2024 Ford Maverick

  • May 20, 2024

Ford’s Maverick stands as a counterpoint to Ford’s electric vehicles – as well as super-sized vehicles, like the formerly compact-sized pick-ups you used to be able to buy.

The Maverick sells so well Ford has had trouble keeping up with demand. On the other hand, there is so little demand for Ford’s electric vehicles – especially the F-150 Lightning – that Ford had had trouble finding places to park them while the glut of built-up inventory clears.

The why for this disparity is – as Thomas Jefferson might have put it – self-evident:

The Maverick is practical and affordable and so appealing.

The Lightning isn’t – because it’s very expensive and impractical.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

What It Is

The Maverick is a compact-sized truck with a crew cab body and short (five foot) bed. Some would say it’s not really a truck – because it’s built on a front-drive/unibody layout (with AWD available optionally) which makes it more like a crossover that looks like a truck, like the Honda Ridgeline. Just one size down. Because trucks – traditionally – are built on heavier-duty (body on frame) layouts that are rear-wheel-drive (with 4WD available optionally). The difference there being that AWD is typically always all-wheel-drive (all four wheels are driven) whereas 4WD is typically part-time, with the rear wheels being the primary driven wheels until the 4WD is engaged.

A 4WD system also typically has a two-speed transfer case and Low range gearing; most AWD systems do not have that – though some mimic the function by using the transmission’s gearing to increase the leverage of the drivetrain at low speeds.

So, does the Maverick qualify as a “real” truck? Or does it just look like one?

And does it matter?

Not, apparently, to the 200,000-plus people who’ve bought one over just the past two years so far.

Prices start at $23,815 for the base XL trim, which comes standard with front-wheel-drive and a turbocharged 2.0 liter four cylinder engine; AWD is available as a stand-alone option that adds $2,200 to the MSRP.

The mid-trim XLT – which lists for $26,315 – comes standard with the same drivetrain (and the same option to add AWD) plus the option to buy a Tremor off-road package ($3,495) that adds a heavier-duty AWD system with additional driver-selectable terrain modes,  a locking (and torque-vectoring) rear differential, full-size spare, skid plates and tailer hitch receiver, among other upgrades.

The XLT also gets a standard power locking tailgate and upgraded upholstery.

A top-of-the-line Lariat lists for $34,855 and for that you get standard synthetic leather upholstery, an eight speaker Bang & Olufsen premium audio system, wireless phone charger, sprayed-on bedliner, power sliding rear window, navigation, heated seats and steering wheel.

The Lariat also comes standard with AWD and the option to add the Tremor package.

What’s New for 2024

The hybrid drivetrain package that was standard when the Maverick came out in 2022 is now a $1,500 option in all trims.

It is a no-cost option for the Lariat.

The hybrid Maverick is capable of delivering almost twice the city mileage you get with the Maverick’s standard turbocharged 2.0 liter engine – and it can take you almost 200 miles farther (in city) driving on a full tank of gas.

What’s Good

An affordable and practical truck at a time when both are badly needed.

Hybrid variant is the only vehicle out there with a bed that can go 40 miles on a gallon of gas.

Don’t think it’s not capable – because it’s not “really” a truck.

What’s Not So Good

It’s no longer the just-shy-of-$20k-to-start truck it was back in 2022.

High-mileage hybrid drivetrain is no longer standard – and so costs extra (unless you buy the extra-cost Lariat trim).

Crew cab-only (and short-bed) only.

Under The Hood

When the Maverick was introduced as a new model two years ago, one of the big draws was its starting price – which was just under $20,000. The other draw was that for that price, you got a hybrid (gas-electric) truck that was capable of 40 MPG – in city driving, at least.

33 on the highway was pretty good, too.

Especially for a truck.

It’s still pretty good. But now it costs extra to get the hybrid drivetrain, which consists of a 2.5 liter four cylinder engine supplemented by an electric motor and battery that provide propulsion assistance when needed and that allow the gas engine to be cycled off when it’s not needed to propel the vehicle.

The reason for that being that Ford probably under-priced the hybrid Maverick in order to draw in buyers. It worked. Too well. It was hard to find a hybrid Maverick, if you wanted to buy one – because they’d all been sold (many sight unseen)  and Ford wasn’t making enough to keep up with demand for them. The other problem – for Ford – was not making enough money on $20k hybrid Mavericks.

Hence the hybrid drivetrain now being a $1,500 option. And the Maverick itself no longer costs $20k, either.

Even so, it still costs thousands less than other trucks, including Ford’s own Ranger pick-up, which stickers for about $10k more to start and doesn’t get 40 MPG anywhere, no matter how much more you spend on it.

On the downside – if it matters to you – the hybrid Maverick comes only with front-wheel-drive and can only tow a maximum of 2,000 lbs.

If you want to be able to tow up to 4,000 lbs., the standard 2.0 liter turbocharged engine can do that – and you can get AWD, too. What you don’t get is the fantastic gas mileage delivered by the hybrid. Instead, 23 MPG in city driving and 30 on the highway (for the FWD version; with the optional AWD system, mileage dips a little to 22 city, 28 highway.

