2023 Ford Maverick Lariat Tremor AWD - A small pickup for the family.


There are some out there who say the Maverick is not a real pickup truck. It's front-wheel-drive based (although the test Tremor was AWD), and it doesn't have a long enough bed. Sounds like North American bias to me. Big pickups are not the norm in most of the rest of the world. So cut the Maverick some slack. 

The Maverick is not aimed at those who need a big, he-man pickup. Think of it as a smallish SUV with an open cargo area, something for the do-it-yourself folks. It has a real, albeit smaller, cargo bed. You can go to the home center and throw stuff back there that would leave a mess in your SUV. If you really need to haul some 12' 2-bys go buy a lumber rack. There that's out of the way.

There are two engines available for the Maverick, a 2.5-liter, FHEV (Full Hybrid Electric Vehicle), 4-cylinder, or my choice and the engine in the test Maverick Tremor, a 250 hp, 2.0-liter, EcoBoost 4-cylinder. The EcoBoost comes with an 8-speed automatic, and the Tremor is an AWD vehicle. There are different transmission settings for different conditions - Normal, Slippery, Tow/Haul, Mud & Ruts, and Sand.

The Tremor Off Road Plus features increased ride height, special shocks, skid plates, heavy duty trans cooler, tow hooks, and a host of other special touches. The Appearance package adds graphics to the Tremor Off-Road package.

The 2023 Maverick is only marginally smaller than the last "small" Ranger. The Maverick's bed is 54.4" long, and 42.6" between the wheelhouses. So that proverbial 4X8 sheet of plywood will fit in the bed on top of the wheelhouses but you might need a red flag for the part that hangs out the back. The payload capacity is 1,500 pounds, easily topping the half-ton mark.

The Maverick is only available as a 4-door so it can double as the family sedan. Up front are two seats, and there is a bench seat in the rea; total seating capacity is five.

I put a fair number of miles on the Maverick and found very little to fault. I actually got used to the twist-knob shifter but I'd still prefer a lever. The start/stop feature (turns off the engine when you come to a stop and automatically restarts when you take your foot off the brake) lagged a bit more on restart than I prefer, especially before the engine was fully warm.

I had no real problems with the Maverick's instrument/entertainment/climate control/whatever center. It's like many modern vehicles, some worse, some better - too much going on, at least for me. I know I'm in a minority but just keep it simple.

The Tremor felt powerful enough in the limited acceleration runs I tried. In today's world 250 hp is not that much but it is enough to propel the almost 3,800 lb. vehicle to 60 mph in just under 6.0 seconds. I didn't equal the EPA's 29-mpg highway figure, getting 27.4-mpg on my highway trips. The EPA's city figure is 22-mpg.

Maverick's standard towing capacity is 2,000 lbs. but it can be increased to 4,000 lbs. with the 4K Tow Package.

Part of the Tremor Off-Road Plus Package are 17" Mach Dark aluminum wheels with 235/65R17 all-terrain, all-weather tires. I cannot attest to their capabilities in snow or off-road but they were fairly quiet on the highway. I was a little confused at first by the orange section of the wheel then I realized it was where the valve stem is located. Neat.

Like so many trucks now the Maverick Tremor has a bit of a split personality. Trucks used to be a tool meant for working people. They often lived a hard life and they usually had Spartan interiors. I know you can still buy a bare bones truck but they are rare. The Maverick Tremor has all the amenities you would expect in a comfy sedan. 

According to ford.com the 2023 Maverick Lariat Tremor AWD equipped like the test vehicle will run around $37,000. That's if you can find one. The website has this warning "Due to high demand, the current model year is no longer available for retail order. Contact your dealer for more information." Did Ford under-estimate the market? 

I quickly used the "Build Your Maverick" website tool and outfitted one to my tastes for around $27,000. You can go all out or tailor it to you budget. Now if Ford would just build more Mavericks!


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