Ask Nathan: Ford Maverick Raptor, Your Subaru Crosstrek and Nissan Pathfinder Benchmark?

2022 Ford Maverick. (Images: Ford)

In this week’s Ask Nathan:

  • I want a Ford Maverick Raptor!
  • Your obvious bias of your purchased Subaru Crosstrek.
  • Is the new Nissan Pathfinder the automaker’s new benchmark?

The first question comes from several fans who want a Ford Maverick Raptor. 

Q: (Via YouTube, Twitter etc.) I want a Ford Maverick Raptor!

(Compiled from several messages/statements) Why not use the 2.3 turbo four, or 2.7 twin-turbo V6 and a suspension lift!?

(This includes the following from TKing-Log) “Ford should build a Maverick Raptor that has an all electric powertrain our of the Lightning. That way they will have the fastest pickup truck ever!”

A: A Ford Maverick Raptor? Are you serious?

Not gonna happen. Come on guys, you need to see how this little guy performs before demanding a massive upgrade. You might as well ask for a standard cab version while you’re at it (which some have).

In all honesty, this small pickup was never meant for hard-core off-road work. If you want that, there’s a Ford Ranger Tremor that has your name on it. In this case, we are talking about a front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicle, with an option for all-wheel drive (AWD).  The platform Ford is using for the Lightning is completely different than the unibody setup in the Maverick.

(Image: Ford)

We may see slightly beefier versions at some point in time. Hell, Ford may build an EV (or PHEV) as well, but I doubt it will be something that will be an off-road performer.

I am thrilled about the Ford Maverick and it’s (very) reasonable base price. Just when prices were hitting the stratosphere for mid-size and full-size trucks, this little guy comes along. I especially like the fact that it there’s a base mode that comes as a hybrid with great payload.

There will be a Ford Maverick FX4 package.

In order to get a Maverick with the FX4 package, it has to be an AWD version, with the 2.0-liter turbo four. From there, Ford will provide a unique off-road system (Mud/Rut and Sand settings) complimented by off-road-ready components. The rear suspension of the 2022 Ford Maverick FX4 is unique and will get a steel subframe. It gets an independent multi-link trailing arm setup with mono-tube shocks. The shocks will have hydraulic rebound stops, and the suspension has a beefy stabilizer bar with cast knuckles. The FX4 off-road package adds underbody skid-plates, larger 235/65R17 all-terrain tires mounted on FX4-specific 17-inch wheels.


The next question comes from a Subaru fan who feels like we bought the wrong Subaru Crosstrek – because Subaru.  

Q: TFL guys like you seem to enjoy seeing Subaru fail.

I know they have horrible media relations and I am not faulting you for that. It is their poor choice of employees. I noticed that you all seem to still be extra hard on Subaru. My proof is in your choice of what you bought. The Subaru Crosstrek you bought is the worst possible one you could get. Why not a manual transmission? You know they are better off road. Even Nathan said that. And why did you guys get the smaller engine? The old 2.5 is a better engine and you know it.

Glenn B

2020 Subaru Outback Tombstone Bump
The Crosstrek isn’t the only Subaru we’ve taken off-road.. (Image: TFLcar)

A: Ah, you have some good points, but you’re missing what we were aiming at.

We bought the least expensive, most popular Subaru Crosstrek we could. Sure, we could have gotten the more expensive 2.5-liter H4, which would make it a lot more powerful, but it isn’t their best seller. Or, we could have purchased their manual – which would make just about everything (other than fuel mileage) better, but the public only buys a very small percentage of manual transmissions nowadays.

One of the other reasons we bought this particular Subaru you may have missed: we want to upgrade it to make it better off-road. If you watch the video below, (which I know you have), Roman clearly states that we are aiming to add extra ground clearance and better rubber to this vehicle in the near future. It seems to be a trend among Subaru owners, so we wanted to try it too.

I cannot deny that we have been hurt by Subaru, but we are as transparent with them as we are with other automakers we test. If there is a flaw, we expose it. In this case, we are trying to make the car better, over time.

Hopefully, we will succeed.

— N

2022 Nissan Pathfinder
The 2022 Pathfinder is all-new from the ground-up. (Image: Nissan)

Q: Hi Nathan, I wanted to know what you thought about the new Nissan Pathfinder.

The idea that they made so many improvements that started with the transmission gives me hope. One of the weakest links that Nissan has to deal with is their JATCO CVT continuously variable transmission. If this new Pathfinder is as good as people are saying, is it not a good idea to get rid of CVTs all together?

Can we not find a time like we once did when Nissan was only second to Toyota for quality? Will it take a new scandal like Goshen to bring them to the light? Cutting investment on quality is bad for business. Should we push Nissan to become as they once were?

Would you not agree that it would help their reputation? If they are so inclined to do this with one vehicle. What is to stop this from continuing?


(Image: Infiniti)

A: That’s a good point!

In order for Nissan to maximize their return on their investment with this nine-speed ZF transmission, they should add it to as many vehicles as they can. That could be just about anything that is larger than a Nissan Sentra or Rogue Sport. I think you will see more Infiniti models get this nine-speed as well, that includes the upcoming 2022 Infiniti QX60.

Insiders have indicated in the past that Nissan is fully aware of their CVT shortcomings, and that they are taking steps to make their reputation solid again. Folks have stated that we may see this transmission in the next Murano, Maxima, Rogue, Altima and more.

In the meantime, Nissan has worked on their quality control. I feel their products are better inside and out, but not perfect. Perhaps some day, they will be able to take the fight to Toyota – once again.

— N