Let's Dig Into The Design Of The 2022 Ford Maverick

Image: Ford

From what I’m reading on the internet and hearing from my flock of trained, eavesdropping mockingbirds, most of you out there seem pretty impressed with what you’ve seen of the new 2022 Ford Maverick: it’s the cheap, useful, not-too-big truck many of us have been waiting for. The design isn’t particularly remarkable, but it’s not bad, either. I think this is will be an important vehicle for Ford, so let’s dig into the design a bit.

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I suppose the most notable thing about the overall design is, well, how not that notable it is. I don’t get the feeling Ford wanted to take many risks here, and the result is a clean, functional-looking pickup truck with very traditional proportions that can only offend someone if they’re running on 30 minutes of sleep and just accidentally stepped into a shallow pan of urine, barefoot.

I think Ford’s restraint in the design is what makes it work: there’s minimal ornamentation, either via applied brightwork, badging, cladding, or whatever, or via stamped-in details and character lines.

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There’s some details, sure, and the overall design vocabulary of the truck fits neatly with Ford’s larger F-150s—the use of angled cutoffs at the rear side window corner, the intaglio arc over the wheel arch, that little black plastic thing just in fore of the front door line, the general proportions while clearly being something a bit more basic, which I mean in a good way.

Here, let’s look at this in detail:

Image: Ford/Jason Torchinsky

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I think it does its job well, and I respect the unfussiness of it all, especially with the base steel wheels. It makes sense as a utilitarian work truck and could also be a family’s main ride. That’s a subtle but impressive achievement.

My biggest gripe is with the front fascia, which presents a sort of myopic, bespectacled kind of face that I find kind of awkward and hard to focus on.

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The central bar that houses the indicators and breaks up the mass of headlamp on either end all feels like a bit too much for the rest of the pleasingly simple design.

In thinking about what I’d do differently, I think I’d look back to one of Ford’s previous simple, small trucks, the Courier, for inspiration, and adapt the headlight units from the Bronco Sport platform-mate of the Maverick, and maybe do something like this:

Image: Ford/Jason Torchinsky

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Ford could keep the central bar, which was also a key element of the Courier’s face, but the round lamps from the Bronco Sport give a much more graphic look to the front end that I find more identifiable and fits better with the character of the truck. I mocked this up to have no sheet metal changes needed: just new lights, a modified grille, and a modified bumper skin. That means you could probably make this happen in, what, a few weeks, Ford?

While I’d love to see a single cab/long bed version of this, I understand the market realities that make that unlikely. Instead of whining about it, though, I think we can focus on something good about the crew cab approach: with a proper accessory camper shell, the Maverick could be real competition for mainstream, high-volume crossovers and SUVs like the Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V or even Ford’s own Escape.

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Image: Ford/Toyota/JDT

That’s just a quick mockup of a Maverick with a camper shell, but let’s consider such a thing compared to, say, a Toyota RAV4. For about the same or even less money, you could have a vehicle that gets as good or better fuel economy, sits the same number of people, has more cargo room (and more flexible, since you can remove the cover and have just a pickup or drop that tailgate down for longer things) and, I think, looks better.

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Something like this could really eat into that mainstream crossover SUV market, so I hope someone out there is designing a good camper shell for these.

Image: Ford

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The interiors are interesting, and seem to fit the simple, unfussy overall design theme of the Maverick. The plastics look a bit thick and chunky in places, but I think it comes off more as rugged than inelegant.

I also like that the materials appear to be unapologetically plastic; they have different colors and textures, but nothing seems to be trying to masquerade as some other material here, and I respect that a lot.

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I like that gold-colored inset band that houses the vents, and I’m confused but curious about the cubby next to the center screen. Seems like a good little display case for your favorite action figure, or something.

Image: Ford

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It looks like the base trim (above) doesn’t get the color variation of the higher-spec ones, and the instrument cluster screen is smaller, but overall for a $20,000 vehicle, it’s not bad at all.

Image: Ford

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The two-tone seats help save the interior from becoming a gray miasma, and the interior room looks fairly generous, which it should be, considering the height of the greenhouse.

Image: Ford

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The base-spec interior doesn’t get the dual color, and does descend into that miasma, but it’s not that bad, considering the low price.

All told, there’s something refreshing about the simplicity of the Maverick; auto design has been trending towards the more and more baroque and ornate, and it’s good to see something that takes a step back and just, you know, breathes a bit.

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There’s a bit of a blank slate element to these, especially the base ones, and that’s a good combination for a thriving aftermarket/customizer platform, so I’m curious to see how individual owners may choose to modify their trucks.

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