NEWS

How Does the 2022 Ford Maverick Handle the City?

ford-maverick-lariat-2022-01-black-exterior-profile-truck 2022 Ford Maverick | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

When you think of the type of vehicle best suited to living in a city, a pickup truck probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But with the introduction of the Maverick for 2022, Ford is offering city dwellers a truck that ticks boxes normally reserved for compact cars and SUVs. To see just how effective it is under such circumstances, fellow Cars.com editor and Chicago-city-proper denizen Brian Normile and I took to our fair streets with a front-wheel-drive Maverick Lariat with Ford’s available hybrid drivetrain to see what stood out most about it in urban environs.

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Size Matters

Dispensing with the obvious: At 199.7 inches long and 72.6 inches wide, the Maverick undercuts its Blue Oval stablemates in the Ranger (210.8 inches long and 73.3 inches wide) and F-150 (231.7 and 79.9 inches for a short-box SuperCrew) by significant amounts. It’s evident in practice, too: Street parking in my neighborhood after work was less a game of “will it fit?” and more a game of “which spot do I choose?” I never lost sleep wondering what I’d come back to find when I took the Maverick out for a drive — a sentiment I’d sometimes have with the Ranger and always have with Cars.com’s long-term F-150. Narrow, two-way streets with cars parked on each side can sometimes feel harrowing in a pickup truck, but the Maverick felt equally untrucklike in such cases.

Crowded parking lots weren’t a problem, either; spaces that once required three-point turns became simple in-and-outs. That tracks with the Maverick’s turning circle of 40 feet — wider than many cars, but better than the Ranger (42.5 feet) or F-150 (41.2 feet) at their tightest. Interestingly, the Ranger’s turning circle also matches its only direct rival, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz. The Santa Cruz features similar dimensions to the Maverick — overall, it’s slightly shorter (195.7 inches) and wider (75 inches) — but even with a shorter wheelbase (118.3 inches to the Maverick’s 121.1 inches), the Santa Cruz is no easier to maneuver in tight spots.

The Hybrid Helps

Physical dimensions are easy to pinpoint as an advantage in the city, but the Maverick’s most significant asset is one you won’t notice until you get behind the wheel of a hybrid variant. After roughly 100 miles that covered suburban neighborhoods, downtown stop-and-go driving and faster interstates with minimal elevation changes, the trip computer read 35.7 mpg. At one point, I looked down at the dash and noticed I’d cleared 50 mpg in bumper-to-bumper expressway traffic, though further travel eventually reduced that to the less sensational number. Still, the emphasis is on less: With ambient temperatures in the mid-30s and climate controls set to Auto and at two-thirds force, I observed just a few hairs below the Maverick hybrid’s 37 mpg EPA combined rating and some 10 mpg more than the EPA combined estimate for a front-drive Maverick with the available gas-only, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder.

That’s short of what Ford’s Escape hybrid SUV achieves in EPA numbers using a similar drivetrain (41 mpg combined), but it’s also well clear of the Santa Cruz (23 mpg combined). Brian calls it a “new vision for a pickup.”

The good fuel economy is a bonus atop the Maverick’s mostly pleasant driving experience, and that’s without maxing out the truck’s 1,500-pound payload rating and 2,000-pound towing capacity, which we didn’t test. Unlike our F-150 hybrid, the Maverick hybrid we tested had an engine that was less eager to restart after pulling away from a stoplight and subtler when it did; there’s no serious shudder or engine afterclap like the truck just broke down. It also offers a composed ride that Brian likened to that of a Honda Civic — whose latest generation rides respectably, if firmly to some of our editors — with enough get-up-and-go that passing and merging weren’t issues.

ford-maverick-lariat-2022-02-black-exterior-rear-angle-truck 2022 Ford Maverick | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

One drawback we noted is how the brakes tend to err on the sensitive side. I thought it was just me tapping too hard and too fast, but the grabby aspect will take some getting used to if you’re unfamiliar with hybrid regenerative braking systems.

Safety First

Whether it’s blind alleys or passing bicyclists on tight streets, living in a city presents myriad ways of getting a vehicle into trouble. Standard features include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and the federally required backup camera, which did the trick during the day but looked grainy to me at night. Options include adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning with steering assist and hands-on lane centering. If you do a lot of urban driving, the latter additions will come in handy (as they did for me). Front parking sensors would make for a welcome addition in future model years to help mitigate sightlines over the hood from your seating position.

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The Cost (and Supply) Question

If nothing else, the Maverick is a practical city vehicle for one major reason: It’s affordable. Base XL trims start at $21,490 (all prices include destination), but even our fairly loaded Lariat hybrid test truck rang in at less than $30,000. Even if you live on a street where hostile neighbors go out of their way to ding and nick your truck, repairs will inevitably cost less than, say, the scratch on your Mercedes-AMG GT.

Of course, you’d need to have a Maverick in the first place in order for anyone to damage it. If a hybrid is on your shopping list, here’s the bad news first: Ford says the 2022 model is sold out. The turbo four-cylinder variant is still available for ordering, however, and both examples exist in Cars.com inventory at the time of this writing. If trucking around in the city is something you seek, and you’re not picky about your pickup, the 2022 Ford Maverick features plenty of reasons to put your money down.

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