Home » The Next Toyota Tacoma Might Get Hybrid Power More Than 15 Years After Toyota Previewed A Hybrid Truck

The Next Toyota Tacoma Might Get Hybrid Power More Than 15 Years After Toyota Previewed A Hybrid Truck

Tacoma Hybrid Report Topshot

Things might get a whole lot more interesting for truck buyers waiting for Toyota to drop a new Tacoma. A new report from The Fast Lane Truck suggests that the next-generation Toyota Tacoma may be getting a little extra electrical assistance. Going off what an anonymous inside source has told The Fast Lane Truck, presenter Andre Smirnov says the next Tacoma will come with “Hybrid Max, which is their name for their hybrid system, which will combine the 2.4 turbo with the electric motors and four-wheel-drive.” This will sound familiar to Toyota fans, as top-spec Crown crossover sedans also use a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a hybrid system, albeit mounted transversely. Since you’d probably need to have fat stacks to afford such a sophisticated powertrain in an already pricey truck, base models are reportedly likely to be equipped with the turbo motor sans high-voltage electricity.

2023 Toyota Crown Platinum 2.4l Engine might make it into the next toyota tacoma

Is this report plausible? I don’t see why it wouldn’t be. Toyota is very proud of its hybrid drivetrains, and pretty much every model that isn’t performance-oriented is now available with some sort of electric assistance. Plus, the 3.5-liter V6 in the current Tacoma seems to be on its way out and Toyota seems to finally be hopping on the downsizing trend. The Sienna and Highlander have both ditched the six in favor of four-cylinder powertrains, while the Tundra and Sequoia have also downsized from V8s to boosted V6s. Add in the fact that we’re coming due for a new Camry, and there’s little indication that the 3.5-liter V6 will stick around in the Toyota lineup for more than a few years.

Toyota A-BAT concept, smaller than a Toyota Tacoma

Also, Toyota previewed a hybrid pickup truck years ago. Let’s get our Frutiger Aero on and jump back to 2007, right before the economy took a proper dump. Around the same time that No One by Alicia Keys leapt to the top of the Billboard Hot 100, Toyota went green by showing off something called the A-BAT. It wasn’t a flying car, but rather an extended cab hybrid compact pickup truck that was oddly bulbous. After a warm reception, Toyota decided to do what pretty much every automaker did to concept cars during the financial crisis and shoved the A-BAT into a dark corner, never to do anything with the novel idea of a small hybrid truck. This would eventually bite the Japanese automaker in the taint, as the Ford Maverick compact hybrid pickup truck took the car-buying public by storm more than 13 years later.

Toyota A Bat 2

Seriously, just look at this thing. Isn’t it pretty damn cool? Sure, the styling hasn’t exactly aged like fine cheese, but the overall package still seems great. From suicide doors for easy access to the rear of the cab to that Chevrolet Avalanche-style folding panel that expands the bed to fit big things, the A-BAT really seems built for truck things. It even has a gear tray in the rear bumper that absolutely couldn’t exist on a production model yet still seems very pragmatic.


However, the intended series-parallel hybrid powertrain was even more spectacular than the packaging. Back in 2007, choices for hybrid pickup trucks were pretty slim. Chevrolet did make a hybrid version of the GMT800 Silverado that was available to retail customers from 2006 to 2007, but it had a few knocks against it. For starters, it was exclusively a parallel hybrid rather than a series-parallel hybrid. Instead of being able to motor along on electric power alone, it used high-voltage power to assist the 5.3-liter V8 engine. Not exactly the most efficient idea in the world. Plus, the Silverado was a massive thing completely at odds with small pickup truck buyers’ needs. Small wonder that it’s largely considered a footnote in GM truck history. In contrast, a production version of the A-BAT should’ve achieved genuinely superior efficiency to a gas-only truck, important in an era of high gas prices.


