Hyundai is working on launching its very first pickup truck in the United States: the Hyundai Santa Cruz.
The Santa Cruz marks the Korean manufacturer’s first foray into another segment of the automotive industry. But, unlike the American approach in pickup trucks, the company will follow the footsteps of Honda. In particular, it will have a treatment similar to the Honda Ridgeline with a crossover platform and an active-lifestyle image.
The Santa Cruz will reportedly adopt a unibody style and be offered with a single bed length, a four-door crew cab, and a choice of four-cylinder engines.
The Santa Cruz will be built on the same basic bones and in the same facility in Montgomery, Alabama as the Sante Fe midsize crossover. It is also expected to offer the same engines that power its sibling: a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine and a 2.0-liter inline-four paired with an eight-automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive.
Hyundai is trying to position the truck as an affordable and efficient choice for drivers who tend to haul bulky but not too heavy items such as mountain bikes, kayaks, camping gear, and boats.
Being a unibody pickup, Hyundai’s direct competitor will be the Honda Ridgeline. But it will also be going head to head with other models, including the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and to some extent, the Jeep Gladiator.
The company has already confirmed production for the model but it still remains to be seen how the U.S. market will receive it, considering that it will have lesser towing and payload capabilities than most of its competitors.
Hyundai is looking at a 2021 launch for the Santa Cruz with a starting price of $25,000. But given the current situation, it’s unclear if this schedule will be followed.