Remember that odd-looking half-truck, half-SUV thing Hyundai revealed at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show? Yeah, I am talking about the 2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept. Like all concepts, this truck’s production future relied heavily upon the reception it received following its debut, and apparently the feedback was positive, as Hyundai is actually mulling over getting into the pickup-truck market.

This report is courtesy of Reuters, which quoted an executive from Hyundai who said that the crossover pickup received “good response.” That said, the chances of a production Hyundai pickup looking anything like the Santa Cruz and having the limited capabilities of the concept model are very slim. If Hyundai chose to release a production pickup, it would need to be able to tow, haul and go off-road, three things that Hyundai was clear were not the strong points of the concept. These are likely the “hurdles” in getting the Santa Cruz to production that Park Byung-cheol, Hyundai’s director of R&D, mentioned to Reuters.

Where the Santa Cruz excelled was in fuel economy and off-the-line torque. Its 2.0-liter diesel engine produced a respectable 300 pound-feet of twist while turning in estimated fuel economy ratings of 35-plus mpg. Both numbers are very strong for a pickup.

The sticking point remains whether or not truck buyers will consider a pickup that cannot do trucky things. The Honda Ridgeline was the latest example of a truck that failed at doing trucky things, and we all saw how well it sold…

Continue reading to learn more about the Hyundai Santa Cruz.

Why it matters

Though the looks of the Santa Cruz were awesome, I doubt that it’ll make it to production in that form, which is a bit depressing. The diesel engine is another item that’ll likely get the axe in the move to production. And I still cannot help but see the Ridgeline all over again in the Santa Cruz Concept. Hyundai needs to find a way to strengthen the chassis and driveline of this pickup before bringing it to market, so it can actually compete with the likes of the Chevy Colorado, Toyota Tacoma, and Nissan Frontier. Failure to do so will likely result in a short-lived life for Hyundai’s first pickup.

Hyundai Santa Cruz

2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 610687

Source: Reuters

Justin Cupler
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