Tuesday, May 31, 2022

2022 Ford Maverick truck 3000 mile review

 A while back I started shopping for a new vehicle.  Wife was driving a 1998 Ranger--still reliable, but getting old and lacking modern safety features.  I was driving a 2018 Honda Fit bought new.  I wanted to keep the ability to haul our quad pedal bike around, to haul plywood and such from Home Depot--more than a car can hold by volume, but rarely more weight. We were thinking of a Civic and putting a roof rack or trailer hitch on one car.  I saw a video review of a pre-production Maverick that didn't include a test drive.  Based on that it looked almost perfect--Front drive unibody 4 door with a useful bed instead of a trunk, with a standard hybrid projected to get 40 mpg city.  The only problem was that they were taking orders before any were available for test drives. It turned out that my local dealer wasn't requiring deposits (and others were refundable) so the only real risk was getting harassed by salesmen.   I ordered an Ecoboost in early August, then when I found out how the E-CVT worked (It isn't a traditional belt and pulley system) changed my order to a Hybrid on August 10.  I had to get the top Lariat model with the top Luxury trim package to get adaptive cruise, a feature I won't willingly go without, I didn't get any stand-alone options other than Area 51 as the no-charge color.  

Then the wait.  Ford has a system to inform customers of progress in their order, but that requires the dealer to properly input your email address. Apparently mine didn't.  Months passed.  I read  r/FordMaverickTruck on Reddit, and Maverick Truck Club forums.   Journalists started reviewing pre-production models, details were finalized. 2.0 Turbo (non-hybrid) trucks were being built and shipped to customers, but hybrids were delayed.   Finally the hybrid EPA ratings were released and they became OKTB (Okay to Buy)...but almost immediately hybrids sold out for the 2022 model year.  All Mavericks sold out in January.   Finally at the beginning of April my truck arrived. 

The Maverick is based on the same platform as the Escape and Bronco Sport crossovers The base model is a front drive hybrid, combining a 2.5 liter Atkinson cycle engine and 2 electric motor-generators through a planetary E-CVT transmission.   This results in 191 combined horsepower, and gas mileage of 33 highway, 42 city, 37 combined.  1500lb payload and 2000 pound towing.  Upgrade to the 2.0 Ecoboost turbo and horsepower goes to 250...but city mileage drops 20mpg!  With the turbo you can get AWD, with AWD you can upgrade to a 4000 pound tow capacity. 

The hybrid takes a bit of getting used to--push the start button, some clicks and whirrs, but no engine, just a ready message on the dash.  Twist the shifter dial and go. The engine never really idles, and there's a power meter instead of a tachometer.  If I had to guess, I'd say minimum RPM is around 1800.  Engine noise is only vaguely related to throttle in normal use, although it will rev up when you floor the gas pedal.  I'm happy with the power--it has substantially more power and acceleration than the econoboxes I'm used to driving despite being bigger.  I'm also very happy with the mileage--according to the dashboard readouts of my Fit and the Maverick I'm not sure which one is better...but it appears to be the Maverick.   For comparison, my one way commute is about 10 miles of 70 mph interstate, 5 city and 5 back country roads, I typically set the cruise at 5-8 mph over the speed limit.  Not an "all city" mix that favors the hybrid.  The Fit in the summer got 36-38 most trips (It did best on country roads to , the maverick is 38+ since I reset the 2nd trip meter shortly after I got it.  

I've got experience with the driver assist systems on Hondas, mostly my Fit but also newer Accords, CRVs and an Odyssey.  The Fit works about the same as the other Hondas except it beeps and turns off below 25mph where the more expensive Hondas can follow a slowing car to a complete stop.   Ford is far more prone to beeping at you--It is much more likely to give a "put your hands on the wheel" message when your hands ARE on the wheel, and when the lane centering can't see the road well enough to center, it beeps at you as it shuts off...then it silently goes back to work, then it beeps again...  On the other hand, Honda is more likely to complain about drifting out of your lane.  Every few months the Fit would mis-judge either oncoming traffic on a curve or someone turning as grounds for an alarm and a BRAKE message on the dash, that hasn't happened on the Maverick.  It is also moderately common for the Fit and I to both decide to brake at the same time resulting in much more braking force than I intended, I haven't felt that in the Maverick.   

