28 December 2007
Return of the Hi-Lux?
Well, not exactly. But the sort of tiny pickup truck that Toyota and Nissan (né Datsun) and friends used to vend over here has long since been superseded by the expedient of supersizing: today's "compact" trucks are as big as full-sized trucks of old.
However, Toyota does seem to remember those days, and at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, they'll be showing something called the A-BAT, with a Prius-like hybrid powertrain and an idea last seen at GM: a "midgate" that allows you to haul something longer than the actual truck bed. Which is a good thing, since the A-BAT is small by today's standards: the bed is a mere four feet long. (Fold down the midgate and drop the tailgate, and you can wedge 4x8 plywood in there.) At 181.4 inches long, the A-BAT is nine inches shorter than Toyota's standard-bed Tacoma, but rides on a three-inch-longer wheelbase.
I see two possible downsides: you almost certainly won't be able to use this as a serious tow vehicle even a base Tacoma can tow 3500 lb and it looks even more whimsical (or just goofy) than Honda's Ridgeline, which currently owns the Trucks For People Who Hate Trucks market segment. One close-enough approach to $4 gas, though, and someone will almost certainly build something like this.Posted at 7:03 AM to Driver's Seat