We love small trucks. From the Daihatsu Hijet to the Ford Maverick Hybrid, there’s just something admirable about a hardworking vehicle that doesn’t use a ton of resources or take up a bunch of space. Small trucks pull a lot from a little, hauling loads, towing small trailers, and doing proper big truck stuff while still fitting into city parking spots, but they’re also largely forbidden fruit for America.
Guess what? There’s a new one on the block for emerging markets, and I want it badly. This adorably pug-faced trucklet is the Toyota Rangga, and it looks absolutely ideal for the small truck segment.
Toyota recently unveiled this thing in Indonesia under the guise of a concept car, but come on — it looks too fleshed-out to be that. After all, why would a true concept car have corporate mirrors? Indeed, Toyota claims that a production version is coming, and it looks like just the machine to get most jobs done, from light farm work to selling hotdogs.
Beyond the all-black front fascia, you’ll find some fascinating design touches on the Rangga. From the beveled doors to the sharp creases on the fenders, there’s a bit of Giugiaro folding paper going in here in the best possible way. I’m also seeing a little bit of Toyota’s Land Cruiser-inspired compact electric SUV concept in the Rangga, a solid familial link to both future visions and Land Cruisers of the past. Nice.
Once you get used to the retro cool styling, you’ll notice a ton of pragmatic details going on with the Toyota Rangga. Those plastic flared wheel arches don’t just look rugged, they also look inexpensive to replace should they take a knock. The front bumper features separate corner pieces, likely for a similar reason. The bed is just a simple, low-sided tray that looks ripe for strapping tie-downs to and easy to repaint at home should surface corrosion eventually start to creep in from moisture, road salt, or just gashing the paint while ripping through a forest.
Powertrain details for the Toyota Rangga remain sparse, but it’s not hard to see a little bit of the underpinnings thanks to the minimalist bed design. We’re looking at a robust-looking frame and what appear to be rear leaf springs, properly rugged stuff for a truck you just know is going to be overloaded. Hey, if it gets the job done, right?
Oh, and Toyota has actually released a whole series of concepts and renderings of what the Rangga can be. Kicking things off with a rendering, check out this incredible drift truck. With a dramatic body kit and some proper low, this Rangga looks ready to tear up a few sets of rear tires.
Now, the drift truck is just an artistic depiction, but Toyota actually built this charming little beverage truck to show a real-world use case for the Rangga. Who wouldn’t want to buy a latte sold through the side of this thing? With the bed replaced with a massive high-roof enclosed space, you could sling whatever sort of non-alcoholic drinks you like out the side of this particular Rangga. As it stands, it makes for a pretty awesome auto-show feature.
So, if you had a Toyota Rangga, what would you do with it? I’d love one for winter duty and hauling car parts, but perhaps you have rural property, or a small home-based business, or love thrifting cool furniture. This little truck looks so incredibly useful, it could be a game-changer for people who need it.
(Photo credits: Toyota)
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