For years the pickup truck market has been dominated by the Americans. Ford, Chevrolet, and Ram have all piloted the pickup truck sector that is so popular in the states. Not often do we get new challengers, especially from overseas. As of late, the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma have picked up steam and are starting to crack the code of the mid-size and full-size market. Now a Korean competitor has entered the chase, this time, attempting to commandeer a new market. The compact truck segment has been in quite the demand for a while. Starting with the old Ford Ranger and the SVT Lightning, it showed that pickup trucks that were bite size had a home in the United States. However with growing SUV popularity and consumers’ wants to be higher and higher off the ground, the idea of a small engine pickup truck was soon phased out. Hyundai has came out of left field with the new Santa Cruz, preparing to take on competitors like the unreleased Ford Maverick, the Santa Cruz is Hyundai’s and in simplicity the Koreans’ best shot to wiggle themselves into the US truck market— one of the most lucrative in the world.
The official launch will be April 15th, 2021, and for now all we have are teaser pictures but we can derive quite a bit from those. We can assume the Santa Cruz will be equipped with AWD and towing packages. That’s already putting it in a step in the right direction. The engine will most likely be a small 4 cylinder and maybe with an upgradable V6 or the 4 cylinder with a turbo. As a light truck, it looks different than most trucks we’ve seen in the past. Instead of looking rugged and barren, it looks futuristic. Sharing the grill from the new Tucson and Santa Fe, the Santa Cruz looks eerily modern. It’s obviously not trying to push the ol’ big and brawny stereotype. That’s where the old light trucks failed. They tried to be like the big boys, acting scruffy and mean, when Hyundai is taking a different approach. No one call this wimpy because Hyundai is going to market it as an outdoorsy vehicle. They’re not going to market it as something that can take your 15 cattle on a road trip to Oregon. Oddly enough, it looks like the old Subaru Baja, and we assume it’ll be there for the same purpose.
The Santa Cruz will be finished in the US along with the Santa Fe in Alabama. The Santa Cruz will offer the same Theta engine as the Santa Fe, a turbocharged inline 4 with 2.5 L of displacement or just the naturally aspirated 2.5 L.
Looking at the sleek image of the Santa Cruz gives us a glimpse of what the truck is all about. It’s about a new segment, a different path from the road traditionally taken. The new modern taillights look like something out of Tron and the bed shape gives us a revival to the past with the old light trucks of the 2000’s. As more information about the Santa Cruz is released, we’ll be on it, but info is scarce and Hyundai plans to reveal on April 15th.