Fuel Economy King in a Not-So-Small Pickup
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The enjoyment of driving the all-new 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid began with getting 45.4 mpg on combined highway and in-town driving through Southern California. This compact pickup is smaller than the mid- and full-size trucks roaming our streets, but size alone doesn’t explain how it sips fuel.
Do soaring gas prices and remembering to get oil changes have you considering an electric vehicle (EV)? There are plenty of choices when it comes to EVs, but it helps to know the three main types before choosing one.”
Clean Fleet Report spent a week in the 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid XL, powered by a 2.5-Liter gasoline engine and a 94kW electric motor. The total system 191 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque drives the front wheels through an electronic continuously variable transmission (eCVT). An eCVT is not like a traditional CVT as it has no pulleys or belts. Instead, it has a simple planetary gear set and two electric motors. One is for driving power, while the other is to start the engine, charge the battery and provides the regenerative braking that converts kinetic energy into electric energy and stores it in the battery when applying the brakes or coasting.
There are driver selectable drive modes of Eco, Normal, Sport, Tow/Haul and Slippery. We didn’t need the latter as things are pretty dry in SoCal these days, but the first three can be used strategically for efficiency and performance.
The EPA has rated the Maverick Hybrid’s fuel economy at 42 mpg city/33 highway and 37 combined. In 225 miles driving through Southern California we averaged 45.4 mpg with the best fuel economy on an all-city 45-mile run where the average was a stellar 46.7 mpg. This was achieved by the computer seamlessly switching between all-electric and hybrid operation in response to drive demands and conditions, which usually meant electric for in-town or in stop-and-go traffic and hybrid on the highway. Fuel economy numbers reported by Clean Fleet Report are non-scientific and represent the reviewer’s driving experience using the dash gauge computer. Your numbers may differ.
Hitting the Road
This may sound a bit odd, but you don’t start the Maverick Hybrid as much as power it up. Our XL trim level had an old-school key, while the higher trim level Maverick Lariat has a button. Turning the key does not turn on the engine, unless you are in extremely hot or cold weather and have the heater or A/C on. What you hear is nothing at all, requiring looking at the dash cluster gauge to know it is time to shift into a gear and take off.
The Maverick Hybrid does not offer all-wheel drive, unlike is its stablemate, the Maverick with the EcoBoost gasoline engine. The cargo payload of 1,500 pounds is the same on all Mavericks, regardless of the engine, but the tow rating for the EcoBoost engine goes up to 4,000 pounds, while the Hybrid maxes out at 2,000 pounds.
The several sheets of plywood we loaded into the bed, weighing-in at 500 pounds, were easy to haul around. We tested the Tow/Haul drive mode, but at this weight didn’t notice much difference from driving in the Normal mode. The added weight did not have a negative effect on cornering and stopping, nor the acceleration of the peppy hybrid engine. The Maverick Hybrid or EcoBoost were not designed to be a heavy-duty work trucks, but more for the weekend warrior doing DYI projects or used for active lifestyles activities such as biking and kayaking. For these purposes it is a viable option to a larger truck or a compact crossover.
The Maverick hybrid, at 3,674 pounds, felt solid and stable on the highway, and handled well under moderate cornering that produced little body lean. No need to push things by asking the Maverick to do something it was not designed to do, but the 17-inch Continental Pro Contact tires performed well for their size, and handled stops confidently with the 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS. The electric-power steering was properly tuned to feel connected to the road, making for a fun drive that is more similar to a crossover than a truck. All of this resulted in minimal cabin noise.
Interior: Basic and a Bit Retro
The 2022 Maverick Hybrid comes in three trim levels of XL, XLT and Lariat. Clean Fleet Report drove the Maverick XLT that came with power windows and door locks, floor liners, single zone manual climate control with a particulate air filter, two 12V and two USB ports with one each of Type A and C. The 8-inch touchscreen housed the Bluetooth, Apple Car Play, Android Auto and the AM/FM stereo with six speakers. FordPass Connect offers convenience features such as remote door lock and unlock, remote keyless entry and engine start. The 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot can accommodate multiple devices, as far as 50-feet away.
The seats in the Maverick XLT are covered in a durable and comfortable cloth, with the fronts manually adjustable. Our Maverick came with the optional XLT Luxury Package ($2,345) giving us heated front seats and 8-way power adjustments for the driver. The front cabin headroom can easily accommodate those over six feet tall. The center armrest has a soft vinyl surface and opens for storage, and there are storage nooks through the cabin, including on the dash next to the touchscreen, and in the center console tray and door pockets.
The rear is bit cozier, but the bench seat is perfectly fine for three adults on short in-town trips, or attaching two child seats and making the Maverick an everyday haul-around-the-kids-and-run-errands driver. There is rear under-seat storage, and a clever design on the front doors to accommodate a large drink bottle or cup.
