By on July 9, 2019

It seemed like it’s been ages since Hyundai showed off the Santa Cruz concept at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. Since then, people have been begging for the company to build it. While firm details of when it’ll go into production aren’t available, the company has been vocal about wanting to build it and the challenges that it would face. 

Speaking to Automotive News, Mike O’Brien talked about the Santa Cruz. As he’s the vice president of product planning in North America, so he should be in the know. “It’ll be a very versatile vehicle that has the promise of creating a whole new class of buyers,” he told them. Compact pickup trucks appear to be a mostly untapped market in the U.S., and would be a segment that Hyundai could enter and not face the usual truck hurdles.

He also told Automotive News that the Santa Cruz would have to be built in North America. Part of the reason, of course, is to avoid the 25 percent tax on imported light trucks. The “Chicken Tax” has prevented many foreign automakers to sell small trucks here in the States. Additionally, even building it in Mexico in today’s political climate might catch the ire of the president and potential buyers.

Montgomery, Alabama’s Hyundai plant has production capacity of about 400,000 vehicles a year, and could potentially be the plant tasked to handle the compact truck.

Breaking into the pickup truck segment is difficult, however. Nissan has had immense difficulties gaining ground in the full-size truck segment with their Titan and Honda’s Ridgeline doesn’t turn in amazing sales numbers in the midsize segment. Selling new trucks in the United States is hard. The domestic manufacturers invest a Brobdingnagian amount of money and resources into the battle.

However, midsize trucks keep growing in size. That opens up the opportunity for a truck smaller than the new Ranger, Gladiator and Colorado. Hyundai is going to play in that space if it plays at all. The prevailing theory is Ford is also going to enter the space with a new Courier compact truck. For city dwellers who need some extra versatility, the compact truck could be a game changer. But who will get there first?

 

[Images: Hyundai]

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63 Comments on “Hyundai’s Santa Cruz Compact Pickup Heading Closer to Production...”


  • avatar
    FerrariLaFerrariFace

    It won’t, but if it would tow 6500#, I’d trade in my Colorado on day 1.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    The Santa Cruz is quickly becoming the biggest tease in automotive history. I remember really liking it at first, but I’ve been looking at it for so long I’m not sure anymore

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    For me it would be dependant on engine/transmission/drivetrain options and price points.

    I think priced like a Tuscon there could be a market – start in the low $20Ksand max out at just over $30K. Be able to tow say 3,000 lbs (an Equinox/Terrain can do that properly equipped).

    I think there could be a market.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      It has to have a low price and some utility to it or people will stay away in droves. I think if done correctly there is a market for a small truck like this, but at this rate we may never know

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      It should be priced similarly to the Tucson as it will be based on the same underpinnings as the next Tucson (hence, the delay).

      Due to the 2 sharing a platform, the Santa Cruz likely will be built on the same line at Hyundai’s Alabama plant.

      As for powertrains, Hyundai new 2.5L and 2.5T seem like prime candidates (if not the 2.5T, then the 1.6T).

      W/ a bed extender (which the concept had), should have enough utility for its target market – city and suburban “week-end warriors” who also shop for larger things from Lowes and the like from time to time.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    If it comes with stick, I’ll consider it. :-)
    If it’s based on the Sorento or Telluride platform, it could wind up in West Point, Georgia.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I saw a late model (probably early 2000s) S-10 for sale yesterday. If a company starts selling something that size again, I think they’d likely have urban dwellers lined up for them, as long as it isn’t extravagantly priced.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      I agree that you can’t beat the size of those 90s small pickups. But designing something like that today that’s not a death trap would be a tall order. This looks like it might have a similar footprint to something like an S10 but will obviously have a much smaller bed. Not super useful but hey, why not try and enter a quirky market? It’s not like if they built a giant F-150 buyer they’d actually make a dent in the full-size market. At least this offers something different.

