The Maverick is Ford's newest small truck, and it starts at around $20,000.
Add on all-wheel drive, a bigger engine, and fancy upgrades and that cost could double.
We drove a bare-bones XL and a well-optioned Lariat to find the biggest differences between the two.
Ford's new Maverick is a smash hit, and its success proves that buyers are hungry for smaller, cheaper trucks.
Launched last year, the pint-sized pickup slots below Ford's Ranger and even larger F-Series models.
And in a world where people regularly shell out $50,000 or more for a truck, the 2022 Maverick costs a measly $20,000 to start.
Of course, a Maverick can cost almost double that for buyers who choose a fancier trim and pile on the options.
But what are the biggest differences between the cheapest and most expensive models? I drove the bargain-bin Maverick XL and pricier Maverick Lariat to find out.
The Maverick Lariat starts at roughly $26,000, but the one Ford lent me cost right around $35,000, including some options and a destination fee.
From the outside, a few key differences between the XL and Lariat stand out.
The XL gets basic steel wheels, a black grille, and black side-view mirrors.
The Lariat comes with 17-inch aluminum wheels (optional 18-inch ones on my tester), silver trim across the grille, and body-colored mirrors.
I find the XL's stripped-down look charming ...
... but there's no question the Lariat looks less like a work truck.
One of the best things about the Maverick is that it comes with a hybrid engine as standard, giving it an EPA-rated 37 mpg combined.
But if you want all-wheel drive and a bit more grunt, there's also a turbocharged four-cylinder available.
The hybrid Maverick XL droned loudly at high speeds and struggled to make highway passes.
But the Lariat I drove — equipped with the upgraded powertrain — had plenty of power for quick merges and the like. The gutsier engine bumps horsepower from 191 to 250.
Moving onto the interior, it's no shocker that the Lariat offers up many more comforts and amenities.
The XL's cab is basic and gets the job done.
It even has thoughtful touches like interesting patterns and textures that keep things from feeling cheap.
It has funky door handles and door pockets designed to fit a large water bottle.
There's a small screen with little cubbies nearby for storing sunglasses or a wallet.
And the center console is packed with little nooks and crannies for your phone and other odds and ends.
The Lariat has all those fun and useful qualities, but features higher-end materials and is more comfortable overall.
It also has a bolder blue-and-brown color scheme.
Both have handy under-seat storage.
My tester with the optional $3,750 Lariat Luxury Package had heated faux-leather seats, an upgraded stereo system, a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a wireless phone charger, among other upgrades.
The Lariat also adds fairly basic conveniences the XL doesn't have, like push-button start, adaptive cruise control, and dual-zone climate control.
Blind-spot monitoring is a welcome addition.
Now onto the heart of the Maverick and the reason most people will buy one: Its bed.
The XL has a bare-metal bed with some clever DIY-oriented features.
It has stamped slots that let owners use 2X4s as shelves and dividers.
It offers threaded holes so owners can mount their own accessories.
And it offers access to 12-volt power, so owners can wire in lighting.
The Lariat I tested had a bed liner, which made it less slippery to stand on and more durable.
It also came with a handy folding tonneau cover, LED lights, and sliding tie-down points.
The left side came with a power outlet.
The right came with a cubby.
Both trucks bring a lot to the table. The XL is a great budget option that's bare-bones without feeling overly cheap thanks to its some funky and thoughtful design elements.
The Lariat adds on useful capabilities and extra comforts for people who can afford to spend a bit more. And if you can't choose, there's always the XLT trim, which fits right in the middle.
Read the original article on Business Insider