Home » One Year With The Ford Maverick: An Almost Perfect Truck

One Year With The Ford Maverick: An Almost Perfect Truck

Maverick One Year Ts1
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As you may already know, I’ve been driving the Maverick for a while now and I’m head over heels for it. It’s hands down the best all-around ride I’ve ever owned. From outdoor adventures to everyday life, it meets all my needs with ease. Ford really hit it out of the park with this one. But as with anything, especially a first iteration, some areas could use improvement.

[Ed note: Johnathon is back around this weekend with another update on his Ford Maverick. You may remember his first story last week about buying it. That one was on me because I angled it a little more towards ‘look at this flip’ than ‘here’s a random thing that happened to me I didn’t plan.’

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

In particular, I added “Here’s Why This Turned Out To Be A Genius Move’ to the headline as a callback to “I Bought A High-Mileage Electric Car With A Bad Battery. Here’s Why That Was Actually A Stroke of Genius.” I think that ended up making the post seem a little more calculated than it was. My bad! Here’s a story we can all get behind. – MH]

Pro 1: The Maverick Is Virtually An SUV With A Small Bed

It’s a compromise sure, but for most daily purposes, for most people, the SUV aspect is a good thing. The Maverick is based on Ford’s C2 platform, which is the platform for the Escape and slightly modified for the Bronco Sport. It’s been further tweaked for the Maverick to accommodate the longer wheelbase and the demands of a truck. In my experience, it comfortably accommodates four people, with better spacing and ergonomics than a Toyota Tacoma TRD. It’s pleasant enough to drive, handling moderately rough roads with ease without ever feeling like it’s trying to beat you up. Oh, and the bed itself has been life-changing.

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On a trip to Wisconsin last year for the Bristol Renaissance Fair, a store in downtown Kenosha was holding a going-out-of-business sale. My significant other spotted two bookshelves she thought would be perfect for her classroom. All I had to do was drop the gate and strap down the shelves, and we were good to go. The memes I’ve previously seen with Miata owners and having infinite space for storage apply here, but it’s actually practical. That’s something I never would have considered doing before the Maverick.

Con 1: A Cheap Ride That Feels Cheap

It’s budget-friendly, which is great for consumers, but Ford aggressively cut corners. While the Ford-branded screws add a rugged touch, much of the interior is hard plastic, especially the center dash insert. I have remarked to many an Autopian that this looks like it’s straight out of a Fisher-Price playhouse. Just because a car is affordable doesn’t mean the interior has to feel cheap.

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A floor model Maverick XLT at the 2021 Motor Bella.

GM has managed to strike the right balance with models like the refreshed Chevrolet Trax and the Buick Envista. My 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT was also an economy car, but the interior looked nice at a glance, with soft-touch areas and a dash that resembled pleather. Plus, it didn’t easily scratch.

2018 Elantra Gt
This is the Sport trim with red accents, different pedals, and nicer seats, but otherwise the same as the base model.
Photo: Hyundai

By comparison, the plastic in the Maverick scratches by just looking at it, and the dash aggressively squeaks in the cold. Oh and don’t get me started on the rotary dial. While it saves Ford money not to have a handlebar shifter, I’d much prefer something like the one in the F-150–which uses the same plug–or just put the damn shifter on the dash or steering column to claw back more space.

Pro 2: The Gas Mileage Is Outstanding

The Ford Maverick is a truck that actually lives up to the promise of hybrid fuel efficiency. I’m looking at you Tacoma and your I-Force technology’s 21 mpg. While it could be more aerodynamic, it performs admirably on country roads. It easily reaches mid-40 mpg or better on 55 mph highways, outside of winter. The hybrid system also helps reduce the usual penalties in stop-and-go traffic and the small 1.1 kWh battery occasionally accommodates electric-only driving, either when gently accelerating or at constant speeds below 60 miles per hour.

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Yeah, the plastic is a dust magnet.

It’s a fun game to see how far I can go on electric power alone on empty backroads. For the price point, there’s nothing else on the market with this level of utility that offers such efficiency.

Con 2: It’s Not A Capital ‘T’ Truck

While this SUV-truck hybrid is a major plus, there are times when being in between is limiting. The max towing capacity for the hybrid model is 2,000 lbs. That’s great for small U-Hauls and tiny campers, but I’ve had to make additional trips during moves due to those restrictions. It’s also a limiting factor for the toys one could haul with it. In a perfect world, I’d love a 16-foot Scamp fiberglass trailer with a bathroom. Stories of awful leaks have made me quite apprehensive about campers built with traditional materials, so fiberglass or thermoplastic sounds incredibly appealing. However, owners of 16ft Scamps report a dry weight of 2,400-2,600 lbs.  depending on options.  Toyota has already demonstrated with the RAV4 Prime that plug-in versions can handle more, I’d love for Ford to answer the bell with a PHEV Maverick.

