Update: ‘Could use the TNGA-K Platform’ and ‘Will the Toyota Stout feature hybrid-electric powertrains?’ sections updated.
Many of you might not have heard about it but the Stout was the original Toyota truck in the compact class in North America.
Toyota pickup trucks are usually associated with the Hilux from the 1970s, but go back further, and you’ll find that in 1964, the Japanese carmaker launched the half-ton Toyota Stout 2WD in America and other markets. This was the first time Toyota toyed with the idea of a light pickup truck in North America, which proved to be a learning curve for the company.
Toyota Stout trademark registration
Why are we talking about the Stout? Argentinian website Autoweb reported in September 2022 that Toyota had registered the Stout name, which has led to rumors about a revival of the nameplate.
This report comes after Jack Hollis, Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations at Toyota North America, spoke to Automotive News in June 2022 about the company’s interest in the segment. He said that “there is space” in the U.S. lineup for a small ute-like pickup truck (below the Tacoma) and many reckon that the Stout could be it.
Nevertheless, we need to take this with a grain of salt, as standard legal procedures like trademark filings or registrations aren’t always an indication that a manufacturer is working on a car, though they might be interested in doing so at a future date.
It should feature Toyota’s new HMI
If Toyota builds the Stout, it will likely have a dual-cab layout. On the interior, we expect the company’s Texas-developed infotainment system to be available in multiple touchscreen sizes, depending on the variant. Toyota claims its new system offers five times the processing power compared to the previous generation.
The new Audio Multimedia System can be had with a high-definition touchscreen, up to 14 inches across, integrating Connected Services. The system features a new Voice Assistant that’s supposedly capable of comprehending natural conversations and can help drivers control certain in-car functions (climate control, audio system, etc.) using voice input. If the vehicle is equipped with Drive Connect Cloud Navigation, the Assistant can even fetch information regarding the weather or sports, and also find nearby coffee shops.
The Toyota Audio Multimedia System can be had with onboard Wi-Fi, supports over-the-air (OTA) software updates for bug fixes or to add new functionalities, and allows navigation via the Google ‘Point-Of-Interest’ feature. It also gets wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, along with the ability to stream Apple Music and Amazon Music.
Could use the TNGA-K Platform
For the new Toyota Stout, a unibody platform may make more sense, as most customers will use it in urban environments rather than off-road terrain. The same reason could also be cited for making all-wheel drive optional, allowing customers who don’t need it to get better fuel economy and lower maintenance costs.
Toyota may build the new Stout on the GA-K platform, which underpins compact and mid-size cars and crossovers like the RAV4, Harrier, Highlander, Crown, and others. The GA-K offers vehicles a low center of gravity and high body rigidity. The hood and dashboard can be set low, giving the driver a better vision of the road ahead. Benefits of the GA-K chassis include an engaging driving position, good cabin space, and generous cargo volume as well.
Alternatively, Toyota could build the Stout on the GA-C platform, making it cheaper and suitable for considerably more markets worldwide. Sharing its platform with the Corolla Cross, the modern-day Stout could be a dual-cab pickup that’s slightly bigger than most global half-ton pickups.
Will the Toyota Stout feature hybrid-electric powertrains?
One of the big questions is: Will the new Toyota Stout be electrified? As hybrid trucks gain momentum, there is a solid chance for the rumored Japanese model.
In the U.S., the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz will be the Toyota Stout’s main rivals. As for the global market, the Ram 700, Dacia Oroch, and Fiat Strada, could be its competitors.
About half of the Maverick trucks sold in America in 2022 were hybrids. The electrified powertrain maximizes efficiency while also reducing the total cost of ownership. Another contribution of the electric motor is the instant torque which comes in handy during towing and inclines, and the performance appeal of the extra oomph.
The success of the Maverick could be the main catalyst for Toyota to consider the compact truck segment seriously. More than 86,000 orders came in on the week when reservations opened for the 2023 model. Meanwhile, the Santa Cruz is also on to something, with sales of 36,480 units in the U.S. in 2022.
Update on Toyota’s compact truck expected this year
According to a MotorTrend article published on June 3, 2022, Toyota has been keeping a close eye on the compact pickup truck segment in the U.S. The publication was interviewing Bob Carter, former Executive Vice President of Sales for Toyota Motor North America, and Cooper Ericksen, TMNA’s Senior Vice President of Product, Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) and Mobility Planning and Strategy, on the company’s future plans.
Ericksen told the American publication that the company will consider a small and rugged body-on-frame model if there’s sufficient customer demand. Otherwise, a more city-friendly model based on the TNGA unibody platform would make better financial sense. It is a possibility that the U.S. market could get a compact truck for MY2024 or MY2025, which could be discussed at Toyota’s HQ Confidential in June 2023, as hinted by Carter to MotorTrend.
HQ Confidential is an annual event where auto and business journalists from all over the U.S. assemble, and serves as a preview for Toyota’s future plans. Here, new product reveals, roundtables and technology presentations are held, in an auto show-like atmosphere at a Toyota campus.
Featured image: TopElectricSUV’s illustration of the future Toyota Stout.