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New Maverick Promises to Be a Hit for Ford!

A REAL Unit Body Pickup

I drove Ford’s New Maverick in late September in Nashville, Tennessee. Ford describes Maverick as “Unibody SuperCrew Pickup”. This means it has four doors and a spacious interior capable of carrying 5-adults. The cargo bed is a short 4.5 foot affair, but Ford has designed the bed with great flexibility.

The new Maverick is the latest vehicle to be spun off of Ford’s excellent and flexible C2 unit body platform. Others on the platform include the Ford Escape, Lincoln Corsair, Ford Bronco Sport and now the Ford Maverick. This platform gives Ford “go-fast” product development capability and also helps with cost efficiencies.

People will call the Maverick a small pickup, but it is not. It rides on a 119-inch wheelbase and has an overall length of almost 200-inches. A typical mid-size car has a 110-112-inch wheelbase and overall length of between 180 and 185-inches.  The Maverick is about a foot shorter than Ford’s Ranger mid-size pickup.

The first day of the preview included long over-the-road jaunts through the picturesque roads surrounding Nashville. The first Maverick was a top of the line Lariat model with all the bells and whistles.

The Lariat model had the base engine for the lineup – a 2.5L 4-cylinder hybrid. The hybrid powertrain has a total of 191-horsepower and is mated to a CVT transmission. On one section of road the fuel economy touched 51mpg and overall was between 40 and 45mpg. While the powertrain was capable it felt like you had to push to keep it at speed. Hard to describe, but perhaps the accelerator pedal efforts were a bit high in the example I drove.  The Maverick Lariat is comfortable, quiet and very easy to live with.  With its independent rear suspension handling is nimble.

The interior is very nicely done abounding with cupholders, cubbies, unique door trim panels.  Ergonomics are excellent.  Visibility is excellent.  It does not feel like you are in an entry level truck even when you are driving the base XL.

The XL was bare bones, but did not feel that way. When you use Apple CarPlay it seems totally competent! The XL even had a KEY! Quiet. Tight. Good ergonomics. Great visibility. Ride is very comfortable. Seats in both trims are very comfortable. Easy, easy to drive. If you need more load capability, the bed is very flexible with an adjustable tailgate. There are over 150 accessories for the bed and interior. Interior is very clever and innovative. Nicely thought out. They spent a lot of time finessing this one.  If you are a DIYer, Ford provides instructions on how to build bike racks, 3D print accessories, and numerous other items that a Maverick owner would like to have but doesn’t want to pay the big bucks for.

Starting price is $19,995 before destination, etc. When you check all the boxes the Ford Maverick can hit $37,000. A base Lariat is around $30,000. Usually the Ford sweet spot in their trucks is the mid-level XLT model.

I drove both the 2.5L Hybrid and the 2.0L EcoBoost. Hybrid has a CVT and felt sluggish even though it has 191HP. I touched 51mpg once. The 2.0L EcoBoost was much more responsive but delivered between 24 and 27mpg.

They have done an excellent job tuning the C2 platform to meet the requirements of their target buyer.

There are 11 colors and a few of them are the new in-vogue pastels. The original Maverick had a unique color palette and this one is trying to capture some of that.

People comparing the Maverick to the Hyundai Santa Cruz small pickup are off base.  Santa Cruz is a lifestyle vehicle – a Sports Adventure Vehicle.  The Maverick is a very clever small truck.  The fact that it wears the Ford oval immediately establishes it credibility as a truck meant to do work.

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