The AWD Ford Maverick Hybrid Seems To Be In the Works—With a Surprise

The compact, affordable, and adorable Maverick pickup is so popular that Ford had to stop taking orders, but that isn’t stopping the little truck’s ongoing development. We nabbed spy shots of an interesting tester that is clearly both all-wheel drive (AWD) and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV)—a combination not currently on the Mav’s powertrain roster. It also potentially shows off a new engine being used in this hybrid drivetrain. Let’s dive in and see if we can’t get some extra details on this new small but capable truck.

The first thing to discuss is the fact that this Maverick is AWD. Not unusual as there is an AWD version for sale—but only with the Maverick’s optional turbocharged 2.0-liter gas I-4, not the entry-level hybrid. Ford likely wanted to keep the lineup simple in its first year, both to streamline customer-facing options and to keep its development load in check.

Now that we’re past the truck’s launch, it looks like Ford is finally moving forward with an all-wheel-drive hybrid. The good news is that the Maverick was designed for a hybrid AWD design from the start. While the front-wheel-drive Maverick hybrid has a 1.1-kWh battery, it only takes up the passenger side of the raised rear floor. The Maverick floor is ready for a second battery, and going AWD likely requires the extra capacity. Only one thing: That extra capacity also seems to have shifted Ford’s thinking from a simple AWD hybrid option to a fuller-blown electrified Maverick—that’s right, this is a plug-in hybrid, which will be capable of extended engine-off, EV-only propulsion.

Marked on the external sensor box is “2.1L,” and, while we don’t like to do this often, we assume that this indicates the engine is 2.1 liters in capacity. This is an interesting note because the current Maverick hybrid uses a 2.5 liter I-4 and even the EcoBoost engine in the AWD is a 2.0 liter turbocharged I-4. From what we know, there isn’t a 2.1 liter I-4 in the works and the only previous Ford-related engine with that capacity was the Jaguar AJ20. That was a V-6 based off of the Duratec series of V-6s, but was only offered on the X-Type in the UK. We’re pretty sure that the Maverick won’t be coming with a V-6 in any configuration—especially not a previous Premium Auto Group (PAG) cast-off—so this is either a new engine from Ford or it could potentially be a capacity for something else.

We’ll just have to wait and see what the Blue Oval tells us about this “2.1L” on this hybrid tester, but if you wanted a 90-MPGe (miles-per-gallon equivalent) or better small truck, you might just be getting your wish granted.

As a final point of interest, it looks like Ford might be trying out a new front bumper on the Maverick PHEV AWD. It’s slightly more off-road friendly and hinting at being more capable when the pavement ends. Also, if you look closely, the air dam made into the standard Maverick front bumper doesn’t look to be present on this tester’s bumper.

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