The headline of the press release for the 2022 Ford Maverick read, “40 MPG city, standard hybrid, seats five, starts under $20K”. Yep that sounds like the deal of the century, where do we sign up?

We did exactly that in June of 2021 when reservations opened for the all-new compact pickup truck from Ford, placing a reservation ourselves to be one of the first to own the least expensive new hybrid vehicle and least expensive new truck alive.

Fast forward to January of 2022, our new long-term test Ford Maverick XL Hybrid finally arrived and has reported for duty. In our first week of testing we wanted to really see how it stacks up in light of those lofty headlines from last summer.

We ordered a base XL model with a starting price of $19,995 with its standard 2.5-liter engine and hybrid drivetrain. The only option selected was a trailer hitch receiver with four-pin connector for $100 – a deal too good to pass up. All in, our price as tested here is $21,590.

What we get for those bones is a bare bones work truck with no apologies. 17-inch steel wheels and black plastic trim, manually adjusting mirrors and a manually locking rear tailgate are the first major features you notice walking up to it. While basic in its presentation, it does have LED headlamps and daytime running lights, a feature unexpected at this price.

A uni-body truck similar in form to the Honda Ridgeline and the also new Hyundai Santa Cruz, the Maverick features a cargo box which is one with the cab. Here it is plain steel in the floor and walls, featuring indentations for owners to add pieces of lumber to use as dividers and support for things like 4×8 sheets of material when the tail-gate is latched half-way up.

The interior is a sea of basic hard plastics but dressed up from the norm with an upscale shade of blue Ford calls Navy Pier. Seating surfaces are a sturdy black and gray cloth that key off of plastic accent trims of black and gray throughout.

The seating up front is firm and offers some level of adjustment. The height adjustment doesn’t offer a lot of range and could be problematic for some. Rear seating offers reasonably good legroom and has an acceptable height from the floor.

There’s plenty of storage and versatility with a compartment under the rear seat, large map pockets with bottle holders and a good size center console box in addition to all the little cubbies everywhere. Standard is air-conditioning via a basic climate control system.

Center of the dash is an 8-inch display audio system that offers Apple CarPlay, Android Auto Bluetooth Connectivity and a WiFi Hot Spot to back up the standard AM/FM functionality. There is also a backup camera standard.

The audio system quality is low, the connectivity features it offers are the few compensating factors. It’s passable for a base trim grade but surprising that to get an upgraded system you need to get into the higher trim grades and then also spend up for the LUX package.

The Maverick Hybrid’s claim to fame is its fuel economy however and here it does not disappoint. With 191 horsepower and 155 pound-feet of torque, its rated at 42 mpg city, 33 highway and 37 mpg combined. In our week with it we achieved a city only mpg of 44 – measured at the pump.

Power from the system is what we would call adequate. There is plenty of torque under foot for passing and getting through traffic. The system has a reasonably good level of refinement and most times the transition between gas and electric power is imperceptible.

The EV mode is pretty strong courtesy of its lithium-ion battery back located under the floor at the rear passenger side. It can sail along at even highway speeds with the engine off, maintained by the electric motor only if conditions allow – contributing to its impressive efficiency.

Road noise in our 70 mph freeway average was 63.2 dB which is on par with the Maverick EcoBoost XLT FX4 we tested last month – class average. At speed the Maverick feels stable thanks to its firm suspension and 225 section standard rubber. The chassis is impressively taut and offers sharper and more refined driving character than most body on frame trucks. The steering is however a bit numb in its feel.

With a towing capability of 2,000 pounds and payload rating of 1,500 pounds the Maverick XL Hybrid is really geared to people who just need an occasional truck to bring project materials or a new appliance home from the big-box store. There will also be a lot of businesses out there who find it perfect for their needs as a work truck – such as ourselves.

The 2022 Ford Maverick XL Hybrid is a vehicle which is built to a price and there is no question about that when you sit in it and drive it. The balance struck however in terms of features and capability does not disappoint.

It not only makes it to our “Id Buy It” list, but we did.