Ford Maverick's 'Flexbed' packs big-truck functionality into a small package

·3 min read

The 2022 Ford Maverick undercuts the existing pickup segment by a significant margin, especially when it comes to size. This new compact will give prospective buyers an inexpensive point of entry to truck ownership, and Ford hopes those customers who may not otherwise consider an open-bed vehicle might give the Maverick a look due to its size, fuel economy and refinement advantages over a traditional body-on-frame offering.

But Ford wants to capture some "true" truck buyers too, and to do so, capability is the name of the game. In the coming months, there will undoubtedly be renewed debate about what constitutes a "real" pickup, but rather than dwelling on what the new Maverick can't do, let's take a look at what it can.

While Ford clearly went to the trouble of naming the Maverick's bed system, its utility is actually fairly typical for a low-cost cargo solution. The bed itself is on the short side (just 4.5 feet) for obvious reasons, but Ford wanted to make sure Maverick customers could still use it to do "truck things," like haul building or landscaping supplies, hence the 1,500-pound payload capacity and available standard bed liner.

From the factory, Ford shaped the Maverick's bed to allow owners to develop DIY solutions to complement its standard utility and cargo features, several of which it suggests in the diagram above. These grooves and channels are a canvas for creative owners who can then assemble their own mounting or rack systems to suit their needs, whether with standard lumber sizes (which they're designed to accommodate) or through other DIY methods, such as 3D printing. The sky's the limit.

As you can see here (or in the video above), the Maverick's bed is wide enough to accommodate a 4x8 sheet of plywood, though it won't fit between the wheel wells. The bed has formed-in supports to allow owners to load it in level, and the tailgate can be locked at 45°, at which angle its height aligns with the aforementioned supports to keep your plywood flat. In this position, the tailgate can support up to 400 pounds. If you need length at the expense of width, the load floor extends to 6’ with the tailgate fully extended.

The Maverick has two pre-wired 12-volt pickups behind grommets at the rear of the bed for those who want to add powered aftermarket accessories, and there's an optional 400-watt 110V outlet available in the bed for those who need to power basic tools or tailgating accessories. It's not nearly as robust as the Pro Power Onboard system offered on the F-150, but for a small truck with a small price tag, it's a decent amount of utility. While there's no under-bed storage like what you get in the Hyundai Santa Cruz or larger Honda Ridgeline, there's an under-seat storage bin beneath the second row for items that are too valuable for the bed, but too dirty for the cabin floor.

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