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.
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.