It follows that our Best Car To Buy 2022 overall winner—the 2022 Ford Maverick compact pickup truck—would also win its segment. But the Best Pickup Truck To Buy 2022 award necessitates some explaining. The 2022 Rivian R1T electric pickup truck tops our TCC Rating system with a 9.0 out of 10—one of the highest ratings ever—but it exceeds the under-$50,000 starting price threshold to qualify. This is the problem we encounter with the 2022 Ford F-150 and its TCC Rating of 7.2: the XL work trucks qualify, but our recommended pick of a Lariat Hybrid crew cab costs about $53,000.
Thus, we arrive at the Maverick and its 7.0 out of 10 (read more about how we rate cars). It edges the Honda Ridgeline, which is another unibody truck sharing a platform with a crossover, and it lacks the capability and utility of full-size trucks. Its compact proportions are part of what makes it so good for so many buyers.
Thriftiness and utility are the other parts. Starting at about $21,500 and with a 37 mpg combined EPA rating, the Maverick creates an excellent opportunity for shoppers tired of crossovers who want but don't need a truck. Its stripped down nature is a refreshing and honest counterpart to the option-laden upgrades on most trucks, SUVs, and crossovers.
The hybrid powertrain consists of a 2.5-liter inline-4 and a front-mounted electric motor powered by a 1.1-kwh lithium ion battery pack that make 191 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque, which is good enough to tow 2,000 lb. It's basic. A 2.0-liter turbo-4 option doubles the towing capacity and offers all-wheel drive, but lacks the hybrid's value proposition. The hybrid is also smoother, with the battery aiding acceleration from a stop and the CVT blending the power sources for seamless though modest thrust.
The Maverick's interior comes with as much plastic as a Playskool kitchen: plastic door panels with clever bottle holders, plastic dash, plastic console, even hard rubber dials, buttons, and switches. Ford also equips the Maverick with an 8.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone compatibility, power features, and automatic emergency braking.
2022 Ford Maverick
With the battery located under the floor, the Maverick's crew cab is nearly as roomy in back as its platform-mate, the Ford Escape, but the bed offers more versatility than any crossover. The small bed is only 54.4 inches long, but two bikes can slot into the bed with their front wheels angled and Ford says the Maverick’s adjustable tailgate can hold up to 400 pounds and tote 4x8 sheets of plywood without a bed extender. It comes with C-channels in the bed sides to attach accessories, several tie-down points, notches to slot in wood cargo dividers, a spray-in bedliner, and a 110-volt power outlet.
We'd rather play than work with the new Maverick, but this winning truck encourages us to do both with ease.
Read all about the winners of The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2022 awards—and find out which vehicles took home our annual Driver’s Choice awards as well as top honors from our sister sites, Motor Authority and Green Car Reports.