Home » The Ford Maverick Is A Great Vehicle, But Is It A Great Truck? I Tried It And Know How To Make It Better

The Ford Maverick Is A Great Vehicle, But Is It A Great Truck? I Tried It And Know How To Make It Better

Truckenoughmav Top
ADVERTISEMENT

I don’t usually think of the Ford Maverick as a truck. That’s not a slight; in fact, it’s a compliment, because what I do think of it as is a very capable and affordable do-anything sort of vehicle. The idea of the Maverick excites me the most when I think of it in its cheapest hybrid form ($25,315), because it is an inexpensive five-seater, four-door vehicle that gets 37 combined mpg and has out back what you could treat as, with a tonneau cover, a massive trunk or, open, a usable if short truck bed. It’s a Swiss Army knife sort of machine, something you could take into almost any unknown situation and find that you’re pretty well equipped to handle whatever happens. It’s a vehicle I happily recommend to people who want something inexpensive and useful for a huge variety of use cases. Deep down, though, I think it still is a truck, fundamentally, or at least wants to be, so I figured it was time to do a sort of review on the Maverick that’s a bit more focused. Specifically, how is it at doing, you know, truck stuff?

What do I mean by truck stuff? Great question, disembodied voice; help yourself to some canapés. I think for this test there are two basic defining truck things I want to focus on, two of the most utilitarian things that also tend to be the two things that people who don’t own trucks tend to ask people who do own trucks to loan them those trucks to do: move items that are not the sorts of things you’d want in the interior of your normal car and move huge items that simply won’t fit in your normal car.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

These also happen to be the two categories of tasks that I tend to do when I use my own truck, the 1989 Ford F-150 David got for me a while ago, and it is very much A Truck, and it has a name, The Marshal:

F1501

I often use The Marshal to haul crap and tree limbs and other forgotten detritus to the dump, and I often use it to haul my advanced personal watercraft to the lake, the HMS Terror:

ADVERTISEMENT

Cs Terror Okuda Cs Hmsterror 2

Yes, it’s my shitty canoe. It’s probably worth noting that I used to haul my shitty canoe to the lake on the roof of my Nissan Pao:

Pao Canoe

…so technically you don’t actually need a truck to do this, but the process of getting the canoe on the Pao’s roof and tying it down and then stashing all the lifejackets and other gear was all kind of a colossal ass-pain, and just shoving the thing in the bed of the F-150 has made life vastly easier.

Img 9997 Large

ADVERTISEMENT

I suppose I should mention that the Maverick that was kindly loaned to me was a Tremor edition one. Well, to be even more specific, the one loaned to me was the most expensive Lariat trim level, with the 2-liter Ecoboost engine making 250 horsepower/277 lb-ft of torque, bolted to an eight-speed automatic, and with the Tremor package that gives “advanced” AWD and a one-inch lift with slightly better breakover, departure, and approach angles, along with better tires and a bunch of decals, all for an extra $3,495.

Img 9994 Large

I really don’t care about the Tremor package in the context of this review. The name never fails to make me picture old people with very shaky hands, or perhaps a mild earthquake, and, really, if intense off-roading was my goal, I don’t think this is the vehicle I’d choose, Tremor-ized or not. From what I’ve read, it does just fine for mild off-road use, but if you want a rock climber or a serious off-roader, this really isn’t it.

I do like the bits of orange trim the Tremor package adds, though, like in the grille bar that incorporates the turn indicators and the tow hooks:

Img 9998 Large

ADVERTISEMENT

Beyond that, though, for the purposes of what we’re discussing today, we can ignore all the Tremor stuff; this review is valid for any Maverick.

Okay, so let’s get to it, and see how it does with our two key truck tasks!

Task One: Hauling Crap You Don’t Really Want Inside Your Car

Img 0016 Large

There’s two main categories of crap you don’t really want inside your car: crap that is filthy in some way, or crap that is destructive in some way. In the filthy category, this can include brush or tree limbs or gravel or mulch or 140 pounds of creamed sturgeon, unbagged, or trash or whatever. Anything that would normally require you to, if you had it in your trunk or SUV, spend too much time with a vacuum and some paper towels getting everything decent again.

The other category is stuff that, if shoved in the trunk or back of your SUV, would tear up headliners and seats and carpet. The stuff I decided to haul to test fits into this category.

ADVERTISEMENT

I have a roughly 9-month old puppy who is almost as big a full-grown dog named Juno. Juno is half Husky and half Australian Shepherd, a pretty intimidating combination for someone like me who is more used to dogs that are sweetly and pleasingly stupid. Juno is both smart, and, because she is still a puppy, a dummy.

