Remember the Hyundai Santa Cruz concept from the 2015 Detroit Auto Show? It’s still coming…with one key difference.
Hyundai revealed its Santa Cruz “crossover truck” concept to the world three years ago at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. It caught us by surprise, as we thought at the time they’d given up on ever creating a pickup. We hadn’t heard too many production details about Hyundai’s plans for the Santa Cruz lately, apart from a Reuters report last year. That report suggested Hyundai approved the Santa Cruz design, and was moving forward with production. The final date the company’s pickup would finally reach the market: 2020.
Well, it appears that’s still the case, although there could be a couple key differences. The Santa Cruz won’t sport a smaller extended cab, as the original concept suggested. Instead, according to Hyundai Motor America CEO Brian Smith in an interview with Motor Trend, it will have four full doors and seat five passengers. If it actually does turn out to be a crew cab, that means Hyundai is aligning the Santa Cruz more with the Honda Ridgeline rather than a more quirky offering that sits out there, relatively on its own. The 2020 Santa Cruz will also share its platform with the next-generation Hyundai Tucson, which does bespeak the truck’s original crossover roots.
A unibody truck in a body-on-frame world?
It’s unclear exactly how this truck will perform, given the resurgence of body-on-frame pickups. Models like the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon and the upcoming Ford Ranger are gaining traction in the market. On the other hand, the Honda Ridgeline’s sales have declined in recent months. Hyundai originally suggested the Santa Cruz could ship at least 50,000 units per year. Now, that may not be as likely, given its delays in making it to production. After all, even last year the Ridgeline managed to move around 35,000 units, and that represents the current generation’s best year so far.
By green-lighting the project, Hyundai evidently remains convinced it can sell a crossover-based pickup to people who want a car-like ride with some truck-like utility. Adding two doors to the mix may well help the Santa Cruz’ case. What do you think of Hyundai’s upcoming Tucson-based pickup? Let us know in the comments! Stay tuned to TFLtruck.com for more updates.