      • 0 avatar
        FerrariLaFerrariFace

        “But designing something like that today that’s not a death trap would be a tall order.”

        That’s the conventional wisdom, but Mazda managed to build a new Miata that’s roughly the same size and weight as the original. I say if there’s a will (and a market, and a bucket of money), there’s a way.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I saw a really decent looking S-10, a later one for sale, 4.3 engine, 4WD, looked really clean. I almost got out and looked more closely at it, but decided to let someone who really needed it to buy it. Oh, it had a hard bedlid on it, custom painted to match the red truck. It’s the best looking one I’ve seen in a long long time.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Looking forward to the actual production version of this falling woefully short of the Small Truck Mafia’s insane expectations, and being an immense flop.

    Here is a brand new F150 for sale locally for $19,995.
    https://www.fordofvalpo.com/new/Ford/2018-Ford-F-150-024e5e660a0e0aea042ff3df88bbbaf1.htm?searchDepth=1:196

    That is why this type of vehicle is not going to succeed. Americans don’t willingly downsize. When push comes to shove, more car for the same money has always always always been the American way.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Do you honestly think anyone buys a $20k F150 with manual windows and vinyl seats? I didn’t even know such a thing existed!

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        No I don’t.

        Which is why I also don’t believe the commentors here when they claim to want a tiny truck without any “fancy electronics”.

      • 0 avatar
        EGSE

        “Do you honestly think anyone buys a $20k F150 with manual windows and vinyl seats?”

        Yes, because Ford knows something about selling pickups. They go to work and fleet customers. They also turn up in the used market which is where I bought mine in the exact configuration you referenced. And those used trucks will be cross-shopped by some percentage of prospects once they get it in their heads they want an open-back vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Right but if $20K fleet stripper versions of the Mustang GT, Camaro SS or Challenger R/T were offered, with crank windows, vinyl seats, only AM/FM/CD but the same suspension, 400+ HP/Tq V8, manual 6-speed, and you didn’t have free money to throw around, except you could order it with, infotainment, Brembo brakes, Recaro seats and or Magna ride “ala carte”, would you jump on it?

        Pickups are unique in this regard, and almost too good to be true. But they really should offer Muscle/pony cars like this (they did at once upon a time). It would definitely revitalize the segment.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Man, that is one *tiny* cargo box and back seat. Looks like a Honda Ridgeline with 40% less utility. The average buyer would be better off with a small crossover, with more flexible cargo space and full weather protection.

    Even with a dirt-cheap MSRP I can’t see this as being anything more than a limited-run novelty act.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Yep. Truck-lovers are not going to choose this over an F150. And everyone else will think “Cute, but not very practical”. I can see decent sales for a year or two, but the novelty will wear off quick.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I’d rather have a small outside cargo box then a bigger but actually less practical inside storage area. Most CUVs, due to their curvy shapes, have small openings which limits what you can actually load into them. Thus they are fine for groceries but useless for mountain bikes, BBQ grills, canoes, mulch, wood and other dirty or odd shaped items. I had an SUV years ago (Isuzu Rodeo) and honestly my Ford Ranger was 10X better for hauling random stuff.

      This vehicle just needs to appeal to outdoor types because its clearly not for the soccer mom or the real-truck-guy crowd. For me it would come down to engine & drive train in terms of towing. My guess is it will fail in that regard as its just a car based CUV and not doing any hauling or towing aside from what fits in the small bed. I do think there is a market for this kind of trucklet but is it big enough to make the Santa Cruz a “success”? Guess that is up to Hyundai’s brass to determine.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Likely will have a bed-extender like the concept.

  • avatar
    EGSE

    Deja vu all over again. There was (maybe still is) a rabid fan base for the discontinued Subaru Baja and clean examples used to bring eye-watering offers. But…..those rabies-stricken fans were few, just like the ~30k total Baja sales over the five year model run.

