2008 Detroit Auto Show: Toyota A-BAT Hybrid Pickup Concept

  • Looks like: A Toyota-fied Honda Ridgeline
  • Defining characteristics: Strange proportions, small bed, hybrid engine
  • Ridiculous features: Pull-out drawer hidden behind rear bumper
  • Chance of being mass-produced: Decent. There’s a tiny niche for small trucks and a growing one for hybrids

It has a hybrid powertrain. It’s shorter than a Toyota RAV4. And it’s able to leap into the high-occupancy vehicle lane in a single bound! That’s right: It’s the Toyota A-BAT concept. This is Toyota’s first glimpse at retaking the compact pickup segment, a niche almost no one plays in these days. However, with a hybrid powerplant, perhaps Toyota sees this body style as one that will draw in status seekers much like the Prius did the past few years.

Why a compact truck? We’re not sure. Sales certainly don’t support the ones currently on the market and Suzuki is already planning a standard gasoline compact pickup for 2009. But this is a concept folks; let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The A-BAT has a small four-foot long truck bed that can expand to six-feet with the midgate lowered and eight-feet with both the midgate and tailgate lowered. A sliding drawer underneath the bed can be accessed even with the tailgate up. You’ll have to see the photo of that one. There are also solar panels on top of the dash turning it into an energy generator instead of a place to melt sunglasses.

The more we think about it the more the A-BAT might make sense. The four-cylinder hybrid powerplant would have to be peppier than the one in the Prius, but as a concept the A-BAT does plenty to win us over. More photos below.

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