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It's been nearly two weeks since the Ford Maverick debuted, and there's still quite a bit of chatter surrounding Ford's small pickup. From our window into the consumer world that chatter is mixed. The Maverick certainly looks like a Ford pickup, and with some clever features in its 4.5-foot bed, it has the versatility of a truck. However, unibody construction and standard front-wheel drive have many traditionalists saying it's not a truck.

We suspect Ford is well aware of that. Furthermore, it's a good bet that Ford prepared itself for such pushback because let's be honest – there's never been a Ford pickup truck like the Maverick. To convince the critics that it's the real deal (albeit a bit smaller), Ford Maverick and Ranger Marketing Manager Trevor Scott shared some insight about the Maverick's development with Muscle Cars & Trucks. In short, engineers treated it like any other Ford pickup.

"There's very similar testing and construction of the truck bed and the gate," he said, according to MC&T. "You wouldn’t know if you were testing a Super Duty, or a Maverick with some of these tests."

Gallery: 2022 Ford Maverick

One area you would notice a difference is in towing and payload. According to the report, Ford still sent the Maverick to the same places as its larger pickups, still towing loads. The limits were a bit lower to reflect the smaller size and less power, but the process was the same. We aren't told exactly how hard Ford pushed the Maverick, but with a cargo capacity of 1,500 pounds and a maximum tow rating of 4,000 pounds with the towing package, it's safe to assume tests went a bit beyond those metrics.

Development may have followed Ford's familiar truck formula, but the Maverick's target audience isn't the familiar truck segment. Ford hopes to reel in buyers who might otherwise consider a small SUV or even a hatchback, which explains why the automaker was keen to mention the Honda Civic directly when talking about fuel economy. With the standard-issue 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid powertrain, Ford says the Maverick achieves an estimated 40 mpg in city driving. Furthermore, a base price of approximately $21,000 after destination also compares favorably to the Civic.

It will be very interesting to see how buyers respond to the Maverick when it reaches dealerships later in 2021.

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