Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Takes Shape

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
hyundai santa cruz pickup takes shape

As Hyundai, following a years-long deliberation process, prepares to put the Santa Cruz into production in Alabama, spy photos have emerged of a prototype undergoing cold-weather testing.

Maybe it was just playing in the snow. Regardless, the camouflaged vehicle is our best look yet at the brand’s long-awaited personal pickup.

And we don’t have the pic! What a pisser. But Motor Authority does, and it gives us a lot to look at.

As expected, the production-bound Santa Cruz dispenses with the clamshell doors seen on the concept vehicle so many years ago. Four conventional doors appear in their place, and normal-sized ones, too. Grille area will not be in short supply.

Out back, the bed is appropriately short for a compact, unibody pickup, though not quite as abbreviated as the defunct Subaru Baja. Take your best guess as to bed length. Hyundai’s aim with this vehicle is not to provide an alternative to the legions of full-sizers roaming the country’s many highways; rather, it wants to make a sporty, youthful activity vehicle capable of hauling some amount of stuff to areas where hip people do outdoorsy things. One assumes a bed extender will be standard fare, though the jury’s out on a midgate.

Do Millennials haul lumber?

Entering production at the automaker’s Montgomery facility in 2021, the Santa Cruz will likely borrow the platform of its plant mate, the Santa Fe. That model’s brace of four-cylinders — one turbocharged, one not — should find a home beneath the Santa Cruz’s hood.

It’ll be interesting to see whether the Santa Cruz’s arrival, along with that of a Ford-badged product due out in the near future, lights a fire in the newly created segment.

[Images: Hyundai]

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  • Silverfin Silverfin on Feb 05, 2020

    We had a funny experience buying a VW Golf TDi in 2011 in Pennsylvania after returning from overseas. We negotiated everything by a newly created email address and Google voice number (to keep dealers at arms reach) and as they had the right car and a good rating on an enthusiast site for TDis paid a fair price. We were cash buyers but when the finance guy said if we had that much cash on us (we did) he would have to "call the police"....I said fine...we will write a check for 1/2 of the purchase amount and they could verify funds with the bank. I turned to my wife and said...."you do have a check on you don't you?" and after digging thru her purse found a well traveled check that had probably gotten wet at one time and was folded up...looked rough. Anyhow they reluctantly accepted this and off we went across the USA. It did require a couple phone calls to finally get the title FedExed to us. Great car but sadly sold it before the buyback so we could take a 1.5 year motorcycle trip to S America.

  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Feb 06, 2020

    Price and features are what it's all about along with a modicum of towing capacity (hey if a Terrain can tow 3500 lbs this sucker should too.)

  • Cprescott Yawn.
  • 28-Cars-Later Wrangler people are crazy.
  • 28-Cars-Later "Transition" to layoffs, this guy is the Bob(s) from Office Space.
  • Vap65689119 As a release engineer I also worked in quality, if they are serious they should look at Toyotas business model which has their suppliers as genuine partners, thats how you get a quality product
  • Mike-NB2 I seem to have landed in an alternate universe. $12,000 for a Jeep that's going on a quarter-century old and with an automatic transmission? Wow.