2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Second Drive: Truck-ish?

It’s probably exciting to be working in transportation media at a dawn of an all-new product category. Imagine the journalists in 1964 witnessing the birth of the pony car. What about those in the mid-Nineties covering the birth of the crossover – never mind, that probably wasn’t all that thrilling. I’m picturing, instead, the newsroom at The Truth About Buggies in 1884, with cigar-chomping editors looking at telegraphed press releases touting the first automobile, sending poorly-paid flunky journalists on junkets via train with a typewriter.

Perhaps we’ve witnessed our own segment birth – or, really, re-birth – with the reimagining of the compact pickup truck market. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz, it would seem to anyone watching, would be the first entrant into that category. Hyundai, inexplicably, would rather you not call it a truck.

Have you ever seen those wobbly hitch-mounted cargo carriers obscuring the license plates on slow-moving SUVs – usually with a Yeti cooler and some camp chairs strapped down? Perhaps the Santa Cruz is more like that – a Tucson with a well-integrated, weather-resistant (when properly equipped) cargo carrier.

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Rare Rides: The 1979 Renha Formigo, Rear-engine and Beetle Adjacent

Not long ago, Rare Rides featured the Gurgel XEF, a Brazilian microcar of luxurious intent that was styled like a contemporary Mercedes-Benz, and based on a Volkswagen. Today’s Rare Ride is a very different Brazilian take on the same basic bones.

Say hello to the Renha Formigão.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: The Cheapest Trucks in America for 2021

We closed out last week with a Buy/Drive/Burn entry that covered the three cheapest sedans available in America this year. Nearly all of you decided you’d buy the most expensive of the three, the Hyundai Accent.

Today’s trio are the least expensive trucks on sale today with plain paint, two driven wheels, and steelies. Think you’ll select the most expensive truck of today’s trio for the Buy? Let’s find out.

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Rare Rides: The Ridiculous Toyota BB Open Deck, From 2002

Today’s Rare Ride is a very interesting version of a ho-hum economy hatchback. By the time Toyota finished with their edits, said hatchback was turned into a pickup truck in similar in concept to the Chevy Avalanche.

Feeling intrigued?

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Rare Rides: A 1990 Jeep Comanche Pioneer, the Best Jeep Truck Ever

Today’s Rare Ride comes from a time when Jeep still offered a two-door pickup to the American small truck consumer.

Super clean, pretty retro, and with great tape stripes, it’s the Jeep Comanche Pioneer. A fitting example of the first-ever Jeep featured in this series!

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Rare Rides: A 1986 Izuzu P'up, Coming With Length and Turbodiesel

Today’s Rare Ride is from the period in the Eighties when many compact pickup trucks were available to the North American consumer. While most of these vehicles were Japanese, some covered their origins with American badges. Others wore both Japanese and American branding, albeit at different dealerships.

Wouldn’t you LUV to check out this P’up? Ugh.

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Rare Rides: The Shocking 2002 Ford Ranger Thunderbolt

Rare Rides previously featured the weather-inspired SVT Lightning, an effort that saw Ford add a healthy dose of power and sporty handling to its full-size pickup.

Today we’ll have a look at Lightning’s smaller sibling, which is named after the same weather event: the Ranger Thunderbolt, from 2002.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Compact Japanese Pickup Trucks From 1992

Our last two Buy/Drive/Burn entries reflected compact truck offerings in 1972 and 1982. We know you all love talkin’ trucks, so we bring you a subsequent entry in the series today. It’s 1992, and you’ve got to buy a compact Japanese truck.

Hope you can bear the 10-percent interest rate on your loan.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Compact and Captive Pickup Trucks From 1982

In the last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn we pitted three compact pickup trucks from Japan against one another. The year was 1972 — still fairly early in Japan’s truck presence on North American shores. The distant year caused many commenters to shout “We are young!” and then claim a lack of familiarity.

Fine! Today we’ll move it forward a decade, and talk trucks in 1982.

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Buy/Drive/Burn: Japanese Trucks From 1972

Buy/Drive/Burn doesn’t talk trucks very often, but today’s an exception. Today’s trio are from the very inception of Japanese compact truck offerings in North America. They mostly rusted away long ago, but perhaps you remember them fondly.

Right now, it’s 1972. Let’s go.

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Rare Rides: The 1989 Dodge Shelby Dakota - a Subtle, Speedy Box

Back in the fall of 2017, we featured the hotted-up Dodge Shelby Charger, born of a collaboration between Dodge and elder racing legend Carroll Shelby. That 2.2-liter four-seat coupe is a bit practical though, a bit pedestrian.

Let’s turn up the volume with another Shelby, this one featuring double the cylinders and half the seats of the Charger. Dakota!

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Rare Rides: A Preserved 1983 Nissan-Datsun 720 King Cab

Recently, Rare Rides honed in on the little Dodge Rampage. A front-drive alternative compact pickup, it was based on the sporty Dodge Charger. Today we have a look at a well-preserved example of what most buyers of compact pickups chose in the early 1980s. It’s a Nissan-Datsun 720 King Cab, from when all Datsuns were Nissans.

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Chicken Tax Ready For The Fryer, Hilux Et Al Not Ready For US Market

As key free trade agreements near signing, the chicken tax may soon become a bucket of Kentucky fried goodness. Just don’t hold your breath for a Hilux.

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2015 Ram 700 Newest Entrant In Mexican Compact Truck Market

For some, the Chevrolet Colorado’s “ technology and stuff” is just what they need in a truck. For others, however, the mid-size pickup’s footprint is still a tad too big.

If you call Mexico your home, Ram has just what you need.

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QOTD: Chevrolet Colorado To Render Other Trucks "Obsolete"

Today’s quote of the day comes from GM’s Jim Cain (not to be confused with our own Tim Cain), who is quoted by Automotive News as making some rather bold predictions for the upcoming Chevrolet Colorado mid-size truck.

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  • Sgeffe Bronco looks with JLR “reliability!”What’s not to like?!
  • FreedMike Back in the '70s, the one thing keeping consumers from buying more Datsuns was styling - these guys were bringing over some of the ugliest product imaginable. Remember the F10? As hard as I try to blot that rolling aberration from my memory, it comes back. So the name change to Nissan made sense, and happened right as they started bringing over good-looking product (like the Maxima that will be featured in this series). They made a pretty clean break.
  • Flowerplough Liability - Autonomous vehicles must be programmed to make life-ending decisions, and who wants to risk that? Hit the moose or dive into the steep grassy ditch? Ram the sudden pile up that is occurring mere feet in front of the bumper or scan the oncoming lane and swing left? Ram the rogue machine that suddenly swung into my lane, head on, or hop up onto the sidewalk and maybe bump a pedestrian? With no driver involved, Ford/Volkswagen or GM or whomever will bear full responsibility and, in America, be ambulance-chaser sued into bankruptcy and extinction in well under a decade. Or maybe the yuge corporations will get special, good-faith, immunity laws, nation-wide? Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • FreedMike It's not that consumers wouldn't want this tech in theory - I think they would. Honestly, the idea of a car that can take over the truly tedious driving stuff that drives me bonkers - like sitting in traffic - appeals to me. But there's no way I'd put my property and my life in the hands of tech that's clearly not ready for prime time, and neither would the majority of other drivers. If they want this tech to sell, they need to get it right.
  • TitaniumZ Of course they are starting to "sour" on the idea. That's what happens when cars start to drive better than people. Humanpilots mostly suck and make bad decisions.