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2024 Ford Maverick

Maverick hybrid cranks out 42 miles per gallon

Ford Motor Company churns out as many of these units as possible while dealers insist their times sitting on lots remains minimal.  

It’s a good problem to face if a major automaker; a vehicle so in demand dealers clammer for more as buyer anticipation grows.  To top it all off, it’s a green, or at least greener vehicle with a compact pickup persona.

Welcome to the 2024 Ford Maverick. If Ford’s learned anything during its 120 years of vehicle assembly, it’s how to create and execute successful pickup trucks.  For the past 42 years, the full-size F-Series held the title of best-selling vehicle of any size in America and the best-selling pickup truck for 47 straight years.
 
Maverick’s self-charging, four-cylinder gas-electric hybrid variant never seeks out a wall-socket plug while providing excellent gasoline mileage thanks to such energy-recycling benefits as regenerative braking.

During the first quarter of 2024, Maverick sales in the U.S. reached 39,061 units, a whopping 82 percent increase from the same period in 2023.  For calendar year 2023, Maverick earned the title of best-selling hybrid pickup of any size in the U.S.

Another reason for all the attention: compared with all other vehicles in Ford’s 2024 lineup, Maverick, with its sub-$24,000 starting figure, qualifies as the lowest-priced product available.  This fun fact also reflects Ford’s decision to discontinue the four-door sedan body style (in small and mid-size dimensions) and the retirement four year ago of the subcompact Fiesta.

Unlike its full-size F-150 counterpart, Maverick builds upon a uni-body, car-like platform utilized in Ford’s compact Bronco Sport crossover. Maverick drives more like a compact crossover than a conventional pickup truck with ‘bouncy house’ type suspension compliments of the heavier/bulkier body-on-frame structure. Plus, Maverick’s tight turning radius is an aspect larger pickups only dream about.

Mavericks got plenty of spunk for weekend trips to Home Depot.  Its standard 4.5-foot cargo bed (marketed as Flexbed) provides 36 cubic feet of storage space and accommodates the all-important 4 x 8 plywood sheet with the multiple-setting, manually operated rear tailgate stationed at its mid-level, half closed position.  Also standard, four regular-sized front-hinged side doors Ford markets as ‘Super Crew.’ Larger pickups offer an array of bed sizes and cab configurations, but Maverick simplifies the process.
 
The 8.3 inches of ground clearance mirrors that of crossovers rather than taller-standing body-on-frame pickups, creating pleasurable egress and ingress without the need for side running boards. Passengers enjoy plentiful headroom while second row leg room may require negotiations with the front pair of bucket seats within this five-seater.  Two adults travel in optimal comfort in back, three for short durations.

Two engine options return but with updated marketing messages.  A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder represents the standard choice in 2024 while the gas-electric hybrid featuring a 2.5-liter, non-turbo gas powertrain reflects a relatively reasonably $1,500 option.  During the first two model years, the hybrid system was standard and EcoBoost optional. Other 2024 updates include a pair of new exterior colors (Azure Metallic Gray Tri-Coat and Terrain) along with several pairing updates regarding option packages.

The turbocharged four cylinder (which Ford markets as ‘EcoBoost) delivers a decent 250 horsepower and mates to a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission delivering power to the front wheels.  Ford also offers an all-wheel drive option with this engine for an extra $2,220.  The optional hybrid combines a 2.5-liter gas engine with an electric motor combining for 191 horsepower with exclusive front wheel drive and an electronic continuously variable transmission (ECVT).

An electronic continuously variable transmission (ECVT) while similar sounding to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) offers a completely different build structure.  An ECVT operates in tandem with the vehicle’s two small electric motors instead of pulleys and belts utilized with conventional CVTs. The reliability rate of ECVTs far exceeds those of conventional CVTs.

Within the gas-electric hybrid community, two distinct platforms exist; full hybrids and mild hybrids.  Maverick employs full-hybrid technology meaning Maverick can drive alone in pure electric mode for short distances, especially from a standing start. This design often times refers to FHEV.  Lower priced mild gas-electric hybrids (MHEVs) only assist the engine and deliver less impressive miles per gallon with a lower cost than FHEVs.

Ford locates the flat, 1.1 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack out of sight under the rear passenger side floorboard.

