We've been tracking rumours of a new small (Bantam-succeeding) bakkie from Ford for more than two years now, with the latest reports suggesting the Maverick will be on the market in 2021.

So, what do we know about the little sub-Ranger pickup? Well, it reportedly bears an internal codename of “P758”. And, back in May 2020, a seemingly leaked CAD (computer-aided design) drawing showing the new bakkie’s tailgate hit the internet, complete with a stamped “Maverick” nameplate. It’s thought the production model will use this moniker rather than reviving the “Courier” or “Ranchero” badges (although there's always the possibility different markets will get different nameplates).

Now, as unearthed by the eagle-eyed folks over at Muscle Cars and Trucks, the Blue Oval brand has confirmed a new “whitespace” vehicle will be launched in 2021 (echoing comments made by a Ford executive in September 2019), grouping the newcomer with the US-spec Ranger, the new Bronco and the equally fresh-faced Bronco Sport.

It’s the latter with which the new Maverick is expected to share its underpinnings, which means the new bakkie will be unibody rather than ladder-frame in construction. Whether it will be offered solely in double-cab form or whether single-cab workhorse variants are also planned remains to be seen. So, while it won't necessarily be a direct successor to the Bantam, it'll certainly fill a void towards the bottom of the Dearborn-based company's commercial range, albeit likely with a lifestyle twist.

Furthermore, the Maverick is likely to be offered in North America with the same engines as the aforementioned Bronco Sport: a turbocharged 2,0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine (with 183 kW and 373 N.m) and a turbocharged 1,5-litre EcoBoost petrol unit (offering 135 kW and 258 N.m).

So, do we expect the new Maverick to be available here in South Africa? Well, it’s a little early to be certain, although the fact there are no immediate plans to build the new Bronco and Bronco Sport (the bakkie will likely be built alongside the latter) in right-hand-drive form doesn’t bode particularly well. Still, our fingers remain firmly crossed.

As a reminder, the Bantam was launched in South Africa back in 1983 and went out of production locally at the end of 2011. It was also offered as a Mazda wearing the Rustler badge. With the likes of the Fiat Strada and Chevrolet Utility also having left local shores, the only player currently offered in South Africa's half-tonne bakkie segment is the Nissan NP200. Time for some much-needed competition?