Rav4 Towing Unmarked
Photo: Toyota

Pro 3: It’s Handsome As Hell

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Ford nailed the design. Unlike the Hyundai Santa Cruz, the Maverick’s design has been universally praised. It’s unmistakably an American truck. I’ve been stopped multiple times by people who were curious about it. Its slightly aggressive lines convey that it’s a trucklet that can be treated like a truck, to an extent. Plus, the bed is cleverly designed with cutouts for dividers, and an adjustable tailgate that can help panels sit flat on the wheel wells,  making it convenient for everything from runs to the hardware store to camping.

Con 4: The Infotainment System Is Lacking

The Maverick’s budget-friendly nature extends to its infotainment system. Lariat models use Sync 3 but the XL and XLT trims use “Connected Touch Radio”,  which is slow and prone to freezing. Hard resets have become second nature to me, but it’s not ideal, especially in the middle of a road trip when you need maps for upcoming turns.

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2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid Xlt
“You’re music’s bad and you should feel bad!” is what it feels like Ford is trying to tell me every time the Connected Touch Radio freezes up.  Photo: Ford

The system also struggles to decide whether to play the radio, a basic feature that works seamlessly in other cars I’ve driven. And don’t even get me started on the backup camera. It’s laggy and has low resolution, which is a major safety concern. At times it feels like it was added on to meet government mandates rather than being a useful feature.

Pro 4: The Perfect Footprint

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A third-gen Ford Ranger and a 2023 Ford Maverick. Like two brothers.

The Maverick is almost identical in length to the third-gen Ranger (199.7″ vs. 203.6″)  but it’s capabilities as a daily driver are more well-rounded. One of the best parts about driving this around compared to a modern Ranger or F-150, I’m not scared trying to navigate tight neighborhoods in major cities like Detroit and Chicago. Parking is also a breeze.

And There’s So Much More

There are a lot of random, small charming features about the Maverick. I’ll quickly list those below just to reinforce how much the good heavily outweighs any annoyances. Those include:

  • The XLT’s charming navy blue and orange color combination is featured throughout the interior and on the seats. Perfect for Tigers country.
  • Cupholders. Cupholders everywhere. There are six usable spots for water bottles accessible from the front seats alone – two per door and the cupholders in the armrest. Add in the backseat’s flip-down armrest, the rear doors’ cupholders, and a FITs cupholder, and you’re going to stay well hydrated.
  • The FITs system opens up nifty little add-ons with 3D printing. In addition to the cupholder, I’ve seen hooks for grocery bags, a mini garbage bin, and cable organizers. But with Ford openly sharing the schematics from the start, the only limit is your imagination.
  • There’s storage under the backseat. The entire space is fully usable on the EcoBoost models. There’s slightly less on the hybrid version with the 12v battery taking up part. I use this compartment to store a socket wrench set, duct tape, a battery jump pack, and a mini 12v tire inflator.
  • There’s a frickin bottle opener on both sides of the tailgate. Completely unnecessary but it’s delightful to have while tailgating.
2022 Ford Maverick Flexbed™
Photo: Ford
  • While the screen is small the cubby is cute. It fits the truck’s overall ethos of smartly utilizing space.
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My Grogu cubby-buddy.

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Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
8 days ago

…so when is Hardibird buying one?

TDI_FTW
TDI_FTW
9 days ago

give us the 4k tow limit option on the hybrid!

Fjord
Fjord
9 days ago

I am constantly amazed that people care so much about soft-touch plastic in areas they will probably never touch. Bring on the exposed fasteners and indestructible ABS plastic! Or better yet, painted metal.

I was very interested in these for over a year but eventually gave up due to to complete lack of any being available to test drive. I still think there aren’t any base models available in any dealership within 50 km of me.

Seaway
Seaway
9 days ago
Reply to  Fjord

Every dealership near me had a ton of stock – with abut 80% being the hybrid. I picked up an Ecoboost XLT with some options for 5% under MSRP.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
8 days ago
Reply to  Fjord

Yeah—I love my Lancer’s hard plastic dash. Guess which one hasn’t cracked in our garbage heat?

pizzaman09
pizzaman09
3 days ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

Agreed, I own two BMW e36s with hard plastic interiors, they are in great shape and look very retro 90s, as they are. No glare problems off of shiny bits, easy to clean and care for.

