After first becoming a topic of speculation three years ago when rumours began emerging, Ford has officially silenced the claims and multitude of spy images by taking the covers off the all-new Maverick bakkie.
Reviving a name last used from 1993 to 1997 for a rebadged version of the Nissan Terrano in Europe and from 1988 to 1994 for the Blue Oval’s take on the Nissan Patrol in Australia, the Maverick is however a completely different model from the small sedan that bore the name in the US from 1969 to 1977.
Bakkie look, car platform
As has been reported on a number of occasions since the initial rumours by Automobile Mag broke in 2018, the Maverick rides on a unibody platform like the Honda Ridgeline and Hyundai Santa Cruz and not a traditional body-on-frame like the Ranger and F-150, which in this case is the C2 used by the Focus and Bronco Sport.
Measuring 5 072 mm in overall length with a height of 1 745 mm, the Maverick, unsurprisingly, is shorter and lower than the Ranger it now slots in below as Ford’s smallest bakkie in the States, with Dearborn claiming a payload of 680 kg and braked trailer towing capacity of 907 kg.
As indicated previously, the Maverick will only be offered as a double cab, or crew cab in Ford-speak, and in a choice of three trim levels; XL, XLT and Lariat with the load box measuring 1 382 mm. An option on the XLT and Lariat is the FX4 package that adds not only all-wheel drive, but also all-terrain tyres, underbody protection, revised suspension, Hill Descent and two additional off-road focused driving modes; Mud/Ruts and Sand.
Bed of secrets
Sporting a look similar to the Bronco Sport as indicated previously, the Maverick also incorporates styling traits from past F-150 generations with the rear not only resembling the Ranger, but also the Explorer Sport Trac that bowed out over a decade ago.
Boasting not only a multi-function tailgate but also movable mounting hooks in the loadbox itself with mounting slides incorporated into the sides, the bed, which the Blue Oval calls a flexbed, also features specifically mounted slots that allows for item separation using sheets of plywood for example.
Like with the F-150, the versatility of the loadbed extends to it being equipped with a 110-volt, 400-watt outlet integrated into the lower half of the left hand side wall, while a storage area occupies the other side on the XLT and Lariat.
In term of equipment, all models come as standard with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system incorporating Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 range of safety and driver assistance systems, five standard driving modes; Eco, Normal, Slippery, Tow/Haul and Sport, cloth seats or faux leather in the case of the Lariat and a number of storage bins. Standard on the XL and XLT is a 4.2-inch instrument cluster display with a bigger 6.5-inch available on the Lariat.
Hybrid power standard
Up front, the Maverick will initially be powered by a choice of two engines; a normally aspirated 2.5-litre petrol combined with an electric motor for a total system output of 140 kW and the conventional 2.0 EcoBoost from the Bronco Sport that punches out 184kW/376Nm.
Available only with front-wheel drive, the hybrid is mated to a CVT with an eight-speed automatic being the sole option for the EcoBoost, which, for an additional $2 200 (R29 706), can be fitted with the mentioned all-wheel-drive system. Despite previously rumoured, a normally aspirated petrol engine and manual gearbox have been left out from the final product and are thus unlikely to be offered.
Priced for the States…
Going on sale in the US autumn that runs from September to December, the Maverick, as alluded to on a number of occasions, usurps the Ranger on price with a starting sticker of $19 995 (R269 990) for the XL Hybrid.
Moving up, the XLT retails from $22 280 (R300 844) and the Lariat from $25 490 (R344 188) with the EcoBoost engine being a $1 085 (R14 650) option on all trim levels.
Production will take place at the Hermosillo Plant in Mexico alongside the Bronco Sport but while set to be exported to South America, Ford’s confirmation last month that the Maverick won’t be made with right-hand drive means a no-go for South Africa as the long overdue replacement for the Bantam and rival for the dated Nissan NP200.