    The Subaru was a versatile car/trucklet that had four doors which this Hyundai doesn’t. Engineering, manufacturing, compliance, marketing, distribution and after-sale support isn’t free. Good luck selling enough of these to cover the upfront and recurring costs.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “Engineering, manufacturing, compliance, marketing, distribution and after-sale support isn’t free. Good luck selling enough of these to cover the upfront and recurring costs.”

      I thought the same thing. It’s not that Hyundai doesn’t want to build this thing. It’s just that they aren’t sure they’ll make any money from the 50 bloggers who say they want one.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    Ah, not so sure. Subaru Brat comes to mind.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Is this a 2-seater or 4-seater? Do the panel gaps behind the doors mean there is a Veloster-style rear-hinged door giving access to a rear seat?

    As a two seater, I think this is a no-go. As a legitimate four-seater, it might work.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    I’m waiting, been waiting, will continue waiting. It’s phantom status has saved me from buying another new vehicle. So it continues to save me money. Thanks, Santa Cruz vaporware trucklet.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I would have to see this truck in person and know more about its specs. Does the truck have a rear seat, does it have a rear door, what are the dimensions of the bed, does it only come with a CVT or other type of automatic transmission? I don’t think most wanting a compact truck will be cross shopping a bare bones F-150. If the picture above is what the Santa Cruz will be like it looks like it has an access behind the front seats and that could mean it has rear seats. If that is so does this truck have folding rear seats or a rear seat delete?

    I don’t see why a modern version of an S-10 or the prior Ranger couldn’t be made to the same dimensions without giving up too much bed room and still comply with all the safety and emission standards. It could be adapted from a current crossover platform that exists. Having a 99 S-10 extended cab for over 20 years it is a perfect size for my needs and that is one reason I have kept it so long along with it has been one of the most reliable vehicles I ever had. Seems that there would be a market for a true compact pickup if it is priced right and has a decent sized bed.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    I’ve seen quite a few Ssangyong Mussos in Seoul, so there is a market for small, Korean-labeled trucks over there. Probably elsewhere in Asia as well. If we can export Accords to Korea, no reason that this trucklet couldn’t be sent over as well.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      There is a market for small trucks in North America too. There are still a number of Subaru Brats on the road in my region.

      Only caveat is that they MUST HAVE AWD. The Dodge Rampage did not, and neither did the VW Rabbit/Golf variant. Neither of those can be seen outside of a car museum.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        I agree, just pointing out there’s no reason for Hyundai not to build them here. Between dodging the chicken tax and the possible export markets, it makes sense to do so.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @hdc: Actually, my friend, the little Rampage was a lot of fun. One of my Brothers-in-Law had one and we sported that thing around quite a bit–even got a chance to run it on the local dirt track just for fun… Sure, it was weak compared to the newer stuff but it was so small and light it felt quick while being ideal for the things they needed a small truck for (they borrowed their dad’s big K-15 if they needed full sized.)

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Vulpine, one of my friends when I was in the Air Force had a light-green Rampage he used to scoot around in.

          And he was much in demand with the girls because that little truck helped many an Air Force girl move from the barracks to an apartment in town.

          He told me, he and his then-girlfriend went on a camping trip up in the Lincoln National forest near Cloudcroft, NM, slept in the bed and were awakened very early one morning by cows rubbing up against the Rampage, loudly moo-ing, mistaking his Rampage for the rancher’s big truck that always fed them hay and grain.

          I suspect that little bed was good for a few other horizontal relaxations in addition to light hauling. He sure smiled a lot, and seemed, well, drained….

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Taken them enough time to realize it. The fact that it’s still going to be two feet shorter than the average mid-sized truck will give it a huge advantage for those who only need a part-time truck and a full-time driver.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it’s still not a definite “GO”.

      A “Concept” has to go through actual “development” including “Test Mules”, which aren’t anywhere on the horizon.