The Maverick is substantially smoother in both adaptive cruise behavior and lane centering than the Fit.  One factor may be the type of system, Ford has lane centering and lane keeping, while Honda has lane keeping--Ford tries to center you, Honda only tries to keep you from leaving your lane but lets you wander from side to side.  Sometimes the Fit would lose sight of a car on a winding road or a hill and accelerate when it shouldn't, and the lane keeping assist would wander if it was wet enough for tire marks to show up.  The brakes on the Fit are a bit grabby--I'm not sure if that's some of the driver assist functions or due to it's rear drums.  The Maverick's cruise handles curves and hills better. Brakes on the Maverick are also uneven but in different ways, more at slow speeds--I haven't been able to memorize the pressure needed for a particular amount of deceleration.  I've had a few trips in an Accord hybrid, the transition between regenerative and normal brakes is much better.  Honda's lane assist is a separate feature from adaptive cruise and must be turned on every trip.  The Maverick's lane centering is tied to adaptive cruise, but can be disabled.  The separate lane assist can be left on, it works without cruise at speeds above 45mph.   Honda remembers Eco and Cruise control modes (not your set speed, but whether it's ready to set a speed) between trips, Ford has a couple of other drive modes besides normal and eco, but defaults to Normal and Cruise off for every trip.  That's fairly annoying, I prefer Eco--a bit more regenerative braking when you let off the gas, a more gradual throttle, and the cruise control doesn't accelerate as hard.  The steering wheel controls are shuffled and cruise control function is a bit different--I think I like Ford's better, but the differences sometimes have me doing things the Honda way, in particular I often set the cruise to the current speed instead of resuming. 

The Mavericks seats are more comfortable for me on long trips. I'm not sure I will like the ActiveX seats (artificial leather) in the summer, but they were part of the package required for adaptive cruise. I do like the electric seat's ability to adjust in very small increments. I've got a very wide range of comfortable positions--I can reach everything with the seat all the way back, but unlike most cars I'm better off a few inches forward, and I can go quite a bit forward with only a tiny difference in comfort.  I like heated seats far more than I thought I would .  The interior style suits me-not trying to disguise that it's plastic, but nicely done with a variety of colors and textures.  Instead of covering bolts with plugs, they put Ford logos on the bolts and made them attractive.  (I remember 80's dashboards where fake allen bolts were a thing...)  The one exception ( other than seat material) is the bronze accents on the Lariat package--I like the interiors of the lower trim models better. 

I suspect I'll really like remote start in the winter, especially combined with the heated seats and steering wheel--it has been nice on the few moderately cold days so far.  (I'd love a version that would let me run only a heated seat back, without having a warm butt, call it "old man mode".)  The hybrid affects the air conditioning in a good way--the AC is electric, and the engine doesn't have to run continuously for the AC to run, although the engine will start up briefly every so often to keep the battery charged.  

Navigation isn't available.  Instead all trims have Android Auto and Apple Carplay to show your phone's maps on the truck's Infotainment screen.  

The bed is about 4 1/2 feet long, probably 50 inches wide.  There are slots for lumber in several places to use as a bed divider or to support 4x8 sheets, and the tailgate has a middle position where it can also support a 4x8 sheet at wheel well height  There are multiple tie down points--D rings in the front corners, 4 at the tailgate opening, sliding tie downs on rails on the bed sides, and combination tie downs/bottle openers on the tailgate.  I wasn't sure I'd like a tonneau cover so I got a cheap tri-fold. I keep wood in the "plywood hauling" slots--partly to keep things from sliding forward, partly to hold a folding plastic crate to have a place to put stuff where it's less likely to get leaked on if my cover isn't completely water-tight.  The combination of the tonneau and locking tailgate is nice--of course someone could slash the cover open fairly easily, but they would have to know there's something worth the trouble.  If this cover gets shabby or breaks I'll get a better one but so far it's doing fine. 

The Lariat Luxury package comes with 110v outlets in both bed and cab, limited to 400w.  I haven't used them, and like a lot of that package it isn't something I'd have bought separately.   Ford includes DIY 12v wiring in the tailgate so you don't have to run your own wires to add an accessory.  There's also a cubby on the passenger side that can store tie down straps or similar.  

The Fordpass app lets you start, stop, lock and unlock from anywhere you have cell coverage to anywhere the truck has cell coverage, can tell you where it is,  how much gas is left and how long before the next oil change.  It turns out that if you try to use it while riding a bike it makes you verify that you aren't driving. (The bike in question is a two person four wheeler, and Wife was steering)

For my uses, the Maverick is exceptional.  Even though it's the cheapest new truck available, I don't know that I'd prefer any of the more expensive ones at the same price.  I don't need much of a truck, I don't need a truck that often--but the Maverick is pretty good as a car while being plenty of truck.  It's actually a bit more truck in cargo capacity and towing than the Ranger it replaced. 

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