Unfortunately, I’m not as lucky as all the other auto journalists in the industry. I still haven’t driven the illustrious Ford Maverick. Not for lack of trying, but the opportunity just has yet to present itself; maybe Ford’s annoyed at my contrarian-ass stance when the trucklet first dropped, and I was confident that it was going to be more of an Internet Car—a niche vehicle whose appeal was limited only to Weird Car Twitter folks—and not any kind of mainstream success.
Well, I’m eating those words, obviously. The new Ford Maverick is a hit. Hampered by supply issues as it has been, it’s still a sales success, outpacing stuff like the Nissan Frontier and Ford’s own Ranger in Q3. The styling isn’t the most convincing to me, but I can’t deny the 40+ MPG package of a right-sized, not very expensive truck. Turns out that lots of folks agree.
So I bought one. Kind of. And maybe a bit accidentally. But now I think I need to get comfortable because I’ll be waiting for a while.
I walked onto the showroom to take a gander at a Maverick Hybrid, only for the salesman to tell me that they don’t have a demo to drive, only a lone customer car that can’t be driven on the road due to the fact that if I wrecked it, it would be months to replace this already sold unit. Not to lose a potential sale though, glibly, the salesman asked “You wanna order one? No strings attached,” he said.
So, on a random Thursday in June, a Ford salesman entered my driver’s license into the Ford ordering system, and we sat down and spec’d out a Maverick Hybrid piece by piece, in a method similar to picking out mesmerize cologne and Skin So Soft lotion from an Avon catalog. I shook the man’s hand and let my information go into the ether.
And then, I forgot about it. Order books for the 2022 Maverick had already closed when I ordered, but the salesman assured me I’d be right at the top of the line when the 2023 list opened up. I wrote somewhere that the list did open up, and barely a week later, Ford closed them again. “Eh, I don’t think my order actually went in, I haven’t even driven the thing or put any money down,” I thought.
But in late September, I got an email from Ford that my order had been placed. Sure, my orange Maverick Hybrid XLT had turned into a grey one, but as far as I know, I was in line for a 2023 Maverick XLT with a sunroof, bedliner, and heated seats. After the nonplussed exclamation on social media, I promptly went back to forgetting I had placed an order for a truck.
Until, yet again, Ford sent me an email. And now I’m wondering, is this truck that I bumbled and fumbled into ordering, am probably horribly misinformed about, and very ambivalent about, ever going to come?
I, and other Maverick reservation holders, got this e-mail:
“Dear Kevin Williams,
As promised, we want to update you on the status of your Maverick XLT order. We are still experiencing delays due to the supply chain challenges that Ford and our industry are facing at this time.
Please understand that while getting your vehicle into production is taking longer than usual, we are doing all we can to minimize the delays.
There’s nothing we want more than to deliver your new Maverick XLT. We are fully committed to keeping you updated on your vehicle’s status, and will let you know as more information becomes available. We apologize for any inconvenience, and truly appreciate your patience and understanding.”
Naturally, I’d expect that the hybrid’s traction battery and its concert of computers that make the truck-shaped thing get 40 MPG probably require more chips and resources that the turbocharged model doesn’t.
This dealership memo being circulated on the Ford Maverick forum has me, uh, a little worried if I’ll ever get my hybrid Maverick I’m not sure if I actually want it yet. Apparently, Ford only had the capacity for 35% of its Mavericks to be of the Hybrid flavor. It also appears that actual allocations are dealer-based, meaning, if you switch to the EcoBoost, there’s a real chance you’ll get your Maverick faster.
But, no offense to the probably-good EcoBoost 2.0-liter turbo, I don’t know anyone who is yearning for that Maverick. Arguably, the Maverick’s ace-in-the-hole is its subcompact car fuel economy from its hybrid system coupled with the capabilities of a truck body.
With the turbo engine, those benefits disappear, making it a somewhat thrifty, but not all-that-impressive truck. Worryingly, some Maverick owners assert that Ford took anywhere from 38% to two times as many hybrid Maverick orders as it could have ever hoped to fulfill. With numbers like those, I can’t see me actually taking delivery of a hybrid Maverick until 2024.
I reached out to Ford for comment and haven’t heard back yet, likely on account of the holidays.
It seems like Ford is a victim of its own success—and supply chain disruptions that have impacted the whole industry. It may have underestimated how much people really pined for an economical thing with a bed. Cars, or utes, or coupe utilities, whatever you want to call them, like the Dacia Duster Oroch, Volkswagen Saviero, Chevrolet Montana, or Ram 700 have been fairly common in South America and Eastern Europe for years. Today, the Maverick only really has one direct competitor in the Hyundai Santa Cruz.
Yet, the OEMs would shoo us away, insisting they were too small, crude, or ugly for North America—and wanting us to spend $65,000 (financed over 10 years, naturally) on much bigger trucks we probably didn’t need. Who knew that revising the formula for more of a focus on refinement, economy, and styling would create a product that was so successful?
Personally, I think it’s wild that other OEMs haven’t rushed to market with their own hybrid compact unibody truck. If Toyota was so worried that it wouldn’t sell as many of the sleek new Prius as in years past, maybe the engineers should have added a truck bed to the back of it. Automakers: Get on it. Ford’s onto something here and it can’t even keep up with demand.