Toyota Debuts Compact Electric Pickup as Ford Maverick Rival
With the unprecedented success of the Ford Maverick compact pickup, it seems to have caught other automakers off guard. One of them, Toyota, is scratching back into this truck segment it left decades ago. To wit, the “EPU” concept pickup, an electric compact many have been waiting to see Toyota produce.
Demand for the Maverick is off the charts as Ford recently felt the need to add another shift at its manufacturing plant in Mexico. But Toyota is taking the Maverick a step further with its all-electric power. Both a one-and two-motor version are expected, though Toyota is being a bit stingy on details.
What size is the Toyota EPU pickup?
The EPU platform is from a Toyota Corolla Cross. So we can expect that besides the EV power, a hybrid is also likely. The height and wheelbase of the Corolla Cross are similar to those of the Maverick, though the Corolla Cross is shorter.
And as with the Maverick, we’re likely to only see the four-door version as shown. Unlike the Maverick, the wheels extend out to the front end and back end of the pickup. This gives a much more aggressive look to the Mav’s rather homely design. In fact, the Maverick looks just plain dowdy in comparison.
Does the EPU utilize the design language of new Toyota models?
The Toyota EPU takes cues from several concepts we’ve seen already, along the lines of the sister concept, the Land Cruiser Se EV SUV. We’d like to see a little more mass in the EPU’s body, but that may change once we get a chance to see it. The C-pillar takes on more prominence with the beltline body break doglegging up to it.
At the front, the hood takes a radical angle down, almost in the middle. It’s a bit unusual, but we like it. Otherwise, the fascia design is clean but not as compelling as the rest of the pickup’s design. The same can be said for the rear, clean and tidy but nothing groundbreaking,
Does the interior continue the clean look of the exterior?
Inside, the dash features a unique infotainment screen with the right portion floating over a trinket tray. The screen also has a control pad with physical controls built-in. If the EPU does go into production, hopefully, it sheds the yoke steering wheel. That, or it offers a better alternative.
Even before the Maverick was in development, Toyota truck fans were asking for a pickup that would slot below the Tacoma in size. Now that it looks like Toyota is finally answering those requests, it should have both a hybrid and gasoline-powered version. Increasing the size of Toyota’s famous minitrucks from the 1970s and 1980s into Tacoma midsize versions left a big hole it can now fill with the EPU.