Marketplace competition comes from mid-size and larger pickups.  For price-sensitive shoppers, Mavericks offers a significant bang for the buck and unbeatable fuel mileage especially with the hybrid. South Korean Automaker Hyundai introduced the Santa Cruz a couple years prior to Maverick’s introduction.  While also donning a flat bed and diminutive dimensions and pickup bed, Santa Cruz lacks Ford’s decades of pickup truck know-how.

Maverick hybrid returns superb fuel economy rating of 42 miles per gallon city and 33 highway with the gas tank holding 13.8 gallons of regular unleaded fuel.  Even the EcoBoost four tickles an estimated 30 miles per gallon highway and 23 city with the front-wheel drive set up.  Subtract one mile in each category if ordering  all-wheel drive. EcoBoost tanks increase capacity to 16.5 gallons. Both engine versions employ a self-sealing fuel lead eliminating the need for a twist cap during fill ups.
 
Press the dashboard power-on button and Maverick hybrid presents a quiet response as the gas engine does not engage/start right away unless the air conditioner is switched on or outside temperatures fall below freezing.

Three trim levels return in 2024: XL, XLT, Lariat. All offer both engine choices with the lowest-cost front-drive XL EcoBoost four starting at $23,815. In 2023, Maverick began offering a Tremor off-road package in turbocharged four-cylinder editions within the XLT and Lariat trims.

Our front-drive, Atlas Blue hybrid Lariat trim included a $34,855 starting price with the only factory option machine-face ebony aluminum wheels ($1,060) for a $37,510 bottom line include a hefty $1,595 destination charge.

The workman like interior presents a professional appearance without overloading drivers with high-tech headaches.  The smallish, eight-inch multi-function center screen doesn’t dominate, and the dash includes handy dials and knobs to accomplish simple tasks such as monitoring inside temperature or increasing the audio volume so eyes focus a majority of time on the road ahead minimizing distractions when behind the wheel.

Ford conveniently locates the electronic start button away from the steering column/wheel to its immediate right and down below the center console. This provides drivers with a clear, unencumbered reach when powering up or down.  An electronic, well-marked automatic transmission dial between front bucket seats allows for easy gear switching via a simple wrist twist between reverse, neutral and drive.

Our hybrid tester’s instrument panel’s left side three-quarter-circle analog gauge features a charge/power indicator informing drivers at a glance if the battery pack is charging or contributing to vehicle horsepower.  Within the confines of the turbo four, a conventional tachometer gauge fills the bill.  A right-side speedometer gauge  sports a  cool blue needle (as does the left gauge) while a bar-type fuel indicator situates horizontally across the bottom. In between: a substantial-sized multi-planked digital screen illustrating the built Ford Tough emblem when powering up.

Maverick includes many small nooks for storage of small and large stuff including a spot right of the eight-inch screen and small cup-like saucer behind the two inline cup holders between front buckets.   Also nearby, a flip-up (rear-hinged) arm rest cover opening to a relatively deep abyss. Second-row seat cushions flip up revealing a sizeable area for tool storage. The four doors include inboard templates accommodating cups and iPads. All trims include Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility and type A and type C USB ports in front.  Our top-trim Lariat included an extra pair in back.

The Flexbed cargo area includes a 400-watt, 120-volt outlet ready for any assignment. A second plug stations inside the cab.   Multiple tie downs and configurable slots allow variable arrangements. Lariat trims include bed lighting standard; an option in XLT. The one visual hint to our tester’s greener technology was spelled out on the tailgate’s lower left corner where ‘hybrid’  appeared in small block letters.

Towing capacity for Maverick hybrid tops out at 2,000 pounds.  The turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder can tow up to 4,000 pounds but requires a $745 towing package only sold with all-wheel drive.  Both Santa Cruz and Honda’s mid-size uni-body based Ridgeline pickup tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped.

What can 2,000 pounds tow?  Items include small pop-up tent trailers, small fishing boats and small rental U-Haul-like trailers. Maverick’s maximum payload capacity lists at a respectable 1,500 pounds, on par with Hyundai’s Santa Fe.

At a Glance

2024 Ford Maverick Hybrid

Price as tested: $37,510
Engine:  2.5-liter four cylinder
Combined Horsepower: 191
Wheelbase:  121.1 inches
Overall Length: 199.7 inches
Overall Height: 68.7 inches
Overall Width: 72.6 inches
Curb weight:   3,674 pounds
Fuel Economy:  42 mpg city/ 33 mpg highway
Hybrid Component Warranty: Eight Years/100,000 miles
Assembly:  Hermosillo, Mexico