      I hope it becomes a “reality”, but it’s just a weird segment. Two seater pickups mostly work for fleets, so for everyone else, why occupy its very limited footprint with a cargo area that’s seldom, if ever used.

      Of those that might seriously consider one, they’re extremely particular about cargo/storage dimensions/volume. With any other “trucks”, they know exactly what to expect.

      So it’s very “iffy” or a huge gamble for automakers considering a segment that doesn’t exist. They would be flying blind, since there’s not one on the market they can study, match and or improve upon.

      And obviously similar fwd based “truckletts” have failed. Those claiming they would definitely consider one, would have to check it out first, not unlike “Jeff S”.

      But if it does get a “thumbs up”, enthusiasts would very likely turn around and wait for one to pop up on Craigslist or similar, since a little 2-seater pickup would be much better suited as a 2nd car, parked half or most of the time.

      Except 5X7 utility trailers exist.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @DM: “A “Concept” has to go through actual “development” including “Test Mules”,”
        — The Concept has been around for four years, already. And the current round of large SUV/CUVs (for the brand) are the perfect test mule. All they need to worry about is how well the bed design works and you have no idea as to where that’s going–neither do I.

        “I hope it becomes a “reality”, but it’s just a weird segment.”
        — A segment that’s needed filling for well over two decades.

        “Two seater pickups mostly work for fleets, so for everyone else, why occupy its very limited footprint with a cargo area that’s seldom, if ever used.”
        — These will be a 2+2 in AWD, I’m almost certain. The “concept” model seats at least four, even if the rear seats are smaller and likely uncomfortable. But then, the persons likely to own one aren’t likely to be carrying that many passengers on a regular basis.

        “Of those that might seriously consider one, they’re extremely particular about cargo/storage dimensions/volume. With any other “trucks”, they know exactly what to expect.”
        — You’re imagining things. Someone likely to buy one of these is looking for only occasional use with the tailgate up and more likely be carrying a sport bike, bicycles, or the occasional handyman load of tools and parts, rather than something typically requiring a 5’+ fully-enclosed bed. Or have you forgotten the concept photos from ’15 showing the most likely expected use of the bed?
        Again, not a 2-seater (though it looks like one with a slightly extended cab) and good for carrying relatively small, personal loads that are too tall to fit into a similarly-sized CUV. (And for those who live in communities that don’t allow a utility trailer to be stored outdoors.)

        “So it’s very “iffy” or a huge gamble for automakers considering a segment that doesn’t exist. They would be flying blind, since there’s not one on the market they can study, match and or improve upon.”
        — Oh, the segment exists… it’s filled with CUVs and small SUVs like the Jeep Renegade and Compass (and their equivalents across all brands.) And something like that is likely to see 50% better fuel economy than the typical mid-sized pickup.

        “And obviously similar fwd based “truckletts” have failed. Those claiming they would definitely consider one, would have to check it out first, not unlike “Jeff S”.”
        — Really? Where? We haven’t seen any in over 30 years–almost 40 years–and those didn’t “fail”, they were pushed out by their slightly larger (at the time) “mid-sized” cousins that were Made in America. But now those “mid-sized” trucks have grown as large as their then-full-sized cousins in length and people are again wanting a truly small pickup truck. I would very likely be driving a Santa Cruz now if they’d been made available sooner, because this Colorado I’m driving is just too big for my comfort It’s longer than any of my previous trucks (except the F-150 which was a long-bed model) and sits as high as my Jeep Wrangler did. And I’ve gotten three notable “parking lot dings” despite parking well out in the lots in my attempt to avoid them, in less than 9 months; my ’97 Ranger didn’t even get one in three years of driving it, despite the nearly-pristine, garage-protected paint over its first 19 years of life.

        Not everybody buys a pickup truck to show off;
        Not everybody buys a pickup truck to do “real work”;
        Not everybody buys a pickup truck to tow toys;
        Everybody buys a pickup truck to do what they need it to do.
        BUT…
        Not everybody wants or needs a Road Whale™.