On the upside, so does the 0-60 time, which goes down to about 6.5 seconds vs. about a second longer to achieve the same speed in the hybrid.

On The Road

If you’re interested in driving a truck like they used to make them, you’ll like driving the Maverick. In part because you don’t have to climb in – or out of the Maverick. Its step-in height is car-like; no running boards or grab handles needed.

The other part is it’s not so wide you feel as though you’re using up pretty much every inch of the road. It’s also not so long you feel as though the back half arrives a few seconds after the front half gets there.

There used to be lots of compact trucks like that. No one sells them anymore (at least, not in this country) for a number of reasons, including the government incentives that reward the manufacturers for making ever-larger trucks and (effectively) punish the manufacturing of smaller ones. The compact trucks you used to be able to buy – models like the old Ford Ranger and the old Nissan Frontier – were easy to get in and out of, didn’t feel all jacked up (because they weren’t) and for those reasons were as easy to drive as a typical car of about the same size.

Screenshot

On the other hand, those trucks were trucks – and you felt that, too. Every time you hit a pothole. The old Frontier and Ranger had solid axle rears and leaf/coil springs. Simple – but primitive.

Just like trucks used to be.

But the Maverick – though it looks like a compact-sized pick-up – is more like a crossover in terms of its unibody layout and suspension arrangement. It has an independent rear suspension, which greatly tamps down what you feel when you drive the Ford over a bump (or a hole) in the road. Up front, MacPherson struts rather than heavy coils. It’s not as heavy-duty as a typical truck’s body-on-frame layout and suspension – but that’s exactly why the Maverick does not ride (or handle) like a typical truck.

It is a very easygoing truck.

It’s also more spacious on the inside than the compact-sized trucks you can’t buy in this country anymore. The driver doesn’t rub shoulders with the person sitting beside him and neither the driver nor the person sitting next to him has to get out in order for anyone else to get in. They just open the rear doors and get in – and out.

The hybrid’s city mileage is spectacular but it’s the hybrid’s range that’s even more so. This is a truck that can stop-and-go around town for almost 600 miles in between fill-ups. That’s more than twice as far, by the way, as the F-150 Lightning (Ford’s electric truck) can go in between charges.

Another point worth a mention is that while the non-hybrid Maverick is quicker-accelerating than the hybrid, the latter isn’t slow-accelerating. The latter can get to 60 in about 7.5 seconds which makes it about 2-3 seconds quicker to 60 than the four-cylinder-powered versions of the compact-sized trucks you used to be able to buy – none of which did better than about 25 MPG.

On the highway.

At The Curb

One thing about the Maverick that isn’t like the compact-sized trucks you used to be able to buy is that it comes only as a crew cab – with four doors – and only with a short bed. But that hasn’t apparently deterred many from buying it.

Probably many of them bought it because they don’t want to deal with a full-size truck, which is what the formerly compact-sized trucks you used to be able to buy have become. Models like the current Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma are nearly as long as a typical half-ton truck from the ’90s and some are taller, too. The current (2024) Ranger, for instance, is 210.6 inches long and stands 73.9 inches high. A ’97 Ford F-10 regular cab with a short bed is 203.7 inches long.

The Maverick is only 199.7 inches long –  which means it’s only about six inches longer overall than a current mid-sized sedan such as Toyota Camry (192.1 inches long) and that means it takes up about the same space in your garage; which means there’ll probably still be plenty of space left in your garage for other things as well as room to walk around everything.

It can also carry five people, like a Camry (the back seat has enough legroom for a man 6 feet three like me to sit back there without his knees canted off to one side to avoid rubbing up against the back of the front seats) and a load of mulch in the bed – which a Camry can’t.

As mentioned earlier, the Maverick is also easy to get in and out of because you don’t have climb in or out of it. Yet it still has 8.3 inches of ground clearance, which is more than most crossovers and only about an inch less ground clearance than the compact-sized pick-ups you used to be able to buy, such as the old (2004 and prior) Nissan Frontier.

It’s also easy to get at what’s in the bed – and get the things you put in the bed out – because the bed isn’t so high off the ground you need a step ladder to get into the bed.

And because the bed’s walls aren’t up to your Adam’s apple.

The Rest

In addition to – or as an alternative to – the Tremor off-road package that adds almost $3,500 to the Maverick’s MSRP, you can also opt for the FX4 package that adds all-terrain tires, heavy-duty cooling, tow hooks and suspension upgrades for a more manageable price ($800).

However, neither of these available off-road packages are optional for the base XL trim; you have to step up to at least the XLT to be able to add either.

The Bottom Line

Equipped with its now-optional hybrid drivetrain, a 2024 Maverick will cost you $25,315 – which is about $5k more than Ford initially advertised the first-year/2022 Maverick’s just under $20k base price. That’s a steep increase – but there’s still nothing else like the Maverick.

And that’s why so many people think it’s still worth paying it.

. . .

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