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  3. Small Truck, Big Deal: Ford Reveals 2022 Maverick Compact Pickup

Exterior view of the 2022 Ford Maverick

One thing that automakers are always on the lookout for is white space. Many times, they find it in a particular segment of vehicles. SUVs with coupe-like rooflines are a perfect example. They offer the same basic look as their more traditional siblings, but in a sleeker, sportier package.

Truck makers produce so many different cab styles, bed lengths and engine options that there's no white space left in the full-size part of the market. There are plenty of midsize pickup choices, too. But there's a substantial white space for compact trucks because they lower the price of entry into pickup ownership and provide a lot of the utility of a truck with more city- and garage-friendly dimensions. Hyundai is planting its flag in it with its upcoming Santa Cruz. They won't have it to themselves, though. Ford is venturing into the compact pickup market with its 2022 Maverick.

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2022 Ford Maverick Exterior

Exterior view of the 2022 Ford Maverick

Ford needed to go smaller with the Maverick without going too small. To strike a balance between size and utility, it made the four-door SuperCrew body style and a 4.5-foot bed standard across the Maverick's range of XL, XLT, Lariat and Lariat-based First Edition trim levels. Overall, the Maverick is nearly 2.5 inches lower than a Ranger SuperCrew and almost a foot shorter.

As its name implies, the Maverick does the whole Ford truck thing a little differently. Its blocky, upright front end features a pair of distinctive LED headlights linked by a one-bar grille. Instead of using a scaled-down version of the F-150's front doors that feature a drop-down design signature, the Maverick has front doors shaped in a way that hints at that functional styling element.

In a couple of major ways, the Maverick is a truck version of the Bronco Sport. Both vehicles share the same platform and unibody construction. One of the clearest signs of the Maverick's DNA is behind its passenger compartment. There's no gap between the cab and the bed like there would be on a body-on-frame truck.

Exterior view of the 2022 Ford Maverick pickup truck

Ford extends the protective bed rail caps all the way up the back of the cab because they expect a lot of Maverick drivers will be loading and unloading cargo from the sides of the bed. Filling the Maverick's innovative Flexbed with gear from the back should be easy, thanks to a lift-in height of 30 inches. Slots in the Flexbed's sides allow Maverick drivers to slide in 2x4s or 2x6s to create their own partitions. Hardcore DIYers can even install C-channel to create their own cargo management system and tap into the onboard 12-volt power to run things such as auxiliary lighting or an air pump. They can secure their items with the various available tie-down points and D-rings. Additional small items, such as a tow hitch, can go in the two available storage cubbies.

Keeping larger cargo in place is not a problem. Big items, such as 4x8 sheets of plywood, can rest on top of the wheel wells and be strapped into place using the multi-position tailgate's tie-down cleats. Once the tailgate is locked into a 45-degree angle, it can support up to 400 pounds. Fully down, the tailgate is rated for 500 pounds and extends the Maverick's bed floor length to six feet.

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2022 Ford Maverick Interior

Exterior view of the 2022 Ford Maverick

Those two themes of versatility and utility continue inside the Maverick's cabin. Ford's design team gave the dashboard a stonelike finish, which you might see on a durable synthetic countertop. That houses either a 4.2- or 6.5-inch productivity screen and a standard 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility and available SYNC 3 infotainment. Reground carbon fiber panels add texture and toughness. The door armrests are split into two sections so that they can perform their usual duties and provide room for a one-liter bottle to fit upright on the lower half of the door panels. There's enough space in and above the door pockets to accommodate tech devices such as a tablet computer.

The back row offers room for three and its own storage solutions. An available under-seat storage bin is spacious enough to hold things as large as a fully inflated volleyball, inline skates, and more. Passengers who need to access things in front of them can use the Ford Integrated Tether System (FITS), which has a variety of accessories, including cupholders, a trash bin and a pair of hooks for grocery bags and purses, that fit into a slot at the back of the front console.

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2022 Ford Maverick Performance

Exterior view of the 2022 Ford Maverick

You don't have to tick a box to get the Maverick with hybrid power. In fact, that'll come standard. The base model has a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle four-cylinder engine that produces 162 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque, and a 94-kW electric motor. Together, those generate a total of 191 horsepower, which the Maverick routes through a continuously variable transmission and the front wheels. Hybrid models can haul up to 1,500 pounds of payload and pull a maximum of 2,000 pounds, which should cover a small trailer loaded with watercraft.

For those who prefer a conventional gas engine or need more hauling and towing power, Ford offers a 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. That comes paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available. An available FX4 package adds all-terrain tires, special suspension tuning, underbody protection, Mud/Rut and Sand drive modes, and Hill Descent Control for adventures on unpaved roads. Like the hybrid model, the gas-powered Maverick can carry 1,500 pounds or tow 2,000 pounds, but that capacity can be doubled with the available 4K Tow Package. In other words, even Ford's smallest truck can pull a 21-foot boat.

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2022 Ford Maverick Safety

Exterior view of the 2022 Ford Maverick

All Mavericks come with the Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of safety and driver assistance features which includes automatic high beams, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and more. That can be enhanced with the addition of Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Centering and Evasive Steering Assist.

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2022 Ford Maverick Overall

Exterior view of the 2022 Ford Maverick

It's been a long time since Ford sold a compact pickup in the U.S. That'll come to an end this fall when the 2022 Maverick goes on sale at a starting price of $19,995.* Be sure to throw on a warm coat and head to an AutoNation Ford dealership to take it for a test drive.

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Derek Shiekhi | Jun 09, 2021

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*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.