2022 Ford Maverick Lariat FWD
Class: Compact Pickup Truck
Miles driven: 273
Fuel used: 6.9 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 39.5 mpg
Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B-|
|Power and Performance||B-|
|Fit and Finish||B-|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide’s impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. “Big” rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, “Tall” rating based on 6’6″-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||191-hp 2.5-liter|
|Engine Type||4-cylinder hybrid|
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 42/33/37 (mpg city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Regular gas
Base price: $25,490 (not including $1495 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Alto Blue Tinted Clear Coat Metallic ($390), all-weather floor liners ($135), power tilt/slide moonroof ($795), Ford Co-Pilot360 ($540), spray-in bedliner ($495)
Price as tested: $29,340
The great: Excellent fuel economy; space-efficient interior; lots of cleverly designed cargo-carrying solutions; very competitive base prices
The good: Clean, no-nonsense styling inside and out; easy maneuverability in tight quarters; nimble handling for a pickup
The not so good: Plasticky interior, even in top-line Lariat trim; firm ride; clever features or not, a 4.5-foot cargo bed can only carry so much
With its all-new Maverick mini-pickup, Ford is running an interesting experiment in price and packaging. Is the opportunity to get a uniquely sized truck that stickers for around what a compact car costs more important to buyers than a cushy interior and robust performance? That’s the essential question for this intriguing new vehicle line.
The 2022-debut Maverick is significantly smaller than other “compact” pickups like the Chevrolet Colorado, Honda Ridgeline, Toyota Tacoma—and Ford Ranger. Indeed, at 199.7 inches long, the Maverick is roughly 10 inches shorter stem to stern than the Ranger and 32 inches shorter than the F-150. Maverick is offered only as a 5-passenger, 4-door crew-cab on a unibody platform with the cab integrated seamlessly with the 4.5-foot-long bed. Two 4-cylinder engines are available, the standard one being a hybrid. Starting prices—with delivery—for the three trim levels range from $21,490 to the $26,985 charged for the top-line front-wheel-drive Lariat that Consumer Guide drove. Plan on a further $3305 if you crave all-wheel drive (available with all trims), which also entails changing to the optional turbocharged gas engine.
The Lariat improves on the mid-pack XLT via Desert Brown seats faced in “ActiveX” leatherette and color-matched highlights on the console, instrument panel, and door handles; leather-wrapped steering wheel; a bigger, brighter 6.5-inch instrument display; dual-zone air conditioning; push-button starting; ambient lighting; remote power-sliding rear window; power 8-way adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar adjustment; 6-way adjustable passenger seat; and a map pocket behind the driver’s seat (to balance the XLT’s passenger-seat pouch). From the outside, the Lariat stands out with 18-inch bright-aluminum wheels, body-colored door/tailgate handles and mirror shells, a bright silver grille bar, and signature LED accent lighting.
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Of course, that’s only part of its equipment complement. Other key items shared with the XL and/or XLT include things like a flip-up rear seat cushion that gives access to floor-level storage bins, cruise control, automatic high-beam LED headlamps, power tailgate lock, power exterior mirrors, and keyless entry. The audio system is a 6-speaker AM/FM with choices displayed on an 8-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone interface and Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices are built in, too. For safer driving there’s precollision assist with automatic emergency braking.
For as well equipped as that may make the Maverick Lariat seem, even then Ford did not go overboard with plush. Aside from the hide-covered steering wheel, the only other soft surfaces are on the door armrests and console-box lid. The dash surface and door panels are unpadded plastic (with admittedly attractive texturing). The power moonroof; Ford Co-Pilot360 cluster of blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping aid; and floor liners on CG’s $29,340 test truck were extra-cost add-ons. Things like Sync3 infotainment, premium 8-speaker audio, satellite radio, adaptive cruise control, heated seats and steering wheel, wireless charging, and remote starting are on the options menu too.
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Forward of the undamped tailgate that can be set at half-closed position to help secure long items sits a cargo bed with the “FLEXBED” system that lets users configure storage and carrying solutions by sliding 2×4 or 2×6 boards into slots stamped into the side of the bed. XLT and Lariat place 10 tie-downs and a right-side storage cubby in the bed. Standard payload capacity is 1500 pounds. The base tow rating is 2000 pounds but a 4K Tow Package for trucks with the gas engine doubles that figure.
The standard 191-horsepower hybrid powerplant—centered on a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine—and continuously variable transmission provide modest acceleration but excellent gas mileage. The EPA rates this combination at 42 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 37 combined. This reviewer’s 123.1-mile test stint with 69 percent city-type driving worked out to 45.6 mpg, abetted by an indicated 63.1 miles of electric operation. From its ratings of 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, we think we’re safe in anticipating that the optional 2.0-liter turbo four (with 8-speed automatic transmission) moves Maverick’s excitement needle.
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CG’s front-drive tester with twist-beam rear suspension rode somewhat firmly and wasn’t up to filtering out that many road bumps. It did, however, handle about as nimbly as lots of small passenger vehicles. Indeed, the overall driving experience didn’t seem much different from that of some compact sedans or crossovers. AWD brings with it an independent, coil-spring rear suspension and can be augmented by an FX4 package that adds off-road-focused suspension tuning, all-terrain tires, and other features.
Interior room is, in some respects, also close to compact-SUV territory. Space isn’t bad up front and rear-seat passengers up to about 6 feet tall should find good—not great—head- and legroom. Note that the hybrid endures the loss of one inch of rear-seat legroom and 0.6 cubic foot of underseat storage capacity. Passengers will probably never find a pickup with a lower step-in height than in the front-drive Maverick. Driver sightlines are generally unencumbered.
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Controls are conveniently placed and easily accessible. Inputting audio presets on the basic system is dead simple, aided by physical volume and tuning knobs. The dual-zone climate system has convenient temperature dials, with clearly marked buttons for other functions. There’s a handy stand-up slot for smartphones in the console, near enough to USB ports for tidy connection. A clever door design makes room for a standing 1-liter bottle by cutting a chunk out of the door grip. The glove box and console cubby are of good size, and twin cup holders are in the console and the pull-down rear-seat armrest.
Compact, 4-cylinder, unit-body pickups with front- or all-wheel-drive are nothing new. Perhaps the Subaru Baja, Volkswagen Rabbit truck, or Dodge Rampage/Plymouth Scamp (Scrampage?) ring a bell. Those short-lived vehicles—experiments of their own—were carved out of passenger cars. Maybe an actual tiny truck will fare better for longer—and answer the interesting question that Ford has posed.
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2022 Ford Maverick Lariat Gallery
Click below for enlarged images
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