But what about the old Ranger? The last holdout among truly small body-on-frame pickups—Tacoma went midsize for 2005, the S-10 bowed out in favor of the larger Colorado for 2004, and the second-generation Frontier also grew for 2004—the compact Ranger held on until 2011.
Unlike, say, Nissan, Ford declined to tap its global, midsize Ranger as a replacement, instead gently pushing buyers into low-priced versions of its full-size (and more profitable) F-150 range. Now, ten years later and in a regulatory and consumer environment that is putting pressure on fleet emissions and economy, the compact truck is back. While it’s much, much different than the Ranger, it’s close enough in size to draw some interesting comparisons.
How Big Are The Maverick, Ranger, and Old Ranger?
At a hair under 200 inches long overall, the Maverick is slightly smaller than the longest old Ranger and a lot shorter than the newer one. But in other major dimensions, it floats in between the two. The old Ranger came in two wheelbases (single-cab versus extended SuperCab); the crew-cab-only Maverick slots neatly in between. And with the wheels pushed out further and the short bed, you can see that compared to the new Ranger, it has more wheelbase relative to its length. It also has a wider track than even the new Ranger, giving it a hunkered-down, car-like stance.
How Do They Compare on the Inside?
The Maverick is taller than the old Ranger, too, a hint at the much greater spaciousness in the cabin. That’s to be expected; the old Ranger was only available in single-cab or extended-cab SuperCab formats. A crew cab configuration—the sole way you can get a Maverick—wasn’t an option. But in terms of roominess, it’s comparable to the new Ranger, only lacking a bit in terms of front headroom.
Otherwise, it’s solidly on par—comparing SuperCrew Ranger to Maverick like-to-like, the Maverick has a rear legroom and rear headroom advantage. In total, the Maverick has 100.3 cubic feet of passenger volume to the 97.6 cubes of the Ranger SuperCrew. Remember, today’s Ranger also comes as an extended-cab SuperCab, with a stubbier rear seat area that isn’t terribly passenger-friendly.
How Much Room do They Have in the Beds?
The Maverick’s major trade-off to achieve a livable cabin with a relatively compact overall footprint is evident around back. The bed is small—just 54 inches in length, over 18 inches shorter than the 6-foot bed in the Ranger old and new. But volume is relatively healthy, closer to on par with the the old Ranger thanks to a taller bed (20.3 inches compared to just 16.5 inches). And the optional tubular bed extender, to some degree, negates the length advantage by lengthening the enclosed bed space to an effective 6 feet. Plus, the Flexbed’s tailgate has a half-down position, which also helps to haul larger items.
What About Payload?
In terms of sheer volume, the 2022 Maverick is on par with the compact Ranger, and its 1,500-pound payload rating is notably greater than the base 2011 Ranger—much closer to the highest-payload versions of the old Ranger (and, for that matter, many versions of the midsize pickups on the market today). Users that need to haul heavier but less bulky items—think bags of concrete rather than dirt bikes—might find this combination of characteristics desirable.
And Maximum Towing Numbers?
Where the Maverick falls a little short, and shows one limitation of its unibody construction, is in absolute towing numbers. When properly equipped, it’ll tow 4,000 pounds, but the old Ranger could tow 1,860 pounds more. And the larger, stouter Ranger can handle 7,500 pounds. That said, the Maverick’s base tow rating is greater than the old Ranger’s.
How Powerful and Efficient Are the Engines?
While the new Ranger, somewhat infamously, only offers a single powertrain—a turbo 2.3-liter that produces a stout 270 hp and 310 lb-ft—both the penultimate Ranger and the new Maverick offer some choices. The Maverick’s base powertrain, a hybrid-CVT combo, has no parallel, and is far and away the MPG champion, offering up to 40 mpg. But without estimated fuel economy for the more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter EcoBoost Mavericks, it’s tough to draw further conclusions about how it stacks up against its forbear and larger stablemate.
One thing seems clear: the turbocharged Maverick has a favorable power-to-weight ratio. In front-drive form, each horsepower has 14.3 pounds to haul; the 168-pound penalty for AWD reduces this to 14.9. But that compares well to the lightest new Ranger, the 2WD SuperCab, which nets out at 15.6 pounds per horsepower. Meanwhile, the base 2011 Ranger single cab 2WD, for reference, nets out at 21.2 lbs/HP, while the Maverick hybrid edges slightly ahead at 19.2 lbs/HP.
Especially in AWD form, the turbocharged Maverick should be sprightly. But it remains to be seen if torque steer rears its twisty head in the EcoBoost FWD.