Toyota Could Challenge the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

It’s no secret that the small truck market has been heating up. With vehicles like the 2022 Ford Maverick and 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, buyers now have the option to get a pickup without having to deal with the drawbacks of a mid or full-size truck. And that is certainly something that should be celebrated. However, there is one manufacturer that is missing out on the compact pickup segment, and that brand is Toyota. Toyota’s smallest truck is currently the 2022 Tacoma, and frankly, that vehicle is not all that small. 

Will Toyota build a small truck?

Recently, rumors have been stirring that Toyota plans to enter the small truck market. Those rumors almost feel all but confirmed by recent talks on MotorTrend, showing that Toyota has seen the success of brands like Hyundai have had with compact trucks. The Hyundai Santa Cruz was introduced for 2022, and it has the ability to generate up to 281 horsepower. But this Hyundai truck isn’t perfect, and Toyota might be able to exploit that. 

An early Toyota Tacoma, from when Toyota built small trucks.
Green Toyota Tacoma | IFCAR

The Santa Cruz, unlike the Ford Maverick, does not offer a hybrid powertrain. And while it does feature all-wheel drive, it lacks a true off-road package. Both of these things are something that Toyota has in its wheelhouse. Especially if Toyota chooses to build its small truck on the RAV4 platform. 

Toyota could use the 2022 RAV4 to build a truck

The Toyota RAV4 has an optional hybrid powertrain that can come equipped with AWD. With this powertrain, you have to imagine a truck that used it would attract buyers. In the case of the Maverick, the hybrid has been selling extremely well, and it only has FWD. Toyota could challenge that by offering both. 

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz shows off its potential as a small truck
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

Additionally, unlike Hyundai, Toyota is already familiar with the truck segment. The brand already has the Toyota Tacoma and Toyota Titan, two fairly successful vehicles. By understanding what pickup drivers are after, Toyota could build its small truck to meet those expectations. And, it wouldn’t hurt to give this potential truck the TRD treatment either. 

When will Toyota make a small truck?

Currently, a small Toyota truck is just a rumor. Higher-ups at Toyota have discussed the chance with the press, so that could be a signal that a model is on the way. Especially after the interview with MT, where Toyota acknowledged that there is room for a truck that is smaller than the Tacoma. But, only time will tell which direction the brand opts to go. 

This manufacturer certainly does have options that it could use to produce a small pickup. In the case of Hyundai, it built the Santa Cruz on the same platform as the Tucson. If Toyota borrowed from the RAV4, it could have a small pickup that rides similar to a car instead of a body-on-frame truck. And that seems to be a characteristic that buyers appreciate, having the utility of a bed without the harsh driving experience. 

Only time will tell what happens, but the more compact trucks the better, especially if it’s one from Toyota.

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