2022 Ford Maverick FX4: First (Off-Road) Drive

Who doesn’t love a great off-road package? We sure do! Fortunately, Ford has included its FX4 off-road package on the all-new 2022 Maverick, and we couldn’t be more excited to finally get to jump behind the wheel. While not as extensive of an upgrade as, say, Ford’s new Tremor package found on Ranger, F-150, and Super Duty, the Maverick FX4 brings a slate of off-road goodies to Ford’s new compact pickup. Let’s dive in and see how the 2022 ford maverick FX4 performs in the real world.

The all-new 2022 ford maverick pickup comes in three distinct trim levels. These include the base XL, volume XLT, and premium Lariat. To add the FX4 package, customers will need to select either an XLT or Lariat trim. Unfortunately, XL buyers get left out on this one. Additionally, opting for the FX4 off-road package requires that the Maverick be equipped with all-wheel drive, which automatically selects the 2.0L EcoBoost engine.

2022 Maverick FX4 Engine And Transmission

The base engine for the 2022 ford maverick is a 2.5L I-4 hybrid mated to a CVT transmission. However, to get all-wheel drive Maverick needs to be optioned with the 2.0L EcoBoost I-4 engine. This engine produces 250 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. While the hybrid drivetrain utilizes a CVT transmission, the 2.0L EcoBoost engine comes mated to a traditional eight-speed automatic. The EPA rates this drivetrain combination at 22 mpg city, 29 highway, and 25 combined.

002 Ford Maverick XLT FX4 First Drive Off Road

What Comes With The Maverick FX4 Package?

Ford offers an FX4 off-road package on all its pickups and most SUVs. While the content varies from model to model, they all still follow the same basic formula. Selecting the FX4 package (option code 17S) for Maverick adds front tow hooks, underbody skidplates (a front bash plate, engine skid, and charcoal canister shield), two additional drive modes (sand and mud/ruts), hill descent control, a heavy-duty engine fan and radiator, trailer hitch receiver, unique 17-inch aluminum wheels, and all-terrain tires (Pirelli tires are standard, Falkens are optional). XLT trucks get the 6.5-inch productivity information screen that’s standard on Lariat, and all models get FX4 bedside graphics.

Off-Road Ride And Ability

Ford has been very clear from the introduction of Maverick that this truck is built with the intention that it will be an enabler of outdoor adventure. That said, Maverick is not necessarily intended to be the primary toy in your adventure arsenal. Maverick is built to be loaded up with bikes, kayaks, coolers, camping gear, motorcycles, and the like. It’s also intended to tow boats, personal watercrafts, trailers with snow machines, or camp trailers to wherever the adventure is.

That all said, the FX4 package does add some decent off-road ability to Maverick. To sample this, Ford set up a short trail drive that included graded dirt road, rocky two-track, slick grass, and a fun rutted hill climb. Overall, the Maverick handled the short dirt jaunt with ease. The truck remained quiet and composed with very little in the way of head toss. We never bottomed the suspension or touched a skidplate to the ground. The additional drive modes work as advertised, adjusting the throttle and transmission mapping accordingly. The Falken all-terrain tires on our tester provided plenty of grip for scurrying up the rutted hill climb, and the ability to easily disable traction control made the Maverick feel like a rally car on fast graded roads.

003 Ford Maverick XLT FX4 First Drive Off Road

On-Road Handling And Performance

There is so much to love about the Maverick when it comes to the truck’s highway ride. But first, it’s worth noting that since the FX4 package doesn’t change anything in the truck’s suspension, whether it’s present or not doesn’t affect on-road handling beyond the addition of all-terrain tires.

Power from the 2.0L EcoBoost engine is plentiful, and the eight-speed automatic transmission fires off shifts quickly and smoothly. We never felt the truck was underpowered or that the transmission was in the wrong gear for the task at hand. Suspension handling was great with the truck tracking flat through some fairly aggressive cornering maneuvers while the all-wheel drive system kept everything firmly planted to the pavement.

The Maverick’s interior is comfortable and quiet, and we found all the necessary buttons and switches to be within easy reach and right where they logically should be. One thing we don’t really care for is the rotary knob shifter. We would have preferred a traditional console shift lever, if only to provide a place to rest our hand. While the Lariat trim is flush with leather seats, soft-touch surfaces, and all the available technologies, we found ourselves right at home in the more basic XLT, as well. The XLT’s cloth seats are comfortable, even if lacking a bit in the side bolster region, and the XLT can be optioned from sparse to nearly Lariat level, if one would so choose.

004 Ford Maverick XLT FX4 First Drive Off Road004 Ford Maverick XLT FX4 First Drive Off Road

Final Thoughts

The 2022 ford maverick is not without compromise when it comes to off-road ability. While the truck has a respectable 8.6 inches of running ground clearance, its bumpers and rockers ride much closer to the dirt than its larger counterparts. With just 18.1 degrees of breakover angle, you’ll need to pay special attention to not high-center the truck on larger obstacles, and with 21.6-degree approach and 21.2-degree departure angles, keeping an eye on the bumpers is key, as well. That said, Ford makes no claims that Maverick will go where even Ranger can. That’s not what it’s built for.

Maverick does well when kept driven under the conditions it was intended for. The truck will confidently get you down the dirt road to your favorite biking trail, to drop the kids off at snowboard camp, or take your camper deeper into your favorite national park than the rest of the masses. And it will be quiet and comfortable while negotiating those chores. Adding the FX4 package, which costs just $800, is the proverbial cherry on top.


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