Toyota is not a stranger to the small pickup game, having had some success in the 80’s with their mini-trucks, but they have focused almost entirely on their Tacoma line of late and haven’t marketed any kind of lighter truck in many years.
All that changes with the Toyota A-BAT hybrid concept, which was introduced at the Detroit Auto Show.
The A-BAT is a somewhat peculiar looking beast, with 4 doors, a pug nose and a sloping roof line that comes down on either side of a 4 foot cargo bed.
This bed can be extended to 6 feet by dropping the tailgate, and the cab can hold oversized items by opening a transparent sliding roof panel. There is also storage to be found in a sliding compartment underneath the pickup bed itself.
The interior of the A-BAT hybrid is somewhat futuristic, with folding rear seats for increased cargo capacity, a non-traditional steering wheel shape and dual information screens in front of the driver and passenger. The pickup is powered by Toyota’s 4 cylinder hybrid gas / electric system.
While the idea of a pickup with a smaller ecological footprint is to be applauded, it is questionable as to whether anyone truly has a need for a pickup of this size and with this level of power.
Small pickups got larger for a reason – because consumers required greater capabilities from their inexpensive, not quite full-size trucks. The days of the D50 and Rampage are far behind us, and Toyota may be counting on some drivers to be looking more for style and fuel mileage benefits rather than actual hauling capacity.
The A-BAT looks to be engineered more for someone who wants to throw a couple of mountain bikes in the bed and go for a weekend excursion, rather than a person actually looking for a serious work truck.