For years, automakers have bet big on pickup trucks, both financially and physically.
“Buyers want a full-size truck,” they would say.
Ford abandoned its Ranger in 2011, pushing buyers to the F-150, and Ram abandoned the Dakota, leaving the field to the GM twins, the Nissan Frontier, and the market-leading Toyota Tacoma.
But Ford brought back the Ranger not even a decade later, to rave reviews, and now has a true small truck again in the Maverick. And what do you know? People can’t get enough of a small truck that’s quick, nimble, and useful, to say nothing of affordable. The virtue of a mini truck was always that you could buy one cheaply, work the hell out of it, and enjoy the process.
The Ford Maverick is not a traditional body-on-frame mini truck. It’s based on the same crossover SUV platform as the Escape and Bronco Sport compact SUVs. So it has independent rear suspension, a short 4.5-foot bed, and a four-door crew cab.
Best of all, the Maverick is available with two distinct drivelines. A gas-saving hybrid with front-wheel drive and a peppy 2.0-liter turbo with your choice of front-wheel or all-wheel drive. This makes the Maverick uniquely adaptable for the many use cases for a mini truck. The cherry on the sundae is that the hybrid is the most affordable entry-level model.
The Maverick looks like a Ford truck, only smaller. The designers were not obsessed with the current trend of looking like a piece of heavy construction equipment, but neither does the Maverick have the look of a car with a pickup bed on the back, like some examples of decades past.
In general, the Maverick looks up-to-date and attractive, and not garish. This is all good news in an age of blocky, overgrown trucks.
Step into the Maverick (because you don’t have to climb up into it) and you’ll once again find a simple, functional interior of the sort you used to get in a small truck — only with a full set of modern conveniences.
The technology package is compact and functional, and there are large pockets in the doors. Depending on the trim level, you can get a variety of interior materials, but most are cloth. The seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of room. This is an interior you can live with.