Juno1

She’s very sweet, but she makes some really terrible decisions, and because she’s surprisingly clever, can usually make those terrible decisions happen. The most common of these is figuring out ways to escape the house and yard. I’m pretty sure I saw her working a combination lock at one point.

Anyway, I needed to shore up some fencing in her backyard romp-about area, so I went to Tractor Supply Company (who should just become a damn sponsor for us by now) to get a big roll of fencing and metal fence posts. These are heavy, bulky things with sharp, scrapey edges that would turn upholstery and carpet into a shredded mess that looked like a few cats got drunk and started to discuss politics, and things ended in pawticuffs and clawticuffs.

Img 0015 Large

ADVERTISEMENT

In this context, the Maverick did just fine, despite the short bed, because even if the bed is short, it’s still well-designed, and the bedliner material is rugged and effective at taking abuse. Those posts had to go in diagonally, which was fine, and the plastic edging on the lip of the bedsides proved useful as well, doing a good job of protecting the paint.

Img 0026 Large

The bed has a number of considerations taken to help maximize the available space. The humps over the wheels are both squared-off to allow things to be placed on top of them easily, and there’s notches in there to accommodate a 2×4 laid side-to-side to act as a sort of shelf. If you’re hauling long sheets of plywood, the tailgate is designed to be propped at an angle to keep the sheets nicely level.

Bedstuff 1

So, yes, it’s a short bed, but it’s thoughtfully designed and has a nice, tough liner, which makes it generally quite good at the basic truck function of hauling sloppy or destructive things. The bed also has a couple nice convenience features like a panel with a light and a standard 120V wall-type power outlet connected to a DC-to-AV inverter, and another cubbyhole that can store things and has a 12V power pigtail right next to it so you could use it for something that needs power, like a compressor or margarita maker.

ADVERTISEMENT

Img 0009 Large

Here’s the compartment, and the 12V leads are in that little panel to the right:Img 0008 Large

The Maverick works pretty well as a truck for the hauling messy/damaging things function, and that’s a very common truck use. You may not be able to get the volume you’d get with a full-sized bed, but for many people’s demands for this kind of thing, the Maverick can pull it off just fine.

Before I get into the second Truck Use, there’s two interior details I want to point out. First, these door handles:

Img 0048 Large

ADVERTISEMENT

I don’t mind them at all, but a number of people who got in the truck were baffled by or just uncomfortable with their use. I think the open-endedness is just not what many people expect out of an interior doorhandle/armrest? Again, it didn’t bother me, but some passengers were really off-put by them.

This next one, though, did bother me:

Img 0024 Large

This rotary shifter is dumb. It just wastes space. If there was ever a good context for putting a column shifter on a car, this is it. Stick the PRNDL on the column, and free up all that space for another cubbyhole or something, anything. It’s just silly.

Okay, back to Truck Things!

ADVERTISEMENT

Task Two: Hauling Really Big Things

Img 0034 Large

Alright, now we get to the tricky part, hauling the HMS Terror. The Terror is not a particularly long canoe, I think it’s about 12 feet long, but a 12-foot long object is still a very long object to move around. I mean, it’s two six-foot party subs, just less tasty but more water-tight. The Maverick’s five-foot-something long bed is less than half the length of the canoe, so it’s not exactly ideal.

Cs Marshal Canoe

Normally, in my old F-150, the canoe fits mostly in the bed and rests propped up against the tailgate, sticking out maybe a foot or so, not much at all. I don’t need to tie it down, because there’s no way it’s just going to fly out of the bed, since 90% of it is fully within the bed as it is. With the Maverick, it’s a very different story.

Img 0032 LargeEven set in as diagonally as possible, at least half of that canoe is outside the bed, and while the folded-down tailgate adds about a foot and a half more useful length, it’s still by no means something I’d feel comfortable hauling around without tying it down.

ADVERTISEMENT

Img 0027 Large

There are good tie-down points, though, both in the floor of the bed and sliding ones along those two side rails. With the canoe secured with a heavy duty cargo strap, I felt comfortable driving the thing all the way to the lake, even though it extended the length of the truck by a solid five or six feet or so.

Img 0029 Large

You had to be especially aware of your long tail while driving, and I can’t say it’s ideal, but I can say it did work. I got there just fine, nothing flew out of the bed, and the Maverick did perform its truckly functions. I think this would essentially be the same situation for any really large object you might try to haul in a Maverick.

