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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Not-for-South Africa new Ford Maverick debuting in June

Bronco Sport and Focus underpinned new bakkie will only be made in left-hand-drive.

With testing having continued despite spy shots and speculation of details, a weekend report from the United States has claimed that Ford will officially be taking the covers off of the Maverick bakkie in June.

Leaked on the assembly line of the Hermosillo Plant in Mexico in January where it will be built alongside the Bronco Sport, the FordAuthority online forum has once again spied the newcomer testing, this time almost completely exposed with only minimal layers of disguise present.

Boasting a combination of F-150 and Bronco Sport inspired looks at the front with the rear bearing similarities to the current and past generations of the former, as well as the US-spec Ranger, the double cab only Maverick will ride on the same C2 platform as the Sport and indeed the Focus, meaning a unibody design like the Honda Ridgeline and Hyundai Santa Cruz instead of a traditional body-on-frame.

Spotted riding on alloy as well steel wheels, the latter likely in response to Dearborn wanting a more commercial model rather than the lifestyle focused Ridgeline and Santa Cruz, the Maverick is however expected to feature the same interior as the Bronco Sport, albeit with varying degrees of spec and possibly even trim materials in order to maintain the reported starting price of below $20 000 (R275 358)

Undercutting the cheapest Ranger by a reported $4 000 (R55 071), the Maverick’s close ties with the Bronco Sport will filter through to the power units where a choice of two will reportedly be offered; the 1.5 EcoBoost and the 2.0 EcoBoost both paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Also rumoured but not confirmed is a normally aspirated version of the latter engine as used in the Transit Connect and possibly even a manual ‘box in order to once again keep costs down. Like its immediate rivals, the Maverick will be front-wheel-drive with all-wheel-drive featuring on higher-end models.

RELATED: Entry denied: Ford rules-out RHD Bronco and Maverick

Aside from the United States, the Maverick is expected to be offered in South America where it will rival the Fiat Toro and higher spec versions of the Strada/Ram 700, as well as the aging Volkswagen Saveiro and Chevrolet Montana.

Despite having been rumoured as a candidate for South Africa to replace the Bantam and take aim at the dated, locally built Nissan NP200, whose future is hanging in balance, the Maverick has effectively been ruled-out after Ford stated last month that no plans are in place to offer it, as well as the Bronco and Bronco Sport, with right-hand-drive.

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