This is a pretty interesting take that the Civic and other compact cars could be the Maverick's biggest rival.
When you consider that the 2022 Civic LX starts at $21,700 the Maverick could appeal to more than just truck buyers.
Commentary: With base price of around $20,000 and an estimated 40-mpg rating, Ford's small hybrid pickup may invite some unusual cross-shopping.
I'm here to offer an alternative way to look at this truck. I think the 2022 Ford Maverick will actually end up frequently cross-shopped against econoboxes like the Honda Civic
and Toyota Corolla by customers who never thought they'd be interested in a pickup truck in the first place. After all, the Maverick will actually be less
expensive and more
efficient to run in the city than either of those popular compacts. Additionally, lower-end, FWD Mavericks will likely also be cross-shopped by people -- especially young folks and first-time buyers -- who might otherwise look to the used-vehicle market for a traditional passenger car that's new enough to still be under warranty.
Perhaps more than most new-car shoppers, entry-level vehicle buyers tend to be a lot more pragmatic than those in other segments -- often because their limited finances and credit status mandate such practical, focused decision-making. Rather than inherently limit themselves to vehicle type, such shoppers look at factors like monthly payment, fuel efficiency and where they can get loan approval as key factors to getting a spot on their shopping lists.
I can relate.
Back when i was in college, I was just such a fixed-budget buyer looking for my first new vehicle. The peace-of-mind promised by an affordable, new vehicle under warranty via low-interest, fixed monthly payment was preferable to buying a used car with a higher interest rate and the increased likelihood of variable monthly costs due to unscheduled repairs. Like many first-time new-car shoppers, I also found it easier to get financed on a new-vehicle loan than a used one, and I didn't have the cash to buy a decent used car outright anyhow.
While budding-car-enthusiast me wanted something fun like a Honda Civic Si or a Volkswagen GTI, my budget and an acute lack of credit dictated that I was consigned to shop leases on bargain-basement appliances such as the Dodge Neon and Ford Escort LX. I found that I could only afford base models with standard features like an AM/FM stereo cassette and a map pocket. I'm not even sure the Neon offered dual side mirrors, and I don't believe air conditioning was included with either model.
My shopping took a left hook when I realized that I could get a mid-grade 1999 Ford Ranger XLT, complete with an extended cab, V6 power, A/C and -- hold your breath -- a CD player. The pickup truck's significantly higher resale value helped keep the monthly lease price low, so even though its MSRP was thousands of dollars higher than a stripped-out economy car, the Ranger was actually going to be cheaper to own -- even with its higher fuel consumption. Plus, with its useful bed, I figured the Ranger would be great for toting mountain bikes and saving me on rental vans when the time came to annually decamp from a dorm room or apartment.
Despite never having been interested in a pickup before, my choice was clear. I became a truck-drivin' man and never looked back. All of the signs point to the 2022 Maverick having similar or even greater appeal over 20 years later.
In fact, the Maverick should be a much easier truck-shaped pill for traditional passenger-car shoppers to swallow than my Ranger was. For starters, the Ford's unibody construction (there's no heavy body on frame) means the Maverick should drive much more like a normal passenger car in terms of ride, handling and maneuverability, all of which should make this vehicle much easier to consider for buyers who have only driven things like a Civic or Corolla. Just as importantly, the Mav's 40 mpg city fuel economy rating actually significantly outperforms today's standard Honda Civic on the city cycle. Same for the Corolla. Ford has yet to release the base hybrid's highway fuel economy number, but I'm guessing it'll be significantly less impressive owing to its aerodynamic drag at higher speeds.
Furthermore, where my SuperCab Ranger got by with comically small, sideways-mounted second-row folding jump seats, the Maverick has four conventionally hinged doors that afford easy access to a five-seat cabin that's larger than many compact sedans and hatchbacks. The low step-in height is even quite car-like.
Plus, at 33 cubic feet, the Mav's bed offers a lot more cargo room and flexibility, although you'll need to source a good locking tonneau to keep everything as safe as you would in a traditional trunk. This is to say nothing of the truck's towing ability, which, while particularly modest in hybrid spec, is still a major benefit.
Now, it's certainly possible low-end Maverick trims like the base XL will have interiors whose features and materials leave something to be desired compared to one of today's better compact economy cars (I've only poked around a mid-level XLT cabin with options), especially as cars like the Civic and Corolla are can be surprisingly upscale inside. But many people will find the Ford's added utility worth it, and even the mid-grade XLT Hybrid is a considerable value at $23,775 ($22,280 plus delivery), priced just under a 2021 Civic Sport.