Ford's New Small, Cheap Pickup Could Offer a Feature Most Trucks Don't

A possible leak suggests that Ford's new Maverick pickup could add to the dwindling list of vehicles with a manual transmission.

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Ford has finally launched the new Bronco and the updated F-150, leaving a dearth of fodder for the Ford leaks-and-gossip pipeline. Luckily for FoMoCo fans, Ford’s upcoming small pickup truck —believed to be called the Maverick — is stepping in to fill the gap. The unibody vehicle will feature a tailgate and potentially launch next year. According to a poster claiming inside knowledge on Maverick Chat, it may also be Ford’s second new vehicle this decade to offer a manual transmission.

According to the poster, the Maverick will draw heavily from Ford’s smaller Transit Connect van. It will have two engine options: a 162-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder from the Transit Connect as standard, and the 181-hp 1.5-liter three-cylinder from the Escape and Bronco Sport as a potential upgrade. The base engine would feature the manual transmission option.

Adding a manual transmission option to a new car seldom makes sense in this day and age, but this is an instance where it might. Ford will be looking to get the base MSRP for the Maverick as low as possible — likely below $20,000, if it’s going to credibly slot below the Ford Ranger. Even in this day and age, manual transmissions are cheaper and simpler than automatics. If the cost savings wind up being halfway decent, offering a stick — even if few buyers opt for it — could be the difference between advertising a starting MSRP of $19,000 and $20,000.

Another interesting note from the poster is about the size of the bed. The truck is supposed to be two feet shorter than the Ranger, yet still have a four-door cabin. That trade-off could yield a not-very-useful bed — something more in in Subaru Baja territory than conventional small pickup.

However, the Maverick will likely be more about offering budget buyers a cool appearance, rather than providing a vehicle that can do serious truck things. If so, that may not be so much of an issue. Buyers needing a bigger bed would probably level up to the Ranger, anyway.

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