Barry Spiker | Tribune News Service
For those who missed the old little Ford Ranger pickup, it’s back. However, it is now called Maverick. And the 4.5-foot cargo bed has some nifty tricks, plus a versatile tailgate. Oh, and the basic version comes standard as a hybrid.
Judging by the sales numbers, would-be truck buyers seem to be hungry for compact pickup trucks like this Maverick. Demand was so strong that Ford stopped taking orders last year to keep up with production. Do not worry. Order his bank for the 2023 model year has reopened.
Already named North American Truck of the Year by a group of Michigan journalists, Maverick adds a more hardcore off-road version, the Tremor, this year. With upgraded shocks, extra ground clearance and a beefy transmission he has cooler, all-terrain tires.
Parked next to the old Ranger, it’s easy to see the thought process of the new Maverick. Compact trucks have grown into midsize vehicles such as the Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma, and Nissan Frontier. The Maverick is just an inch taller and wider than the old Ranger.
The Maverick is part of a new segment that includes the Hyundai Santa Cruz, which costs $4,000 more, but can also tow. It has a boxy, muscular look with visible beams in a black mesh grille. Only offered in a crew cab configuration with four doors, all Mavericks have a small but versatile 4.5-foot cargo bed.
Ford calls it a Flexbed, with slots stamped into the sides for placing 2x4s and delimiting areas. A do-it-yourselfer can scan his QR code in bed to find other stowage ideas. Video tutorials are also available. Also, let’s talk about the future. Ford offers blueprints for 3D printed accessories that you can print at home.
The tailgate can be positioned in between to support a 4×8 sheet of plywood (worth 400 pounds). Or two kayaks, or a kids swing set.
Power begins with a hybrid configuration that combines a 2.5-liter engine with an electric motor and a CVT (continuously variable transmission). This 191-horsepower version is for those who need pickup functionality but don’t intend to lift anything heavy. The towing rating is 2,000 lbs for him and the payload is 1,500 for him.
But a gas pump with an EPA-rated 42 mpg city, 30 highway, and 500-mile-per-tank range pays off.
But most people opt for the turbocharged 2.0-litre 4. It has more pep and power and is available with all-wheel drive ($3,305). It’s a little slower off the line, but still hits 60 mph in about 6 seconds. Part of the credit goes to his quick-shift eight-speed transmission, not his CVT, which is a hybrid.
It produces 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, has a high payload of 2,000 lbs and can tow up to 4,000 lbs. As expected, it’s less efficient than a hybrid.
Unlike truck-based platforms, the Maverick is based on the Ford Escape, offering more car-like dynamics. The steering is moderately weighted, and U-turns are stress-free due to the small turning radius. The suspension remains stable in corners and adjusts well over rough patches of road.
City dwellers will find it easier to navigate narrow streets and parallel parks.
When it comes to rougher stuff, the Maverick is not a hardcore off-roader. It has only 8.6 inches of ground clearance and no locking differentials or low range gears.
Still, it’s fine on moderate trails. The Off-Road FX4 package makes the Maverick bold with optional AWD on XLT and lariat trim, traction control modes for skid plates, mud, ruts and sand, and Hill Descent Control.
The cabin has a classic, minimalist look with hard plastics, knobs, multiple cup holders and cubby. However, it is enhanced by color and texture contrast and optional ambient lighting. Even the base trim gets tilt and telescoping wheels and wheel-mounted controls.
Maverick is a junior truck, but the interior of the car is a comfortable space. Legroom and headroom are decent, but not so much backseat legroom. When not in use, the rear seats can be flipped up into an additional storage compartment.
In higher trim, a two-tone cross seat offers self-adjusting and adjustable lumbar support.
An 8-inch touchscreen is standard across the trimline. The base infotainment system is surprisingly good and compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but in higher trim you’ll find Ford’s faster and more responsive Sync 3 system with Bluetooth. You can access it.
All trims include 2 USB ports, a Wi-Fi hotspot and a 6-speaker audio system. The instrument panel is also fairly simple, with speed and tack analog dials and a vehicle data display in the center.
Standard safety features include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection. Ford’s Co-Pilot360 is a package of advanced features such as adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go function, lane centering system and evasive steering assist.
Look for more manufacturers to develop these small trucks in the future. They’re addicted to people who crave an easy-to-drive, lightweight pickup truck that carries a payload of value and versatility.
2023 Ford Maverick XL
MSRP: $22,195 (includes no-upcharge turbocharged 2.0L Ecoboost engine, rear sliding window, spray bedliner)
what’s all the excitement?A lightweight, versatile pickup for the do-it-yourselfer who needs cargo space without a monster truck
Powertrain: 2.5L engine, electric motor, CVT hybrid system.Or a 2.0-liter turbocharger linked to an 8-speed automatic transmission
How’s the performance? Go turbo for more pep and power: 0-60 mph in about 6 seconds.Easy to handle even in the city
Fuel economy: EPA estimated 42 mpg city, 30 highway hybrid. 23 mpg, city, 30 highway, 26 combined for turbo
(Barry Spyker was an automotive columnist and editor of the Wheels & Waves section of The Miami Herald. Readers please email email@example.com.)
https://www.ocregister.com/2023/01/24/return-of-the-compact-truck-ford-maverick-small-on-stature-big-on-versatility/ Ford Maverick Is Small, But Versatile – Orange County Register