Op-Ed: Toyota Corolla vs. Ford Maverick: The Two Least Expensive Hybrids in America — Which Is Better?

The Corolla is a great fuel-sipper, but the Ford Maverick is a practical option

Next to the Ford Maverick hybrid, the Toyota Corolla hybrid’s base price is over $3,000 more.

Honestly, the Maverick is a better bet for my money.

Trucks are more popular than cars, and the 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid is already sold out – for good reason. It holds a lot more than a Toyota Corolla Hybrid, which is the least expensive car you can get with a hybrid powerplant. With the pricing alone, the Maverick hybrid comes out on top.

2020 Toyota Corolla Hybrid
Image: Toyota

The 2022 Toyota Corolla Hybrid LE has a base price of $23,650. It’s rated at 53 mpg combined, which is outstanding. Power, handling and comfort are not too bad, but it’s not what I would call “entertaining.” It has a meager 13.1 cubic feet of cargo space, and the back seats are pretty tight. Still, it has a decent (compared to the Maverick hybrid) infotainment system – despite being an inch smaller.

In summary, it is much more efficient, rides better, provides a better driver’s interface, and it’s also easier to park.

Making the Maverick’s case

Ford’s 2022 Maverick Hybrid XL has a base price of $19,995. It’s rated at 43 mpg combined, which is damn good for a truck, but on par for a compact non-hybrid runabout. Compared with the Toyota, it’s not quite as sporty in corners, but it flies off the line. It also has more useable interior space and a massive 33.3 cubic feet of cargo space. It has a lousy infotainment system, granted, and not everyone will like the built-to-a-price interior. On top of that, it has a rather stiff ride.

Bottom line: The Maverick is more utilitarian and it has more interior room, and it’s also more affordable.

When I began doing my research on affordable hybrids, I notices the numbers presented an interesting story. It’s not that they directly compare, but with about 800 pounds between them, and major dimensional differences, I found the numbers compelling.

Here are some interesting numbers for both:

CategoryToyota Corolla HybridFord Maverick Hybrid
Horsepower121 hp191 hp
Length182.3 inches199.7 inches
Passenger volume101.7 cubic feet100.3 cubic feet
Curb weight2,850 pounds3,636 pounds
Battery size1.3 kWh1.1 kWh
Towing Capacities— (Not recommended with a small sedan)2,000 pounds
Infotainment7.0 inches8.0 inches

Transmission truths..

One thing that sets the Maverick apart is its transmission. While Ford calls it an “e-CVT” it’s not a CVT (continuously variable transmission) – not at all. Even TFLtruck was confused at first with this naming misguidance. Unlike a conventional CVT, which uses pullies and a metal band, Ford’s eCVT uses a single planetary gearset and two electric motors. Yep, it’s all gears, not pullies.

Oh, and the Toyota Corolla hybrid uses a similar system.

Basically, both vehicles behave the same way, with one of two electric motors either providing power, or generating power, depending on demand. They are both seamless, but they behave the same way as a normal CVT. That is to say, they tend to rev and flow like any other car equipped with a CVT. Some might find that annoying.


Obviously, there are pros and cons for both. Maximum utility goes to the Maverick hybrid, while maximum efficiency goes to the Corolla Hybrid. Both are bargains. Although, when it comes to bang-for-the-buck, the 2022 Ford Maverick Hybrid is in a class of its own.