        And do you have any idea how ridiculous it looks to see one of those 5′ x 7′ utility trailers bouncing along behind a full-sized pickup?
        Do you have any idea how few people have any concept of how to TOW one of those 5′ x 7′ utility trailers ?
        Do you have any idea how few people even know how to back a trailer of ANY kind?

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Nope. Test Mules are the actual product, inside out, right down to the emblems. It’s where unforeseen problems are caught and remedied before pre-production.

          A 2+2 subcompact (Class) would be +2 Chihuahuas at most. They don’t exist in the segment. Even in the midsize class, +2’s are barely inhabitable by 8 year old kids at best.

          Whether they were pushed out, forced out, or exiled by larger pickups, they failed. But it has nothing to do with midsizers. Even the Courier, LUV, D50 and similar were huge compared to the FWD truckletts.

          They were more like “novelty acts”, as opposed to locked-in segments, not unlike the El Camino and Ranchero.

          Yeah there’s a “need” for any every single segment, somewhere, some how, no matter how big or small. It just may not be a very big community or meaningful to automakers.

          My uncle would buy a brand new El Camino for himself every year, started in ’69 and kept it going until GM killed it off in ’86. And a new Nova for his wife or similar, every year. His business thrived, but he was so p!ssed, he never bought another GM product after that.

          But FWD trucklette pickups are just in a weird spot in the market, physically. With a useful bed, 2-seaters are unacceptable for the mainstream, non commercial. Then with seating for 4 life-size adults, the bed would be comically small.

          Or with a usable bed and 4-seater, its overall length/footprint defeats the purpose. BAJA or Ridgeline, take your pick…

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: “Test Mules are the actual product, inside out, right down to the emblems. It’s where unforeseen problems are caught and remedied before pre-production.”
            — False statement. Test mules are the platform testers, NOT the actual product. Rivian was using F-150 bodies on their skateboard chassis as test mules. Jeep was using Dakota or Ram parts as their test mule for the Gladiator. Test mules are hashed-together vehicles intended to test the concept without revealing the style any more than they have to. When you see a model in stick-on camouflage or with heavy padding, that’s not a test mule, that’s a production test model.

            “A 2+2 subcompact (Class) would be +2 Chihuahuas at most. They don’t exist in the segment. Even in the midsize class, +2’s are barely inhabitable by 8 year old kids at best.”
            — Funny you should say that, since when I go visit the in-Laws, an adult and a tweenager (intentional spelling) ride the back seats. I acknowledge they’re not the most comfortable seats but then the truck wasn’t purchased with the intent to carry people back there. If I could arrange an easy-in, easy-out method for those seats, they’d spend 50 weeks of the year in my basement so I could use the space for cargo I don’t want exposed in the bed. The same would be true of a true compact.

            “Whether they were pushed out, forced out, or exiled by larger pickups, they failed. ”
            — No, they didn’t. They did fine until a combination of the Chicken Tax and CAFE made the existing trucks grow even larger. With the 2004 models, most mid-sized trucks grew simply too large for the people who wanted a truly small truck. The OEMs essentially ‘grew’ themselves right out of a lucrative market, which is why the mid-sized market failed in a mere 7 years with the exception of the Nissan and Toyota holdovers, which were themselves still larger than their intended market wanted, even if they were the smallest available.

            “Even the Courier, LUV, D50 and similar were huge compared to the FWD truckletts.”
            — Try again. The ONLY FWD “trucklet” on the market was the VW, the rest were ALL RWD or old-school 4×4. The Rampage came a little later, in ’82, when most of the smaller imports had already been cancelled. The Dodge Dakota, in ’86, finished the job. By then pretty much all that was left was Nissan and Toyota for imports and both of those were only barely skirting the Chicken Tax until they could achieve some form of Stateside assembly. Mazda had already come over to the Ford platform for its new ‘small’ trucks and was already larger than the prior Courier.

