Would You Get Behind a Toyota Corolla-Based Mini Truck Rivaling the Maverick and Santa Cruz?

Toyota wants to get in on the small truck action, apparently

Toyota Corolla Cross - Base for a new pickup truck?
(Images: Toyota)

First the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Ford Maverick, and Now…a Toyota Corolla pickup?

Whether or not you consider it a “real truck”, the Ford Maverick is surprisingly popular. Just this year, dealers moved 42,499 examples outselling the body-on-frame Ranger by a wide margin. In the first six months of 2023, Hyundai sold 20,050 Santa Cruz models, again making it a surprisingly decent seller. There’s clearly a market for these mini-trucks/utes/what have you — and Toyota is reportedly sitting up and taking notice.

Thing is, what would Toyota base its small truck on? The company utterly dominates the midsize market with the Tacoma, so it needs to use another popular, instantly recognizable platform…

“I know!”, (maybe) said one of the folks in a early morning meeting. “How about building a truck based on the Corolla?” It’s by no means a sure thing, but the conversation evidently went about like that, as the Japanese automaker is considering its jump into the small truck market. Current swirling rumors suggest that, if we do see a Corolla-based pickup or some other sub-Tacoma truck from the brand, it won’t be until 2027 or so. But still, you never know. Stranger things have happened.

A Toyota Corolla truck may not be as dumb an idea as some of you think

Here’s the thing: Toyota does have a similarly sized crossover to the Maverick and the Santa Cruz. Both those rigs started off with small, unibody SUV platforms, and we have the Toyota Corolla Cross. Not only is it a familiar size, but its platform offers up all-wheel drive variants and hybrid options. Toyota could even break ground and offer us both hybridization and all-wheel drive in the same small truck! (Ford doesn’t currently offer an AWD Maverick and Hyundai doesn’t sell a hybrid Santa Cruz at all.)

Honestly, I wouldn’t be too surprised if a Corolla-based truck actually came to pass. Toyota’s been remarkably more daring in recent years, bringing us revamped trucks like the Tundra and Tacoma as well as reinterpreting its past icons like the Supra and the Land Cruiser.

One big question is where the market will be by 2027 and whether folks will still be shopping small trucks once the novelty of the past couple years wears off. Even if you aren’t a fan of this idea, Toyota may well refresh the Tacoma by then, so at least you’ll have another option. You also have to wonder if GM and FCA will jump in the game, as they both sell small trucks in South America. Maybe we’ll get the Rampage in North America?

Come on, FCA, you know you want to.