Toyota Yaris Adventure is the subcompact pickup “nobody asked for”

Toyota just unveiled a new, well, car may not be the right term. It’s a crossover utility thing that looks a bit like a Holden Ute that went through the dryer. Toyota calls it the Yaris Adventure, and it fills a niche that required no filling.

The Yaris Adventure is a subcompact pickup with what Toyota calls “slightly rugged” styling and “ideal” cargo space—just big enough for a run to Whole Foods and other “moderate jobs,” but not so big your friends will bother asking you to help them move. The Adventure ditches the Yaris’ wee back seat because, as Toyota finally concedes, “no one really wants to sit back there anyway.” And in this day and age, when heavy-duty pickups and hulking SUVs rarely see duty more strenuous than taking the kids to school, Toyota plans to reveal the Yaris Adventure later this month in its “native environment” at the New York auto show.

In keeping with the tough-guy styling so common among today’s mall runners, the Yaris Adventure sports an “aggressive front bumper” with tow hooks that are “perfect for getting pulled out of a situation the vehicle shouldn’t have been in to begin with.” A towering 7.6 inches of ground clearance “is perfect for taking a curb in a mall parking lot or clearing the shrubs when parking in a friend’s front yard,” and Toyota claims the AWD system is just barely capable of escaping underground parking garages during urban snowfalls.

Toyota may be onto something here. After all, it pretty much invented the “cute-ute” segment with the RAV4, and it clearly hopes the Yaris Adventure leads to a wave of subcompact pickups. At this point, it has the field to itself, so you can’t fault the PR folks for claiming the Adventure’s 103-horsepower is “class-leading.”

If you haven’t caught on by now, the Yaris Adventure is an April Fool’s gag, one that takes a few good-natured jabs at crossovers, 4×4 SUVs that never see dirt, and, we’d like to think,  competitors chasing impossibly narrow market segments that may not actually exist. It’s a pretty good joke, one that shows Toyota has a sense of humor.

Some diehard Toyotra fans probably wish the Supra’s BMW underpinnings were part of the ruse too.

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