Some dude on the internet (okay, several dudes on the internet): "MAVERICK? Ford's gonna use the name of a compact car on a truck?"
Here's the God's honest truth: By the end of this year, more people will know the name Maverick from this truck than they will from the redesigned 1960 Falcon Ford sold from 1969 to 1977---45 to 53 years ago.
In fact, the new Maverick is more worthy of the name (it means unorthodox, independent). Instead of a very conventional compact car (again, underneath was essentially the Falcon that had been introduced in the fall of 1959), the Maverick is an innovative pickup that bucks the "my truck wants to eat your house" trend that has taken over full-size trucks. And it comes from the same people who build the F-150 Raptor. Go figure.
The Maverick is small, at least by contemporary truck standards. It's eleven inches shorter, five inches narrower and two inches lower than the current Ford Ranger. It's roughly the same length as a Ranger from 20 years ago, but about four inches wider. However, if you're old enough to remember the original Maverick coupe and sedan, you'll probably remember the first Ranger in 1983. The new Maverick is two feet longer and seven inches wider. It absolutely dwarfs the first small Ford pickup (a rebadged Mazda)---the 1972 Courier, which is 28 inches shorter and ten inches narrower. And here's an example of just how Americans have, until now, lost their minds on trucks. No one would dispute that the original 1948-1956 Ford F-100 was a "real truck", right? The new Maverick is six inches longer than that truck. It's only smaller in terms of width (by two and a half inches) and height (the old F-100 was a tall beast and the top of its cab is six inches higher).
What's under the hood is another part of the unorthodoxy of the new Maverick. It comes standard as a hybrid---a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine combined with an electric motor. Total system output 191 horsepower, with a continuously variable automatic transmission. Zero to 60 in 7.7 seconds won't set your hair on fire, but it's far from embarrassing. And there's a payoff at the gas pump, with an EPA fuel economy estimate of 42 miles per gallon city (not a typo), 33 highway---numbers that proved to be reliable during my week of city street and urban freeway driving. With the hybrid, there's 2,000 pounds of towing capability. If you need more, switching to the optional 2.0-liter turbo four and eight-speed automatic transmission gets you 4,000 pounds, a quicker truck (0-60 falls to 5.9 seconds with 250 horsepower) , but far less stellar fuel economy estimates from the EPA (23 city/30 highway for FWD models, 22/29 for AWD). And if you want all-wheel drive, you can't get that with the hybrid.
The four-and-a-half foot bed is big enough for a lot of what Americans haul in the back of a pickup. My sons-in-law say Ford's next move should be an extra-cab model, giving up some of the rear seat room and lengthening the bed to six feet.
As it is, the crew cab in the Maverick is a spacious and comfortable place, especially in Lariat trim, like our tester.
The final area where Maverick earns the name is price. And this is probably the only actual connection to the original Maverick. It listed, when launched in April of 1969 at $1,995. The 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid starts at $19,995. And that's as eye-catching a price now as $1,995 was then.
That's for the base XL model, which is essentially work-truck spec. Stepping up to the XLT boosts the entry price to $22,360 and going all-in on the Lariat trim makes the starting price $25,860.
Our Lariat tester only had three extra-cost options...floor liners without carpeted inserts ($135), the Ford Co-Pilot 360 active safety suite ($520) and a spray-in bedliner ($495). With $1,495 destination and delivery, the as-tested price of the 2022 Ford Maverick Lariat Hybrid is $27,660.
Look, there are people who need three-quarter ton four-wheel drive trucks. And full-size half-tons. But a lot of people---a LOT---who own them never haul anything more than air (those guys are saying "and ass" right now). Yeah, whatever. For those of us without compensation issues, the new Ford Maverick is exactly what we need---room for hauling (most) things and five people at a low price (even loaded) and with stellar (with the hybrid) fuel economy.