Ford’s new Maverick is a cheap and cheerful hybrid pickup truck

America’s love affair with the truck shows no signs of abating. The country buys millions of them each year, providing the bread and butter for domestic automakers. But not everyone is well-served by the products on offer. Some might want a truck but are turned off by their ever-increasing size, particularly hood heights that hide small pedestrians. Others are put off by the poor efficiency. Enter Ford. After blowing everyone’s socks off with its electric F-150 Lightning, the Blue Oval is back with yet another truck, but this one’s small, efficient, and cheap—it’s the new Ford Maverick.

Unlike its bigger siblings, the Maverick uses a monocoque chassis construction rather than a body on frame. At just under 200 inches (5,072 mm) in length, it’s significantly shorter than the (232-inch/5,885-mm) F-150, and smaller even than the Ranger. And that means a shorter and lower hood and, therefore, a smaller forward blind spot, which will be welcome news to pedestrians, cyclists, and road users with small cars.

Under that small hood, you’ll find a hybrid powertrain that combines a 162 hp (120 kW), 155 lb-ft (210 Nm), 2.5 L four-cylinder gasoline engine (that operates on the more efficient Atkinson cycle) with a 126 hp (94 kW), 173 lb-ft (235 Nm) permanent magnet electric motor. Together, they provide 191 hp (142 kW) to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission.

A small truck means smaller payloads, but the Maverick hybrid can still carry 1,500 lbs (680 kg) in its bed and tow loads of 2,000 lbs (907 kg). The payoff is in fuel efficiency; Ford says that the hybrid Maverick should achieve 40 mpg (5.9 L/100 km) in the city and a combined 37 mpg (6.4 L/100 km). If you need more power and less efficiency, there’s also a 250 hp 2.0 L EcoBoost engine, which can also be optioned with all-wheel drive and a 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) tow package.

Ford has engineered all manner of storage cubbies and tie-downs into the Maverick’s 33.3-cubic-foot (943 L) bed. It has a lift-in height of 30.1 inches (764 mm), so shorter people should find it easier to load than the average behemoth. And it’s still more than 42 inches (1,082 mm) wide at its narrowest point, so a trip to the local building big box store to fetch 4x8s should pose no problems. 12 V power is built into the bed as standard, and you can add 110 V power as an option.

The Maverick’s pricing is almost as eye-catching as its mpg. A hybrid Maverick in XL trim starts at $19,995, with the more powerful turbo engine adding $1,080. Ford is letting people place reservations online from Tuesday morning, and deliveries are slated to begin this fall.

Listing image by Ford

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