Personal Growth

Ford’s Maverick is the pickup truck you by no means knew you needed

There was a time in my life once I dreamed of proudly owning a Jeep Wrangler. But not simply any Wrangler: open-air, sun-bleached, doorways ripped off, perpetually ready for bother like that school pal who, a long time later, continues to be hitting the bar 4 nights per week. I imagined tossing something I’ve into the again to haul—the inside is in shambles anyway—then driving off into the sundown.

[Photo: Ford]

As I look towards my driveway on the borrowed Ford Maverick, the corporate’s hyped small pickup truck, I discover myself squinting to think about the way it may look in 10 or 15 years. Because whereas it’s a city-parkable hybrid that will get 40 miles per gallon and begins under $20,000, it’s additionally a five-seater truck that may accommodate your loved ones together with 1,500 kilos of no matter you need in its hackable open again. The Maverick is a knock round automobile that feels borderline accountable to personal as a result of it may be nearly no matter you need it to be.

[Photo: Ford]

The Maverick is designed to cater to 1 voice in our head that speaks to 1,000,000 small duties in our every day life, “‘Boy, it would be a lot easier to do this in a truck,’” according to Jim Baumbick, VP of enterprise product line management, strategy, and planning at Ford—a surprisingly design-savvy vehicle company. As Ford has given up making sedans to focus on trucks and crossovers, it’s banking on repositioning the truck as a product for younger urbanites who may in any other case have bought a small automobile, or an choice for households who want extra flexibility than a crossover can present.

I fall into the latter camp. After swapping out my city-friendly Versa for a Toyota RAV4 a couple of years in the past, I liked my crossover till I didn’t. It’s comfy to sit down in and aware of drive, however any time I’ve to maneuver something massive (starting from Ikea flat-pack furnishings to my gravel bike to my hyperactive golden retriever), the automobile’s hatchback storage isn’t sufficient. And with two youngsters in youngster seats, I can’t simply fold down the rear row to make extra room to suit cargo.

The result’s that I’m driving a big automobile with little or no usable area inside, which is, let’s admit, fairly silly throughout.

[Photo: Ford]

My first impression of the Maverick was simply how small its footprint is—for a truck at the least. It’s 200 inches lengthy, supposedly a few foot longer than a crossover and a foot shorter than a bigger F-150. But there’s extra usable area than in my crossover by a mile, due to the 4.5 toes of open Flexbed storage within the again. The rear seating is a contact extra cosy.

[Photo: Ford]

As I take my first spin, I child you not, I move an F-150 driver who offers me slightly salute. I’ve been inducted into truck tradition—phew!—however I’d say the Maverick feels extra such as you’re driving a automobile, simply larger up, than an imposing F-150. In reality, the Maverick is the primary automobile I’ve pushed that feels prefer it has no studying curve. I squeeze into parking spots with out a problem (whereas parking an F-150 feels extra like parking a Carnival cruise liner). The catch is that its hybrid engine choice is front-wheel-drive solely. For all-wheel drive, it’s good to go all gasoline. And for higher and worse, the hybrid isn’t highly effective sufficient to lure you to drive aggressively. It’s quiet and serviceable, however I want it have been a plug-in hybrid to save lots of me from having to get gasoline in day-to-day life.

[Photo: Ford]

What about all that storage? That candy, candy storage? Naturally, the weekend that I borrow the pickup is the very weekend I’ve nothing massive to haul. It’s nonetheless too chilly to seize soil and crops for the backyard, and nobody I do know is transferring. That’s a disgrace, as a result of the Flexbed is de facto the star of this automobile. It’s a pickup mattress that’s designed particularly so that you can hack. Featuring slots for a pair of two-by-fours, Ford desires you to construct your individual storage and shelving within the again. (The Maverick additionally has an enormous aftermarket of Ford-compatible equipment, together with an elevated tent for campouts that I’d actually needed to check out.)

The Maverick has been out a couple of months, and already you’ll discover a number of boards with homeowners exhibiting off their customizations, together with what number of odd gadgets they’re capable of sausage-stuff into the rear. The outcomes vary from 10 toes of laminate countertop to music gear to regardless of the heck all these things is.

[Photo: Ford]

As for my very own testing, I stick my youngsters into the again seat and drag them round to run some cursory errands. I’m shocked that my 4-year-old daughter’s toes hit the again of the motive force’s seat, and surprise why Ford wouldn’t construct this automobile 6 inches longer (or the mattress 6 inches shorter?) simply to make the again seat really feel much less like my youngsters are flying economic system.

After my first cease, I toss a 30-pound bag of pet food into the Flexbed. It takes up a comedically small quantity of room. What would require most of my RAV4’s storage seems downright foolish on their own at the back of the truck.

[Photo: Ford]

Then I’m off to seize groceries. As we head into the shop, my spouse asks if we have to transfer the pet food into the cabin the place it may be locked up and secure. I do not know. Do folks steal pet food? And in the event that they do steal pet food, don’t their pets really want it? All the identical, I lug the meals into the again seat and lock the automobile. Yes, which means after purchasing, I’ve to maneuver the pet food again into the Flexbed to make room for the children, and I prime that off with a dozen or so extra baggage (plastic, okay? I forgot to convey my reusables). Still, I’m barely making a dent within the capability.

[Photo: Ford]

I notice in that second that I could have to fret about meals flying out of the again of the truck onto drivers behind me. But since I’ve been inaugurated into the Society of Pickup Drivers (bear in mind, I did get that salute!), I roll the cube and simply preserve the Maverick under 40 on my brief drive residence. Nothing appears to have shifted in the course of the drive, however I additionally notice that that is precisely why so many individuals get covers for his or her truck beds.

As a last check after unloading my groceries, I toss a motorbike into the again (a Cannondale Synapse I’ll be writing about quickly!). Loaded in straight, the bike received’t match. Ford created a free a two-by-four bike-mount schematic for simply this process, however it requires eradicating the entrance wheel. However, on a diagonal, the bike suits with half a foot to spare. I ponder how one may design a diagonal rack to safe the bike in place. In any case, it’s totally doable with sufficient creativeness.

And frankly, that’s what continues to be so thrilling to me concerning the Maverick. Ford designed a automobile particularly so that you can redesign, customise, and make your individual. It’s a incredible knock round truck, and the superbly priced (second?) automobile for a middle-class household. I can’t wait to see a sun-bleached Maverick on the road 20 years from now.

Yet I can also’t assist however contemplate how way more fantastic this automobile can be as a full-on electrical truck. Because when vans are now not beholden to the gasoline engines up entrance, corporations like Ford can actually rethink not simply what vans might be at the moment, however what autos can grow to be subsequent.

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