Exterior: All Truck
Size-wise, the Maverick really isn’t all that small. It is about 11 inches shorter than the midsize Ford Ranger but one inch longer than the Ford Explorer. Once upon a time there was the Ford Courier (1972-2007) that was a true compact pickup. Don’t confuse or equate the all-new Maverick with that diminutive truck, as they have nothing in common except for the blue oval on the front grille.
The Maverick design is all Ford truck, without being menacing. The XL has smooth body side panels sans chrome with the black grille, bumpers and trim on the crew cab that all look great against the very cool retro steel wheels. The above-mentioned XLT Luxury Package includes 17-inch alloy wheels, a gray bar on the grille, full-size spare, heated exterior power mirrors, LED box lighting, trailer hitch with a 4-pin connector, bed tie-down locking rails, spray-in bedliner, manual rear sliding window, heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a 400W inverter.
Ford says the Maverick is “Built Ford Tough”; after pulling a trailer and hauling a bed full of lumber, the Maverick XLT Hybrid earned its tough stripes. The Flexbed has been designed for multi-purpose use, and may be one of the reasons you consider buying a Maverick.
The Maverick is its 68.7-inches tall (just over five-foot, seven inches), so at five-foot, nine inches I was able to look over the cab. This lack of bigness is what will make the Maverick so appealing, as it will fit in a garage, six footers can easily sit in the front seats, and a big plus is being able to reach over the cargo box sides and touch the bed floor. If you have ever needed to off-load or tie-down anything on a midsize or full-size pickup, you will appreciate the approximate 50-inch box height.
The box itself has some handy features, such as being able to position the tailgate flat or at an angle, 10 tie-downs, four D-link bed connectors, slots to drop-in a 2×4 to raise the floor above the wheel wells, an in-box storage compartment and LED lighting. On the base XL there is no power in the bed, but stepping-up to the XLT and Lariat means there will be the opportunity to power generators, lights and other equipment. There are built-in threaded holes to create your own cargo hauling system, or order any of Ford’s 45 cargo attachments that should cover all needs.
The Maverick has exterior color options of Alto Blue Metallic, Iconic Silver Metallic, Carbonized Grey Metallic, Shadow Black, Hot Pepper Red Metallic, Cyber Orange Tri-coat Metallic, Oxford White, Cactus Grey, Velocity Blue Metallic and Area 51, which was the color on our test vehicle.
Convenience and Safety
The 2022 Ford Maverick Clean Fleet Report tested had standard or optional convenience features of a tilt and telescoping steering column, electric parking brake, remote keyless entry and start, security keypad on the driver-side door, a tire pressure monitoring system, a theft deterrent system and a power locking tailgate.
Safety systems include wiper-activated LED headlamps, rear view camera, seven airbags (front, side, driver knee, and overhead) and Ford Co-Pilot360. This advanced driver assist system (ADAS) includes the pre-collision assist with emergency braking.
Pricing and Warranties
The 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid comes in these models. Prices include the mandatory $1,495 destination and delivery fee.
- XL $21,490
- XLT $23,955
- Lariat $27,355
The 2022 Maverick comes with these warranties:
- Hybrid Components – Eight years/100,000 miles
- Bumper-to-Bumper – Three years/36,000 miles
- Powertrain – Five years/60,000 miles
- Roadside Assistance – Five years/60,000 miles
- Corrosion – Five years/Unlimited miles
Observations: 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid
The XL is a bargain proposition starting at $19,995, but even after adding the mandatory delivery fee of $1,495, the 2022 Maverick is still the most affordable and practical pickup on the market. If you need more power, all-wheel drive and additional towing capability, checkout the the Maverick EcoBoost.
Since this is the first truck many people buy, they will not be disappointed with what Ford has delivered. If more conveniences and a bit fancier truck is your style, then take a look at the XLT and Lariat models. The Maverick handles smooth and has ample acceleration with either engine option. The entry level Maverick XL comes standard with a high efficiency hybrid engine, but if you want more towing power and all-wheel drive, then opting for the gasoline EcoBoost engine should handle your on and off-road needs.
The 2022 Ford Maverick can easily slot into the role currently held by a crossover or SUV. It can be a light-duty delivery vehicle, used by ranchers or farmers needing an inexpensive runabout, outdoor enthusiasts and households wanting a versatile DIY project vehicle. Do you have a teen headed off to college? Consider handing them the keys to a Maverick XL.
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Story by John Faulkner. Photos by John Faulkner and Ford.
Other “not small” trucks we’ve tested
Road Test: 2019 Ford Ranger
Road Test: 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz
Road Test: 2020 Toyota Tacoma
Road Test: 2018 Chevrolet Colorado
First Drive: GMC Canyon
Road Test: 2021 Jeep Gladiator
Road Test: 2017 Honda Ridgeline
Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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