It’s been an eternity – 2015, to be precise – that Hyundai unveiled its Santa Cruz Concept. Even then, it was about demonstrating new self-confidence and showing that you want to annoy the North Americans in their parade area.
Well, a little over six years have now passed, but the production car is ready. The official debut should take place in just under two weeks. But the Koreans are already giving us a first look at their compact pickup with surprisingly revealing pictures.
Visually, the Santa Cruz is largely based on the new Tucson, at least as far as the front and the front doors are concerned. This is certainly not a bad idea. As in the new compact SUV, some of the light modules are part of the nested grill. This will also help Santa Cruz to stand out from the crowd of trucks.
On the other hand, Hyundai hardly has any competition to fear when it comes to the size of its truck. Except for the upcoming Ford Maverick, it looks pretty lonely. After all, it should keep the Hyundai on its toes, considering Ford’s experience and credibility when it comes to pickups, which the Koreans lack.
Hyundai is currently still largely covered in terms of technical specifications. After all, they announce that they “want to break up both the SUV and the truck segment to create a completely new vehicle category”. That is a statement. At least, in our opinion, successful design (which, by the way, originated in North America) supports this thesis. The Santa Cruz is also built in the USA, more precisely at the Hyundai plant in Alabama.
The manufacturer promises “strong and efficient drive options” and the indispensable all-wheel drive. How much Santa Cruz is technically related to Tucson remains to be seen. In any case, this is a truck with a self-supporting body, as is the case with the aforementioned Maverick and the Honda Ridgeline. But the latter is bigger than the Hyundai.
The teaser also shows that the Santa Cruz will be available in a convenient crew cab configuration. The loading area seems to be one of the thinner ones, so as a real packhorse you won’t see the Korean truck in action.
Even if Hyundai’s pickup has been a long and tiring wait, its upcoming debut shows how strongly the brand has developed in recent years. It is an announcement that they now dare to enter the North American market with a pickup truck.
The only question is why no move is made to gain a foothold on the European market with the comparatively small car. The pickup segment is also growing on the old continent. We’ll stay tuned.