2008 Toyota A Bat Concept Hybrid Pickup
Peter Neilson's picture

3 Reasons Toyota Should Make A Pickup Prius

With all the hybrids that Toyota offers would it make sense to also have a Prius pickup? Here are three reasons why I think they would sell like hotcakes.
Advertisement

The Toyota Prius has become one of the most loved vehicles by the people that own them. Many owners find that the versatility of Prius is a significant benefit to owning one, and also the excellent fuel economy.

With all the hybrid options that Toyota is now offering, I think it would make sense to provide a small hybrid pickup option. I have thought of three ways this would benefit current Prius owners and also future hybrid enthusiasts. Take a look at why Toyota should make a Prius pickup.

Reason 1 For Prius Pickup: Versatility
The Toyota Prius is a very versatile vehicle. Many people use them for Taxis, or to even haul some crazy things. Take a look at this story here about what people haul in their Prius.

Toyota Prius Pickup Truck

The versatility could go even further if Prius had a bed. Sure it would cut down a bit on the aerodynamics of the vehicle, but think of what you could haul! What if you need to pick up a jetski? Maybe some lumber from the yard? Or anything that would have a hard time fitting in the hatch with the lid.

The Prius pickup would also be great for the camper or weekend warrior. Packing more inside a bed and still allowing a comfortable passenger compartment would be great for all the passengers involved. The versatility factor is for sure one reason Toyota needs to make a Prius pickup.

Reason 2 For Prius Pickup: Better Fuel Economy For A "Utility" Vehicle
There is no doubt that the Toyota Hybrid System (THS) is a class leader when it comes to the best gas/electric platform on the planet. Integrating a hybrid system into a pickup platform would help make pickup trucks even more appealing. Everyone who drives a pickup is looking for ways to maximize fuel economy.

Fourth generation Toyota Prius Pickup

GM tried doing something like this for a couple of years but with little to no success. Toyota knows the hybrid game way better then General Motors does, which is why I think it would attribute to their success. A Prius pickup could also help people that are needing a small pickup afford one. Many people who may need a vehicle with a bed tend to shy away from the pickup truck market due to costs and fuel economy.

The Honda Ridgeline has been a decent success hitting this market though it does not offer a hybrid option. Fuel economy is always a hot debate when it comes to pickup trucks anyway. It makes sense to offer something smaller that can relate to some of the duties of a pickup. It could do this at an easier to stomach price at the pump.

Reason 3 For Prius Pickup: It Would Help With CAFE Ratings
Every carmaker is under scrutiny to provide high fuel economy ratings in their fleet line up. CAFE or corporate average fuel economy is a government-mandated regulation that requires all carmakers to hit a certain standard. If Toyota could provide a Prius pickup that could help their line up achieve the norm, this would help them with getting their "green" credits and avoid fines.

Learning how to play the CAFE game has been every automaker's nightmare since the inception of the standard. It is continuously causing engineers to push new technology out faster than ever before. We have seen a massive increase in safety recalls and technical service bulletins because of this.

Toyota Prius Baja Edition

Think about it like this. When Lexus first introduced the LS400 back in 1989 for the 1990 model year, it was a thoroughly polished machine. With over one million miles of testing before entering production, the LS400 has been one of the best vehicles ever made to date. Many are still on the road today with hundreds of thousands of miles on them and again running strong. CAFE has changed the way that automakers like Toyota have had to build their cars.

Watch this Toyota Prius truck with a nice little bed and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube for daily automotive news analysis.

Conclusion

The point being is that Prius pickup would give the Toyota lineup more versatility, with better fuel economy, which will help them with their CAFE standards and provide a vehicle that people would absolutely adore.

Thank you for reading. I look forward to seeing you in the next story. 5 Reasons To Read Your Toyota Prius Owners Manual

Watch the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid Prime video presentation and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube channel for daily automotive news analysis.

Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.


Subscribe to Torque News on YouTube.


Follow Torque News on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

Comments

This idea touches on a couple good points. Pickup truck sales in the U.S. is HUGE, but so are pickup trucks today. The Ranger and Colorado are smaller, but not by much.In the 80s and 90s there was a thriving market in mini-pickups, which were compact car sized pickups with 4 cylinder engines. They were smaller trucks that behaved like economy cars. But they were not as profitable as full sized trucks, so they got squeezed out and mostly forgotten, except by fans. In Australia they have a class of vehicle that is a passenger car, but has a pickup truck bed out back. They are called Utes, and they have the economy, comfort, and handling of passenger cars, but the added utility of a pickup. I always thought that there would be a good market for a mini-pickup or Ute here. Toyota had some nice mini pickups, years ago, but like the other automakers they were phased out in favor of either regular economy cars or crossovers and smaller SUVs. I have seen pictures of people who repaired the occasional Prius that had been rear-ended and built it into a custom pickup. Of course most of them trade the rear seats for the pickup bed, which reduces the practicality if you plan to carry passengers as well as cargo. I always liked the Subaru Brat, which had an open pickup bed, but the had rear facing seats for passengers in the bed, which was cool for warm climates, but impractical for many people (if still fun). In short, I like the idea of a Prius pickup, but I really doubt that Toyota will ever build them.