The Car Connection’s Best Car To Buy 2022

The 2022 Ford Maverick wins The Car Connection’s Best Car To Buy 2022 award. The compact pickup truck with a crew cab and a small bed beat out five finalists out of dozens of new or redesigned vehicles we tested in 2021. It met our criteria of costing less than $50,000 and coming standard with automatic emergency braking but its overall value and packaging won unanimous support from our editorial team. 

Powered by a standard hybrid engine with an EPA-rated 37 mpg combined, the Maverick starts at about $21,500, which is less than half of what the average car shopper pays for a new car. It’s not powerful, it doesn’t tow much, and the interior’s covered in more plastic than an indoor playground. It’s basic and it’s brilliant. 

Sharing parts with both the Ford Escape and Ford Bronco Sport compact crossovers, the Maverick looks like a proper pickup truck, trimmed down for urban and suburban spaces. It has the flat body sides and square ends of Fords other trucks, but it’s smaller than a Ford Ranger and bigger than its closest competitor, the Hyundai Santa Cruz. The 17-inch steel wheels prove the Maverick isn’t trying to be anything more than it is, an economical small pickup, and we love its uncommon honesty. That carries over inside, with plastic door panels and clever bottle holders, plastic dash, plastic console, dials, buttons, switches, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen beside an odd recess to house larger touchscreens, we expect. 

The utilitarian nature carries over under the hood with a standard 2.5-liter inline-4 as part of a hybrid powertrain. Sold only with front-wheel drive, the hybrid system delivers 191 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque good for 2,000 lb of towing. Double that capacity with the 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 250 hp and 277 lb-ft, and you can opt for all-wheel drive. The stronger engine pairs to an 8-speed automatic transmission that can be indecisive in the spirit of optimizing fuel economy to 26 mpg combined with FWD. That’s why we’d recommend the smoother hybrid and its EPA-rated 42 mpg city, 33 highway, 37 combined. The biggest problem with the hybrid is its popularity: Ford won’t be taking any new orders until late spring or early summer. 

2022 Ford Maverick

2022 Ford Maverick

2022 Ford Maverick

2022 Ford Maverick

2022 Ford Maverick

2022 Ford Maverick

2022 Ford Maverick

2022 Ford Maverick

At just 54.4 inches, the small bed suits most active lifestyles. A mountain bike can slide behind the front seats with the front wheel detached; two bikes can slot into the bed with their front wheels angled. The bed walls have dual covered bins and up to 10 tie-downs, and Ford says the Maverick’s adjustable tailgate can hold up to 400 pounds and tote 4×8 sheets of plywood without a bed extender. The Maverick will never be confused for a work truck, but it can handle getaway duties as well as helping out for weekend home projects.

Four people fit in the crew cab, though the 35.9 inches of rear leg room can be tight for taller passengers. Redefining what the modern economy vehicle can be, Ford equips the Maverick with standard automatic emergency braking, cloth seats, power features, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone compatibility. Options range from adaptive cruise control to a tonneau cover and a power sliding rear window, which comes on the top Lariat FX4 model for $35,715. 

We prefer the lower end of the price spectrum. The 2022 Ford Maverick earned a high TCC Rating of 7.0 out of 10 for its frugality and function. It’s basic in all the best ways.  

Read all about the winners of The Car Connection’s Best Car To Buy 2022 awards—and find out which vehicles took home our annual Driver’s Choice awards as well as top honors from our sister sites, Motor Authority and Green Car Reports

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