When an automaker has stopped selling traditional sedans and hatchbacks and its trucks keep growing in size, leaving an increasingly popular segment of the market empty, introducing a smaller truck is the next logical step. Meet the 2022 Ford Maverick, a compact pickup truck with a standard hybrid powertrain that's designed for buyers wanting and needing more flexibility without the cost, thirst, and size of a larger pickup.

The Maverick sits small compared with the Ranger and is absolutely eclipsed by Ford's full-size pickups. It sits nearly 30 mm lower than the Ranger and 282 mm shorter (1,754 mm and 5,073 mm total), making it much more parking-lot friendly and able to turn in a much smaller circle than the longer trucks. Ford said the truck was designed to make sure that someone even 4-foot 11-inches tall could reach objects in the cab and box.

It still has utility in the bed, with a four and a half-foot by four-foot box combined with a multi-position bed that allows 4x8 sheets to sit on the gate and wheelwells. The bed will hold up to 680 kg (1,500 lbs) of cargo, even for the base front-wheel drive hybrid model, which is more than many full-size half-ton pickups can manage, though it's a few hundred under the upcoming Hyundai Santa Cruz. The Maverick will tow 907 kg (2,000 lbs) in hybrid form or 1,814 kg (4,000 lbs) with the 2.0L EcoBoost and towing package, enough for a travel trailer in the 20-foot range.

That box has a lift-in height of just 760 mm for easy loading and loading and is full of the usual pickup-like array of slots, dividers, and pockets that let you add accessories and better manage cargo. 110V power outlets are available and the box has hidden 20-amp 12V prewire harnesses for adding more accessories like an air compressor. In addition to factory accessories, Ford will even show you how to build your own by scanning a QR code in the Flexbed.

Ford's standard engine in this truck is a 2.5L gas engine and hybrid system making 191 hp and 155 lb-ft. It drives the front wheels only and Ford is targeting fuel consumption of 5.9 L/100 km in the city, a figure that would beat most compact cars.

All-wheel drive is standard with the 2.0L EcoBoost four-cylinder that uses an eight-speed automatic and makes 250 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. The automaker didn't give a fuel economy estimate for that driveline.

Inside, Ford has given the Maverick a standard 8.0-inch infotainment screen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as standard FordPass Connect with Wi-Fi. Making the interior feel more spacious and more versatile, Ford made big changes to the doors like cutting the armrests and moving the rear speakers into the pillars. This frees up space for more cargo and water bottles in the doors, but also adds some more elbow room and helps make the vehicle feel spacious. Under the rear seats, Ford shows off a storage space deep enough to hold an inflated basketball.

New textures around the cabin include reground carbon fibre and a dash panel with a stonelike finish. Bright accents on high-use surfaces also help brighten the 2022 Ford Maverick. 

The 2022 Ford Maverick will come in XL, XLT, and Lariat trims as well as an FX4 package that adds all-terrain tires and underbody protection. For the first model year, a Maverick First Edition will come with its own graphics and body-colour trim as well as three special paint colours.

Driver assistance features including Ford Co-Pilot360 will be standard with tech like pre-collision assist, emergency braking, and automatic high beams. Adaptive cruise, blind spot information, and evasive steering assist will be optional.

Ford says the Maverick will hit dealers this fall, though the build and price system should be up on the brand website now and the order books are open. The 2022 Ford Maverick will start from $25,990 with full pricing and features to follow.