Nissan and Mitsubishi Plan a Small Pickup For the US That Could Be a Plug-In Hybrid

The potentially Ford Maverick-rivaling truck might be a hybrid or an EV, and it may also be sold as a Mitsubishi.
Asia Cross Country Rally 2024 Mitsubishi Triton Ralliart

Truck enthusiasts have mourned the disappearance of small, affordable, useful pickups for years now. At one point, it seemed like every new truck was going to be a $70,000 EV like the Ford F-150 Lightning, rather than a $20,000 hybrid like the Maverick. But the tides may finally be turning, and one of the first to make a move could be Nissan, which is working on a smaller pickup for the U.S. that might be a plug-in hybrid—or it could be electric.

The truck was confirmed last week by Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida in a presentation of Nissan’s midterm business strategy where it also teased an electric Skyline crossover. According to a summary by Automotive News, Nissan and Mitsubishi will split the development of a smaller next-generation pickup that they will manufacture in Mexico. That’d let the truck avoid the U.S. Chicken Tax and provide easier access to Latin American markets. But what drivetrain will power it remains murky, as well as its exact size and time of arrival.

Asia Cross Country Rally 2024 Mitsubishi Triton Ralliart
Asia Cross Country Rally 2024 Mitsubishi Triton Ralliart. Mitsubishi

Let’s rule one thing out for starters: It will probably not be the current Triton, with its available manual, diesel single-cab variant. Mitsubishi outright told me it doesn’t plan to sell it here, so nix that. That leaves two possibilities, one being a midsize successor to the Frontier, the other being that compact Maverick competitor. Such a truck wasn’t counted out when I talked to Mitsubishi’s product planner for North America, so it remains a possibility.

As for drivetrains, both a PHEV and a full EV are in consideration, though it doesn’t sound like the decision between them has been finalized. Or for that matter, if it’ll even be an either-or situation. Mitsubishi has previously confirmed plans for an electric pickup by 2028, but it’s unclear if that’ll be a separate model or the one coming to the States. In any case, the truck coming our way will be a while, as Nissan’s Chief Planning Officer Ivan Espinosa gave a rough estimate of three to seven years. That’s spring of 2027 at the earliest, and 2031 at the latest.

Mitsubishi's five-year product plan as of 2023
Mitsubishi’s five-year product plan as of 2023. Mitsubishi

No matter when it shows up, it’ll be only part of a broader cross-pollination between the Renault-Nissan Alliance and Mitsubishi, which will see badge-engineered vehicles sold in the States. They will likely fill gaps in each brand’s lineups, which include a hybrid for Nissan and any of multiple segments for Mitsubishi. (Give us the Delica, damn it.) The companies already share a platform, with the Rogue’s chassis underpinning the rather good Outlander, and electrified drivetrains will be the next step. Nissan will reportedly get a PHEV, and Mitsubishi an EV, both of which will probably be distinct from their joint pickup project.

But there’ll be no knowing until whatever’s in the pipeline blasts out of it. If that’s a Maverick-sized PHEV with SAWC, you can bet I’ll start donating plasma for the down payment.

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