• Hyundai Will Create a New Niche with the Santa Cruz Pickup, but It Still Has a Couple of Years to Marinate

Against all odds, the Santa Cruz is actually happening

The Hyundai Santa Cruz is both a crossover and a pickup. Whether you believe that to be true, what’s important is that the concept will go into production this year. Or next year. Hyundai has been a little iffy on the timetable, but it’s pointing to the same conclusion. The company loves the Santa Cruz, and it has plans to build a production version. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing.

Hyundai Will Create a New Niche with the Santa Cruz Pickup, but It Still Has a Couple of Years to Marinate High Resolution Exterior
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The Santa Cruz crossover pickup finally received that all-important green light from the company’s decision-makers

Remember when Hyundai showed the concept version of the Santa Cruz at the North American International Auto Show back in 2015? It’s been so long that it’s hard to blame those who have actually forgotten about it. But, Hyundai hasn’t forgotten it. In fact, Brian Smith, the COO of Hyundai Motor America, told Motor Trend that the company talks about the Santa Cruz a lot. “We love it,” he says.

Like it or not, that “love” that Hyundai is professing is coming to fruition because after a few false starts to get the project going, the Santa Cruz crossover pickup finally received that all-important green light from the company’s decision-makers. The pickup is going to happen, people. That’s no longer a question.

The pertinent question to ask is “when” it’s going to happen. Back when the idea of turning it into a production model was first floated, then-CEO Dave Zuchowski championed hard to have it arrive in 2018 as a 2019 model. It seemed like a timetable was set, but then, Zuchowski left Hyundai, which led to all those plans stalling. It took until last year to get the project going again, so, for now, look for a 2019 debut for the Santa Cruz.

Hyundai Will Create a New Niche with the Santa Cruz Pickup, but It Still Has a Couple of Years to Marinate High Resolution Exterior
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The Santa Cruz has the potential to cut across both crossover and pickup segments

You can argue that Hyundai’s missing the boat as far as booming pickup sales are concerned, but this car is deemed important enough that the company isn’t going to rush its production for the sake of generating headlines. On that end, it’s hard to blame the company for thinking long-term. The Santa Cruz may be pegged as a novelty - it’s a “lifestyle” pickup! — but it has the potential to cut across both crossover and pickup segments, something very few models in the two segments are capable of doing.

There’s no word yet on how much of the concept will translate into the production model, but you can expect a good amount of influence to come out of it. With the exception of a few overeager bumps in the body, the concept looked as if it was ready to roll out of Detroit three years ago. It’ll be interesting to see how much of it will change with the passing of time.

Whatever happens, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is going to be a production model. If you thought this day would come, give yourselves a pat on the back. We certainly didn’t.

References

Hyundai Will Create a New Niche with the Santa Cruz Pickup, but It Still Has a Couple of Years to Marinate High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept.

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Source: Motor Trend

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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