Maverick Breaks from Pickup-Truck Mold

Unconventional characterizes a maverick, thus making this the perfect name for Ford’s unique, small pickup truck based on a compact sport-utility (SUV) platform.

The Ford Motor Company started with the versatile Ford Escape SUV which also provides the basis for the Lincoln Corsair, in developing something different. In 2021, the company engineered two new vehicles from this platform: the off-road-centric Ford Bronco Sport compact SUV and the Maverick small pickup.

The versatile platform underpinning these four vehicles helps provide the Maverick with some un-pickup characteristics:

  1. Least-expensive hybrid-electric powertrain on the American market
  2. Front-wheel (not rear-wheel) drive is standard
  3. A four-wheel independent suspension system (no solid axle rear setup common in most pickups)
  4. It gets 28 miles per gallon with its internal-combustion-engine powertrain
  5. And, thanks to its sub-200-inch length, drives like a small SUV, not a pickup

During my week in the 2024 Ford Maverick XLT FX4 off roader, my primary impression was one of driving a mid-size SUV. I knew it was a pickup when I picked up a tall, wide outdoor climbing toy for my grandchildren (photo below), but during all other trips, I never had to think twice about compensating for the bulk of a mid-size or full-size pickup.

The Maverick was easy to parallel park on a busy street in downtown New Haven, Connecticut and I maneuvered around and through the tight towns and villages of Cape Cod without any drama, not always the case with other pickups.

EcoBoost® powertrain gets the job done

Ford switched the base powertrain for the Maverick from the 2.5-liter hybrid combination to the EcoBoost 2.0-liter four-cylinder internal-combustion engine (ICE) in (standard) front-wheel-drive (FWD) or (optional) all-wheel-drive (AWD) configuration.

The 16-valve, double-overhead camshaft (DOHC) motor pumps 250 horsepower and 277 foot-pounds of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission. In the FX4 off-road version I sampled, the other primary powertrain component is the AWD system with its five Drive Modes (normal, mud/rut, slippery, sand and tow/haul).

The sum of these parts is a very responsive, capable machine, quicker than expected and more than adequate for everyday activities. Car and Driver confirmed the truck’s acceleration capabilities, recording a 0-to-60 miles-per-hour time of 5.9 seconds.

This performance comes with outstanding pickup efficiency. I saw 28.3 miles per gallon during my week with the truck, better than the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s overall rating of 25 (22 urban, 29 highway).

And the 2.0-liter powertrain can handle trailers up to 2,000 pounds. The FX4 package adds trailering aids like a trailer hitch receiver with four-pin connector, upgraded engine cooling fan and higher-capacity radiator.

Platform for tackling more than pavement

Up front, the design features an independent MacPherson-type struts with coil springs setup, twin-tube hydraulic gas-pressurized shocks, stabilizer bars, aluminum lower control arm, steel sub-frame and cast knuckle.

The suspension system of the Maverick XLT FX4 is engineered for off roading but not in the extreme. Pavement travel is well controlled and compliant – not stiff or rough riding.

Underneath the pickup bed, the rear configuration includes an independent multi-link trailing arm suspension with mono-tube hydraulic gas-pressurized dampers with hydraulic rebound stop, coil springs, stabilizer bar, steel sub-frame and cast knuckle.

The power-assisted, anti-lock– (ABS) equipped brake system features four-wheel discs which are 12.8 inches up front and 11.9 in the rear.

The FX4 package brings unique 17-inch aluminum wheels wearing 235/65R17 A/T (all terrain) tires, as well as skid plates to protect the underside of the truck.

Ford 360 covers advanced driver assistance

The review Maverick came with both the standard Ford Co-Pilot 360™ system and the optional ($650) additional one. The standard set features auto high beams, Autolamp, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking (includes pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, dynamic brake support) and rear-view camera.

The second Co-Pilot 360 package includes adaptive cruise control with stop & go, evasive steering assist, lane centering, reverse sensing system, BLIS® with cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane-keeping aid and hill-descent control.

These advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are a major contributing factor, along with vehicle size and overall performance, in producing a pickup truck which is as easy, comfortable and reassuring to drive as a mid-size SUV.

Inside tech and amenities ease the ride

The Maverick is a pickup truck and even in mid-range XLT trim with the optional ($2,275 XLT luxury package), its interior is without soft, excessive frills.

The basic XLT means an infotainment system with eight-inch color LCD touchscreen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and six-speaker sound system. Other features include USB-A and USB-C outlets, power windows and locks; second-row under-seat storage and a 12-Volt power point.

The optional XLT luxury package adds eight-way power-adjustable driver seat; heated front seats; heated outside mirrors and remote start system.

Ford knows pickups

The blue-oval company sells more trucks in the U.S. than any other manufacturer, most notably the F-Series which has been the nation’s best-selling vehicle for 42 consecutive years.

Ford has tremendous experience and understanding about what customers want and need in a truck.

The F-Series blankets the full-size market with too-many variants to describe. As full-size trucks grew, the company saw the need and desire for the same capabilities in a smaller package which begat the medium-sized Ranger.

And then there are the customers which find the utility of a pickup’s open cargo bed important for their lifestyle, but they do not need the robust capabilities and size of a mid- or full-size truck. Comfort, maneuverability, efficiency and price are important factors for these potential customers, so Ford developed the Maverick.

The three-trim Maverick range starts with the FWD XL at $23,815 and tops out with the most extensively equipped Lariat at $34,855.

I drove the mid-range XLT ($26,315) with the FX4 off road package ($800) as well as other key options (for example AWD-$2,200; XLT luxury-$2,275). The as-reviewed price totaled $33,140 which included the $1,595 destination & delivery charge.

For those who want to be part of America’s pickup-truck scene but do not have the room or inclination for a traditional open-bed vehicle, the Ford Maverick is the way to go and you will not break the bank getting there.

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.