Toyota has a successful pickup truck lineup in the United States with the Tacoma midsize truck and the Tundra full-size truck. The Japanese automaker currently doesn’t offer a compact truck, though. However, Toyota is looking to re-enter the compact pickup truck segment with a new small truck. And it could be better than the highly-successful Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz.
Is Toyota coming out with a new small pickup truck?
The Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz are hugely successful. The sales of these small pickup trucks are very high. Given the success of Maverick and Santa Cruz, it’s surprising that Toyota doesn’t offer a compact truck in the U.S. as well.
Also, Toyota dominates the midsize truck segment with the best-selling Tacoma. With this in mind, it would be well-positioned to successfully sell a small truck as well. Plus, the Tacoma used to be a compact truck. For the second-generation model starting in 2005, it grew larger into the midsize truck segment.
According to MotorTrend, a compact Toyota truck is in the works. The automotive site interviewed Bob Carter, the executive vice president of sales for Toyota Motor North America, and Cooper Ericksen, the group vice president of product planning and strategy. These Toyota executives stated that “they are looking at the compact pickup segment, and hinted we could be seeing a new product in the future.”
Toyota executives discussed plans for a compact Toyota truck to challenge the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz
Carter said, “One of the spaces we’re looking at — that won’t be short-term — is where the compact pickup truck is going. You have Santa Cruz and Maverick on the market, and it will be interesting to see Scout. Today, we have the market really well covered with Tacoma, but that [a compact pickup] could be a possibility and something we continue to look at.”
Ericksen added that the new small Toyota truck might be more geared for city driving. He said, “If there’s a customer that needs a rugged, smaller body-on-frame vehicle, we can consider that, but if it’s more for urban use and less extreme off-road, then it would make more sense to use the TNGA unibody platform.”
When will a new small Toyota truck be released?
Carter said that the new small Toyota truck could be released in 2024 or 2025. He indicated that Toyota would likely reveal more about the new compact truck at the automaker’s HQ Confidential 3 in June 2023. Ericksen added, “It will be worth the trip.”
There’s some degree of financial risk for automakers to release new models. However, a small Toyota pickup truck would be a relatively “safe bet.” Toyota already uses the TNGA platform for many of its other vehicles, such as the RAV4, Venza, Corolla, and Camry. Also, the automaker could use its industry-leading expertise for hybrid vehicles for the compact truck. A small Toyota hybrid truck could compete very well against the Ford Maverick, which has a standard hybrid powertrain.
Plus, Toyota has a long history of successfully producing compact pickup trucks. In addition to the first-generation Tacoma, other small Toyota trucks of yesteryear include the Toyota Stout, Toyota Pickup, and Toyota T100.
Will the new small Toyota pickup truck be better than the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz? We’ll have to wait until 2023 to get a clearer picture. However, things look very promising for Toyota’s new compact truck.