Matthew C
Matthew C
9 days ago

I own a ‘22 XL Hybrid. I had to wait 11months for it to be built and delivered(Covid and supply issues). However, I’m currently at 35K mileage with zero issues and an average 42mpg lifetime.

Pros;
Excellent fuel mileage and hybrid tuning. Ford essentially replicated Toyota’s hybrid system and it is smooth. As a plus it stays in electric longer than my wife’s RAV4 hybrid. I regularly exceed the mileage.

Space and interior packaging. Plenty of space for 4 people

Utility; I’ve loaded a bedful of mulch. Multiple times. I’ve move my kids in and out of multiple dorms/ apartments during their respective college career.

Cons:
Infotainment system is glitchy

Internal material are scratch prone.

Recalls and first year model issues.

In short , I would buy it again. I love my XL but to be fair the XLT is the sweet spot.

Terr_d
Terr_d
9 days ago
Reply to  Matthew C

I’ve got a ’22 Lariat Hybrid with a few notes:

  • Brake-hold: while it’s nice to have when I want it, it seems to be active when coming from park. I’m afraid that I’ll lurch forward while leaving a parallel parking spot into the car in front of me.
  • Sometimes, just after I’ve set off it lurches subtly when stopped.
  • It goes into deep sleep mode after every drive. The 12V lead-acid battery was replaced under warranty, plus several software updates a little later, to no avail. Next trip to the dealer I’ll be asking for the AGM battery that comes in the EcoBoost Mavericks to replace it.
  • The sound input UX is awful. Turning the sound on always defaults to the radio and there’s no way to set a default precedence order for inputs, eg Carplay -> Bluetooth -> off
Terr_d
Terr_d
7 days ago
Reply to  John Gustin

While I was already aware of that button, I realized that I hadn’t ever tried finding a work around for the issue. I encountered it again yesterday with brake-hold enabled, so I disabled brake hold, first while still in reverse – this did not work, next I put it into park, and then reverse – this did not work, then I put it into neutral, then reverse, which worked.
Brake hold doesn’t seem to do anything going from P->D, but it does going from P->R.
This is one of many examples of the little details that bother me in my Maverick.

Robot Turds
Robot Turds
9 days ago

All Ford needs to do is offer this with a 6 foot bed and they would easily claim another huge chunk of the population who wants a small truck but ALSO wants a truck-length bed. Sure. I “get” that you can drop the tailgate down. But I daily drive a 28 year old small Tacoma with a 6 foot be and its great for hauling shit- which I do every week. If they did this it would be maybe the only thing that would possibly convince me to semi-retire the Tacoma.

pizzaman09
pizzaman09
3 days ago
Reply to  Robot Turds

I’m with you, though I’d also want a two door to take some length out of it. I drive a 34 year old Jeep Comanche with a 6ft bed, it’s incredibly useful and that length goes a long way for making it very useful to haul things.

Jacob Rippey
Jacob Rippey
9 days ago

I’ve been looking for a Maverick 2.0 EB FX4 or Tremor to replace my 2004 Tacoma 4wd Crew Cab and my 2016 Mazda 3. Seems like the Maverick is the happy medium between both.

I adore that its cheap, cheerful, utilitarian, and can do most of what I want. It would also allow me to tow our small camper from time to time (my Tacoma does NOT like towing due to the stock gears and 33″s). It is faster than the dog of a Mazda3 that I drive. The Maverick Forums are bursting with ways to modify these little trucks.

Heck, I will even put a license plate on it that says “TRUCK15H”

Last edited 9 days ago by Jacob Rippey
TaylorDane > TaylorSwift
TaylorDane > TaylorSwift
9 days ago

Calling the boat’s tower/rod holder a roll bar is an awesome way to tie this back to cars (be it jeeps, open bed trucks with said accessory or convertibles). I’ll forever refer to my boat’s Bimini top as a roll bar, albeit a glam version since it’s flimsy.

Christo Arvanitis
Christo Arvanitis
9 days ago
  1. I’d love to see them copy Honda and put a trunk in this thing. As a unibody, I don’t see why they couldn’t. I love my Ridgeline and would like better mpg, but the trunk is now a must-have (I carry many of my tools in there)
  2. Give the AWD a hybrid option, or better yet, a PHEV option.

I prefer the size of the Maverick to my RIdgeline but those two things are keeping me from getting one. The AWD mpg is not good enough for me to switch.

Joe L
Joe L
10 days ago

I am torn on the Maverick, in a good way. Part of me wants the hybrid and its crazy-good fuel economy, and good-enough power. It’s probably still faster than my 1992 Mazda B2600i. On the other hand, the Ecoboost is serious power for a vehicle of this size, and looks great lowered a bit, 90s minitruck style.

