The New Toyota Truck Nobody Was Expecting: Is This the New Ford Maverick Killer?

This could be a preview of Toyota's competitor to the Maverick and Santa Cruz, or at least in that size class

We’ve been talking about a new Toyota Stout for a while, and now we have a potential concept — and it’s all-electric!

This truck is not called a Toyota Stout, but the Toyota EPU concept which means “electric pickup” in Toyota-speak.

First of all, the Toyota EPU concept debuted at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, which Roman and Tommy are covering – in person! A such, they are able to see this little guy up close, and give us more information that the automaker has. Let me put it another way: Toyota has said very little about its mechanical/technical details.

Measuring in at less than 16 and 1/2-feet (five-meters) the EPU is small. That length puts it right in between the Ford Maverick, which is a hair longer, and the Santa Cruz, which is slightly shorter. What’s interesting here is the packaging, because this is no hybrid; yet. You see, I believe that this platform might work with a hybrid or PHEV powertrain that Toyota already builds. This would be a boon for some, given the desire by many to keep away from BEVs.

(Images: Toyota)

Oddly, Roman ran into one of the designers of the concept (it was designed at Toyota’s Calty design center), who told him to read the press release. When Roman did, it said nothing about pretty much everything.

We do know that the backseat bulkhead can drop, leading to more cargo/sleeping space. It also has a steering yoke, as opposed to a proper steering wheel. The interior looks somewhat simple, or even barren. All of that leads me to think that they are trying to find ways to build this inexpensively.

Regarding the interior design, Roman thinks, “The Rivian (R1T) and Santa Cruze got together, and this is what they had.” Andre already published an article about the EPU that you can read (here). Tommy thinks that, not only does it look almost production ready, but the left-hand-drive design makes it almost U.S. production ready.

The Toyo Open Country ATs stuffed under the flared fenders look real cool to my eye. As does the overall esthetic, which reminds me of Rivian a bit. Also, those off-road-ish tires seem to indicate the possibility of a dual motor, all-wheel drive (AWD) setup of some sort.

Image: Toyota

By the way, this is another case where I think Tommy is right and Roman – – – isn’t. You see, Roman seems to think this little BEV truck will compete with slightly larger Rivian. That’s in terms of capability and price. Tommy feels that it’s closer in capability, size and price to a Maverick and Santa Cruz. Judging by the size that I already stated, he’s dead-on.

Overall, I think this Toyota Stout EPU (that’s what I’m calling it), might lead to a truck that slots under the Tacoma, and could be a huge hit. Especially if they offer a variety of powertrains.

What do you think?