Who knew that adding a pickup truck to a hybrid car could make it cool? Not us, for one. When Ford originally announced that the Maverick’s basic model is a front-wheel-drive hybrid, we were skeptical. Could the Maverick hybrid be the perfect car at the right moment now, with rising fuel costs and ballooning pricing?
The Maverick’s basic price of $21,490 makes it one of the most affordable automobiles on the market today. Even our well-equipped midlevel XLT model, which included an optional sunroof, spray-in bedliner, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, all-season floor mats, and Cyber Orange paint, came in at a very affordable $26,645. That’s nearly $20,000 less than the average new automobile sale price, which in December 2021 topped $47,000.
Adapt Your Ford Maverick Performance Expectations
A 2.5-liter inline-four engine is paired with two electric motors in Ford’s hybrid powertrain. The normally aspirated four has a net output of 191 horsepower, and flooring the accelerator produces a rough groan, but while cruising, the naturally aspirated four becomes quiet and muted.
The powertrain easily transitions from gas to electric mode, with just the faint hum of the gas engine indicating when you’re not operating on pure electric power.
Well-thought-out interior design, low prices, and good fuel efficiency.
On the road, though, the hybrid’s power shortfall is unmistakable: The turbocharged 2.0-liter nonhybrid we tried is significantly pokier. The all-wheel-drive truck took 5.9 seconds to reach 60 mph, but the hybrid, which only comes with front-wheel drive and a power-split CVT, took 7.7 seconds. The Maverick’s electric boost makes it fun to drive at low speeds, but it rapidly runs out of steam while passing on the highway.
The ride quality over Michigan’s springtime potholes was rough at times and outright unpleasant at others. The collisions were difficult to ignore from within the cabin, even though the Maverick never hit bottom. The Maverick’s handling felt steady and confident on smoother, twistier roads, but not particularly sporty. We expected the same thing from this platform, which is shared with the Ford Escape and Bronco Sport SUVs, both of which have comparable driving characteristics.
While the Maverick has decent performance figures, its true worth is in its fuel economy. The EPA expects that the hybrid powertrain will get 42 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, which is a significant improvement over the nonhybrid’s 23/30 city/highway ratings. We got 30 mpg for the hybrid in our 75-mph highway fuel-economy test, which is only 1 mpg more than the nonhybrid Maverick. We got 32 mpg in everyday driving, when the hybrid system can take advantage of regenerative braking and lean more heavily on the electric side of the drivetrain. There are a lot of qualifiers when comparing our measured fuel efficiency to the most efficient Ranger we’ve tested, an XL 4×2 vehicle that averaged 19 mpg back in 2019, but there’s some eye-opening arithmetic. If you travel 12,000 miles per year and gas costs $4 per gallon, the Maverick hybrid will save you more than $1000 over the Ranger over the course of a year. If petrol rises to $5 a gallon, you’ll save more than $1250.
Functional and Orderly Inside
Ford put a lot of attention into the interior of the Maverick, filling it with storage cubbies and easy-to-clean plastics that offer a surprising amount of personality. Orange highlights give a splash of color within the center-console storage bins and on the backs of the door handles; textured plastic trim on the door panels and dashboard has marbled coloring that contrasts beautifully with the dark blue utilized everywhere. Because the painted doorframes are visible inside, our test truck also delivered a splash of Cyber Orange into the cabin.
Downsizing from a larger vehicle necessitates compromise since it lacks highway overtaking ability and has a hard ride.
The front seats in our XLT test car were pleasant, with two-tone gray fabric upholstery, and the upright driving posture and wide-open outward view were welcomed. The Maverick’s hood blocks just enough of your vision ahead to fool you into believing you’re driving a much larger pickup truck. That is, unless you are stuck in traffic next to an F-150.
Short excursions will be comfortable for rear-seat passengers, but lengthy trips may be difficult due to the upright seatback and lack of legroom. The Maverick can fit a bicycle within its cabin with the back seat folded down. Even with its short 4.5-foot length, the bed’s value is undeniable. Grocery trips necessitate utilizing the back seat as a trunk, something regular vehicle or SUV customers may find unusual. We recommend a bed cover and maybe a cargo organizer for people who aren’t used to this pickup-specific lifestyle problem.
While full-size pickup truck owners may sneer at the Maverick hybrid’s meager 2000-pound towing capability and 1500-pound payload capacity, those figures are nonetheless incredibly uncommon when compared to almost anything else in this price range. The sole direct competition is the $25,385 Hyundai Santa Cruz SE, which has a towing capacity of 350 pounds and a payload capacity of 1753 pounds. The Hyundai, with a combined EPA rating of 23 miles per gallon, can’t match the Maverick hybrid’s efficiency.
What the Maverick lacks in size, power, and toughness compared to body-on-frame pickups, it makes up for with excellent fuel efficiency, calm on-road characteristics, and a low price. If you frequently pull huge trailers or move heavy stuff, the Maverick hybrid won’t be able to take the position of a half-ton truck (or even a Tacoma-size one). The Maverick hybrid, on the other hand, is perfect for the large group of drivers who see pickups as nothing more than a symbol of their outdoorsy lifestyle.