            “My uncle would buy a brand new El Camino for himself every year, started in ’69 and kept it going until GM killed it off in ’86.”
            — Conspicuous consumption? I never knew anybody who could buy a new car every year–they typically bought every 3 years, which was the new-car loan duration at the time. Besides, as the El Camino models progressed through the years, it got uglier, not prettier. At least the Ford Ranchero through those years was a nice looking rig. The only Chevy version I liked was the ’58 and is the only one I would want even now.

            “But FWD trucklette pickups are just in a weird spot in the market, physically. With a useful bed, 2-seaters are unacceptable for the mainstream, non commercial. Then with seating for 4 life-size adults, the bed would be comically small.”
            — Small trucks are not meant to be “mainstream”, though they are ideal for parts delivery services and other small duties. They still offer the ability to carry a refrigerator upright in the bed and even ‘dirty’ loads like stonework, mulch, garden soil, etc. for DIYers. Again, not everybody WANTS a large truck, especially when they can be hard to maneuver in tight quarters. Nor do they want a van when it’s meant to be a daily driver with real-world economy and easy sight lines.

            Ridgeline is too big–almost as wide as full sized, making maneuverability more difficult in tight quarters while the Baja was cancelled far too soon and lacked any bed expansion capabilities. The Santa Cruz at least has the ability to stretch the bed as needed for loads such as the bikes, motorbikes and other light loads it is being marketed to carry.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    We start a B&B “Go Fund Me”account. Members of the tiny truck jihad will receive: 1. A well-used Transit Connect (business ads not removed), 2. A Sawzall, 3. Several rolls of masking tape to show where to make the Sawzall cuts, 4. A hammer and a couple of dollies to smooth out the cut metal work. Win-Win! all around. It’d be a perfect weekend project.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    That concept rig looks like a Subaru Brat on a high carb diet….

    The winner would be a 90s S-10/Ranger copy that meets current regs. Base 4NA, optional 4turbo.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @el scotto–Yes there are those who are taking the current Corvette engine and putting them in S-10s. Someone told me in order to put that particular engine in an S-10 you have to remove the front end. That would be one tight fit and could you imagine what that would be like to change a water pump or even to tune it up but could you also imagine the amount of power that S-10 would have. I have seen the first generation of S-10s with small block Chevy V-8s put in them.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t see how either Hyundai or Kia could complete in the full size truck market considering the limited number of full size trucks Toyota and Nissan sell. As for the midsize truck market there is Tacoma, Colorada, Canyon, Ranger, and Frontier with Frontier competing as the value leader. If either Hyundai or Kia want to make a truck of their own and have a chance of success it would be with a compact truck. Not sure how this particular truck would do in the marketplace. Something along the lines of the S-10 or the prior generation of Ranger might be a better choice in that those trucks are still popular and hold their value long after they were discontinued. I am not going to even project whether this truck ever sees daylight but something along the lines of a true compact truck with utility might do well.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Rumblings indicate that H/K have plans for proper pick-ups and SUVs and are in the midst of developing a new BoF platform.

