It's not official, but signs continue to point in the right direction that we'll see Toyota return to its small-truck roots with an all-new compact pickup sold by Scion for the 2014 model year, according to Automotive News.
Scion's smaller hauler would be similar in design and purpose to the 2008 Toyota Advanced Breakthrough Aero Truck concept pickup. That's not surprising, since the A-BAT was originally intended as a Scion vehicle, according to its designer, Matt Sperling.
We originally heard about a Scion pickup from our sources in 2007.
In addition to its tiny footprint, the car-based A-BAT featured a fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain, pass-through storage from the cargo box into the cabin like the Chevy Avalanche, and room for up to four people.
In 2009, Toyota shelved the A-BAT due to market uncertainties, as the housing market and economy tanked, but the project showed signs of life earlier this year.
In January, Jack Hollis, Scion's vice president, held out hope for a compact crossover pickup under Toyota's youth brand.
"Scion is about innovation and doing things differently, Hollis said. "That’s why if we were ever to do something crazy, it would likely be more like a ‘Surprise Utility Vehicle’ rather than a basic pickup truck."
Like other Scion vehicles, an A-BAT pickup would be powered by a conventional gasoline engine, but Toyota could also receive a version with a gas-electric hybrid powertrain to sell under its Prius line of vehicles.
One thing we do know is that we're strongly in favor of a frugal bantam runabout with fuel economy north of 35 mpg. Toyota could once again tap an unmet need in the U.S. for such a truck, as it did in the 1960s with Nissan when the Toyota Stout and Datsun 520 saw sales success. Bloated midsize pickups with neglected powertrains are not the answer.
[Source: Automotive News]