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2022 Ford Maverick debuts: Ford reveals a $20,000 compact pickup with hybrid powertrain

2022 Ford Maverick debuts: Ford reveals a $20,000 compact pickup with hybrid powertrain

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2022 Ford Maverick debuts: Ford reveals a $20,000 compact pickup with hybrid powertrain

2022 Ford Maverick compact pickup truck unveiledThe 2022 Ford Maverick will have a standard hybrid engine and be priced at about $20,000.Maven – The Street, Maven – The StreetFord is betting big on its ability to change Americans’ driving habits, introducing a compact pickup with a nameplate revived from its past.The automaker revealed the 2022 Ford Maverick on Tuesday after months of rumors that it was considering entering the compact pickup segment.A 40-mile-per-gallon hybrid version will go on sale this fall, starting at $19,995. The Maverick is intended to get a new class of customers into pickups, marketing boss Trevor Scott said.“We fully expect to put the Maverick on the map with customers who haven’t previously considered pickups,” Scott said. “We expect a large number of first-time pickup buyers” who previously drove small sedans and SUVs. “Our target customers have had to compromise fuel efficiency versus cargo or passenger space.”Compact pickups poised for a comeback: Hyundai Santa Cruz, Ford Maverick generate buzzSave better, spend better:  Money tips and advice delivered right to your inbox. Sign up for free hereThe Maverick’s 100.3 cubic feet of passenger space is considerably more than Ford’s discontinued Fiesta and Focus small cars and nearly as much as the defunct midsize Fusion sedan, which cost thousands of dollars more than the Maverick’s base price. Its 54.4-inch-long bed dwarfs those cars’ cargo capacity, and a fold-up rear seat offers big-box space protected from the elements and pilferage.2022 Ford Maverick highlightsFour-door, five-passenger cabin, with plenty of storage191-horsepower hybrid base model rated 40-mpg in EPA city driving testsOptional 250-hp modelFront- or all-wheel drive54.4-inch long bedStandard automatic high beamsStandard automatic emergency front braking2,000- or 4,000-pound towing capacity, depending on FWD or AWD drivetrain1,500-pound payloadPedestrian detection and brakingFront collision alert and brakingWhat could go wrong? Ask SubaruDespite the Maverick’s appealing price and features, skepticism is merited, if not mandatory. Without getting too deep in the engineering weeds, previous small pickups built on car-type chassis like the Maverick have consistently flopped in the USA. Pickups are fabulously popular and profitable, but buyers spurned little trucks that strayed from the body-on-frame construction of Ford’s Ranger midsize and F-series full-size pickups.The history of failure includes the Subaru Brat in the 1970s, VW Rabbit pickup in the ’80s and Subaru’s second bite of the apple with the Baja in the 2000s. Even the Honda Ridgeline, bigger and better equipped than that trio and backed by Honda’s enviable reputation, has sold slowly: 32,168 sales in 2020 and 33,334 in pre-pandemic 2019.Ford expects to sell considerably more Mavericks than that. The compact pickup is one of the “white space” vehicles the automaker counts on to offset sales lost when it dropped the Fiesta, Focus and Fusion.Optional safety and assist features include:Adaptive cruise controlEvasive steering assistLane centeringReverse sensingBlind spot and cross-traffic alertLane departure alert and assistHill descent controlDeveloped fast, with an eye on buyers’ budgetsFord engineers took nearly two years out of the company’s usual timeline developing the Maverick, keeping an eye on costs the whole time.The interior is thrifty, with what Ford calls “speckled” plastic surfaces rather than cushioned materials on the dash and door.The seats are cloth or vinyl – no option for leather – and the 8-inch touch screen is small by the standards of new vehicles. Ford created shorter inner door handles to make more room for bottles, laptops and the like in storage pockets. It remains to be seen whether those decisions led to less comfortable grips to pull the door closed or surfaces to rest your arm.Even Ford’s aging Sync3 infotainment system is an option, though Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.Ford is betting Maverick owners won’t notice or care. The Maverick isn’t intended to compete with niceties such as 10-inch touch screens and padded surfaces in bigger pickups. It’s Ford’s entry-level model, designed to take on vehicles such as the Hyundai Venue, Nissan Kicks – no all-wheel drive there – and small cars such as the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, which have less room and worse visibility.The Maverick shares its basic engineering with the Ford Escape, Bronco Sport and Lincoln Corsair compact SUVs. It’ll be built alongside the Bronco Sport in Hermosillo, Mexico.The Maverick’s advantages include an easy-to-park 199.7-inch length – you can fit in a standard street-side spot and have room to open the tailgate – and a low height that makes it easy to step into the cabin and even reach over the side and into the bed. Try that in your ChevFoRamToyoNiss full-size pickup or even a midsize Honda Ridgeline.The Maverick is a bit bigger than the sleek Santa Cruz compact Hyundai will introduce this fall. Its styling is much more purposeful, with a general-issue Ford grille, C-clamp head and taillights and tailgate.Ford will make the Maverick in three trim levels: XL, XLT and Lariat.Prices and fuel economy estimates for the full model line will be available closer to the start of sales.The five-passenger vehicle boasts towing capacity of 2,000 pounds and payload capacity of 1,500.Follow Detroit Free Press auto critic Mark Phelan on Twitter @mark_phelan


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