The only missing piece is a manual transmission. Supposedly you can get the new Tacoma with a manual, but they’re like hen’s teeth.

Freddy Bartholomew
Freddy Bartholomew
10 days ago

I was sorely tempted when they first came out. Two things stopped me; being a Ford (reliability) and above sticker prices. I have turned to using our 2001 Highlander for hauling compost, gravel, plants, and lumber (a few boards up to 10′ can fit diagonally from windshield to rear hatch). I have an industrial scale bag to keep things somewhat clean for the loose stuff that I shovel in. Besides, after not being that well cared-for during Covid, my last service was less than $100. Even the mechanic said they don’t build Toyota like they used to.

Baja_Engineer
Baja_Engineer
8 days ago

Your mechanic is right. Just look at how many new gen Tundras have had engines replaced or the 1st model year that required new Turbos. New Tacoma is a toss coin at this point (unproven powertrain), on the other hand the Maverick has scored surprisingly high on reliability. I wasn’t surprised about the Hybrids because that powertrain is tried and true but the Ecoboost is also doing well.

Freddy Bartholomew
Freddy Bartholomew
6 days ago
Reply to  Baja_Engineer

I’m pleased to hear that the Maverick is reliable. I’d like Ford to be successful in creating a ‘new’ class of trucks (smaller). Thanks.

Matt Dieter
Matt Dieter
10 days ago

It sounds like LIV (as covered by Mercedes Streeter) has a sub-2k lb camper on the way- perfect to go along with the Maverick. Not that I’d treat the 2k lb rating as a hard limit; the trans is all gears, so there’s no clutches to wear, and with something as simple as Forscan, you can keep an eye on trans temps. Guys are reporting towing 3k+ without issue with the hybrid.

Considering in Europe they tow far larger campers with similar sized or smaller cars, it doesn’t worry me- just make sure you adjust your expectations. No 70+ mph, increase your stopping distance, don’t push it up hills, and it’ll be fine.

Frank2cv
Frank2cv
9 days ago
Reply to  Matt Dieter

Towing more than what the user manual says is stupid and dangerous.
The Maverick’s cooling components and brakes have been designed for towing up to 2k lbs. Towing more will inevitably result in more wear on the engine and the transmission in the long run and possibly in loosing the control of the vehicule when braking is required (danger for you and the others)
In Europe, they tow with small cars that are designed to do so. When doing so, the speed is greatly reduced by law. Also, campers are generaly lighter in Europe : many look big compared to the cars but are 2000 lbs. There the towing rating is a hard limit, and towing more is punished by law.

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
10 days ago

Yeah, I’m really glad that these exist, people like them and that “small” trucks are coming back…I’ve just never been into Fix Or Repair Daily’s due to their body style (only certain classic ones, and Lincolns are better like the Mark V which is one I want)
As far as “small” trucks go, I’d rather have a Toyota mini-truck w/ a nice stereo system and a bed w/ hydraulics that spins around!
Or a Chevy LUV since I LUV to say that I LUV the Chevy LUV!!!
The ideal Toyota though, would definitely be the one from Back to the Future
My main dream truck though, is a 70’s or early 80’s Chevy C-10 Squarebody in blue
Also, love the Dodge SRT-10’s

BolognaBurrito
BolognaBurrito
10 days ago

I’m constantly surprised by the number of vehicles that have shitty low res back up cameras. I was in a ’17 A6 TDI the other day, and the camera was worse than what was in my ’13 Xterra, ’15 Golf Sportwagen, or my ’18 Outback. My folks ’19 F150 Limited (or is it a Platinum?) is also worse than my ’18 Outback. It’s comical. What’s a better camera cost, like $3? It’s a small detail, but when it’s a bad camera, it reeks of cheapness.

Drew
Drew
9 days ago
Reply to  BolognaBurrito

It feels intentional in some cases. “The backup camera is shitty, but the HD 360 camera fixes all that if you just bump up one more trim level…”

The Dude
The Dude
10 days ago

Oof bad on Ford to cheap out in the infotainment on the lower trims. I get not having as big of screen but the slower system creates a horrible UX and will be viewed as a quality related problem by most owners.

Matt Dieter
Matt Dieter
10 days ago
Reply to  The Dude

After living with mine for a year- it’s fine. Not slow, not fast. I mostly use mine with android auto, and most of my complaints stem from my phone moreso than any of Ford’s design choices.

Dan Bee
Dan Bee
10 days ago

What’s the likelihood of Ford offering a PHEV version? As mentioned, they do on its cousin the Escape…

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