Behind the Wheel

2023 Ford Maverick XLT — The Little Pickup That Can Do a Lot

2023 Ford MaverickModel tested: 2023 Ford Maverick XLT Crew Cab FWD

Engine: 2.5-liter hybrid I-4

Transmission: CVT automatic, front-wheel drive

Horsepower: 191 combined

Torque: 173 lb.-ft.

EPA ratings: 42/city, 33/highway, 37/combined

Base price: $24,455

As tested: $30,625

Overview: The 2023 Ford Maverick XLT Hybrid crew cab compact pickup has a four-cylinder gas engine and an electric motor that provides a great mix of peppy acceleration and superior fuel economy. The crew cab body has true five-passenger space. The Ford Maverick is built on the Bronco Sport compact SUV platform.

Walkaround: The 2023 Ford Maverick XLT Hybrid is a handsome compact crew cab pickup. The unibody bed and cab are integrated, so it’s less “big rig” looking. The 121-inch wheelbase Maverick is Ford’s smallest pickup, slotted below the Ranger and F-150. The bed is small at 4-foot-6-inches, with a 1,500-pound payload rating, but it has cargo cleats, storage compartments, available power outlets and an easy-to-manage tailgate that can be secured in a halfway position. Bed size and functionality are ample for most drivers and active families.

2023 Ford MaverickInterior: There’s stretch-out driver and front passenger comfort, with driver-side power lumbar and a heated steering wheel. Back seat space and comfort are good, too, especially for a compact pickup. Front seatbacks are recessed for added knee room. Adults can fit in the firm middle position. The floor hump is low and underseat shoe room is ample. A foldup seat offers storage versatility and a deep storage bin. Obvious cost considerations were present in the plastic door panels and visors.

Behind the wheel: The Ford Maverick is a pleasant driver that behaves more like a compact sport-utility vehicle than a full-size truck. The result is passenger-car comfort with pickup bed versatility. The Maverick hybrid is only available with front-wheel drive, although the nonhybrid 2-liter turbo model has all-wheel drive available. There is a new Tremor package with increased off-road abilities, including a lifted suspension and locking rear differential. As a hybrid, the Maverick has impressive fuel economy — our best was 43 mpg on the highway. The hybrid drivetrain provided spirited acceleration and the CVT transmission operation was smooth. The truck’s overall performance exceeded our expectations.

Bottom line: The 2023 Ford Maverick XLT Hybrid crew cab compact pickup packs a lot of usefulness in an easy-to-drive, stylish package. It’s small by full-size pickup standards, but it’s as much truck as many drivers need because to them, daily drivability and handling, interior comfort and space, parking ease and fuel economy are as useful as large cargo and towing capabilities. The Ford Maverick is very affordable, both in terms of initial price and operating costs, which are big attractions for many buyers.