Hyundai’s Santa Cruz and A Pickup Truck



Let us begin on a lighter note, yet with some philosophical thoughts. I have always maintained that there are many combinations in life that should never happen. I stay firm on it till date. For instance ice cream and raw mince, guns and children,Kardashians and…well anything – all things we’d rather not think about. Yet there are some matches that should be considered and become acceptable and catchy in due course of time; and in this example, I’m talking about a Hyundai illustrated in ‘Pickup Truck’ format.


It was not that long back. Let us, just for a moment, shift our attention to a certain event.Rewind  back to this year’s Detroit Motor Show and you’ll no doubt recall Hyundai revealing its Santa Cruz compact utility concept. It was Hyundai’s interpretation of a vehicle that would cater and provide a solution to a business statement of people; these sort of folks need something slightly more practical than an SUV, but not a full-blown pickup. It is quite intricate and the niches have to be taken care of, if a sustainable let alone a mind blowing design was to be provided.


Recipe for great success may you say? Remember the Subaru Baja? I’m not so sure that it would be a cash cow like Hyundai would want it to be.


However, that is a different story, of a different chapter and of a different book entirely. Let us move that concept to one side and focus our concentration at something that could do big things for the Seoul-based manufacturer; I’m talking about a smaller, mid-size truck that looks great with decent off-road and haulage capabilities. Sure, Hyundai and “truck” may be foreign for those looking at a Tacoma, Colorado or Frontier; yet I think with the right attributes it could do well.


Firstly, the design has to appeal and I guess not only appeal but make a permanent place in the mind of the consumer; in this instance, a rugged take on Hyundai’s “Fluidic Precision” design language would mix the current corporate look with aggressive creases and diagonal design elements.


The brand’s signature hexagonal front grille (which the rest of the industry seems to be hell-bent on using) sits proudly between recessed LED headlamps, while prominent air inlets house the fog-lights.


Protective plastic cladding protects the lower portion of the body, whilst the rear has a separated cargo bed for other utilitarian configurations. There is only so much you can do with the design of a pickup’s glasshouse – so here it’s rather traditional looking, with a hint of Santa Cruz in the C-Pillars.


Under the hood would ideally sit Hyundai’s current 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbo from the Sonata; coupled with a new electric-hybrid for fuel efficiency and low-end torque. Power would be sent via an all-wheel drive system and a 6-speed manual or 7-speed dual clutch auto from the all-new Tucson SUV.


Unlike the Santa Cruz concept which could be based off the new Tucson, this 5-seat compact truck would need to be body-on-frame for better stiffness and load-carrying capacity; unfortunately Hyundai doesn’t have such a dedicated platform, so would need to develop this type of vehicle from the ground up with a lot of investment.


Whilst this offering might have its work cut out for it and be operative in a very specific way in the United States of America-land, it could do very well in other parts of the globe like Europe and Asia-Pacific. Light commercial sales in these areas are generally dominated by the likes of Toyota’s Hilux, Ford Ranger (global version), Mitsubishi Triton/L200 and Nissan Navara/Frontier.

Ultimately, this is just my interpretation of a Hyundai pickup, we’d love to know your thoughts on whether or not Hyundai should build such a vehicle in the comments section below.