The Maverick is a new small pickup based on Ford’s Bronco Sport and Escape SUVs. Starting at just under $20,000, it occupies an increasingly popular niche—a small truck that can be bought on a budget. With a civilized ride, handy maneuverability, easy access, and decent fuel efficiency, the Maverick outscores every pickup in its class, other than the larger and more expensive Honda Ridgeline.
It is better-suited to most “truck stuff”—whether for work or play—than the similarly-sized Hyundai Santa Cruz. For instance, the Ford’s 4.5-foot-long bed has about one-and-a-half times the volume of the little Hyundai’s, and the bed’s low height makes it easy to load. The tailgate can be positioned at an upward angle which, in conjunction with the tops of the rear wheel wells and ratchet straps, makes it possible to carry standard 4x8 sheets of plywood. Owners are also likely to appreciate the handy sliding tie-down rings and in-bed lighting. One “truck stuff” area where the Santa Cruz is superior is towing: When properly equipped the Hyundai has the ability to tow a trailer of up to 5,000 pounds, whereas the Ford is limited to 4,000 pounds.