Full-size pickup trucks have been the top-selling vehicles in the U.S. for decades. Because those went well, the introduced midsize pickups and they moved a ton of those too.
Since automakers are always searching for newest best thing ever, they’re bringing back compact pickups, which were banished a decade ago.
Now little trucks are starting to post big sales numbers, especially this week’s test drive, the 2022 Ford Maverick XLT with all-wheel drive.
I once owned a 1992 Ford Ranger, so I was pretty excited to finally get behind the wheel of the new Maverick. I’m not alone apparently. The company’s got more than 100,000 reservations for the new small pickup and closed the order window for new 2022 models earlier this month.
However, I must confess after my first few drives in the new Maverick I was underwhelmed — at first.
It was my fault really. So often the trucks we review are equipped like luxury vehicles with prices four times higher than the Maverick, which starts at just under $20,000. Our test model came in at $29,800, including destination and delivery fees.
Once I recalibrated my expectations, I found the Maverick to be an excellent small pickup that I enjoyed more the longer I was in it.
Our test model came in cyber orange metallic, which is much more exciting than the greyish blue they’re so often shown in. Don’t get me wrong, I like that color too, but in the middle of sunny winter day in metro Detroit, that orange is like having the actual sun in your front yard.
The exterior design is simple, yet appealing. The nose is large with the black and dark grey grill taking up a good portion of the front end. It’s similar, in scope, to the front end of the F-150, but the black is reminiscent of the Ranger. It’s really the best of both worlds.
The belt line is high, but not so much so it makes it hard to see out of and the corners of the vehicle are rounded just enough to look masculine without being angular. It also came with the FX4 Off-Road package and 17-inch wheels, giving it a little more flair.
The interior looks a little chintzy, with a lot of plastic. However, that and the cloth seats in our XLT look like the cabin would be a snap to keep clean. The seats are comfortable and access in and out if you’re a bigger person — and I’m certainly that — is good. I didn’t need to be a contortionist to get into the truck.
It also featured an 8-inch touchscreen on the center stack that was easy to see and use as well as all of the infotainment and safety technology one expects. Just as importantly, that technology was easy to see and access.
There’s a fair bit of storage in the truck, although the slotted bin on the transmission hump looks like it came from a 3D printer, and I didn’t find it all that useful. Also, you had to lean forward a bit to get to it.
Our tester was powered by the 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder putting out 250 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. It’s responsive but not fast. However, it tows 4,000 pounds so you can pull as small camper with your small truck.
The base model comes with a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder hybrid delivering 191 horsepower and impressive fuel economy numbers — 42 miles per gallon in the city, 33 on the highway resulting a 37 combined rating. The hybrid is only available in front-wheel drive.
Our tester is rated at 22 city, 29 highway and 25 combined. Our overall results — in more than 350 miles of driving — were just under 23 mpg combined.
Safety and Technology
The Maverick XLT is not the base model, which means it comes with some technological goodies. Starting with what seems to be the standard tech item: it comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also comes with FordPass Connect with an embedded modem that allows the owner to connect up to 10 devices up to the Wi-Fi hotspot. It was easily found and connection was a snap. However, I didn’t use the service, I just made sure it was a simple link up.
FordPass gives you a connection to the truck so you can find it in a crowded lot, check the fuel level, unlock the truck and start or turn off the truck simply by using the app on your smart phone. The safety tech on the pickup features pre-collision assistance, including automatic emergency braking. I didn’t “use” it in the Maverick, but I’ve been in a Ford vehicle where it’s been activated and it’s very … effective. It also comes with all the standard safety equipment like an airbag safety canopy, anti-lock brakes, etc.
The Maverick is an excellent performer. It’s a great vehicle for running errands, but it also did well on a 2.5-hour trip. It was comfortable and for part of the drive, I encountered some blowing snow and the sure-footed all-wheel drive gave me plenty of confidence. Again, it’s not a race car, but it’s plenty peppy, especially on surface streets. It handles well, never making you feel like you could easily lose control with excessive body roll or overly stiff suspension.
2022 Ford Maverick XLT AWD specifications
|Dimension||L: 199.7 inches/W: 77.9 inches/H: 68.7 inches/Wheelbase: 121.1 inches|
|Powertrain||2.0-liter EcoBoost inline 4-cylinder, 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||22 mpg city/29 mpg highway/25 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||250 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||Base price: $22,280; As tested: $28,305 including $1,495 destination charge|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
Like I said, I had a 1992 Ford Ranger XLT so I was eager to see how far Ford’s designers and engineers had come in the small pickup department (the last small truck, then the Ranger, rolled off the line in 2011). I can say they’ve real far. Far enough for me to say, this is what I wished the Ranger was when I had one and at under $30K I’d think about getting another one.
However, the truck is really aimed at younger buyers, so I went to the target audience for feedback. I have a 22-year-old son who — along with a couple of friends — simply loved it. He’s now planning to get one later this year. I think it’s tough to find a better endorsement than that.
2022 Ford Maverick XLT AWD — Frequently Asked Questions
What is in the Maverick XLT package?
The XLT is the trim level above the base XL. Essentially it gets you more options and better cloth seats. Options at this point for the interior include: a B&O sound system, wireless charging, SiriusXM radio. For the exterior, buyers can select the FX4 Off-Road package which gives you 17-inch wheels and all-terrain tires, hill descent control, all-wheel drive and more.
How much horsepower does the 2022 Ford Maverick have?
That depends on the powertrain you select. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost Inline-4 puts out 250 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. The 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder hybrid delivers 191 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque.
Is the 2022 Ford Maverick available?
Yes — sort of. The automaker stopped taking orders for the 2022 model a few weeks ago; however, if you can find one on a dealer’s lot, you can buy it. Otherwise, the company will begin taking orders for the 2023 model later this spring.