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What is the Toyota Stout? The hybrid-powered baby Hilux ute set to rival the Ford Maverick


Rumours of a Toyota Stout compact pickup to rival the US’s Ford Maverick has us thinking… With Toyota’s vast resources, would they bring the unibody ute Down Under?

Australia’s dual cab pickup market has exploded this past decade, but conspicuous by their absence are proper, compact utes once ever-present on our streets.

The Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton et al have ballooned into mammoth chunks of metal, with ride heights rivalling trucks and proving as much fun to park as a supertanker at a yacht club. 

Toyota is rumoured to be working on a lifestyle-focused ute that could sit under the Hilux. Credit: HotCars

What we need is something like a Toyota Stout, a compact ‘junior Hilux’ to rival the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz already on sale – and selling strongly – in the USA.

Instead of a truck – which is what Hiluxes and Rangers have become – you get a pickup/ute with unibody rather than ladder frame construction. 

This makes them more rigid with less flex and twist, and combined with a lower centre of gravity their handling is infinitely more car-like.

Ford Maverick 2023 front 3/4 4
With the success of the Ford Maverick seen in the US, a similar unibody ute from Toyota appears likely

A Toyota Stout would be a less capable off-roader, load lugger and tower, but how many pickup buyers really need this? The appeal of a ‘lite’ version that’s fun, practical, more economical and cheaper has obvious appeal.

Why do we know about the Toyota Stout?

Nothing’s concrete, but it’s impossible Toyota’s not been paying attention to how well Ford’s Maverick – launched in 2021 – has been selling in North America.

And there have long been rumblings a junior Hilux is in the development pipeline.

Some have suggested it could sit on the same platform as the Corolla Cross. Credit: Theottle

Numerous automotive sites have speculated Toyota would revive the Stout name for a compact unibody ute. The nameplate has been around since 1954, and these Stouts were firm farm favourites in Australia in the 1960s. 

Some suggest a revived version would use Toyota’s TNGA-K platform found under the current Camry and RAV4 SUV (Ford’s Maverick shares the Escape SUV’s underpinnings), others say by using the underpinning found under the current Corolla Cross.

Platform depending, a Stout could therefore offer a petrol, petrol-hybrid or plug-in hybrid setup. 

The US market RAV4 could lend its 151kW 2.5-litre petrol, or how about the plug-in hybrid RAV4 Prime’s 225kW (combined) AWD setup? 

Toyota RAV4 Cruiser FWD Hybrid 2022 badge 2
Toyota has a range of FWD and AWD hybrid engines which could be used

A front-drive Corolla’s hyper-efficient 103kW 1.8-litre hybrid would appeal from an economy perspective, but would be comprehensively trounced by the Ford Maverick’s 186kW/376Nm 2.0-litre EcoBoost or 142kW/362Nm 2.5-litre petrol hybrid.

In the US, Toyota’s truck inventory is just the Tacoma (slightly larger than our Hilux) and the mighty Tundra. There’s indeed a Stout-sized hole at the entry to its truck range.

What’s the appeal of a Toyota Stout?

Lifestyle appeal, practicality and price. They’ve proved a winner for Ford’s Maverick.

Australian dual cab utes are far from cheap these days, so a junior Hilux would appeal to a new segment of the market. If we ignore the worksite-specific Hilux Workmate, it costs $48,305 to buy a 4×2 SR double cab pickup, and $52,455 the 4×4 variant.

A Stout would bring the lifestyle ute price point down significantly, especially if we compare the US’ Ranger vs Maverick pricing.

The Stout is unlikely to be as capable as a Hilux but it could do enough for most people’s everyday needs. Credit: HotCars

In Australia, a 4×2 Ranger pickup’s entry is $42,580 for a basic XL, rising to $50,180 for the 4×4 version.

In the US, its Ranger XLs are from US$32,565 (AUD$50,969) and US$36,210 (AUD$56,674) respectively.

The US’s Maverick, meanwhile, starts at US$23,400 (AUD$36,624) for an XL 4×2, or US$25,620 (AUD$40,099) for an XL with all-wheel-drive.

If we apply similar price differences to Australia, should a Ford Maverick or Toyota Stout ever be sold here, we could expect to pay in the low $30,000s for an entry-level. Though, in reality, the added complication of additional engineering to RHD, shipping, exchange rates and other factors could push the price higher.

Ford Maverick Tremor 2023 rear 3/4
The Maverick Tremor can’t tow or carry as much as a Ranger, but many buyers don’t seem to mind

As Chasing Cars’ Tim Stevens reported in his Maverick review, you can expect a tow rating of 1800kg and payload of 900kg in the 1.4-metre long tub. 

His AWD Maverick Tremor test included lockable centre and rear differentials, plus surface-specific drive modes, highlighting the fact that these unibody utes are not to be confused with soft roaders.

These lifestyle compact utes have obvious off-road abilities, if not to the extreme level of Australia’s current crop of giant dual cabs.

Why doesn’t Australia have unibody utes? 

Good question.

The Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz are currently available only in left-hand-drive, and there are few right-hand-drive markets where such vehicles are in demand. 

Hyundai Santa Cruz 2022 front 3/4
Based on the Tucson, the Santa Cruz is another unibody ute not available in Australia

Australia’s relatively small population and therefore low annual new car sales mean there’s not a great business case to warranty producing right hookers. That’s despite our buoyant pickup market where The Hilux and Ranger have been our runaway best sellers for years.

Subaru’s much-loved Brumby 4×4 was sold in Australia between 1978 and 1994. It was tiny by today’s ute standards, but proved a popular and robust favourite for adventurous types demanding a ute back.

A Toyota Stout, or Ford Maverick, or Hyundai Santa Cruz are sized to split the difference between something like a Brumby and our current crop of giant dual cab utes. 

Surely there’s a willing market here ready to play?

Chasing more Toyota?

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