It’s not great, and definitely takes more prep to make it actually work, but it did basically work.

ADVERTISEMENT

But it could be better. A lot better. And I think I know how.

The Maverick Needs A Midgate

Of all the vehicles currently on the market today, I can’t think of any that would be as drastically improved with the addition of a midgate than the Ford Maverick. You remember what a midgate is, right? Of course you do. But, in case someone is reading over your shoulder, I’ll remind you. A midgate is an opening panel on the back part of a truck or truck-like vehicle’s cab that extends the bed space into the cab. The Chevy Avalanche is a well-known truck with a midgate; here’s a picture of what it looks like from inside an Avalanche with the midgate open:

Screen Shot 2024 03 13 At 10.41.02 Am

For the Maverick, I think the rear window can stay intact and just a lower midgate would be fine, which could be accessed by folding the rear seatbacks forward, much like you do when folding a back seat down to gain access to a car’s trunk.

Midgate Maverick

ADVERTISEMENT

With a midgate, the Maverick’s bed could be extended by several very useful feet, at the temporary cost of the rear seat passenger accommodation, but since most long-bed pickups don’t have back seats anyway, this hardly seems like a big drawback. The extra flexibility offered would be considerable, as the short bed could be easily transformed into a longer bed with the simple act of folding down the rear seat.

This is hardly rocket science; remember, the Subaru Baja had one of these, along with the Japan-only Toyota Bb Open Deck, the pickup truck version of the Scion xB. And these were both similar unibody sorts of designs, there’s no reason this type of midgate couldn’t be incorporated into the Maverick.

So, to recap, if you’re looking at the Ford Maverick in terms of its abilities as a truck, I’d say for common truck-requiring duties, it can perform reasonably, but it is hampered in its ability to haul really large, especially long, things easily and comfortably. If the Maverick had a midgate, its utility could be improved quite dramatically, though.

And, regardless, the Maverick is still an excellent and inexpensive do-whatever sort of vehicle, the kind of thing that should be considered if you’re just looking for decent, cheap, basic transportation, not even necessarily a truck.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ford, if you’d like me to Sawzall a midgate into the next press Maverick you send my way, just shoot me a DM, okay? Great!

[Ed note: I feel like there’s a much simpler solution to this:

Yakimacanoecarrier

Ford sells this Yakima Rack that seems like it would entirely get the job done… Just saying! – MH]

Relatedbar

ADVERTISEMENT

The Ford Maverick Hybrid’s Price Has Jumped Almost 25 Percent But It Still Isn’t A Bad Deal

I Took A Close Look At The 2023 Ford Maverick Tremor’s Off-Road Hardware. Here’s What I Learned

If There Was Only One Car Allowed To Be Built And Sold In America, It Should Be The Ford Maverick

 

 

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
166 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
DEcarTrouble
DEcarTrouble
26 days ago

As I read this the racks designed for the Maverick was flashing like a blue light special at K-Mart in my head. Then the editors beat me to it. I do like the thought of the mid-gate, but for the cost to add the racks vs the cost of the mid-gate design addition, I won’t hold my breath.

Spartanjohn113
Spartanjohn113
26 days ago

As The Autopian’s resident Maverick evangelist, I originally had a long diatribe but the browser refreshed as I was proofing it.

To keep it short, I agree with Matt. This comes down to using the right tool for the right job. The Maverick is essentially a reformatted SUV with a handy 4.5′ long bed. I use it for camping, hauling furniture/construction supplies, and light towing. Asking the market’s smallest truck to haul a canoe without a rack is kind of silly. Heck, even doing this with the Ranger or the Toyota Tacoma (on the models with the 5′ bed) would be awkward.

Also, unfair as it may be, midgates have only appeared on more expensive vehicles. The most notable midgates in recent memory came with the 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche, which had an MSRP of $33,965 ($59,900 now), and the 2003 Subaru Baja at $23,995 ($41,246 now). The Maverick’s current MSRP starts at $23,400.

Sean F
Sean F
26 days ago

For at least the canoe $40 gets you foam gunnel blocks that slide over the sides, so you have the canoe keel up in the bed, gunnel blocks against the rear edge of the cab, bow or stern against the folded up tailgate. strap down and away you go.

TaylorDane > TaylorSwift
TaylorDane > TaylorSwift
26 days ago

$60 tailgate extender at Harbor Freight, among other places. Handles a canoe, 2x4s, pretty much any long stuff. Done.

