Where there’s an automotive need, a smart manufacturer will fill it. Enter the 2024 Ford Maverick. Pickup trucks have roared past other vehicles to stake a claim in America’s automotive landscape, with an impressive percentage of new vehicle sales in the US dedicated to these useful machines. As of mid-2023, Kelley Blue Book’s tracking of sales figures reveals that the three top-selling new models in the US, and five of the top eleven, are pickups. Their utility, style, and dominating road presence have made them a popular choice for many Americans.
Yet, as the saying goes, bigger isn’t always better. The growth in physical dimensions of many modern pickup trucks has turned away a segment of potential buyers. These individuals often find themselves longing for the utility of a pickup without the bulk and heft that has come to define many models in recent years. Even today’s “midsize” trucks are intimidatingly large for many buyers.
Hence, the Ford Maverick. Designed with a conscious pivot away from the massive payload capacities and oversized profiles, this truck is for those who aren’t in the business of hauling horse trailers or fifth wheel campers. Ford recognizes that not every task requires a behemoth. Sometimes, you just need to pick up a few bags of mulch from the garden center, transport your lawnmower for its annual servicing, or tow something light like a jet ski.
For those whose pickup needs lean towards these lighter tasks, the Maverick promises a blend of practicality and efficiency without compromising the inherent appeal of a pickup. Size isn’t always everything, and despite measuring only 199.7 total inches in length, the Maverick offers exceptionally clever features to give it a degree of utility that’s way out of proportion to its size. And its price, too, which at a base price of only $23,400, also appeals to consumers who shy away from the price tags of mid- and full-size pickups.
In fact, consumers were so taken with the Maverick when it first went on sale in early 2022 that Ford soon had to suspend orders. The little truck’s production run for the year had already sold out. It also won the “North American Truck of the Year” award from the North American Car, Utility, and Truck Awards for that year to go along with consumers’ enthusiasm. So, what makes the Maverick such a hit?
A Clever Design
Let’s start with the Maverick’s outstanding attention to its owners’ cargo hauling needs, beginning with the defining feature of any pickup: the bed. Ford calls it the FLEXBED, and it is indeed flexible. It features built-in slots, up to 10 tie-downs, and available locking rails with locking brackets, enabling a nearly infinite range of cargo and stowage options. Optional add-ons like a bed divider kit, toolbox swing cases for either the driver or passenger side and a tonneau cover provide even more utility. Add in a standard flexible tailgate, and the Maverick can carry 4×8 foot sheets of plywood lying flat. And with certain trim levels, the bed has a 1,500-lb payload.
Let’s go back to that clever tailgate. Here, Ford’s engineers also thought of every possibility. Called the Multi-Position Tailgate, it can be positioned half-closed to allow larger loads to fit, complete with tie-downs built into it to hold the cargo in place. Lay it down flat to host a tailgate party, and you’ll find another thoughtful touch: built-in bottle openers! The bed is also pre-wired with a 12-volt lead and a 110-volt outlet for plugging in everything from power tools to a TV for that tailgate party. The cab is also wired with the same configuration, so if it rains and you have to bring the TV inside, you’re all set.
Beyond the bed, the Maverick offers impressive towing capability. If equipped with the more powerful of the Maverick’s two drivetrains (the turbocharged four-cylinder: more on that in a bit) and a trailering package, the mighty Mav can pull up to 4,000 lbs. You won’t be uprooting tree stumps with that, but it’s more than enough to handle the weight of a pair of jet skis and their trailer.
The Maverick offers a refreshingly simple choice of two power plants. In its first two years, the standard offering was a hybrid drivetrain, and the optional one was the turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost, but for 2024, these two engines swap places: the EcoBoost is now effectively the standard engine, with the hybrid being about a $1,500 upgrade. Let’s take a look at both.
The Maverick’s 2.0-liter turbo EcoBoost produces 250 hp, along with 277 lb-ft. of torque. This is the engine that’s rated for 4,000 lbs of towing capacity with the trailering package. It comes equipped only with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Maverick’s with this engine offer optional all-wheel drive. The EcoBoost is no slouch on the road: Car and Driver magazine recorded a 5.9 second 0 to 60 mph time. Once upon a time, not long ago, that was sports car territory.
For those with fuel efficiency in mind, the other drivetrain is the 2.5-liter hybrid system with CVT transmission. Between the gas and electric components of this setup, it generates 191 hp. Torque is rated at 155 lb-ft., but this is calculated strictly with the gas-powered part of the drivetrain doing the pulling. Ford’s website seems to want to hide the hybrid’s fuel economy on its model page, which is odd because its mileage is outstanding: per Car and Driver, it’s 42 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway. Try to find another modern pickup truck with fuel economy like that–we dare you! The Maverick’s unibody construction and 3,674-pound curb weight also help to achieve this eye-popping feat.
The Inside Story
The Maverick comes in only one body style, which undoubtedly helped to keep development and manufacturing costs low enough to make it one of the least expensive vehicles on today’s market. That body style is a four-door SuperCrew that seats five quite comfortably. It’s just as functional as a family car as it is a truck.
While the base Maverick interior is somewhat on the Spartan side and probably better suited for being a work truck, with a few upgrades, it rapidly becomes plush enough to be a terrific commuter vehicle without busting its very sensible price point. And even in its base configuration, it still comes standard with A/C, power door locks and windows, two front USB ports, FordPass Connect, cruise control, and remote keyless entry. Also standard are an 8-inch touchscreen, a 6-speaker stereo system, and Bluetooth.
Optional upgrades and trim packages add creature comforts like an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated seats, a power moonroof, a remote start system, a heated steering wheel, and a premium Bang & Olufsen sound system. You’ll also enjoy Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
The Maverick Offers Power and Versatility in a Compact Package
In keeping with its consumer-friendly ethos, the Maverick won’t overwhelm you with dozens of possible combinations of trim levels and configurations. As stated earlier, it comes as just a four-door, five-passenger truck. After that, you need only decide between the XL ($23,400), XLT ($26,315), and Lariat ($34,855). All three models offer a choice of the two drivetrains, with all-wheel drive optional with the EcoBoost.
The Maverick also offers two special packages that are both available on XLT and Lariat models. The Tremor Off-Road Package delivers thrills on the trails with all-terrain tires, an off-road suspension, increased ride height, and a front skid plate. The FX4 Off-Road Package raises the game even further with front tow hooks, Hill Descent Control, and four drive modes. A third special edition comes only on the XLT model: the Black Appearance Package paints almost everything but the main body panels in Ebony Black.
Even if you go nuts with a fully loaded Lariat complete with a special edition package, the Maverick still comes in under the price of even a fairly basic full-size pickup. No wonder consumers literally can’t get enough of the Maverick, a truck that’s a throwback to simpler times yet equipped with modern technology and comfort.