Recently, compact trucks like the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz have become more and more popular. Signaling that Americans are ready to buy compact pickups again. These trucks offer smaller sizing and are generally more efficient than larger models. One brand is notably absent from the compact pickup truck market, and that brand is Toyota. Toyota does not currently have a compact truck, but that does not mean the manufacturer should not be thinking of building one.
We want a baby Tacoma
The 2022 Tacoma is currently Toyota’s mid-size truck. But, like most modern trucks it has only been getting bigger and bigger. Much like Ford borrowed the Maverick’s platform from the Escape, Toyota could do something similar if the manufacturer decides to explore the compact truck segment. The RAV4 platform could make for a good unibody truck without needing to start from scratch.
The Maverick has been so popular that Ford was forced to place a pause on customer orders, and finding one at a dealership is no easy task. Surely if Toyota built a small truck with similar capability, it would find success. Undoubtedly a truck built on the RAV4 platform would not be as capable as the Tacoma or Tundra, but that isn’t really the point of a small truck.
Small pickups offer efficiency, compact sizing, and affordability. Those characteristics seem more than enough to make the Maverick one of the fastest-selling cars on today’s market.
Would Toyota’s small truck be a hybrid?
Hybrid vehicles are becoming a popular pick for a lot of buyers, so it makes sense that compact trucks offer hybrid powertrains. The RAV4 already has a hybrid option, so if Toyota did choose it to be the base of a new pickup, that powertrain could be carried over.
Another perk of using the RAV4’s hybrid powertrain would be the availability of all-wheel drive. When equipped with the hybrid engine, the Maverick can only come with front-wheel drive. Giving buyers more accessibility to AWD would likely be a big hit.
The time is now for a small Toyota truck
Assuming the RAV4 platform gets used for a small Toyota pickup, it could arrive within the next generation or during a refresh. According to Car and Driver, the current Toyota RAV4 has been on sale since 2019, so it may be due for an update soon.
You’d have to think that Toyota has seen the success of the Ford Maverick and is at least considering competing with the blue oval. It is clear buyers are interested in a truck that is both efficient and retains some utility. Plus, having a cheaper option than a mid-size or full-size truck is something that many appreciate.
The 2022 Maverick has a starting cost of around $20,000. That said, the Toyota brand does have a bit of a premium associated with it, so it’s unclear if a small Toyota truck would be priced that low. Still, it is easy to see this potential pickup coming well under $30,000 for a base version. Unfortunately, until Toyota makes an announcement or doesn’t, we can only speculate.