2021 Chicago Auto Show: Talking Shop About the Ford Maverick

As significant as the electric F-150 Lightning’s launch is, it’s not the only new truck Ford released at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show. The show also marked the launch of the 2022 Ford Maverick, the brand’s modern compact truck. Not to mention the first production pickup truck to come standard as a hybrid. It’s safe to say, then, that the Ford Maverick is a significant step for the Blue Oval. And at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show, MotorBiscuit talked with Maverick marketing manager Trevor Scott to discover what shaped this new pickup.

First-time truck buyers: why the 2022 Ford Maverick has a standard hybrid powertrain

The side view of a red 2022 Ford Maverick Lariat with a bike in the bed at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show
2022 Ford Maverick Lariat side | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

While the Ford Maverick’s unibody design is unusual enough for a pickup, the truck’s hybrid powertrain is more significant. And not just for the segment, but for the Maverick’s target customers, too.

Having a hybrid powertrain in the 2022 Ford Maverick “was always part of the original plan,” Trevor Scott told me. And having it as standard was also “part of the original equation,” he says. Admittedly, it helps Ford meet fuel-economy regulations, Road & Track notes. But it’s also there because the Maverick’s target audience is first-time truck buyers, Scott said. In other words, customers coming from small crossovers and sedans like the Honda Civic.

According to Ford’s research, these customers put a premium on fuel efficiency, Scott explained. So, it’s not an issue that the Ford Maverick Hybrid can’t tow quite as much as the base Hyundai Santa Cruz. That’s because, based on initial estimates, it should be more efficient. Plus, a 2000-lb towing capacity is more than some passenger cars offer.

Some 2022 Ford Mavericks have more off-road capability but don’t expect a Raptor

The 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid models do have a downside, though. As of this writing, they’re only available with FWD. Getting AWD requires stepping up to the non-hybrid but more powerful Maverick EcoBoost. However, that’s not necessarily an issue.

In Ford’s mind, the Ranger is the choice for truck buyers interested in off-roading, Scott explained. The Maverick, meanwhile, “is targeted at a different customer overall,” he said. In other words, ultimate off-road capability isn’t a priority because that’s not the Maverick’s segment. As such, there’s no Maverick Raptor in the works.

But that doesn’t mean the Ford Maverick has nothing to offer for off-road-curious customers. Although I didn’t see it at the Chicago Auto Show, the AWD Maverick XLT and Lariat EcoBoost offer the same FX4 Package as the Ranger. This adds things like all-terrain tires, skid plates, off-road driving modes, upgraded cooling, and a 1” lift kit with unique suspension tuning.

“Storage for me is incredibly important,” Trevor Scott says

Besides being the marketing manager for the Ford Maverick, Trevor Scott also considers himself a potential customer. “I, typically up to this point, have driven SUVs,” he told me. But with two young kids, he “needs the extra cargo space.” And that’s why Scott’s favorite part of the Maverick is its storage capabilities.

Roadshow describes the Ford Maverick’s interior as “like a Swiss Army knife” in terms of its utility. There’s a storage bin directly under the rather spacious second-row seats, for example. That gives you cargo space without sacrificing passenger space. Plus, it keeps valuables out of the eyes of thieves, The Drive points out.

The design of the interior door handles/armrests is another neat touch. Instead of being continuous strips, they’re broken up into two ‘cantilevered’ sections. That gives the door pockets enough vertical space to comfortably hold a 1-liter water bottle. And speaking of door pockets, the front ones extended far back to accommodate larger items, including laptops.

The bed of a red 2022 Ford Maverick Lariat with a black mountain bike mounted inside
2022 Ford Maverick Lariat bed | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

Plus, there’s the 2022 Ford Maverick’s bed. “Generally speaking, where we spent a lot of time is with the bed itself,” Scott said. 54” long with the tailgate up, the Maverick’s bed isn’t particularly long, and the Ford design team knew it. But the team still wanted to make it customizable and user-friendly. Scott acknowledged that this last part was vital, again, because the Maverick is designed for first-time truck buyers.  

Unfortunately, the Ford Maverick Hybrid isn’t powerful enough to drive a bed-mounted generator like the F-150 Hybrid. And giving it a second battery to do so would mean packaging issues and a higher price tag, Scott explained. But seeing as Maverick buyers likely aren’t looking to power work sites, it’s not a necessary feature.

The 3D-printed Ford Maverick accessories came out of designing the pickup truck’s bed

However, the Ford Maverick bed does have several other power outlets. It also packs multiple tie-downs and D-rings for easy gear stowage. And the truck at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show came with a mountain bike mounted in the bed.

The bed is also why the Ford Maverick has slots for 3D-printed accessories, Scott told me. This feature came about “as an extension of a lot of the work that went into the Flex Bed,” he explained, as a way of giving customers a way to customize their trucks. Or, as Scott put it, the capability of “creating their own DIY solutions.”

A future EV isn’t out of the picture

While there won’t be a Ford Maverick Raptor anytime soon, Trevor Scott says an electric model isn’t out of the question. Ford product communications director Mike Levine already hinted that an electric truck smaller than the F-150 Lightning is in the works, R&T reports. It’s not necessarily a Maverick EV, but the idea “is on our radar,” Scott told me. The key hurdle right now is making battery technology affordable.

The Ford Maverick’s affordability is likely a key part in why it’s garnered so many pre-orders recently. Without driving it, it’s impossible to say if it lives up to the surrounding hype or not. But it is clear that, at least from a design and engineering perspective, the Maverick team sweated the details.

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