We’ve owned our Best Of award-winning Ford Maverick hybrid pickup truck for six months now, which would normally mean you’d be reading this in May or June. You may have heard, however, that buying nearly any car at the moment is far more difficult than usual, let alone an all-new model like the Maverick. As such, this update comes a little later than normal — but we’re ready to check in on the important questions: Are we still enamored with the littlest new pickup truck on the market? After thousands of miles, is the Maverick hybrid delivering on its fuel economy promises?
In short, yes. So far, the Maverick remains a hit among our editors, with no one lamenting being stuck with it in our constant shuffle of press cars and our own long-term test cars. Besides gas, we haven’t spent a whole lot to date on the Maverick’s upkeep. We bought a bed cover, and also spent less than $50 on some unique DIY accessories. We haven’t needed any routine or unplanned maintenance yet (though a pair of recent recalls for a fire risk and airbags may affect our truck; stay tuned for more on that).
Fuel Economy After 4,000-Plus Miles
As the weather has warmed up, so has the Maverick’s ability to meet or exceed its EPA fuel economy ratings — a robust 42/33/37 mpg city/highway/combined for our truck’s hybrid powertrain, and a key factor in the Maverick’s pair of award wins.
Over 12 fill-ups in six months, we’ve driven more than 4,200 miles at a cost of $708.13 for 121.32 gallons of gas. That comes out to $5.84 per gallon — pricey, but remember that the truck mostly stays in Chicago, where gas prices tend to be more expensive. Though the Maverick can run on regular, Ford recommends more expensive premium fuel for best performance, so we’ve been filling the truck with this.
Since we bought the Maverick, our average fuel economy has been 35.04 mpg, which is as much in line with its highway rating as its combined estimate. However, after some early low-mpg tanks, we’ve consistently seen combined fuel economy in the high 30s — including multiple tanks over 41 mpg. Our longest distance traveled on a single tank was 541.9 miles, with a calculated fuel economy of 39.86 mpg (the trip computer said we averaged 43.5 mpg).
Since we last reported on our Maverick’s fuel economy in early June, things have indeed improved. We’ve averaged 38 mpg, up from just over 33, in the last 2,000-plus miles of driving.
In addition to its fuel economy when using gas, we’ve also been impressed with how often the Maverick functions in its electric-only mode and doesn’t use fuel. Some of our staff have completed short errand runs using only electric power by being judicious with the gas pedal.
I’m mostly a fan of the Maverick — as are the fellow residents at my condo building, who have complained in the past when I’ve parked larger pickup trucks in my assigned parking spot. The Maverick fits nicely on Chicago’s crowded streets, has enough pep to keep up with traffic, and its interior is comfortable and well laid out, if not exactly luxurious. My biggest complaint with the Maverick remains its brakes: There’s too much initial bite, followed by nonlinear pedal feel. Every time I’ve gotten back into the truck following a lengthy break, I’ve found the pedal to be difficult to modulate.
What about other staff members? Chief Copy Editor Patrick Masterson has probably spent the most time of anyone behind the wheel of the Maverick.
“Though I appreciate his logic, I’m not willing to go quite as far as Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman and call the Maverick a ‘true 21st century Mustang’ for the same reasons I wouldn’t call a Mustang Mach-E one, either,” he says. “Even so, it’s a welcome breath of fresh air to what a pickup can be. For years, we’ve seen trucks (like every other body style) get bigger and bigger to accommodate, well, your guesses are welcome — but the Maverick’s reduced size is arguably its greatest asset. Unlike with our long-term F-150 or even mid-size trucks like the Ranger and Tacoma, I’ve never had to sweat a spot for the Mav in the Chicago hoods I haunt. The backup camera comes through clear, and even with a crew cab, the truck’s size never overwhelms.
“I remain startled by the fuel economy in warm weather. I’ve stretched the truck’s legs with trips into Wisconsin, Michigan and downstate Indiana and Illinois; never during those journeys did I feel like I was going easier on the gas than I usually would, yet I’ve been able to wring out 500-plus miles and comfortably exceed the EPA combined rating on some trips, an unheard of figure for any pickup. The way the electric motor stays engaged before the gas engine kicks in stands in stark contrast to the more timid electric motor of our F-150 hybrid.
“A related point of note is seat comfort. Even after hours of driving, I’ve never exited the Maverick and felt much worse for wear. I’m fairly unremarkable in size and build for an adult man, but for me, at least, there’s enough seat-bottom cushioning and lumbar support to call upon for preventing egregious stiffness on long trips.
“The one point of note I agree with Brian about is the brakes. I personally prefer grabby brakes over a soft pedal, but as with many hybrids, you need time with this truck to learn how to ease it to a stop.”
Managing Editor Joe Bruzek also remains a fan of the Maverick, though it doesn’t always meet his family’s needs.
“All it took was a weeklong family beach vacation to find the limits of the Maverick’s 4.5-foot bed,” he notes. “And I didn’t even have to take it on vacation to find out.
“I wanted to take the Maverick to the beach because we’d be carrying giant floating water mats, beach chairs, umbrellas, paddleboards and any number of wet, sandy, beachy things. I also wanted to see what kind of fuel economy the Maverick would get when loaded with gear on a highway road trip.
“While loading the Maverick’s bed ahead of the trip, I quickly realized it wasn’t going to fit all the gear that comes with two kids under 5 and two adults: stroller, suitcase, cooler, mobile crib, groceries (the kind you can’t find in a small beach town, but are important to have so the kids don’t have a two-day meltdown), life vests and other light aquatic gear. By the time I got the stroller in, I could see I was in trouble, and unlike a larger truck, there’s minimal room inside the Maverick’s cabin, especially with two bulky child seats.
“Our family car is a 2021 Volkswagen Atlas. With the third row folded (and the sliding second row in its most rearward position), the Atlas’ cargo depth was more than 6 inches longer than the Maverick’s bed length. With the second row slid forward, there was closer to a foot more length than the Maverick’s bed. I’m not mad at the Maverick for failing this test because it’s not trying to be a family car, but I enjoy driving it so much that I had high hopes for using it on vacation as the go-to beach cart, taking gear back and forth from the beach to the house.
“Also, on short trips, the Maverick stays in electric mode for longer distances than I expected, sometimes greater than a mile if driven conservatively. But its small size doesn’t make it as versatile as I had imagined it’d be.
“On the plus side, I’m reminded of our great beach vacation every time I get in the Atlas; a lot of the beach came back with us. Maybe we just need a Maverick to keep at the beach. Hmm …”
Maybe it’s time we invest in a bed cap?
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