Ford launches its cheapest car – the 2022 Maverick compact pickup
Ford Motor Co. is entering the burgeoning small pickup market with a new compact truck called the Maverick.
The 2022 Ford Maverick pickup will be the automaker’s cheapest vehicle when it goes on sale later this year. The truck starts at $ 19,995 plus a delivery charge of $ 1,495.
It becomes the vehicle of entry for the automaker as Ford has abandoned the sedan market – including small passenger cars like the Focus – in the United States.
“As we looked at our overall portfolio, we knew there was a need for an affordable vehicle,” said Trevor Scott, Ford’s marketing director for the Maverick and Ranger.
Scott said Ford expects many Maverick customers to be first-time buyers of small car and SUV trucks.
“So we don’t hesitate to look at the fact that this is a compact truck,” Scott said.
Marketing of the Maverick “will target a young urban dump truck buyer who is not generally in the pickup segment,” he said.
RETURN OF THE COMPACT PICKUPS
Automakers sold small, compact pickup trucks decades ago, but gradually abandoned them as consumers shifted to larger vehicles with greater cargo and towing capacity.
But now there’s a return to smaller trucks, including some that share platforms and components with crossovers and SUVs.
Honda’s mid-size Ridgeline truck – linked to its Pilot crossover and Odyssey van – is one example. Hyundai is about to start selling the Santa Cruz, a small truck-like crossover that’s tied to its Tucson.
“There is an expectation that some consumers have changed and want a smaller, more affordable truck to enable a more active lifestyle,” said Stephanie Brinley, analyst at IHS Markit.
FORD DEPENDS ON TRUCKS
Ford’s decision to re-enter the small pickup market after a long hiatus stems from its abandonment of sedan sales and its strengths in trucks and SUVs, Brinley said. Ford sold roughly 900,000 pickup trucks in the United States last year, accounting for 46% of its sales.
“The Maverick will be the entry to the Ford lineup and is the affordable vehicle that executives have indicated is arriving since the Focus was discontinued from the United States,” she said.
Unlike its bigger siblings Ford, Ranger and F-150, the Maverick is a front-wheel drive vehicle built with a unibody construction rather than the body-on-chassis architecture of most other trucks.
Designing the Maverick, Ford took a conservative approach by ensuring that many components under the skin are shared with other vehicles while prioritizing modifications where they would provide the most truck capability, Brinley said.
Ford’s Escape, Bronco Sport and Maverick share important platforms and components and systems, are three very different products tackling different markets, she said.
MAVERICK POWER UNITS
Ford designed the Maverick as a hybrid that is supposed to achieve around 40 mpg in city driving.
The standard model will have a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid powertrain that delivers 191 horsepower when combined with the electric motor and 155 pound-feet of torque. It uses a continuously variable transmission. Ford said it would have a range of around 500 miles.
The standard truck can carry a payload of 1,500 pounds and tow 2,000 pounds, enough for some small craft or a retractable trailer.
Ford also plans to sell a model with a more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine producing 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. It uses an 8-speed automatic transmission. This configuration of the Maverick will tow up to 4000 pounds as long as it has the optional towing package. Ford said it was enough to pull the average 21-foot boat.
The Maverick will come standard with front-wheel drive, but will have an all-wheel drive option.
Inside, the truck offers a standard 8-inch center touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility so drivers can use their own navigation and music apps.
The standard advanced driver assistance system includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and automatic high beams. Buyers can get more advanced features like adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and optional rear cross traffic alert.
The transmission has five driving modes normal, eco, sport, slippery and tow / haul.
The truck bed is 4.5 feet long. This compares to 5 feet for the Ford Ranger and 5.5 feet for the much taller F-150. The Maverick has what Ford calls a flexible bed system that it developed after seeing people in home improvement and furniture stores and college kids moving into their dorms.
Homeowners can use the system to create segmented storage, raised floors, bike and kayak racks, and other features by sliding standard wooden beams into stamped slots in the side of the bed.
Ford will sell the Maverick in three trim levels – XL, XLT and Lariat.
Jerry Hirsch May 20, 2021
Ford kicked off its transition to a volume electric vehicle maker on Wednesday by launching the 2022 F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck.