DETROIT – Ford Motor’s new Maverick truck will be the first pickup truck in America with a standard gas-electric hybrid engine when it goes on sale from around $ 20,000 this fall.
The company presented the compact pickup on Tuesday as the smallest vehicle in its highly profitable truck range, which is among the full-size F-150 and Midsize Ranger pickups. The Maverick is about 3 feet shorter and 7 inches lower than an F-150, Ford said.
Compact pickups are an untapped and untested market in the U.S. Ford’s expansion into the segment has come as truck sales have skyrocketed in recent years, with buying considerations outstripping that of automobiles last year, according to Cox Automotive.
2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid (left) and 2.0-liter EcoBoost Lariat 1t
Expanding Ford’s truck business was a goal of CEO Jim Farley, who is restructuring the automaker’s operations to focus on its strengths like pickups.
The Maverick name is not new to Ford. It produced a two-door sedan with that name from 1969 to 1979. The company also used the Maverick name for several vehicles in Australia, China and Europe.
Ford expects the new Maverick to attract new buyers for the brand as well as the highly loyal pickup truck segment, officials said.
“Maverick questions the status quo and the stereotypes of what a pickup truck can be,” said Todd Eckert, marketing manager for Ford Truck Group, in a statement. “We think it will be interesting for a lot of people who have never considered a truck before.”
Several Ford officials called the Maverick a “truck for people who never knew they wanted a truck” during a media briefing.
The vehicle is a standard five-passenger, four-door pickup truck as opposed to other Ford trucks like the F-150, which start with two doors and can only accommodate two or three people.
Ford said the Maverick comes standard with a hybrid gas-electric powertrain that is expected to have a range of 500 miles on a single tank of fuel. According to Ford, the hybrid vehicle is expected to achieve an EPA estimated fuel economy of 40 mpg in city driving. The company declined to publish estimates of total and highway consumption.
Chris Mazur, the pickup’s chief engineer, said the 40 mpg city was Ford’s “collective cry” for the vehicle. He said fuel economy is an important consideration for smaller pickups.
“We bring it to win,” he told CNBC. “It is a white space vehicle that is entering a new segment.”
Cox Automotive says cargo space is – by far – the single most important factor for consumers who would prefer a compact truck to a more traditional SUV, followed by fuel efficiency and price.
Analysts have said that the Maverick would have to be well below the Ford Ranger and other midsize pickups to be competitive in the US market. A two-door version of the Ranger starts at around $ 25,000. A four-door model starts at around $ 27,000, according to Ford’s website.
The Maverick will start at $ 19,995, according to Ford.
A mix of cars and trucks
Unlike Ford’s other pickups, the Maverick is assembled through a process the auto industry calls “unibody” construction. In the process by which cars are made, the frame / body of the vehicle is one. This is similar to the “body-on-frame” construction for most pickups and some vans and SUVs, which combines the body and frame of the vehicles towards the end of production.
The most notable unibody pickup truck currently on the market is the mid-size Honda Ridgeline. Such a construction typically allows for a smoother ride, but has fewer capabilities than a conventional truck.
The Maverick’s smaller size will allow easier access to the bed and cabin of the vehicle compared to larger pickup trucks, Ford said.
The vehicle’s standard 2.5-liter, four-cylinder hybrid drive is rated at 191 horsepower and 155 foot-pounds of torque. A 2.0 liter gasoline engine with 250 horsepower and 277 foot pounds of torque will also be available.
The pickup is produced at the Ford Hermosillo plant in Mexico together with the new Ford Bronco Sport SUV. The vehicles share the same base, also known as the platform.
Compact vehicles with pickup beds have come and gone several times in the American auto industry.
Especially the Ford Ranchero and Chevrolet El Camino from the 1950s and 1960s and more recently the Subaru Baja from the 2000s. Hyundai enters the small U.S. pickup market with the Santa Cruz, an SUV-like vehicle set to hit the market this summer.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz
Ford expects to differentiate the Maverick from previous vehicles, as well as the Santa Cruz, by making it a more traditional truck. It’s a plan that is similar to the recently introduced F-150 electric pickup truck.
“It’s unmistakably a Ford truck,” says Heath Hilliard, Maverick Creative Exterior Designer.