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sábado, septiembre 30, 2023
HomeCars3 Small Pickups Worth Waiting For These

3 Small Pickups Worth Waiting For These

The narrative of pickup trucks is being rewritten in the current automotive era. They’ve shrugged off the cloak of being merely utilitarian workhorses and morphed into embodiments of luxury, comfort, and high performance.

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They are the automotive world’s ultimate chameleons, seamlessly merging the roles of luxury vehicles and utility into one dynamic entity. It’s the dawn of a one-vehicle-does-it-all era, making us question: why juggle two when one can masterfully balance both roles?


But, it’s a diverse stage out there. Not all trucks play the same part. The script varies, from the mighty full-size models meant for heavy lifting to functional compact trucks, the unsung heroes, promising to deliver the finesse of a sedan and the guts of a pickup. Compact trucks are the ‘in’ thing for city dwellers, offering a mix of nimble maneuverability, sterling fuel efficiency, and decent hauling prowess, serving as the perfect crossover alternative.

The pickup truck panorama has seen a seismic shift, too. If 2023 has been a duet by Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz, the coming years are set to witness a vibrant lineup of performers, ready to redefine the realm of compact pickups.

Related: 10 Pickup Trucks That Are Perfect For On-Road Adventures

The Revival Of The Toyota Stout

Blue Toyota Compact Cruiser EV

A close up shot of the Toyota Compact Cruiser EV’s front facia

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In the world of automotive revivals, the whispers of the Toyota Stout’s return are gaining momentum, painting a vivid picture of an era-defining comeback. The Stout, the vehicle that put Toyota on the map of the North American light-duty truck scene in 1964, has the potential to redefine the compact pickup segment.

This space has seen a paradigm shift, with the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz demonstrating how these trucks can masterfully balance utility with affordability and luxury. The Stout, a veteran of the segment, is rumored to be preparing for a face-off with these new entrants. What could this mean for the compact pickup sector?

A marriage of Toyota’s reputation for reliability and Stout’s historic toughness could ignite a whole new chapter, one that could quench the market’s thirst for a compact truck that balances ruggedness with city-friendly maneuverability.

These rumors find their origin in a 2022 Autoweb report revealing Toyota’s registration of the Stout name, a move that had enthusiasts buzzing. Further adding to the speculation, Jack Hollis, SVP of Automotive Operations at Toyota North America, admitted that there was indeed a potential slot for a compact truck in their lineup.

The artist Dimas Ramadhan’s concept of a potential fourth-generation Stout goes beyond the urban sleekness that characterizes the current crop of compact trucks. Instead, it harks back to an era of tough-as-nails utility, a theme that resonates with the Stout’s legacy.

Toyota’s choice of platform could be crucial in shaping the Stout’s revival. A unibody design using the company’s GA-K platform, akin to the RAV4 and Highlander, could offer a blend of structural rigidity and a low center of gravity, potentially paving the way for a spacious, city-friendly compact truck.

An electrified Stout? In a market that’s warming up to hybrid trucks, this is an enticing possibility. Especially as this electric turn could be paired with cutting-edge in-car technology, including a state-of-the-art infotainment system and enhanced mobile connectivity options.

If we piece together the breadcrumbs, we may well be looking at a market-ready Toyota Stout by 2024 or 2025. A potential starting price of around $23,000 would set it up as a compelling budget-friendly option in the compact truck segment.

Despite the twists and turns of this unfolding Stout saga, we anticipate a promising chapter in the tale of compact pickups, one that brings the past and future together in an unprecedented way.

Related: 10 Features We Want To See On The Rumored Toyota Stout Compact Pickup

The Impending Resurgence Of The Subaru Baja

Yellow 2006 Subaru Baja

A front 3/4 shot of a Subaru Baja Turbo

The allure of the compact pickup truck has recently permeated the automotive market, with the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz championing this segment. However, the Subaru Baja, the eccentric predecessor of these contemporary titans, is potentially plotting its glorious return. The Baja, born in the golden era of Subaru’s rally domination, was not a grand commercial success initially, yet it fostered a dedicated fanbase and defined a unique vehicle genre.