Flash forward to 2022, and hybrid pickup trucks are significantly more desirable than they were in 2007. Not only is the Ford Maverick Hybrid a hot commodity, the Ford F-150 Powerboost hybrid offers massive built-in power than can keep your home’s lights on in the event of a power outage. The hybrid Toyota Tundra is the most powerful engine in the range, while those on a budget can pick up a used GMT900 two-mode hybrid Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra. It feels like the time is right for Toyota to build a hybrid Tacoma, but only time will tell if the brand makes it happen.

All photos courtesy of Toyota


The 2023 Toyota Crown Is A Crossover Sedan That Isn’t Boring Despite The Fact That Toyota Sedans And Crossovers Usually Are

The New 2023 Toyota Prius Is Sleeker, Bigger, Quieter, And More Powerful, So Why Am I Bummed Out?

You Can No Longer Buy A Ford Maverick For Under $20,000. Here’s How I’d Order A 2023 Model Anyway

2023 Toyota Sequoia: All-New, All-Hybrid, All-Big As All-Hell

The Chrysler Aspen Hybrid Was A Hemi V8-Powered Towing Beast That Got Over 20 MPG: Cold Start

Got a hot tip? Send it to us here. Or check out the stories on our homepage.

Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit

20 Responses

  1. Wow, am I ever going to fall into a rabbit hole reading the labels and categorizations of the aesthetic styles.

    Anyway, I can’t recall if I even remember hearing about the A-BAT at the time, as mentioned about it being kinda shoved aside. Almost reminds me of the Dodge MAXXCab concept from a few years prior in proportions.

    I don’t think a hybrid pickup would have been well-received at the time even for Toyota. The Baja hadn’t done well as a small carlike truck, and this likely would have gotten lumped in more with the Ridgeline which had a mixed? market reception. The small truck segment as a whole was on shaky ground, Toyota pretty much had a lock on it with the Tacoma and they weren’t about to mess with that. And being ever-cautious, they were still slowly spreading the hybrid tech to other models in the lineup. Heck people clamored for a hybrid minivan for years and only recently has Toyota gotten around to it.

  2. Why do designers feel like they have to ‘improve’ truck appearance? A truck is a tool. Stop trying to make it sleek and imposing. Leave it like the last Tacoma, and just change the drive train. Sheesh.

      1. Some of us do outdoor sports and need exterior cargo with the ability to go on really shitty dirt roads. I could actually combine two vehicles into one with a hybrid Tacoma.

      2. If 90% of truck owners don’t use their truck like a tool, and don’t buy non-trucks, then why are they buying a truck? Maybe… for the look?

        ….so maybe not such a good idea to make a truck that neither looks like a truck nor works like a truck.

        1. Wrong, I would LOVE to combine a truck with something I might be able to commute in. I go in the ocean all the time, surfing, kayaking camping etc.. and I need a lot of cargo room for wet stuff. I have a wagon and it’s a pain in the ass putting things in rubbermaid containers. If I could put all that crap in the back and wash it off at the car wash (I live in a condo, no hose) I would buy one one them in an instant. But unless they give me hybrid MPGs I just can’t do it.

    1. It appears that they are leaving it mostly looking like the last Tacoma or a smaller Tundra, given the spy photos seen so far. The photos here are of a previous concept.
      I’m really interested to see the end result and the pricing when they bring out the hybrid Tacoma.

  3. I’m bummed about the news of the Turbo-4, mainly because that means the lack of a manual transmission. This was a major selling point to quite a few Tacoma enthusiasts.

    1. Honda made a hybrid with a manual. It can be done. However, I think Toyota will just take the easy way out and go automatic only.
      My father is hanging on to his 1999 F250 5 spd. Rust has claimed the first bed and is slowly eating the cab.

  4. I’d like to see it. The current taco engine is supposed to be pretty out of place for truck duty as the power is all up high, and the gas mileage is about on par with a much more powerful, similarly priced 2.7L f150. It really makes it hard to like them unless you absolutely can’t live with a full size. But if a turbo/electric can add some power down low and get 30ish mpg, that’d move the needle a bit.

  5. I know to take Consumer Reports with a grain of salt, but I was flipping through the January 2023 edition and F150 Hybrid is the bottom of the reliability barrel. I am sure Toyota hybrid truck should be able to beat it handily.

Leave a Reply