The Ford Maverick is on my short-list for favorite vehicles of the year

I promise this car review is not all about price.

I mean, for the last 20 years, I’ve been reviewing products and covering cars in all shapes and sizes. I now estimate that I’ve tested at least 800 vehicles, everything from Corvettes to Jeeps and everything in between. It’s unusual for me to break from my normal routine, because I usually pick one tech innovation and focus on that as a way to highlight an important feature. 

I’ve covered autonomous driving tech, lane-keeping, alerts to warn you about falling asleep, and even things like Apple CarPlay on a massive 15-inch display in the vehicle.

The Ford Maverick made me want to focus on the whole truck, which is essentially the younger brother (or sister) of the Ford F-150 pick-up. It’s smaller like the Ranger, mobile enough to maneuver easily into parking spaces at the mall, yet still capable, fun to drive, and rugged.

I liked everything about it, but let me at least start with the price. I had to check my notes a couple of times during my tests. The base price is only $22,195. Did I mention this is a truck? That price seems reasonable for the capabilities you will discover, including a peppy 2.0-liter engine and a towing capacity of 1,500-pounds. I’m not used to that price point. Most trucks run around $40,000 or more, so seeing a sticker price that was south of $25,000 surprised me. (I tested the Tremor off-version, which costs $27,845. I also tested the base model at a Ford dealership in my area.)

I mentioned how this is not all about price, but there is the sense that you can purchase a capable but affordable vehicle. Here’s just one example of that. In my area, it has been snowing like crazy ever since November. I expected the Maverick to slide around a bit on the road, but the AWD kicked in just perfectly in several tense scenarios — going around a bend in the road, driving on newly snow-covered roads, and even driving over a small snowbank in my driveway. 

The Maverick stayed incredibly secure and stable on the road during all of my test runs. The bed never fish-tailed or slid around on the road, even when I punched it a little to make sure. I liked how the Maverick drives, since it is a bit smaller than the F-150 and easier to see around the front of the truck, park in tight spots, and keep centered in your lane. Trucks are usually a bit monstrous, but the Maverick gives you towing and storage capacity in the bed with great maneuverability. It reminded me a bit of the Ford Ranger or smaller Toyota pick-ups.

The engine is sporty enough to help you merge into traffic easily, and since the overall truck is lighter than the F-150 by degrees, it’s fun to drive because of that. After my test, I went to a Ford dealership to test out a couple of other new Mavericks models and was still impressed.

Of course, all of the tech I usually cover is all here. Apple CarPlay worked great, even if the screen on the Maverick is not as spacious as the F-150 by a long-shot. 

I’m okay with that compromise, since the price is perfect for me. I liked everything about the Maverick and had a hard time turning over the keys after my test ended. 

It’s a favorite of the year.