2023 Ford Maverick Tremor Review - Shake It Up
2023 Ford Maverick XLT Tremor AWD
When you think about it for more than a few minutes, it’s a wonder that no automaker offered a compact pickup truck to pair with both midsize and fullsize trucks in their own lineup until Ford debuted the Maverick a couple of years ago. After all, we have OEMs building half a dozen different crossovers and SUVs each, and with hundreds of thousands of pickups hitting American roads each year it seems to be a no-brainer to unveil something smaller and more affordable.
But no. There are currently but two truly compact pickups on the road right now, and while it seems a number of automakers are working to fill this niche, the inflated prices being asked for Mavericks reflect both pent-up demand for more efficient trucks and the difficulty Ford seems to be having in building enough to meet that demand. The hybrid Maverick seems to be the one getting the bulk of attention and the resulting additional dealer markup.
Into the void comes another flavor, the 2023 Ford Maverick Tremor. Based on the Ecoboost-powered AWD Maverick rather than the hybrid version, the Tremor package adds a bit of off-road verve to an interesting minitruck. How does the Maverick Tremor shake out?
The Maverick Tremor builds upon the established Escape-based pickup formula by lifting the suspension by an inch with a new shock and spring package. The drivetrain is toughened with heavier-duty half-shafts, a locking rear differential, and a transmission cooler, and new programming for the all-wheel drive system adds a Trail Control off-road cruise-control system. Skid plates help protect vulnerable underbody components. There’s no question that Ford has the chops to make a vehicle handle the trails where needed, though my short time with the Maverick Tremor generally kept me on the tarmac. It’s not going all the places where a Bronco can go, of course, but there’s a bit more capability than the standard Maverick.
It handles the pavement just as well as the non-Tremor Maverick, that much I can confirm. It feels just like the typical compact crossover upon which it’s based, with benign road manners and a comfortable enough ride. Two-hundred and fifty horsepower from the turbo four driving all four wheels means acceleration is quite good.
But the interior is sadly rather low rent. This being based upon the mid-tier XLT trim, the materials are hard, with some harsh edges where various plastics were ejected from the mold. Nothing feels flimsy, but neither does it feel premium.
The eight-inch touchscreen infotainment is merely a six-speaker AM/FM radio (no satellite) with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Maybe I shouldn’t complain too much about that, as Ford’s SYNC systems haven’t been all that exciting, and a more simplified system such as what we see here might be welcome. HVAC controls are easy to use. I’ll admit that while I generally don’t mind this knob-style gear selector, in a truck there’s something more satisfying to grabbing a lever of some sort to slam a transmission into gear.
If you’re buying the Maverick Tremor since the relatively small size promises better fuel economy over a midsized or full-sized pickup, you might reconsider your option packages. While most trim changes on a given vehicle don’t statistically affect mileage, the EPA (and Natural Resources Canada for our friends up North) break the Tremor package out separately due to the rather significant changes. How significant? EPA ratings for a non-Tremor AWD Maverick - remember, same powertrain - are 22 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 24mpg combined. Compare that to the Tremor at 20 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined.
EPA numbers aren’t available for the 2024 Ranger that was announced earlier this year, but assuming they don’t change much from the 2023 model since at least the base drivetrain is similar, you can actually get effectively the same efficiency out of a 4WD Ranger as you can a Maverick Tremor, with significantly better utility and interior appointments. Yes, the Maverick is easier to maneuver in the city - don’t get me wrong, that’s a big factor - but to consider the Maverick Tremor as an economical alternative to a midsized truck is folly.
This isn’t to say that I don’t recommend the 2023 Ford Maverick Tremor. For an urban or suburban dweller who needs to haul stuff occasionally from the big-box home center, but doesn’t need to accommodate heavy loads or heavy trailers, it’s an easy-to-drive, easy-to-park, and easy-to-live-with trucklet. If you can get one for the sticker price or less, give it a drive and see if it works for you. But beware of the limitations of the platform, and if you’ve become accustomed to certain interior luxuries you might be disappointed. We’ve come to expect a lot from our trucks over the years and to be returned to something a bit more Spartan is a shock.
[Images: © 2023 Chris Tonn/TTAC.com]
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- Jbltg Rear bench seat does not match the front buckets. What's up?
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- Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )
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