2023 Ford Maverick Lariat Hybrid
Price: $42,550 CAD
Color: Hot Pepper Red
As a young man growing up the original Ford Ranger was an icon. So much so that it came to define what a small pickup was all about. It was truly small, nimble and while payload wasn’t enormous it was capable of giving you what you needed when you needed it. I owned a 1994 Ranger Sport for many years and I adored that truck. It took me everywhere I needed to go and when it was time to pick up a dryer from Home Depot it could do that too. It was also (relatively when compared to a full-sized truck) fuel efficient and inexpensive to buy. When they discontinued the Ranger in 2012 my heart was broken. I loved that vehicle and while I was excited when they launched the new one in 2019, it wasn’t the same. That’s a much larger truck and had completely lost the spirit of its predecessor. The hope was rekindled again when Ford announced the Maverick in 2021. It took me a while to get behind the wheel, but it was worth the wait. I’ve come home.
Power & Performance
The Maverick Hybrid comes with a 2.5L Duratec bolted to an electric motor that combine to give you 191 hp. Your upgraded option is the 2.0 Ecoboost turbocharged powerplant we’ve all come to know and be suspicious of. This gives you more power (250hp/277lb ft) but will drink fuel like a teenager attacking a Big Gulp. The hybrid system is designed to make the Maverick fuel efficient and it achieves this in fine form. I averaged 5.7L/100 kms (41mpg) which is excellent for any vehicle not to mention for a pickup truck. The power was sufficient but doesn’t give any more which I’ll accept considering the payoff in fuel economy. The only drawback to the hybrid powertrain is that, for whatever reason, you can only get FWD. If you want AWD you need to pop for the 2.0L turbo. This was a disappointment, and I am absolutely certain there’s a way to fix this but at the moment, we must live with it. Despite this short coming, I would still opt for the hybrid system because it just gives you so much.
One criticism levelled at the Maverick is that it’s not a body-on-frame design. Almost all pickups utilize a ladder chassis for its strength and durability. The Maverick utilizes the same chassis as the Ford Focus which makes it unibody. They do this for economy reasons etc. This means the Maverick isn’t made for towing (capacity is 2000lbs with the hybrid and 4000 if you get the turbo and some other bits and pieces). This doesn’t bother me as it seems to others since I would never tow anything more than a utility trailer with the Maverick. It would handle that just fine and it doesn’t need to do more. I will remind that the old Ranger didn’t tow much either and that didn’t stop us from loving it. The Maverick is built to a specific purpose and when you really think it through, that’s a good thing.
Is the 2023 Maverick good looking? Yep, it’s a winner. It has a smallness to its appearance that I like. It’s a small pickup remember. They wisely made it small without making it soft and that is the key here. The grille is all Ford and the proportions are balanced. I really like the way this vehicle looks.
Ford/Lincoln have put buttons on the B-pillar of their vehicles for years. This allows you to unlock the car with a code and lock all your important stuff inside. They’ve included this in the Maverick and I was so thrilled to see it. It went away for a while but they’re bringing it back on many models across the range. As I say regularly, sometimes it’s the little things.
The interior of the 2023 Ford Maverick is a comfortable place. It’s small, like the rest of the car (noticing a theme here), but it doesn’t feel cramped. There is enough space for four adults and you could squeeze three kids into the back see if you felt compelled to do so.
Regular readers know my preference for wireless charging in a car. I detest having cables crawling over the console of a vehicle. I inevitably spill coffee on them and that bums me out. Fortunately, the Maverick comes with a wonderful wireless charging pad that will charge your phone pretty quickly and you can avoid the scourge of wires.
The Lariat trim comes with leather upholstery that was surprisingly supple. I often find leather is a place where manufacturers can cut some corners without being obvious and thus, we get harder leather. In the Maverick we get a good grade of leather that feels more upscale than one has any right to expect.
Most pickups don’t have a sliding rear window. If you do want one, it will cost you. They package that little addition into the higher trim levels and bleed you hard to get it. The Lariat trim is the highest trim level of the Maverick so they’re still playing the packaging game with the rear window but given that the Maverick is a lot less money than its bigger cousins, it doesn’t hurt as much. Did I also mention that it’s a power rear window? So good.
Another feature not always included in less expensive vehicles are sunroofs. The Maverick Lariat however does have one. It was a wonderful addition. I don’t often use sunroofs, but I did in the Maverick. It served to make the interior feel a little bigger.
The Maverick feels like a quality vehicle. There were no squeaks, rattle or pops and the interior, while a little blue, felt solid and well put together. The hybrid powertrain functioned well and was very smooth as was the CVT transmission. Ford doesn’t always get build quality to where it should but, but they did with the Maverick.
CQI – 8. Thankfully we get good carpet in the Maverick. I was expecting Velcro.
The Ford Maverick has few natural competitors. The only one that really comes close is the Hyundai Santa Cruz. I like the Santa Cruz a lot, but similar trim levels will cost you more money, it has no hybrid option and it lacks the sense of “smallness” I love so much about the Maverick. Should you be on the hunt for a truly small pickup, the Maverick stands alone.
I was pleasantly surprised with the 2023 Ford Maverick. It’s a vehicle made with focus. It’s small because it’s supposed to be. It will give you 90% of the utility of any other pickup but you don’t have to deal with the costs of running a full-size. Combine that with how easy it is to drive and maneuver and you get a vehicle we haven’t seen for a very long time. With every successive generation of vehicles getting bigger, Ford has made the wise decision of making the Maverick small and they will reap the benefit of that for years to come.