Hyundai Santa Cruz Readies to Kick Some Sand

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai
hyundai santa cruz readies to kick some sand

Gearing up for its debut on April 15th, Hyundai has released renderings of the Santa Cruz, its ground-breaking pickup named for a sleepy Northern California beach city.

According to Google Translate, phonetically in Korean, pickup truck is ‘pig-eob teuleog’. In the Korean domestic market, Hyundai has produced the Pony pickup of the ’80s, and more recently a small, commercial flatbed truck called the Porter. From what we’ve gathered previously, the Santa Cruz will be a unibody pickup, as is the Honda Ridgeline, but with styling more akin to that of the Subaru Brat and Baja.

Hyundai’s preferred moniker for the Santa Cruz is a sport-adventure vehicle, but in Korean, ‘seupocheu moheom chalyang’ is a real mouthful. It also is oh-so-close to BMW’s trademarked sport-activity vehicle designator that it’s easy to confuse one SAV with the other, at least by label.

Touting the Santa Cruz’s unique style, a mashup of SUV, truck, and crossover elements, Hyundai promises powerful powertrain options, a must for anything even remotely resembling a truck. A rousing debate on Facebook as to what constitutes an underpowered vehicle hopefully won’t have another model to target, if Hyundai has done its homework.

In mentioning all-wheel drive, the Santa Cruz is said to be at home in more adventurous environs than the suburbs, and no doubt given the opportunity to put that to the test, we will.

How flexible can the Santa Cruz’s open bed possibly be if it’s not able to accommodate the prerequisite plywood sheet by which all pickups are judged? While there are other trucks that aren’t able to lay plywood sheets flat to the pickup bed either, there’s no way to angle it to fit from what we’ve seen thus far. Reportedly, Hobbs Truck and Jeep Accessories in Las Vegas, Nevada, has a bed rack in development for the Santa Cruz, based on intelligence they’ve gathered overseas.

“Santa Cruz, with its bold styling, breaks open all-new segment territory, both for Hyundai and the industry as a whole. Our customers will wonder just how they managed before owning one,” said Jose Munoz, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor North America. How bold? Will the Santa Cruz create a segment within the segment?

[Images: Hyundai]

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  • Don1967 Don1967 on Apr 01, 2021

    They'll sell a million of these things to the telephone booth relocation industry. For everyone else the devil will be in the details, ie: cab opening up to the box, in-floor storage, etc.

    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Apr 01, 2021

      So Dr. Who along with Bill and Ted will grab one in case they need to haul their time machines to the shop.

  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Apr 01, 2021

    So if you put a bed cover on one of these you'd actually have a useful sedan with a real trunk opening. Outside of that, I don't see much use.

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