Hyundai unveils new Santa Cruz pickup

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Hyundai

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Hyundai Motor enters the US pickup market with the Santa Cruz, a small SUV-like vehicle set to hit stores this summer.

Hyundai calls the 2022 Santa Cruz a “Sport Adventure Vehicle”. It has many of the features of a compact SUV or crossover, but the loading area of ​​a pickup truck. This type of vehicle style has appeared several times throughout the American auto industry. Especially the Ford Ranchero and the Chevrolet El Camino from the 1950s and 1960s and, more recently, the Subaru Baja from the 2000s.

According to industry analysts, the Santa Cruz is expected to attract more car or crossover buyers than those who owned a larger, more traditional pickup truck. They specifically say buyers of outdoor-oriented brands like Jeep and Subaru.

“I think it could go really well,” said Brian Moody, editor-in-chief at Autotrader. “It seems like research from automakers is showing that people are increasingly wanting more types of vehicles that you can take off-road.”

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Hyundai

Hyundai said prices for the Santa Cruz will be announced closer to its summer arrival at dealerships. Moody said the vehicle’s pricing will be important as it will have to be cheaper than the starting price of a midsize pickup truck like a Toyota Tacoma, which starts at around $ 27,000.

The Santa Cruz shares design cues, including the front grille and headlights, from the recently redesigned Hyundai Tucson SUV. It is also made on the same vehicle platform or base as the SUV.

The interior of the vehicle includes an 8- or 10-inch infotainment touchscreen in the center, as well as an optional 10-inch screen for digital driver clusters instead of traditional physical displays. It also offers a range of safety and convenience features that have become commonplace for new vehicles.

“Santa Cruz’s bold design is breaking new ground for both Hyundai and the industry as a whole,” said Jose Munoz, CEO of Hyundai Motor North America, in a statement.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Hyundai

Smaller vehicles with pickup beds have typically not done as well in the U.S., where large, full-size pickups have been the best-selling vehicles for decades. Most recently, the Subaru Baja was only sold for about four years before it was discontinued. Even larger models like a version of the Ford Explorer SUV called the “Sport Trac” only lasted a decade.

“It’s definitely a game of chance and because this segment has been tried over the years and I don’t think anyone has really had much success,” said Jessica Caldwell, Executive Director of Insights at Edmunds.com. “But I think it’s definitely the best time to think about how hot the trucks are now.”

Caldwell said such vehicles are “quite practical and useful,” but also “quirky” and a niche segment in the US auto industry.

The Santa Cruz is assembled using what the auto industry calls “unibody” construction. The process by which cars are made is where the frame / body of the vehicle is one. This is similar to a “body-on-frame” design for most pickups and some vans and SUVs, where the body and frame of the vehicles are combined towards the end of production.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Hyundai

The most notable unibody pickup on the market right now is the Honda Ridgeline. Such a design typically allows for a smoother ride, but less powerful than trucks like the Ford F-150 or the Chevrolet Silverado that are frame-mounted. The Jeep Gladiator, a mid-size SUV-based pickup truck from Wrangler, is also on the frame.

The Santa Cruz will come standard with a 2.5 liter inline four-cylinder engine with an estimated 190 horsepower and 180 foot-pounds of torque. A more powerful 2.5 liter, turbo direct injection engine with an estimated 275 horsepower and 310 foot pounds of torque is also available. Both are coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Santa Cruz is manufactured at the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Alabama, along with several other Hyundai models, including the best-selling Tucson SUV.

2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz

Hyundai

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