A secret prototype may hold the answer.
Pickup trucks are getting larger. Even the mid-size options are now larger than full-size trucks were just a decade ago and several automakers have taken notice. A new crop of compact trucks are currently in development and Hyundai may lead the charge with a Ranger Raptor-rivaling N-branded pickup. Volkswagen has also hinted at a compact truck with an affordable price tag, which would be smaller than the current mid-size offerings in the US.
It will be interesting to see how these new compact trucks look when they finally arrive on the market but America has already missed out on another type of small pickup that is no longer in production, the Australian ute. Utes like the Ford Falcon and Holden Monaro offered car-based styling with the practicality of a truck and unparalleled performance and according to a report from Australia's Wheels, Ford could bring the ute back with a new Focus-based model.
Pictured above in our crude rendering, Ford is reportedly working on a secret prototype ute in Australia based on the all-new Focus, which we don't get here in the US. There are no photos of the rumored prototype but Wheels claims to have seen engineering documents from Ford's proving ground, showing a prototype under the codename 'P758' using the Focus' C2 architecture.
This document says the prototype is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to an 8F24 eight-speed automatic transmission, which is odd because the current Focus is not sold with a 2.0-liter engine. The new Focus ST is instead powered by a new 2.3-liter engine producing 276 horsepower mated to a six-speed manual.
Rumors of a Focus-based pickup truck emerged over one year ago, with predictions saying it would likely be a front-wheel-drive platform with optional all-wheel-drive. There is no guarantee such a vehicle would make it to the US market but with Hyundai and VW set to launch compact trucks, we see no reason why Ford couldn't bring it over. If a Focus-based truck was sold in the US, we assume it would be sold with a raised body height like the Ford Focus Active.