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Toyota Answers Mini Truck Bring Back with Unibody Pickup Truck

Toyota wants a piece of the mini-truck action as it is said to debut a unibody mini truck to compete with the Hyundai Santa Cruz and the Ford Maverik.

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Toyota’s Tundra and Tacoma have been thriving in the U.S market and because of their almost 25 years of continuous success, the Tundra and Tacoma will most likely remain America’s favorite Japanese trucks. As a pickup enjoyer myself, I hate to see my driveway not host a pickup because of gas prices. Yes there are electric full-sized pickups available and the Hummer EV itself is technically a pickup but what if I don’t want to convert to EV just yet and still have an economic pickup truck?

Luckily, there are two economically friendly and capable mini trucks available on the U.S market today. One of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz which Torque News had the privilege to test drive, and the other mini truck, the 2022 Ford Maverik. While looking nothing alike, both pickup trucks are on a unibody chassis. This means that the cab and bed share the same body and would not contort under any stress put on the suspension.

Toyota Answers Mini Truck Bring Back with Unibody Pickup Truck

While the mini-truck segment is not new, it certainly has had a rebirth as gas prices and truck prices both go up. In 2017, a brand new fully loaded truck would cost around $40,000 MSRP. Today a brand new fully loaded truck is almost double that. The market for mini trucks is certainly there and it is going to keep growing.

Currently, Toyota does not have any unibody mini truck available in the U.S market. That’s why Toyota’s Executive Vice President for Sales Bob Carter told Motortrend in an interview that the American market could see a mini truck under a unibody chassis from Toyota in the near future. Also according to Carter, Toyota’s mini truck will be under the TNGA platform used on other compact SUV models made by Toyota. While this doesn’t completely rule out an EV mini truck, I hope that it will follow suit.

In the 1980’s we enjoyed the Mazda mini pickups and the cute little Nissans but as gas prices fell in the 90s and as the market for full-size pickups like the F-150 and Silverado grew, those little trucks soon fell out of popularity. Granted, trucks like the 2-door Rangers and Colorado’s existed but they didn’t have the fame and popularity they did in the ‘80s.

Will other companies soon follow in Ford and Hyundai’s footsteps? Hopefully. This is a growing market and if they can squeeze in a reliable and good EV mini truck, I’m sure this would touch a lot of people and would grow in popularity. Could we potentially see a team-up of American and Japanese like we did in the ‘80s? Potentially. Mazda and Toyota already have a strong partnership with manufacturing in Kentucky and we hope to see more of that to come.

What do you think? Would you consider Toyota’s mini truck? Let us know in the comments below.

Harutiun Hareyan is reporting Toyota news at Torque News. His automotive interests and vast experience test-riding new cars give his stories a sense of authenticity and unique insights. Follow Harutiun on Twitter at @HareyanHarutiun for daily Toyota news.

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Edward Coleman (not verified)    June 11, 2022 - 6:44PM

In reply to by Bob Bracey (not verified)

Those 4 cylinder Toyota compact trucks were absolutely amazing, lasted forever, and were easy to fix. Let's bring back that Toyota! Those trucks are still sought after in much of the developing world due to reliability, longevity, and ease of repair.

kim bird (not verified)    March 30, 2023 - 1:53PM

In reply to by Edward Coleman (not verified)

i like the older 4cyl small toyota trucks you dont have to tow the house.with a big vehicle. they were for the driving anywhere cheap to drive dependable now a collector vehicle.if toyota made a smaller tacoma i would buy it.

Walter Pilos (not verified)    June 12, 2022 - 10:54AM

In reply to by Bob Bracey (not verified)

I have purchased 17 Toyota pickup trucks so far in my life time and would love to have a small Toyota like they use to make, I will still keep my 2020 TRD Sport 4x4

Douglas SCHNABEL (not verified)    June 12, 2022 - 1:57PM

In reply to by Bob Bracey (not verified)

YES P L E A S E!!!!!!!!, my 2008 Toyota Tacoma is reaching 200 ,000 miles. Best truck on the road, will trade it in on a new T 10 Hybrid mini truck. Think you should call it that. T- 10 Mini

Serpentine (not verified)    June 9, 2022 - 3:42PM

In fact I would prefer a Toyota compact truck over the Ford Maverick for reliability reasons. I bought my 2004 Tundra Limited AC new and still own it to this day. I have had zero problems with it over the past 18 years, although it only has 74K miles on it.

I've been waiting for Toyota to come out with a Maverick competitor truck and hope they launch it by 2024 as a hybrid. But...if there is an ADM I'll just keep driving the Tundra...

Al (not verified)    June 11, 2022 - 10:37AM

The more mini-trucks we can choose from the better.
Hopefully, availability is better than right now. Not willing to wait 8 months for something I've never tried!!
Toyota has the history and experience to make a reliable hybrid. EV's not yet ready for mainstream, without the infrastructure.

tythan dansie (not verified)    June 11, 2022 - 10:56AM

I would buy a small toyota mini truck in a heartbeat. I had a Tacoma when i was a teenager, a carolla in my twenties, and I have a tundra now. I absolutely love the reliability of Toyota and if they made a mini truck with awd and good gas mileage it would be my new every day driver

John Wiese (not verified)    June 11, 2022 - 1:25PM

I would be very happy to see Toyota come out with a small truck. My pest control company vehicles are all older Tacoma's from a time when we're small fuel efficient vehicle's. My 2017 is terrible in gas (21-22mpg) while my 1999 gets 27mpg. I'm looking forward to replacing my entire fleet if Toyota does in fact go small and efficient again.

F Mccann (not verified)    June 11, 2022 - 1:31PM

Got a Toyota love the quality. Maverick hits all the right options, great had mileage. Waiting for Toyota to get in the game.

Michael Obertone (not verified)    June 11, 2022 - 2:18PM

I've only ever wanted a small pick-up truck to replace the one I had in the 80s. Watching vehicles in the American market get bigger and heavier each year was painful. I've owned Toyota trucks in the past and would immeditely purchase whatever Toyota had to offer as a small pick-up truck. I'm not all that crazy about extended cabs either, but I would be happy to get something, anything, in the way of a small-pick from Toyota. Thanks for asking.

ANtonio Reyes (not verified)    June 11, 2022 - 2:51PM

Toyota made a big mistake when mini truck Tacoma was made bigger that will not fit in most garage, the small tacoma was the best then. Why would Toyota not satisfied with the Tundra? Most buyers like the small mini Tacoma but grew up bigger like the Tundra, same as Nissan Frontier git bigger when they have the Big Nissan pick ups

Bob (not verified)    June 11, 2022 - 4:17PM

I have a ‘15 Tacoma Prerunner and I’m considering the Maverick right now. Had a Ranger for 10 years prior and it was a good truck but too small. A smaller Toyota I’d wait for if it’s true and within the next year or so.

Dale Randolph (not verified)    June 11, 2022 - 5:22PM

Boy would I! Especially if it was EV or Hybrid. I have a Prius with 285K, runs great and maintenance is minimal. A pick up with that type of drive train? Heck ya!

Kerry (not verified)    June 11, 2022 - 5:51PM

Let’s build it, Gen. x is getting older and still love trucks but not the excessive bulk. The smaller truck is certainly more maneuverable and would even attract young singles in my opinion

J vizena (not verified)    June 11, 2022 - 5:59PM

Love the maverick but am holding out to see if Toyota will make one. Toyota would be my first choice.