Toyota May Enter the Small Pickup Truck Fight

The compact pickup truck segment is quickly becoming a hot market. With vehicles like the 2022 Ford Maverick and 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, there are now multiple small trucks available that seem to be attracting quite a bit of attention. One manufacturer is currently missing from this market though, and that brand is Toyota. Currently, Toyota does not build a truck smaller than the 2022 Tacoma, but that does not mean it should not consider it. 

Toyota has a long history of building trucks, and undoubtedly a small truck from the brand would find success. 

Does Toyota have a small truck?

Currently, the smallest truck sold by Toyota is the 2022 Tacoma. But if you are familiar with this mid-size truck, it really is not all that small. In fact, if you compare it to early Tacoma models, it absolutely dwarves them, which is a sign of just how big today’s trucks have become. 

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

But, seeing the success of vehicles like the Ford Maverick, it makes sense that Toyota would be interested in building a modern, compact pickup. Especially with how well Ford’s small truck has been selling. 

What would Toyota’s compact truck be based on?

Much like Ford has based the new Maverick on the Ford Escape, a small Toyota truck could utilize the same platform as the RAV4. If Toyota went this route, it could give its compact pickup a hybrid powertrain and all-wheel drive. And that is because the RAV4 already offers both of these things. 

In doing so, Toyota’s new truck could actually have a leg up on the Maverick, as Ford’s small truck does not offer AWD when buyers opt for the base hybrid powertrain. This fact may lead more buyers to Toyota because hybrid vehicles typically offer better fuel economy. 

Why hasn’t Toyota made a small truck yet?

Toyota is a brand that conducts heavy research before entering a segment. It isn’t hard to imagine that Toyota’s research teams are watching closely how the Maverick and Santa Cruz are performing. That way, they can gather information on what buyers want and more importantly what they don’t want from their compact pickup. 

Blue 2022 Ford Maverick, the only new pickup truck that costs less than $20,000, towing a trailer
2022 Ford Maverick | Ford

Despite Toyota investing heavily in hybrid and alternative fuel options, it took a while before the brand put a full EV into production. Because of this, companies like Tesla were hit with the initial kinks, allowing Toyota to swoop in with a successful product. 

Will Toyota make a compact truck?

According to MotorTrend, Toyota is strongling considering putting a small truck into production. It is unclear what this truck may look like or what platform it will ride on, but the groundwork is certainly there. One thing that would be interesting to see is how expensive a new truck from Toyota would be. Typically, this brand commands a slight premium over some competitors, but that does not mean that it can not make an affordable vehicle. 

White Toyota Tundra pickup truck on an off-road trail.
2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro | Toyota

The new Toyota RAV4 is priced similarly to the Ford Escape. And Ford was able to build the Maverick to start around $20,000. If Toyota is able to do the same thing, the Maverick would probably be put on notice.

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