Hyundai surprised the automotive world when they debuted the Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept at the 2015 NAIAS. The reaction was resoundingly positive. It looks like the Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover may become a reality.
Small car-based pickups (“Utes”) are popular overseas and have seen some success in the United States. Subaru’s Brat and Baja actually became more popular after they were no longer produced. Right now, only the soon-to-be updated Honda’s Ridgeline fills the gap between crossover and pickup truck. Still, the Honda Ridgeline will be priced in the same territory as full-sized pickup trucks.
Nothing exists in the North American pickup truck universe that gives you a smaller crossover mixed with a pickup truck. Hell, nothing exists in our market that can be even be called a small pickup. Some of us just need a small bed that can hold bikes, camping gear or a few hundred pounds of DIY materials.
Thanks to a Car and Driver interview; Hyundai Motor America’s CEO, Dave Zuchowski, stated that his U.S. Hyundai team expects the Santa Cruz to be approved by Korean HQ soon (November 2015). If this happens, Hyundai will have the market all to themselves. Speculation currently points to the new Hyundai Tucson as a platform for the Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover. This is a good thing as, per our recent drive, the new Tucson proved to be mighty good.
If we go along the lines of what will be offered in the new Hyundai Tucson, it’s quite possible that the 1.6-liter turbo four-cylinder that produces 175 horsepower and 196 lb-ft of torque could be available. That’s a good thing. The current on-demand all-wheel drive system which includes driver selectable AWD lock, and the seven-speed automatic should find their way to the Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover – albeit in a beefed-up rendition.
The possibility for a beefy four cylinder turbo-diesel is less certain – but it would be very welcome.
As a small pickup truck fan, I applaud Hyundai for taking on something so unique. Then again, Hyundai didn’t get where they are now without taking chances.
Here’s what we hope Hyundai can pull off with the Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover:
A payload that’s between 800 and 1,200 lbs.
Towing that hovers around 2,000 lbs (the Tucson can to a max of 1,500 lbs)
Room for five
A ride height that exceeds 6.4-inches
A based model with a manual transmission and FWD
An entry-level model that starts under $19,000
A design that looks like the awesome-looking concept
Sure, these of lofty goals, but consider the consumers who would benefit.
Let’s just hope that Hyundai gives the Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover the green light this November!
Stay tuned, we intend to follow this story wherever it goes.