No, it isn’t your imagination, pickup trucks are steadily getting bigger. In fact, today’s full-size pickups give heavy-duty trucks from back in the day a run for their money. And, don’t even start talking about contemporary super duty trucks. The most capable of these can pull 40,000 pounds like Boomer-lings pulled Radio Flyers (millennials, ask your grandparents).
And, it ain’t just full-size pickups, the specs of today’s midsized trucks are approaching those of full-size trucks from a decade or so ago. Which, from a capability perspective, ain’t necessarily a bad thing.
However, from a livability standpoint, it’s becoming a bit problematic. All you have to do is look at how little space you have to get out of your car when one of these behemoths is docked next to you in the Safeway parking lot.
Enter Maverick …
The 2023 Ford Maverick Tremor is a new variant of America’s first standard front-wheel drive full-hybrid pickup truck. Yes, I know, at first glance, a compact front-wheel drive hybrid pickup truck is likely to give many a traditionalist a moment of pause.
But it’s an ideal tool for the modern world when you stop and think about it.
After all, we’re talking about a reality in which most pickup trucks are used more like cars than workhorses. In that context, 40-mpg fuel economy paired with the utility of a truck bed and city-friendly dimensions starts looking like a good idea.
And indeed, Maverick is very good in that regard.
So, the next logical step, it would seem, is giving it enhanced off road capability too.
Enter Tremor …
Fitting bits to make its trucks more capable of surviving off-pavement sojourns, Ford turns its standard pickups into Tremors.
In this case, from a visual standpoint, we’re talking a steel skid plate under its chin, along with a 1-inch ride-height increase (which gives Maverick almost 10 inches of ground clearance). The nose is redesigned to improve the compact pickup’s approach angle, and the all-terrain tires stand some two and half feet tall.
Cosmetic adornments include the Tremor decal adorning its flanks along with smoked lenses for the primary lighting instruments. Revised grille and fender vent treatments, along with bits of orange trim here and there to make it all pop are included too.
In a moment of brilliance, a member of the Maverick Tremor’s design team came up with the idea to frame the wheels’ valve stems with an orange design element. Those of you with an eye for detail will note a pair of orange tow hooks too.
My test truck also had the optional graphics package and two-tone roof.
Inside, Tremor specifics include more orange accents, this time on the center console, HVAC vents and door pulls. The word “Tremor” is embroidered into the seat backs — yes, in orange. The seats also feature orange stitching.
Meanwhile, everything I already liked about the Maverick’s passenger compartment remains. This is one of very few heavily plastic reliant interiors I find pleasing to the eye. The innovative application of texture staves off what could have easily been a cheap looking Playskool-esque experience.
Every Maverick is a four-door crew cab. Ingress and egress are easy, even with the additional ride height. Legroom and headroom sufficiently accommodate full-sized adults at all four seating positions. What’s more, when it comes to storage, Ford’s interior designers have seemingly carved openings into every place one could possibly reside. There’s even cargo space underneath the back seat.
Boasting 250 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, Ford’s 2.0-liter DOHC direct injected turbocharged 4-cylinder provides plenty of motivation. This entails ditching the hybrid system, which means trading miles per gallon for smiles per gallon. I saw 23.4 mpg overall.
An 8-speed automatic transmission feeds the all-wheel drive system, which incorporates a twin-clutch rear-drive unit with a differential lock. This allows the apportionment of all available rear axle torque to either wheel independent of the other.
A total of five driver-selectable drive modes accomdate pavement, mud, sand or snow, and towing. Maverick Tremor also gets a heavy-duty transmission cooler, along with upgraded half shafts. Ford’s “Trail Control” system gives the driver the ability to pre-select a downhill speed, which it will manage automatically with judicious throttle and brake applications.
Maximum towing capacity is 4,000 pounds with the optional towing package.
Safety and Technology
The Tremor package is fitted to XLT and Lariat trimmed Mavericks, which means more standard comfort and convenience features. In the case of my Lariat tester, this brought dual-zone automatic climate control, ambient interior lighting, and power-adjustable front seats.
Every Maverick gets Ford’s 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A Wi-Fi hotspot is also standard fare. My Lariat Tremor also had SiriusXM, a Bang & Olufsen audio system and a wireless charging pad.
Additional standard amenities include a tilt and telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, remote keyless entry and adjustable lumbar support for the front seats. A 12-volt DC power point in the bed is standard; my test truck also had the optional 110-volt AC outlet.
Safety tech includes automated emergency braking as standard. Options, all of which my Lariat had, include smart cruise control, lane keeping assist and lane departure warning.
Off road, Maverick Tremor quickly dispels any mud-digger notions or thoughts of conquering the Rubicon trail. However, it’s also very reassuring in your basic mud, ruts, sand and snow environments. In other words, while rock crawling ain’t exactly its thing, it will slog along pretty much any trail you encounter.
Given the assertive tread pattern of Maverick’s Falken Wildpeak tires, you might expect to be subjected to a howling chorus of “Rubber Meets Asphalt,” but they are remarkably quiet. The tall tires also contribute to a comfortable ride on pavement and relatively adroit responses to helm instructions.
With 277 lb-ft of torque, that 2.0-liter turbo four provides plenty of passing capability on the highway and more than a bit of fun on open roads. All in all, driving Maverick Tremor is both comfortable and entertaining.
2023 Ford Maverick Lariat Tremor AWD Specifications
|L: 200.7 inches/W: 72.6 inches/H: 69.5 inches/Wheelbase: 121.1 inches
|2.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 cylinder engine; 8-speed automatic, AWD
|20 mpg city/24 mpg highway/21 mpg combined
|250 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque
|Base price: $28,335; As tested: $35,8100, including $1,595 destination charge
Don’t let it cuteness fool you; Maverick is every inch a useful pickup truck. Based upon the platform underpinning the Bronco Sport, Maverick is also spacious, enjoyable to drive and comprehensively equipped.
That Ford thought to “urbanize” the pickup truck in this fashion has to be regarded as a stroke of genius. The interior is bristling with mindful touches and there’s more than enough power available to deal with any civilized situation. What’s more, payload capacity is decent for the times it will be called upon to perform its “truckly” duties. And, properly equipped, the little pickup will tow 4,000 pounds. The addition of the Tremor package serves only to introduce a new and welcomed element to its “personality.”
2023 Ford Maverick Lariat Tremor AWD — Frequently Asked Questions
Is Maverick Tremor package worth it?
The Tremor package is a worthwhile addition if you’re serious about off-roading.
What does the Tremor package add to the Maverick?
Hardware includes a new all-wheel-drive system, a one-inch lift, special front and rear springs and dampers, and Trail Control.
How much does the Maverick Tremor cost?
The hardware package adds $2,995 to the base price of an XLT or Lariat-trimmed Maverick. An additional $1,495 gets you the Tremor appearance package too.