The average price for a new truck in the United States reached a staggering $59,000 by the end of last year. This exorbitant amount of money is hard to ignore, especially when you consider that a base model Ford F-150 XL, priced at $35,000, is nearly as capable as the top-of-the-line $85,000 Limited edition.
Even the most affordable truck on the US market, the Ford Maverick, starts at around $25,000. That’s why the Toyota IMV 0 immediately caught my attention. This new, not-quite-full-size truck is available at a starting price of just $10,000. It’s a practical machine that can tow, haul, and turn heads, all for less than half the price of the Maverick.
However, there’s one major setback: the Toyota IMV 0 will never make its way to the US market. It’s a disappointment for many truck enthusiasts who crave a budget-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on performance or functionality.
The IMV 0 is part of a line of small, affordable trucks popular in Japan known as kei trucks. These vehicles have gained popularity in the US, but unfortunately, many of them are illegal due to import regulations. The IMV 0, however, is not a kei truck. While it is small in size, it is actually longer than the Maverick and is based on the Hilux platform, which is the international equivalent of the Tacoma.
The IMV 0 offers customizable specifications, allowing buyers to tailor the truck to their specific needs. The pre-production model I test drove had a bed large enough to accommodate a sheet of drywall, and the cab comfortably seated two adults. However, it’s worth noting that the comfort level may be lacking compared to other trucks on the market.
When it comes to features, the IMV 0 is as basic as it gets. There is no touchscreen or automatic climate control, and even heating is not included in the base model. This is because the truck is primarily designed for developing markets like Thailand, where temperature control is less of a concern. Air conditioning is available, though, with manual crank windows as the only control mechanism.
In terms of safety features, the IMV 0 falls short. It lacks active safety systems, ABS, and airbags. The gauge cluster is minimalistic, providing only basic information such as warning lights and speedometer readings. The interior is filled with hard and shiny plastics, and there is no radio, as Toyota assumes buyers will opt for aftermarket audio systems instead.
Driving the IMV 0 gives a sense of simplicity and freedom. Its compact size and generous sidewalls make maneuvering a breeze, and it feels stable even at higher speeds. The manual transmission, though imprecise, allows for smooth gear shifting. The 137-horsepower, 2.0-liter inline-four engine provides adequate power for the truck’s capabilities.
Despite its lack of features and basic design, the IMV 0 has a certain charm. Its raw and purposeful styling sets it apart from the bulky, chrome-covered trucks that dominate American roads. It’s a throwback to what a basic truck should be, and it’s a shame that it won’t be available in the US for another 25 years due to regulations.
In conclusion, the Toyota IMV 0 is a testament to the appeal of a simple and affordable truck. It may not meet the requirements of the US market or its regulations, but it serves as a reminder that there is room for smaller, budget-friendly trucks. The success of the Ford Maverick proves that there is demand for these types of vehicles. Hopefully, other manufacturers will take note and consider bringing similar options to American consumers. A sub-Tacoma truck with the purpose and rawness of the IMV 0 would be a welcome addition to the market.