      But these may never see the light here, as geared for overseas markets (basically a Hilux competitor) – so Australia, SE and S Asia, Africa, S. America, the Middle East, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @Jeff S. The big three are very good at building full size trucks. The Big 3 sell hundreds of thousands of full size trucks. This allows the big three to get huge discounts from parts supplies because the demand is always there. Economies of scale allow the big three to sell full size trucks at a discount and make huge, and I mean huge, amounts of money off them. Holds up hand palm forward; I grew up in the Midwest and I think that’s great. Toyota is consistently the number one or two vehicle manufacturer in the world. They don’t need the North American full size truck market to survive. The big three absolutely rely on full size trucks for the lions share of their profits. Mid-size truck buyers and owners are a unique crowd. Most are like I was, I could have got an F-150 for what my extended cab Ranger XLT 4wd cost. Yeah I know, kinda of apples and organges but eh same price leaving the lot. A mid-sizer from H/K would be an an outlier hopefully sharing parts with H/K SUVs. When we cleaned out my Grandpa’s garage, he still had three FL-1-A filters in the box.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @el scotto: Considering the size of today’s mid-sized trucks, I can guarantee there is a market–and a quite large market–for a truly SMALL truck. The compact truck market has been ignored for 40 years because the mid-sized trucks were barely small enough. When they grew to what we see today, people who wanted the smaller versions had their source taken away. That’s why 30-year-old-plus models are being repaired and preserved as much as possible–and why they’re commanding much higher than ‘book’ prices when they do go on sale.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Thirty year old classic S10s, Hard Bodys and such, aren’t that much smaller, when you compare classic/vintage pickups in the same configurations as current pickups.

          Extended cab 4X4s were the rare exception, which of course are considered the basic truck today.

          Features and content demands are the only things that really changed much. Other than that, maybe a couple inches were gained here or there.

          That’s why automakers aren’t listening to you or the other Vulpii. It’s a non existing issue.

          Clearly you’re not looking for an Apples/Apples discussion, since you would have no argument.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @DM: Now go back 40 years and measure them again–height, width and length. You could actually sit DOWN in them, rather than having to hoist your butt UP into the seat. You could look over the roof even if you were average-sized and not a bloomin’ beanpole. Those little trucks were meant for loads of 500# plus driver and even 500# is more than most of them ever carried. But I saw them carrying airplane propellors for rebuild, engine blocks and other loads that easily fit within the bed and simply didn’t need anything taller or wider to carry them.

            By the way, you’re the one comparing apples to oranges, not me. You’re trying to say nobody wants a true small truck and people are proving you wrong on a daily basis. Hyundai, if you recall, is not the ONLY brand talking smaller. Ford has already stated their intention to release a true compact in ’23 and it seems GM has already been testing a true compact based on one of their small CUVs.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    DM–“And obviously similar fwd based “truckletts” have failed. Those claiming they would definitely consider one, would have to check it out first, not unlike “Jeff S”.

    So DM are you saying that I should commit to buying this vehicle before it is even decided on or before it is being made? Are you also implying that I am demanding the Hyundai make this vehicle? Kind of absurd that I would demand Hyundai to make anything and that I would have that much influence. I stated that before I passed judgment on this vehicle I would have to actually find out more information about it. Would you commit to buy a vehicle on the basis of an article you read even if that vehicle was just being talked about with no definite plans to make it? You are just blowing smoke. I already stated that I think a better choice of a compact pickup would be one similar to the previous S10 and Ranger which is not what this concept looks like. What a car company decides to make is their own business and what I decide to buy is my own business. I have never bought a vehicle off of Craigslist and I have hardly ever bought a used vehicle. Sounds like you are looking for an argument where none exists.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      You just don’t seem too sold on the “concept”. I get it, there’s a lot of unknowns.

      At least with all other pickup classes, you know exactly what you’re getting, pretty much before putting your hands on an all-new model.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        @DM: “You just don’t seem too sold on the “concept”. I get it, there’s a lot of unknowns. At least with all other pickup classes, you know exactly what you’re getting, pretty much before putting your hands on an all-new model.”

        — Yeah. Right up until the moment they say they’re sticking a too-small engine under the hood for the intended load. That’s exactly why I did NOT buy the Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @Jeff S: “Would you commit to buy a vehicle on the basis of an article you read even if that vehicle was just being talked about with no definite plans to make it?”
      — In a sense, Jeff, I would–and did. True, it took me five years to finally commit but it took the final bit of information from Ford about their engine choice for the Ranger to do so. I very probably would be driving the Santa Cruz right now if they had committed sooner. Now they’re all going to have to wait 8-10 years before I buy another vehicle for myself and I can tell you my wife is hoping for a decent BEV when she replaces her Renegade.

