Santa Cruz set as 1st Hyundai pickup truck

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Hyundai’s new pickup truck will have a unibody construction.

Starting prices have not been announced but predicated at $25,000.

Hyundai hopes the Santa Cruz will improve the carmaker’s lagging sales.   

Following the industry trend, although several years behind, Hyundai will soon debut its first pickup truck, the 2022 Santa Cruz.

First teased as a concept in 2015, the South Korean manufacturer will begin selling the Santa Cruz as a complement to its expanding non-sedan lineup in late 2021.  Hyundai recently added the Kona, Palisade and Venue crossovers to its lineup.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz via a concept rendering.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz via a concept rendering.

Hyundai sold a manufacturer’s record of 768,057 vehicles in 2016. The tally fell to 688,771 last year.

Few details of the new truck have been released, but it’s expected to share underpinning with the 2022 Hyundai Tucson, which has a unibody construction. The Honda Ridgeline is currently the only unibody design in the truck segment. Ford has also discussed a new car-based pickup.

The four-door Santa Cruz, predicted to have naturally aspirated and turbo-4 engine options, will be made in Montgomery, Alabama. Hyundai announced the plant will spend $410 million in upgrades.

Hyundai Santa Cruz: A Crossover Truck

Hyundai may offer its pending truck internationally as it does with its top-selling Santa Fe. The new pickup truck may also soon be offered in hybrid and plug-in hybrid options.

Trims, optional equipment and prices were not announced. The Santa Cruz will join its stablemates and offer an industry-best 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Hyundai also offers a 5-year/60,000 bump-to-bumper warranty and complimentary maintenance for 3 years or 36,000 miles.

Prices have not been set, but several prominent automotive publications have estimated a beginning MSRP of$25,000.

Besides its new pickup, Hyundai is also planning to introduce 12 new models in the next 14 months, according to the carmakers’ press release.

The Santa Cruz will be smaller than most current mid-size trucks. Reports have it being propelled by a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 277 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque or by a 191-horsepower engine front-wheel drive and 161 pound-feet of torque. All-wheel drive will be available as an option.

Hyundai has described the Santa Cruz as designed for buyers who want the driving experience of a crossover paired with the added versatility of an open bed.

When the Santa Cruz debuted in concept form, Hyundai says it was aimed at “a new generation of buyers, especially Millennials, who represent the second-largest population of car buyers.”

The South Korean carmaker hopes its debut truck will sell 50-to-70 thousand units per year.

With its new pickup truck, Hyundai confirmed three new Tucson models and three new Santa Fe models and the IONIQ5. All are expected to launch before the end of 2021, but specific time frames are unknown.

While likely resembling the Ridgeline, the Santa Cruz will have plenty of mid-size truck competition. The segment includes the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Chevy Colorado, Nissan Frontier and Jeep Gladiator.

Ford is also planning a new, similar truck, the Maverick. Ram also plans to reintroduce the Dakota.

While only spy images and renderings have been viewed, the Santa Cruz design seems aggressive. It appears to have a carlike rake. Narrow and sleek with a rectangular cab, the new truck will stand out on the road, just like the Ridgeline.

The Santa Cruz will also be geared toward practical on-road driving with limited towing capacity. But the pickup will also be versatile for cargo, just in a more compact space than current lightweight trucks. Gas mileage averages haven’t been estimated, but are likely to be similar to the truck’s SUV siblings.

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