Russ Evenhuis
Russ Evenhuis
26 days ago

The only reason I have a full sized four door Ram 1500, and the reason I had one before I got this one, is because I can lay my bike down in the back and close the tonneau cover thereby securing it from anyone that might have ideas about stealing it at bay. I spent a lot of time measuring the bed capacity of all the trucks and found the Ram to be the biggest. The F150 was about 3″ too short with 4 doors. If someone would make a Maverick sized truck with a long bed, I’d be interested but I can’t comfortably leave my bike hanging out of a short bed truck.

The downside is last weekend when I took the cover off to help someone move.

Another Engineer
Another Engineer
26 days ago
Reply to  Russ Evenhuis

And for the difference in total operating costs between a 1500 and a more efficient and less expensive vehicle, I suspect your bike could have been stolen and replaced off a rack once a year and you’d still come out way ahead. Also, racks have locks.

Russ Evenhuis
Russ Evenhuis
26 days ago

Sure, I could probably have my $10k bike stolen at least once before the cost evens out.

Ben
Ben
26 days ago

And how much is it worth to you not to have your bike stolen in the middle of a bike vacation? Money isn’t everything.

Ben
Ben
26 days ago
Reply to  Russ Evenhuis

The downside is last weekend when I took the cover off to help someone move.

This is why my tonneau cover rolls up. Sure, it’s not as secure as a hard one, but the bike is still out of sight, out of mind, and out of the weather, which is the main thing.

Russ Evenhuis
Russ Evenhuis
26 days ago
Reply to  Ben

I had one of those on a different truck, they do work well too.

Doug Kretzmann
Doug Kretzmann
23 days ago
Reply to  Russ Evenhuis

my triathlon race bike needs to ride inside. It fits easily into Ford Sport Trac rear with a camper top, just have to take the front wheel off. The Maverick bed is the same size as the ST, so I can use the same 2×4 with skewer grip that I fabricated for the ST, bonus..
Usually just hang the MTB out the back. If in dubious parking areas, 30sec to take the front wheel off and in it fits too.

I can also report a full-size dead elk fits in the back, and it’s easier to clean afterward than a minivan. The Sienna minivan never really recovered from hauling a dead elk, blood in the carpets is surprisingly difficult to clean. Small truck FTW in this case.

Doug Kretzmann
Doug Kretzmann
23 days ago
Reply to  Doug Kretzmann

PS canoes go on the roof rack, always. My friend with a full-size Tundra does the same. We’re both in our 60s and can still get the canoes loaded. most days.

Adam Atwell
Adam Atwell
26 days ago

Lay the canoe sideways across the bed of the pickup. Should be fine.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
25 days ago
Reply to  Adam Atwell

I’ve done that once with a kayak. You’re legal up to 8 1/2′ wide, which looks REALLY wide on even a fullsize pickup.

SooperDooperPooperScooter
SooperDooperPooperScooter
26 days ago

Two things:
1) I think the Mav can be had with a roof rack + bed towers, which would shift some of the length of the Terror over the actual cabin. Might make things more palatable.

2) My mom’s old CR-V had a column shifter (and that cool ass picnic table) and boy were those things satisfying to shift. I wish more new vehicles retained them.

Another Engineer
Another Engineer
26 days ago

I’m glad the Maverick exists so there are fewer full size trucks with empty, pristine beds on the road, but there is nothing here that I haven’t done more easily with my minivan or could easily be done with a Prius with a utility trailer. Having to spend $1500 to get a rack so you can carry things longer than 5 feet by lifting them over your head is no solution.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
26 days ago

We are thinking of getting a Maverick hybrid. My wife is an avid gardener and this would be the perfect little truck for runs to the garden center. We certainly don’t need a full size truck for 10 bags of mulch or whatnot.

Adam Atwell
Adam Atwell
26 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

Counterpoint: But why not a full-size truck? Just saying. Truck. Full-Size Truck. The extra cup holders and center space is nice for eating In-N-Out without having to utilize the dash to hold my ketchup packets. So the real question is: Do you want to be able to eat in your truck or have to sit out with the public and the mouth breathers?

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
26 days ago
Reply to  Adam Atwell

Haha. I occasionally drive the company F250, so I get enough full size truck time. Also, my wife will NOT drive a truck that big.

Adam Atwell
Adam Atwell
26 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

Even better! My S.O. borrowed my truck one time (one time!) and it came back with a fairly noticeable dent in the center of tail-gate. She no longer likes to drive it.

Another Engineer
Another Engineer
26 days ago
Reply to  Adam Atwell

This is the most American thing I’ve ever read.

