The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

28 December 2007

Return of the Hi-Lux?

Well, not exactly. But the sort of tiny pickup truck that Toyota and Nissan ( Datsun) and friends used to vend over here has long since been superseded by the expedient of supersizing: today's "compact" trucks are as big as full-sized trucks of old.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

re "it looks even more whimsical (or just goofy)": Egad, it's ugly enough to make anyone wax nostalgic for the classic beauty of the Pontiac Aztek. X^P

Posted by: hatless in hattiesburg at 10:49 AM on 28 December 2007