The current market trajectory signals a promising prospect for the compact pickup segment. Ford’s Maverick, the reigning champion, and Hyundai’s Santa Cruz, a solid performer, are manifesting significant demand. Thus, it seems fitting for the Baja, to reclaim its past glory.

The Baja carved its niche with an offbeat and ingenious design. Its distinct cab/crew form harmoniously blended with a short flatbed resonated a unique character that is irreplaceable and should be preserved in its modern reincarnation. In its time, the Baja owed much of its DNA to its sibling models, the Legacy and Outback, replicating their platform, mechanics, and aesthetic elements.

The revamped Baja is expected to maintain its tradition, borrowing primarily from the latest Outback. Inside, it is likely to encapsulate the hallmark Subaru quality, featuring an 11.0-inch infotainment system, climate control, heated seats, and power adjustability. The exterior may echo the Outback’s aesthetic, bringing forth the Baja’s distinct extended silhouette with a flatbed.

Despite the popularity of hybrid powertrains, as evident in the Maverick, Subaru is yet to venture into this space. The potential engines for the new Baja include the 2.5-liter with 182 horsepower and the 2.4-liter turbocharged variant with 260 horsepower. Subaru’s controversial CVT might make way for a traditional eight-speed, addressing past criticisms.

While its initial launch was met with hesitation, the Baja’s appeal lay in its audacious approach, which was perhaps too advanced for its time. Its genuine success, as evidenced by winning J.D. Powers’ APEAL in 2003 and 2004 and scoring the highest in pickup truck reliability, makes the Baja’s possible comeback a captivating prospect. This revival could prove a triumphant turn for both Subaru and the compact pickup lovers.

Related: Here’s Why Now Is The Perfect Time For Subaru To Bring Back The Baja

The Dakota’s Return By Ram

2008 Dodge Dakota

A side-view shot of a 2008 Dodge Dakota

The Dakota certainly isn’t a compact truck (the recently unveiled Rampage fills that space) but its certainly a small truck. The mid-sized truck sector’s resurging popularity is not lost on the automotive industry. Spearheading this trend is none other than Ram Trucks, toying with the notion of revitalizing the beloved Dakota. After a decade of hibernation, the Dakota might finally make a triumphant return, epitomizing Ram’s vision for a cost-effective and environmentally friendly mid-sized truck.

In the bustling landscape of mid-sized trucks, re-igniting the Dakota brand seems like a calculated move for Ram. Its big brother, the Ram 1500, has set a high bar in terms of performance, and the new Dakota is rumored to inherit many of these traits. This has fans and automotive experts alike speculating on whether the revived Dakota could disrupt the intensely competitive mid-sized truck market.

The Dakota might reinvent itself as a sportier and youthful alternative to the Ram 1500, aiming to cater to a diverse consumer base. Ram is considering either the STLA Large or STLA Frame platforms, depending on whether the truck is built for domestic or global markets. With this shift, the Dakota would likely offer lower towing and payload capacities, aligning more closely with the mid-sized market’s demands.

A major selling point for the Dakota would be its speculated wide range of trim levels, emulating the Ram 1500. From a budget-friendly Tradesmaster to a more luxury-oriented Rebel, the Dakota could potentially even spawn a desert-bashing TRX variant.

Reviving the Dakota name brings exciting prospects to the mid-sized truck market. The truck’s coil-sprung rear suspension could prove advantageous over competitors, ensuring a superior ride quality. Couple this with the possibility of a hybrid option, harnessing the power of the Jeep Wrangler 4xe’s engine, and Ram might have a winning formula on its hands.

While it may seem like Ram’s re-entry into the mid-sized truck segment is late, it could just be impeccable timing. As the truck market evolves, the Dakota stands as a familiar name gradually transitioning towards a sustainable future. With the Dakota’s potential re-entry, an even more thrilling era of innovation and competition in the mid-sized truck market looms.

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