EcoBoost four is optional, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The EcoBoost is available with front- or all-wheel drive, and it can tow 4000 pounds. Max payload is 1500 pounds. The drivetrain/platform has five modes: normal, tow, slippery, eco, and sport.

Abdul Hajiabdi, eDrive system and applications supervisor said this is not the last time Ford will use electric motors designed and built in house. “This motor is paving the way for all applicable platforms going forward,” he said.

One of the Maverick’s features is the Flexbed, measuring 4.5-feet long and a bit more than 4 feet wide. Jay Kistler, Maverick’s vehicle engineering specialist, said Flexbed is easy to accessorize, making it perfect for the DIYer. “We started out making a Maverick bed out of posterboard,” Kistler said, “and through a series of workshops with our engineers and prospective customers we worked with that prototype, positioning things where they’d want them, until we had a comprehensive design direction.”

Photo credit: Ford
Photo credit: Ford

Kistler said the benefits are organization and storage solutions, the many accessories that Ford designed the bed to accommodate, and enabling DIY. There are 10 available tie downs and 8-inch by 8-inch cubby holes on both sides of the bed for storage (the rear seat lifts as well and has storage underneath). An extruded aluminum rail with adjustable cleats is optional, as is a 110-volt outlet and bed lighting. Ford said it will be posting online DIY instructions down the road.

Ford said customers can create “segmented storage, elevated floors, bike and kayak racks, and more by sliding 2x4s or 2x6s into slots stamped into the side of the bed.”

Additionally, the bed’s tailgate can open flat or be adjusted to an intermediate position. “That gives you bed-extender flexibility,” Kistler said, “without having to buy a bed extender.”

Ford said the interior offers options for both “built-in and brought-in technology.

“Its standard 8-inch center touch screen features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility so customers can have the experience they’re used to with their phones,” the automaker said. “Maverick has standard FordPass Connect with embedded modem and WiFi for up to 10 devices, while standard FordPass makes it easy to find the truck, check fuel level, lock and unlock the doors, and start or turn off the vehicle—all from your phone.”

Ford also calls the interior “simple, but not basic.”

What’s that mean?

“We want this to have a straightforward, durable, honest, well-built feel,” said Barb Whalen, who led the team in choosing materials and colors. “The interior was designed with function, purpose, and ease of cleaning in mind to help make our customers’ lives better. We’re using unique textures and materials like reground carbon fiber for strength and visual interest. The dash panel has a stonelike finish, like a super-durable synthetic countertop. We strategically placed pops of color for functionality—creating an energetic space you want to be in.”

Photo credit: Ford
Photo credit: Ford

Maverick marketing manager Trevor Scott assured us that Maverick is built Ford tough, as the saying goes.

“Maverick was put through 19 million miles of testing in both real world and simulated testing.” Scott said.

He said engineers took it off road, bashed it through snow and sand, ran it through the salt water bath…you get the idea.

Jim Baumbick, Ford’s global product planning VP, said the development team started with a three word mantra: “How might we.”

He said that rather than run around all over the Ford campus to get people engaged in the program, everyone involved was brought into a single space. “It knocked almost two years off the product development cycle,” he said, “allowing us to bring a product to market faster than we ever had. We’re actively trying to replicate this environment in all of our future product programs.”

Ford is offering a First Edition package for the first model year only. It is built off the Lariat trim level and the company said it includes unique hood and door graphics, a high-gloss black roof, soft tonneau cover, body-color door handles, high-gloss black skull caps, and gloss black-painted and machined 18-inch wheels for the hybrid or 17-inch aluminum wheels for the gas model. It comes in Carbonized Gray, Area 51, and Rapid Red, unique to First Edition.

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