      I will also note that the method of buying cars is changing, slowly but surely. With the advent of the internet, salespeople at dealerships are facing buyers who often know more about their products than they do. I effectively bought my Colorado sight unseen, outside of the fact that I wanted some very specific options (no NAV) and a very specific color (which was unavailable for the ’19 model and the one ’18 was 100 miles away with the other dealership unwilling to even respond to a request for an inter-dealership swap.) I didn’t even test-drive it until my wife actually asked for a ride. (But then, I already knew it was too big and clumsy for my taste.) Oh, it meets my needs quite well and is more than capable for everything I MIGHT use it for, but I didn’t need or want anything so large and simply chose the best product available and optioned it to satisfy my wants for comfort. I would have been much happier with the concept version of the Santa Cruz.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    When I was but a wee lad, the guy who mowed our lawn was a Caucasian from the lower socioeconomic class and of Appalachian decent. He had this huge Ford station wagon he had cut the back 2/3rds of the roof off. Made a great vehicle to haul his lawn mowers. Weed Eaters? Try a scythe, it’ll help your golf swing.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I don’t know if I could make this idea into a successful new vehicle offering, but I could create a CUP that would have iron-clad residuals within a month of its cancelation. All it would need is GM’s mid-gate from the Avalanche. How long would a two-seat RAV4 with an 8-foot bed that could be converted to a five-seater with a 5-foot bed be? Ideally it should also have Ford’s combination locks on the doors, so you wouldn’t have to take your key-fob when you’re surfing, rafting or camping.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @Vulpine–I keep my vehicles a long time so I am going to research any vehicle I buy. I still have my 99 S-10 for over 20 years and just as you have stated I cannot find a current truck that is like it. My 08 Isuzu is a good truck but it is higher than I would like and the bed is shorter since it is a crew cab. My problem with this concept Hyundai Santa Cruz is that the bed is shorter than I need and that is why I said I would not judge it now because it is a concept and the final vehicle that might be produced could be different. Maybe if the back opened like an Avalanche then it would have the extra length that I would need. I don’t have a use for a rear seat so a seat delete would be a good choice for me but it wouldn’t be a deal breaker. Bed length would be a deal breaker if it were not long enough.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @Jeff S: You and I aren’t too different, even if I’m not a farmer or rancher; our attitudes about our vehicles are similar.

      I griped at Subaru for dropping the Baja when they did; my wife and I were seriously considering it when it was dropped and a few months later we ended up buying a Wrangler instead. Got 9 good years out of that Wrangler but it wasn’t exactly what we wanted nor needed since its interior capacity (overhead too low for some loads and dropping the top entirely means there’s a big, bulky, canvas-fluffed bar across the tailgate, making it harder to load the thing you want to carry.) If (and yes, that’s one BIG word) the bed gets the extension capability they’ve demonstrated on the concept vehicle, then your bed length may not be as much an issue as some want to believe.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @el scotto–That was my point about the full size trucks is that it is hard to compete against Ford, Ram, and GM and yes they do have the advantage when it comes to sourcing and buying parts because they make their trucks in huge volumes. Toyota and Nissan on the other hand have good full size trucks but they don’t have the advantages that Ford, Ram, and GM have when it comes to volume and cost. I know that Toyota doesn’t depend on Tundra nor does Nissan depend on the Titan for their sales but I was using that as an example that Hyundai and Kia should not try to complete in the full size truck market. Might be just as hard for Hyundai and Kia to compete in the midsize truck market so that leaves the compact truck market which is not represented in the US. It might take H and K sometime to establish themselves in the truck market even if they release a compact truck and both need to be willing to take less profit or even losses in the short term. Just a lot of unknowns but then whenever a manufacturer release a totally new product there are always risks.


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