Ford’s sales success with the Maverick pickup has been undeniable. But if you’re in need of more evidence, the automaker has begun notifying dealerships to stop taking reservations on the base hybrid model because it doesn’t even think it can keep up with the existing backlog.
The North American International Auto Show, aka the Detroit Auto Show, isn’t taking place in January anymore. It’s set for a move to September.
But that didn’t stop the traditional North American Car and Truck of the Year award ceremony from taking place at [s]Cobo Center[/s] Huntington Place this morning.
It’s that time of year again – time for our best and worst cars of 2021. Chris and I are the ones who most consistently get test cars, so it will be just the two of us putting our heads together. We’ve each picked one best and one worst car, as well as a few that deserve a mention either way.
Before we get to this list of “best cheap cars”, I feel like you might be wondering about that headline. Why $22,515? I chose that number because the average price of a new car in 2021 has crept past $45,000 for the first time — $45,301, to be exact — and half of that is … well, you get the idea.
As for the list, I’ll try to answer it the same way you’d probably answer your friends if they asked you for help picking a new car: With a question of my own.
“What do you plan on using it for?”
Word on the street is that Ford’s new “compact” pickup has been such as smashing success that the automaker is fresh out of product — at least in hybrid guise.
While the 2.0-liter turbo offers substantially more power and towing capability, the default 2.5-liter Duratec four-cylinder gasoline engine with a hybrid electric motor still produces an agreeable 191 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque. Mated to Ford’s e-CVT gearbox, the Environmental Protection Agency suggest the pickup delivers 42 mpg around town and 33 mpg on the highway. Considering that the vehicle retails just below $20,000 (before you account for taxes and dealer fees), offers a conservatively sized truck bed, and seats five, it’s little wonder that Ford’s tapped out in an era where people are being forced to tighten their belts.
A few weeks ago, Ford took the wraps off of a new, “right-sized” pickup for the 2022 model year called the Maverick. The truck is different. For one, it’s a unibody design with four doors and a bed that’s integrated into the cab, not separate. For another, it’s a hybrid — which, I dunno. That seemed kind of brave, for Ford. It seemed brave enough to me, at least, to inspire me to take a closer look at the little truck’s specs … and that’s when I noticed that the new Maverick isn’t that little after all.
In fact, at 199.7 inches long, the new “compact” Maverick is a full two inches longer than the 1992 Ford F-150 “full-size” half-ton pickup.
The word of the week has been Maverick.
The 2022 Ford Maverick has gotten plenty of coverage on this site and elsewhere, plenty of buzz on Twitter, and every auto journalist I know, self included, has strained to find the best joke referencing either Top Gun or a ’90s Western comedy starring Mel Gibson and James Garner (both flicks are excellent, by the way).
I want to be excited by this truck. I should be excited by this truck. And yet, my prevailing feeling about it could be summed up by a gif of a shrug.
Ford CEO Jim Farley was interviewed in a New York Times article apparently devoted to praising him and the company. It was reminiscent of those segments on Good Morning America where they have healthy cooking tips sponsored by the American Egg Board and — surprise, surprise — end up recommending people incorporate eggs into meals.
But it wasn’t entirely devoid of substance, either. While pretending that Farley had just taken the job and was somehow solely responsible for a gaggle of successful debuts planned ages before he took over, NYT did mange to convince him to open up about the future of the Maverick pickup and its potential family.
Ford squeezed an amazing amount of value out of the 1960 Falcon‘s chassis design, with everything from the 1964-1973 Mustang to the 1980 Granada rolling Falcon-style. The Falcon itself got replaced here by the Maverick starting in 1970 (with one year of overlap when both were available), but the Maverick still had the 1960 Falcon’s bones under its skin. Millions of Mavericks (and near-identical Mercury Comets) were sold here during the 1970-1977 period, and nearly all of these affordable commutemobiles got crushed decades ago. Still, I run across the occasional Maverick/ Comet during my junkyard journeys, and I found this optioned-up ’76 in a Denver-area yard last summer.