Pupmeow
Pupmeow
26 days ago

But your “minivan” comment totally ignores 2 major categories of things you would want to haul: yucky things and destructive things.
Trailers are nice if you have somewhere to store them. But, like a rack, they also cost money.

Another Engineer
Another Engineer
26 days ago
Reply to  Pupmeow

I have recently hauled the “destructive” things he cites on the interior of my van. Not just t posts and welded wire, but full hog panels. I have hauled loose mulch with a tarp. It has been to the dump many times. If my family were hauling something truly yucky like dead deer several times a year, I would get an old beater truck. If I’m buying a truck because I might need a load of gravel at some point in the future, just get it delivered (just like all those short bed truck owners do for their drywall). It will be way cheaper in the long run. It all comes down to use case and how often you actually need any of a trucks capabilities versus a little ingenuity and flexibility can have you avoid all a trucks negative aspects as a daily driver the rest of the time.

Who Knows
Who Knows
26 days ago

I’m not sure about the deer carcasses needing a beater truck, you seem to be too sensible to bother with a separate vehicle for that, instead of just putting a hitch mounted cargo tray on the van to haul a dead deer regularly. Personally I’d probably just strap it on the hood to proudly display to everyone.

Another Engineer
Another Engineer
25 days ago
Reply to  Who Knows

True, I have a hitch rack I don’t use very often, but would be a great deer carcass solution. Unfortunately, I’ve killed more deer with a car than intentionally.

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
26 days ago

After seeing a few Beetles with the “Dune” graphics and now the “Tremor” edition Fords, it’s got me thinking about unofficial movie tie-in cars.

Boxing Pistons
Boxing Pistons
26 days ago

Here’s hoping GM reads this, thinks the Midgate is actually Ford’s plan, and incorporates it into their upcoming competitor to the Maverick. Deja vu, anyone?

Last edited 26 days ago by Boxing Pistons
Data
Data
26 days ago
Reply to  Boxing Pistons

The 2025 Chevrolet Deja Vu, you heard it here first.

My Goat Ate My Homework
My Goat Ate My Homework
26 days ago

I agree agressively about the shifter. But can we also call out the drive mode selector? That’s even dumber. Most people use 4wd like once a year. Why the hell does it need to take up space in the most convenient spot?

My dad has a Silverado with a front bench (modern equivalent). The gear selector is on the column and the 4wd selector is on the dash. The middle is left open for 3 huge cupholders and massive storage. Actually, with the middle seat back down you can fit an entire pizza there, like a buffet for the whole car.

Get that other stuff out of the way.

Robot Turds
Robot Turds
26 days ago

I really don’t get the Maverick. Its like Ford got it 99% right. And then stopped short on the bed… literally. I still daily drive a 28 year old Tacoma with a 6 foot bed and its good for most things I need to haul. I looked at the Maverick and said nope- the bed is just too small.

TheFanciestCat
TheFanciestCat
27 days ago

I like the mid gate idea, but I would love a longer bed option. Even though I’ve used my pickups for work, I have never even gotten close to any payload limits. I cover the bed and it’s just a massive trunk on something that can handle a decently maintained dirt road when necessary.

I get that this could potentially cannibalize Ford sales, but there would also be no direct competition.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
27 days ago

As long as there are tie down points you should be OK. Others have mentioned the hitch based “extender”, that was going to be my strategy if I bought a Maverick. Might be a better solution than the mid-gate for some things.

Hell I could haul longer stuff in my Prius if I had tie down points.

JaVeyron
JaVeyron
27 days ago

I LOVE the idea of a midgate on the maverick or similar small pickup. It would be the ultimate affordable do-anything vehicle. I think GM had an opportunity to one-up Ford by introducing a competitor with a midgate, since they’re the ones that “invented” it on the avalanche. Make it classically/simply/handsomely styled like an old S-10 or square body. But if it’s not already in development, it’s too late, and I don’t trust GM not to overstyle it like a wannabe brodozer.

Also I’m sure it’s much easier said than done, engineering-wise. Potential side effects include leaking, creaking, reduced chassis rigidity, road noise, and of course added cost. Just look to the interview on this site with the lead Tacoma engineer explaining why it wasn’t worth it to give the extended cab taco half-doors.

I think my ultimate utility vehicle would be a hybrid maverick with a midgate and a bronco-style modular roof that covers the bed. Take the roof panels off the back for an open cargo area, and maybe throw in a removable rear-facing jump seat. It’ll never happen, but I can dream!

166
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x