Even though I have an auto behind my straight 6, I couldn't agree more. A manual should still be standard, or a lower cost option versus the 20 cagillion forward speed slushbox autos they have now. If your torque curve on a stock engine is so poor that you need THAT many forward gears to keep it in the power band, you need to rethink your engine design. That is ESPECIALLY true with the v8s. They should have a broad enough torque curve to not need anything more than 4 forward with an overdrive top gear being the 4th. I mean the older chevy 5.0s and 5.7s as well as the Ford v8s made little more than 200 horse if they were lucky in the 80s and pulled along just fine with an overdrive auto or 5 speed manual.
I know I kind of slagged the Maverick, but.....There is a market for it. I couldn't agree more with you on full size truck prices, and to a certain degree, mid size truck prices. They are ridiculous. Of course, you can get something like a single cab Ford XL for a reasonable cost, but finding one on a lot is another story.
The other side of it is that vehicles are priced based on the median income in whatever area they happen to be in. The other thing is that as long as people are willing to pay a ridiculous price for something, it will remain ridiculously priced.
Example: My brother in law got a Ram Rebel for what was a good price maybe three yrs ago ($42,000). What does he do? He sees my nephew's Rebel that has the air lift suspension and decides to buy it for $55K which is considered a good price around here. Of course it's loaded with an h.u.d., the eco torque thing (which I tried to explain to him would NOT give him any better of a holeshot over his previous Rebel due to the due to the added weight-10lbs=1hp), and whatever else is completely unnecessary for a TRUCK!!!!!!!!
I can see the market segment they are targeting. That being said, I will just keep a stash back when I finally DO have to replace the straight 6 in my '95 so I don't have to resort to a truck that's really not a truck. I didn't get the L6 for economy. I got it for longevity and towing power. It has both. Economy is for my wife's Fiesta which I use for the commute most days.
If I were in the market for a small truck, I would gladly buy something that was equipped like the original Ranger. I had one. It was a great little truck. Durable, peppy for the engine it had (2.9 V6 5ps 3.73 gears which I am sure helped with the grunt), and fun (4wd). I don't see any of those things, with the exception of possibly fun, but......With fwd and a cvt transmission, I am betting it is nowhere NEAR the fun I had in my 4wd v6 Ranger, with nowhere near the durability (perimeter frame, ibeam front suspension).
I keep trying to find things to like about it, and then I find out about more of the design and it just turns me off. It's almost like this is designed for the segment that my segment makes fun of. I could really see my younger brother going for this. He already wears glasses with no prescription, skinny jeans, and has that Japanese cartoon haircut. Don't get me wrong, I love the guy, I just don't quite understand him...or his glasses.
There is a lot of hype here that is going both ways here. As Jimmy Buffet would say this truck is simply complicated.
Here is the deal. Mid size trucks cost about the same to build and design as a full size truck but they lack the scale that attributes to difficulties in pricing and profits. The mid size share little with any other vehicle so they can be expensive to develop but since they don't move a ton of them they lack large profits.
The trick is to keep the price down to not lose buyers to the full size and still server those who want a smaller yet still functional truck.
Here is where the CUV platform based truck comes into play. Since they share much with a number of CUV models they can be sold in fewer numbers yet at higher profits.
But the problem is this. FWD based trucks have never set the world on fire. They have struggled and failed. Even the best selling one the Ridgeline is not even close to the other side size trucks in sales.
Now we have the Maverick and Santa Fe. The Hyundai is not claiming to be a truck. I think this is a smart move. Ford is selling the Maverick as a small truck.
The truth is neither truck is that much smaller than the mid size offerings. Much of the space lost is bed and back seat. Their MPG is not really much better either. Hyundai is getting the same as what I averaged over 16,000 miles in my Canyon V6 4x4. The Ford is promoting a hybrid, FWD 4 base truck with high miles but the Eco Turbo with 250 HP and AWS is going to be closer to my mid size MPG.
The other issue is The price for both will not be much less than the mid size when you factor in the options most people buy. What Ford is not saying is the base truck is not going to have a ton of things that most people come to expect. Also you could get a Colorado WT for $19K before the truck shortage. Heck you could get a LT2 4x4 for low $30K range.
The Maverick is a truck for people who need a truck but hate trucks. It is more CUV than truck and may serve light duty suburban needs. The question is who is going to buy this. Most will not be truck buyers and I expect many to come from the CUV segment. Will it cannibalize the sales of Ford other CUV models? Or will Honda, Ford and Hyundai still fight over the same small pool of buyers.
This is not a bad vehicle but it is a new segment that we all do not have all the answers to. GM is watching this and ready to move if people respond but will they respond.
The Ford Flex a few years ago came about to rave reviews. But yet it really never went anyplace. It was a good idea for a question the market never asked. Was it a wagon or was it a SUV? It lacked the high seating of a SUV and I believe that is what killed it. If they make it sit higher people may have gone crazy over FWD or not.
Ford is claiming truck here but Hyundai is saying don't call the Santa Fee a Truck. This may be a good move and sell it more as a Ute.
On the other hand the Maverick is more Ford Sport Trac and it did well with limited group of buyers due to really small bed size.
I hope they can sort this out as I like to watch companies invent new segments. I will not be in the market for a FWD based Unibody truck but it would be cool to see GM take a Blazer and make a crew Ute out of it.