Skip to main content

The U.S. auto market has only two compact pickup trucks: the Hyundai Santa Cruz and the Ford Maverick. Americans have been waiting a long time for a small, affordable pickup, and the Maverick and Santa Cruz sell fast. That’s especially true for the Maverick, which has been nearly impossible to find. Indeed, the Ford Maverick’s popularity has even caught the interest of Toyota Motor Company. 

Toyota’s smallest pickup truck is the midsize Tacoma. It began as a compact in 1995 but grew to midsize in 2005. With its larger body came a heftier price tag. And although this pickup is a best-seller in its segment, it doesn’t meet consumer demand for compact pickups. 

2024 Ford Maverick 2L EcoBoost AWD Lariat interior
2024 Ford Maverick Lariat | Ford Motor Company

The Ford Maverick’s success stems from its truck-like features in a smaller, cheaper package. It sits on the same chassis as the Bronco Sport and Ford Escape. Despite its diminutive dimensions, the Maverick boasts a 4.5-foot bed and decent towing capabilities. And its starting price is only $23,400. 

Though 2024 Ford Maverick isn’t as potent as a full-size or midsize pickup, it gets the job done. This small truck has a base 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine that can be upgraded to a 2.5-liter hybrid. The tailgate can be opened for extended bed capacity. And it can pull 4,000 pounds with a $745 tow package. 

Exterior features make the Maverick look like a miniature F-150. Both models have similar C-shaped LED headlights and a squared-off hood. The interior is elevated in the Lariat trim, featuring ActiveX-trimmed seating and the latest Co-Pilot 360 technology. 

The only things the Maverick doesn’t provide are power and size. However, drivers can easily navigate busy parking lots and can fit in smaller garages and driveways. This compact pickup is for people who want the a compact SUV’s manueverability with a pickup bed’s utility.

The Maverick has little competition in the compact truck class

One of the reasons that Ford Maverick trucks are flying off dealer lots is there isn’t much competition. The only other compact truck is the Santa Cruz. However, the Hyundai model is less truck-like in appearance, and its starting price is $26,650, higher than the Maverick’s base MSRP. 

The exterior of the Santa Cruz looks more like the midsize Honda Ridgeline. Hyundai’s little pickup doesn’t have the strong, square hood of the Maverick and resembles a crossover SUV with a bed more than a small truck. However, the Santa Cruz can tow 5,000 pounds — 1,000 more than the Maverick. 

Despite being the only two compact pickups in their segment, the Ford Maverick beats the Santa Cruz in sales. Additionally, 60% of Maverick buyers defected from other automakers, Ford Authority reports. Most were Toyota and Honda customers. That might make those automakers jealous. 

Toyota needs an answer to Ford’s compact truck

The 2023 Toyota Tacoma off-roading
2023 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota

Toyota hasn’t announced plans to release a compact truck yet. The Japanese auto giant still relies heavily on Tacoma sales. In fact, it’s the only midsize truck outselling the Maverick.

But the Tacoma is no longer a small pickup. Although the 2023 model starts at an affordable $28,600, the bed is much longer than the Maverick’s, and the Tacoma rides like a truck. Today’s Tacoma shares the same platform as the full-size Tundra. While driving a Maverick or Santa Cruz is like driving a car, driving a Tacoma is akin to driving a pickup. 

Although Toyota hasn’t unveiled plans for a compact pickup, it has surely noticed customers clamoring for the Ford Maverick. Stellantis proved it has been paying attention by revealing the Ram Rampage. However, rumors of a Toyota compact truck are swirling. Stay tuned to MotorBiscuit for updates.