CHATHAM, Mass. – Some 15 months ago I wrote “The new Ford Maverick XL hybrid makes owning a pickup truck a much more reasonable proposition for those who do not want – or need – the scale of today’s full-size and mid-size trucks, but who do want the versatility the open-bed provides for their lifestyle.”
If such a consumer also has a hankering to explore the wild outdoors, Ford has just the vehicle, the new for 2023 Maverick Tremor™ Off-Road Package on either the XLT or Lariat trim levels. The Tremor package includes an advanced all-wheel-drive (AWD) system with four-wheel drive lock, off-road-tailored suspension system and a one-inch lift for said suspension for better ground clearance.
My week was in a well-equipped Maverick XLT Tremor which meant a reasonably priced ($33,895 including destination fees) fuel-efficient (23 miles per gallon) pint-sized pickup.
Todd Eckert, Ford truck product marketing and brand manager, succinctly summed up the Maverick Tremor’s raison d’etre: “The new Maverick Tremor is an entry-level option for buyers seeking greater off-road capability and bold styling in the same compact package that comfortably fits their daily life in the city while also supporting their outdoor passions.”
And even though I did not have the ability to fully explore the truck’s full capabilities, the pieces were certainly present, and it oozed confidence that leaving the pavement behind would be no problem.
A platform designed to perform
Up front, the independent MacPherson-type strut suspension with coil springs, twin-tube hydraulic gas-pressurized shocks, stabilizer bars, aluminum lower control arm, steel sub-frame and cast knuckle has been tuned for off-road activities including the extra inch of ride height.
At the rear, the engineers started with the FX4 pieces, 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, tuned it for off roading and added the extra ride height which is 9.4 inches.
The suspension set up allows for an approach angle of 30.7°; a departure angle of 22.2°, and a ramp breakover angle of 19.9°, all significantly superior to the other Maverick versions.
The power-assisted anti-lock (ABS) braking system features 12.8-inch ventilated rotors up front and 11.9-inch solid ones in the rear. These operate within 17-inch machined-face tarnished dark painted aluminum with orange painted accent pocket wheels wearing 235/65R17 A/T tires.
Power a plenty from 2.0-liter Ecoboost engine
The base front-wheel-drive Maverick features a hybrid powerplant, but for the more capable AWD Tremor, Ford turned to its reliable, efficient and powerful 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
Found in a number of different Ford products with varying outputs, the version installed in the Maverick Tremor produces 250 horsepower and 277 pounds-feet of torque. This allows the 3,829-pound pickup to (according to Car and Driver testing) go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in six seconds.
Aided by the well-engineered eight-speed automatic transmission, the efficient powerplant produced 23 miles per gallon during my week, better than the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s 21 mpg rating (20 urban, 24 highway).
The transmission feeds the engine’s power into the aforementioned advanced AWD system which includes a twin-clutch rear-drive unit with a differential lock feature to allow greater off-road capability. It can divert virtually all rear axle torque to either wheel.
Five selectable drive modes make it easy to quickly tailor the on-road and off-road capability of Maverick Tremor to pavement, mud, sand or snow, as well as for towing conditions.
Maverick Tremor also comes with Trail Control™, which operates like cruise control for off-road driving. Drivers select a set speed, then the truck manages throttle and braking to allow them to focus on steering through challenging conditions like mud or dirt.
The robust power, all-independent suspension system makes for a fun vehicle to drive on or off pavement, on straight or twisting roads. The ride is a bit firmer than the base Maverick, but never uncomfortable. The basic platform also supports the Lincoln Corsair compact sport-utility (SUV), Ford Escape compact SUV and Ford Bronco Sport SUV, and acts more like one of those vehicles than a traditional pickup – which is a very good thing.
Ford Co-Pilot 360 ADAS
The test Maverick Tremor had both the standard and optional Ford Co-Pilot 360 advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) safety features.
The standard group included: 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 optional group brought Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Evasive Steering Assist, Lane Centering, Reverse Sensing System, BLIS® (Ford’s blind-spot system) with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Lane-Keeping Aid and Hill Descent Control.
Inside rugged but comfortable.
The resemblance to the other Ford products mentioned above is obvious inside the Maverick Tremor, but unique Tremor orange accents throughout, including on the black onyx seats, helps set this truck apart.
The revised infotainment system, with updated eight-inch LCD touch screen at its heart, features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and six-speaker audio system.
A lot of truck for not much money
Ford filled its Maverick XLT Tremor with just the right pieces to turn its urban/suburban friendly, family-friendly pickup truck into a true off-pavement warrior. It did so without building a punishing, stiffly sprung monster, but a pickup which can easily provide daily family transportation needs.
The test truck, as mentioned, totaled $33,985. The major options included the Tremor off-road package at $2,995 and Tremor appearance package at $1,495.
This is a highly recommended pickup if your lifestyle takes you from an urban/suburban daily routine to off-highway excursions when the mood strikes.