2022 Ford Maverick gets a surprising amount of attention

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People notice the 2022 Ford Maverick. You could chalk it up to metro Detroit being a company town, but that’s too easy. The Maverick, despite its modest size, has presence.

I expected the truck to draw curiosity. Aesthetically, the Maverick’s closest rival, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, is far more eye-catching with a flashy grille and curves and creases front to back. The Maverick’s squared-off truck demeanor makes it an understated attention-getter, and it does have some design flourishes, especially up front with the blocky headlights that Tetris with the grille.

It’s not just the looks. The sub-$20K MSRP offers real value and is an articulation of Ford’s strategy to pivot from cars to similarly sized offerings. This is better than a Ford Focus, and it makes sense why Ford took such a big risk revamping its lineup. And the hybrid version gets up to 42 mpg.

Ford sold 4,140 Mavericks in October, outpacing the Santa Cruz’s still-healthy tally of 1,848 units. Ford says the trucks were moving off dealer lots in an average of five days, which is a brisk pace. The Maverick is also bringing in young buyers, with a quarter of its sales to people 18 to 35 years old.

While the sales figures are interesting, the Maverick starts about $4,000 less than the Santa Cruz, and Ford sells more vehicles than Hyundai in the United States, so that’s just part of the equation. Ford and Hyundai will define success for their small trucks in different ways. They’re both attention-getters, but the Maverick surprised me with its star power. It will be interesting to see if this segment has staying power for Ford, Hyundai and perhaps others.

Other news and notes

The North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year Award finalists were announced this week at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and the Maverick and Santa Cruz both made the cut in the truck category, where they were joined by the Rivian R1T.

The Honda Civic, Lucid Air and Volkswagen Golf GTI/R will vie for top honors in the car segment. The Ford Bronco, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Genesis GV70 make up the SUV field. Winners will be announced in early January. The finalists were culled from a field of 23 semifinalists. Full disclosure: I’m a NACTOY juror.

Here’s an odd one: Famed designer Marcello Gandini is disavowing the rebirth of the Lamborghini Countach. Lambo essentially restyled the Sian with a modern interpretation of the Countach’s design cues. It’s a limited-run piece with just 112 copies, so it’s hardly a revival of the wedge-shaped demon that captured the supercar zeitgeist from 1974-1990. Gandini penned the original, and it's one of the many highlights in his legendary career.

Still, Gandini put out a scathing statement saying he had no role in the new Countach. Oddly, he appeared in a video where he discusses Countach styling with Lambo’s current head of design, Mikja Bokert, and a model of the new Countach is presented to Gandini.

Gandini’s statement says he took it as simply a model, and nothing more, and Lambo (in a statement to Top Gear) notes that its most famous designer had no role in the current car. It’s pretty harsh, all around.

Greg Migliore is editor-in-chief of Autoblog. Follow him on Twitter @gregmigliore.

Maverick as a Halloween tailgate machine:

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