Could there be a new trail runner destined to rival icons like the Toyota Tacoma? If Ford has a say, then the answer is yes. The 2023 Ford Maverick has every opportunity to give the Tacoma a run for its money on the trail with its all-new Tremor Off-Road Package. Available on the XLT and Lariat trims, the Tremor builds on Ford’s FX4 package and readies the Maverick for the road less traveled. It blends the versatility of the best-selling Maverick with a keen interest in adventure and getting a little (or a lot) of mud on the tires.
The question is whether off-roaders will respond in kind to Ford’s unibody marvel. Overlanders and off-roaders are passionate about their rigs, investing thousands of dollars in modifying trail runners like the Tacoma to their specific needs. As a result, these rigs are often dedicated to the trail because they’re far too impractical for daily driving. However, the 2023 Maverick Tremor toes the line, adding versatility by proving you don’t have to have one or the other; you can have both. How so?
Redefining the Modern Truck
Ford’s pint-sized Maverick sold out in months, with demand outstripping supply and leaving many loyal Ford drivers anxiously awaiting their chance to get behind the wheel of this compact truck with the heart of a warrior. Demand for the Maverick continues today, with Ford reporting that the segment-busting Maverick outsold the Ranger in the first half of 2022. But why is this the case, and how does Ford plan to make the Maverick even more enticing in 2023?
The Maverick’s appeal is partly because it redefines the modern truck. Sure, it looks like a truck, but its unibody design means it handles more like a car. The combination is exceptional because you still have the versatility of a truck bed and a surprisingly capable workhorse without compromising ride quality, handling, and performance. The Maverick gives you the best of both worlds, and drivers are quickly discovering the value of finding Ford’s newest treasure.
Capability and Performance
While traditional truck fans might argue that the Maverick isn’t genuinely a truck with its unibody design, it offers everything a driver needs or wants in what the industry has defined as a truck. Its all-wheel drive system enhances its performance in various conditions, and its potent engine lineup delivers anywhere from 191 to 250 horsepower and up to 277 lb-ft of torque. Even its payload and hauling capacities are impressive, with the Maverick capable of supporting a 1,500-pound maximum payload or towing up to 4,000 pounds with the 2.0L four-cylinder turbo engine and Ford’s tow package. What else could you need in a truck?
The Maverick’s affordable starting price of $22,195 for 2023 is extraordinary and proves you don’t have to spend a small fortune on a road warrior. Instead, the Maverick delivers a highly valuable package even with entry-level trims like the XL. The XL comes with the Maverick’s hybrid powertrain, an eight-inch touchscreen display, and FordPass Connect with a WiFi hotspot. These features and many others lay the groundwork for the rest of the Maverick lineup and make it easy to find the perfect truck for your styling, budget, and performance needs.
The Maverick defies the standards of a traditional truck because it offers a smaller footprint and unibody design that makes it look like a truck but handle like a car. Off-roaders aren’t looking for car-like handling, so why add a Tremor package to ready the Maverick for the trail? Again, Ford is responding to consumer demand, what drivers like you and I want in a modern truck. With the Tremor package, the Maverick transforms into an off-road-worthy rig that can handle itself on moderate trails without compromising efficiency or handling during your everyday drive.
With the Tremor name, Ford takes the Maverick beyond its traditional FX4 package. In addition to FX4 options like the underbody skid plates, Hill Descent Control, off-road drive modes, and all-terrain tires, the Maverick also gets a one-inch lift, an off-road-tuned front and rear suspension, an advanced all-wheel drive system with four-wheel drive lock, and Ford’s proven 2.0L EcoBoost engine. The off-road-oriented components don’t end there and include extensive features like Trail Control that ensure you have all the tools to tackle the most challenging and technical terrain.
Appreciating the Maverick’s off-road appeal is best accomplished by comparing it with trail icons like the Toyota Tacoma. While the Tacoma will remain a staple on the trail because of its long history of versatility, reliability, and capability, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for the Maverick. The Maverick is the gateway into Ford’s full-size lineup, offering a smaller footprint than even the Tacoma, making it more agile and versatile in technical areas.
The Ford Maverick XLT SuperCrew sits on a 121.1-inch wheelbase and measures 200.7 inches long, 72.6 inches wide, and 69.5 inches tall. It has a ground clearance of 9.4 inches, increasing to 10.4 inches with the Tremor Off-Road Package. In contrast, the Tacoma TRD Off-Road with the Double Cab has a much larger footprint. Its 140.6-inch wheelbase translates to a 225.5-inch length and a 75.2-inch width.
The Maverick also delivers surprising performance for a truck of its size. Ford equips the Tremor with its 2.0L EcoBoost engine and all-wheel drive that builds on the automaker’s renowned FX4 Off-Road Package. The combination adds a twin-clutch rear-drive unit with a differential lock for optimal handling as the engine churns out 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque for exceptional low-end power. Alternatively, the 2023 Tacoma comes with Toyota’s V6 powerplant, which betters the Maverick’s horsepower output by 28 ponies but delivers far less torque at 265 lb-ft.
Ford makes the Maverick Tremor even more appealing by adding exclusive technology like Trail Control, an innovative tech feature legions beyond anything you’ll find in the Tacoma. Trail Control engineers confidence on the trail by acting as low-speed cruise control. You set the speed, and the system will manage the throttle and brakes, letting you focus on navigating the terrain ahead.
The Maverick gains another advantage because of its incredibly affordable price tag. Why is this significant to off-roaders? The Maverick’s starting price of $22,195 gets you behind the wheel of the base model, meaning upgrading to trims like the XL or Lariat and adding the Tremor Package is often well within your budget. On the other hand, the Tacoma’s 2023 starting price of $27,250 means spending thousands of dollars more for an off-road-oriented trim.
Beyond the initial price, the Maverick’s lower price tag puts more money in your pocket for modifications. Off-roaders are passionate about modifying their rigs with snorkels, mud tires, suspension lifts, and other accessories. However, these mods aren’t cheap and can leave a gaping hole in your wallet as the hobby takes over your life. With the Maverick, you’re spending less upfront and have plenty of opportunities to upfit the truck to your trail-running needs without too much concern for overspending or compromising its potential as your daily driver.
Will It Be Enough?
The Maverick outsold the Ranger in the first half of 2022 and became one of the fastest-selling vehicles in the United States. Its popularity speaks volumes to what we’re looking for as consumers: new models that promise and deliver versatility and capability in a high-value package. We’re willing to invest in the truck of our dreams, and Ford is happy to deliver.
The Maverick Tremor adds to the truck’s appeal because it gives us more than just an everyday driver. It gives us the confidence to adventure beyond the pavement. While it may never fully compete with staples like the Wrangler or Tacoma, the Maverick is positioning itself in an era where versatility is a top priority. Financial strains and the everyday demands of life are adding stress, making it essential for us to stretch our hard-earned dollars further. With the Maverick, it’s easy because you get a truck capable of efficiently navigating your weekday commute and venturing off the beaten path without leaving a gaping hole in your wallet.