The 2022 Ford Maverick is often compared to its more direct rivals, such as the Hyundai Santa Cruz. That’s understandable, considering the way they’re engineered. However, people might want to know how it compares to small Ford trucks of the past, such as a 2003 Ranger.
The Maverick is a brand new type of model, a compact truck based on a FWD, unibody platform. That means it’s got more in common with the Ford Escape or Lincoln Corsair than most other trucks on the market. So, obviously, there are going to be major differences between it and the Ranger.
But we were drawn to this review by up-and-coming YouTuber Truck King because the Maverick and Ranger somehow look related. The hood lines on these two are at the same level, and they share a simplistic kind of design.
Naturally, the similarities end when you pop the hood. This 2003 Ford Ranger is powered by a 3.0-liter with only 12 valves that made just 154 horsepower. Unless I’m mistaken, that means it’s a 4×2 because the 4x4s came with a 4.0-liter V making 207 horsepower. You could get a 4-speed auto or a 5-speed manual with this compact truck back almost 20 years ago.
The Maverick uses engines commonly found in small Fords these days. The 2.0-liter under its hood makes 250 horsepower thanks to the miracle of EcoBoost… otherwise known as turbocharging. It’s mated to an 8-speed auto and is reasonably quick. Now, you can also get a Maverick 2.5-liter which is assisted by a small electric motor and makes 191 hp, being fitted with a PowerSplit electronic CVT. But that’s FWD.
Compact vs Compact, 19 years apart
The dimensions are pretty interesting to look at. This 2003 Ranger SuperCab is shorter at 187.5 inches vs 199.7 inches for the Maverick. It’s also narrower and less tall but comes with a bigger bed because that’s apparently what people wanted. But we do find 4-door models did exist in international markets at the time, including Europe.
The review brings out his dad, and the old man provides some interesting insights. AWD used to be a very expensive option and you basically bought a 2WD Ranger because you couldn’t afford something better. But Ford did try to make this cheap product interesting with big tires. And despite the drivetrain gap and the 100 hp extra in the Maverick, they’ve got the same tow rating of 4000 lbs.
So the bed has gone from 6 feet long in 2003 to 4.5 feet in today’s compact truck. So the Maverick is more for occasional work use and more of a family crossover. Another reason why the 3rd-gen Ranger is so collectible is those suicide doors, which you just don’t get on modern Fords.
I remember thinking suicide doors were really cool on the first-gen Raptor SVT. But they did make weird noises sometimes. Speaking of nostalgic features, check out the Stepside design of the bed on the 2003 Ranger.