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AUTO PAGE: Ford Maverick: New for 2022

| January 1, 2022 1:00 AM

Ford had the small-truck market all to itself with the original Ford Ranger, until it was retired following the 2011 model year. The Ranger badge reappeared on a new midsize pickup for 2019, but Ford believed there was room for a still-smaller trucklet.

For nontraditional buyers, especially, the Maverick’s SuperCrew (crew cab) body style with four full doors and seating for five passengers makes it family-friendly and practical. In fact, the Maverick is the least expensive Ford vehicle and is the entry model for the brand.

The front-wheel-drive platform, which originates with the unitized (frameless) Bronco Sport and Escape crossovers, has been strengthened in key areas to accommodate payloads of up to 1,500 pounds in the 4.5-foot bed. Ford claims the Maverick can carry 18 4x8 sheets of three-quarter-inch plywood flat on the load floor, with the tailgate lowered, of course.

The standard hybrid’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine teams with an electric motor to produce 191 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque. It’s teamed with a continuously variable transmission. Optional is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 250 horsepower and 277 pound-feet that’s mated to an eight-speed automatic. All-wheel-drive is available with the 2.0. The system lacks a two-speed transfer case, so there’s no low range for more extreme off-roading.

The hybrid can tow up to 2,000 pounds, while the 2.0-liter is rated at 4,000 and is fitted with a factory towing package. The available FX4 Off-Road option comes with protective skid plates, higher-capacity radiator and unique aluminum wheels with all-terrain tires. Hill-descent control keeps the Maverick at a slow and steady pace when heading down steep inclines, without the driver having to use the brakes.

2022 Ford Maverick

Base price (incl. destination): $21,500

Type: Compact pickup

Engines (h.p.): 2.5-liter I-4 plus electric motor (191); 2.0-liter I-4, turbocharged (250)

Transmissions: Continuously variable (2.5); eight-speed automatic (2.0)

Layout: Front- /all-wheel-drive

Base mpg (city/highway/combined): 42/33/37 (hybrid)

Base weight (lb.): 3,670

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