2023 Ford Maverick Lariat Hybrid: 21st Century Model T

John Berg

Ford Motor Company has done it again. The company that made the Model T so inexpensive that it put America on wheels has now built a pickup truck so inexpensive it has jolted the American pickup truck market. The Maverick is a compact pickup and comes only as a Supercrew short bed. It’s a boxy upright design replete with F-Series styling cues.

The Lowest Priced Truck in America

With a base price of $22,595 (not including destination), the Ford Maverick is the least expensive pickup truck available. The Maverick is priced $3,000 less than the Hyundai Santa Cruz and $16,000 less than a Honda Ridgeline, the Maverick’s closest rivals. The Maverick is definitely the most truck-like.

Facing Critics

In online forums, Ford truck loyalists criticize the Maverick’s front-wheel drive unibody architecture claiming it’s not a real truck. Its paltry towing rating of 2,000 pounds further emboldens critics. It’s plenty capable though, with a cargo-carrying capacity in excess of 1,500 pounds.

The 2023 Ford  Maverick is the cheapest pickup truck in the United States.
The 2023 Ford Maverick is the cheapest pickup truck in the United States. Images by John Berg and courtesy of Ford Motor Company.

The Ford Maverick is versatile, too. While the bed is only 4 1/2 feet long it can quickly be configured to carry a full 4’x8’ sheet of plywood or drywall. That’s more than enough capability for homeowners to pick up building materials at the local home center. Not once during my week with the Maverick did I feel I was driving anything other than a truck.

Cutting Costs

“You can have any color you want, as long as it’s black.” If you’ve ever heard that phrase it reveals how Ford kept the cost of the Model T so low. It only came in one color because black was the least expensive and fastest-drying paint. Consumers understood the economy of scale and proved willing to buy a car that offered few options for a rock-bottom price.

2023 Ford Maverick Lariat Hybrid: 21st Century Model T 1

The Maverick’s build strategy is ripped from the pages of the Model T’s playbook. It’s a modestly equipped truck that shares components with other vehicles in Ford’s lineup. The Ford Maverick’s front drive unibody is the source of both its primary criticism and perhaps the truck’s greatest cost-saving measure. It rides on the same platform as the Ford Focus, Escape, Bronco Sport and Lincoln Corsair. It’s a solid body and chassis and gives the Maverick a precision feel.

Limited Options

Unlike the Model T, you can choose the color of your Maverick. You may also choose between 2WD or AWD, three trim levels, XL, XLT and Lariat, and two engines, a 2.5L Hybrid or a 2.0L EcoBoost turbo.

Spartan Interior

The interior of the Maverick looks rugged. Accommodations are basic and materials are simple and durable. With the exception of the steering wheel and armrests, most of the interior is hard plastic. Flip the back seat forward and you’re looking at bare sheet metal. Finish paneling and carpeting have been omitted from hidden areas. Yet, the interior doesn’t look cheap; it looks innovative and serviceable. There are handsome geometric patterns molded into the plastics and the use of bold colors gives it a modern look. There are also plenty of places to store all your gear. Door pockets, cubbies and a large storage bin under the back seat enhance utility.

Comfort and Convenience

It’s a small, but surprisingly roomy truck. I found the Maverick more spacious than the mid-sized Ranger. Ingress and egress is hampered by compact door openings making it a bit tight for tall occupants. Once inside there’s a generous amount of headroom and legroom, even in the back seat. The Maverick seats five but the middle position is suitable only for children. The seats are comfortable for short trips, but thigh support is largely absent.

On the Road

Road manners feel car-like. The Ford Maverick is a competent handling machine with a low center of gravity, no doubt enhanced by the weight of the batteries. Like its big F150 brother, the Maverick is a smooth-riding truck. It glides over broken pavement and smartly dampens recoil from potholes. The Maverick has enough power to do the job and no more. My test truck was powered by the 2.5L Hybrid producing 191 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque. The optional 2.0L EcoBoost adds an additional 59 horsepower and 122 lb-ft of torque. I would definitely consider the 2.0L EcoBoost engine.

Pricing and Best in Class Fuel Economy

The Ford Maverick Lariat FWD 2.5L Hybrid price as tested was $35,005.00 including destination. The EPA fuel economy rating: 42 miles per gallon city / 33 highway / 37 combined. In 481 miles of mixed driving, I averaged 33.6 miles per gallon. That’s impressive for any high-profile vehicle, and best in class.


The Ford Maverick is a smart, capable little truck and worthy of any truck buyer’s consideration. With pricing on par with many compact cars, this little truck would make an excellent commuter. While I may not pick the Maverick for a trip to the country club it may well snag a spot on my top ten list of best trucks for a hardware store run.

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