Toyota's New Small Offerings
Toyota will show two small vehicles at the Geneva Motor Show next week, both of which are viable offerings for the automaker’s U.S. showrooms.
The first is labeled the Urban Cruiser, a compact crossover utility currently slated for sale in Europe. Toyota calls it an “environmentally responsible SUV” due to its small size and low emissions. This little four-door was originally introduced as a concept vehicle in 2006, and has now taken a more conventional design than the first iteration. If introduced in the U.S., it would fit neatly into the Toyota line-up, just below the RAV4 in both size and price. The Urban Cruiser’s Toyota bloodline runs thick, as its mechanicals and platform are borrowed from the Yaris sedan, while its body design and overall aesthetics mimic the Scion xD. Both of those vehicles have done well in this U.S. market.
The second vehicle is a small pickup hybrid concept known as the Toyota A-BAT, which was first seen this past January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The A-BAT is a light duty truck featuring a four-foot bed, and in many ways resembles the Honda Ridgeline pickup. It is powered by a four-cylinder gas engine combined with Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system. The hybrid market is sorely lacking a viable high-mpg pickup truck.
It is unclear at this point which of these vehicles will be approved for U.S. sale, but either could help Toyota to move in the direction of meeting new CAFE standards. “As we look to 2020, when we have to get 35 miles per gallon, that’s a big challenge,” said Jim Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales, USA. Smaller and more efficient is undoubtedly part of the answer.