Ford has said before that it’s considering a sporty Maverick to slot in next to the pickup’s thrifty Hybrid and tow-ready EcoBoost powertrains, but there hasn’t been much news to share on that front as of late. Until last week.
That’s when our intrepid spy photographers caught a lowered, more aggressive Maverick toodling around, boasting stacked dual exhausts in the rear bumper and wider bodywork hiding big, oversized wheels. Although the Maverick in question wore a fair amount of camouflage, it’s still not hard to imagine what might be hiding underneath that swirly vinyl wrap. So we fired up the Photoshop, put our best minds to work, and voila! Meet the 2023 Ford Maverick ST – unofficially, at least.
Our theoretical Maverick ST wears a deeper, meaner front air dam (hiding what might be an extra intercooler per our spy photos. Unique mesh with a dark finish dovetails nicely into smoked headlights, and a couple slick ST badges live on the corner of the grille and the tailgate. Lowered over a set of lacy 20-inch wheels, our electronic Maverick also boasts fender extensions that hide a wider track for improved stability and handling. Around the rear is a black tailgate wordmark as well as those telltale vertical exhausts mounted in each bumper corner – design cues borrowed from the Edge ST.
In spite of the spy photos, the Blue Oval still hasn’t confirmed whether it would produce a sporty version of the pickup to sell alongside other Ford products like the F-150 Raptor and Explorer ST. When and if that happens, it’s very likely that the Maverick will skew more toward sporty on-road performance, rather than Baja-blasting desert speed. We think it’ll probably make use of Ford’s hot, turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-four, which makes up to 330 horsepower (243 kilowatts) in the Mustang. Backing it up will be a 10-speed automatic, although our enthusiast hearts hope that the Focus RS’ six-speed manual will make a comeback.
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Like the Focus RS, expect the Maverick ST to be all-wheel-drive, and the hot hatch’s unique Sport, Track, and Drift modes might show up too. Just imagine a pickup careening through a course with smoke billowing from all four wheel wells, followed closely by a Nissan 240SX and a Toyota Corolla AE86. Try not to giggle, we dare you.
Alas, our Maverick ST is just a dream – for now. But Ford says it is gauging interest in such a vehicle, so if you want to see the cheap-and-cheerful pickup turned into a pocket rocket with a cargo bed, make your voices heard.