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The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

Every fall, dozens of journalists from all over Texas and around the country gather to compare, test, and crown the winner of the “Truck of Texas” competition. It’s a coveted award from the Texas Auto Writers Association that signifies Texas’ collective approval of a truck. And not only are trucks involved, awards go out for the SUV and CUV of Texas.

I already touched on the topic in the preview piece, but awards are also given to the winner in each vehicle category and for various things like “best connectivity” and “best powertrain.”

This year’s competition was fierce. There were 84 vehicles present from 21 automakers entered into 17 different categories. Evaluating the field were 69 TAWA members comprised of journalists and social media influencers.

So let’s get down to the results. Keep reading for the full breakdown.

Continue reading for the results of the 2015 TAWA Truck Rodeo

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Hyundai CEO Confirms Santa Cruz; Wants New Baby Crossover

Hyundai CEO Confirms Santa Cruz; Wants New Baby Crossover

We’ve previously reported that Hyundai North American is seriously considering a truck-like utility vehicle based on the 2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz concept seen at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show in January. Now it seems Hyundai USA CEO David Zuchowski, a huge supporter of the Santa Cruz, expects to receive the green light for production from Hyundai’s main Korean headquarters by this November.

The trucklet will be based on a crossover platform underpinned by a unibody structure and a transverse-mounted powertrain with available AWD. Hyundai says the Santa Cruz wouldn’t be competing against the American midsized trucks, but rather vehicles like the current Honda Ridgeline.

What’s more, Hyundai is shifting a few of its production facilities from cars to crossovers, along with more factories being constructed globally. This will give Hyundai the room to build the new model without sacrificing production of its other products.

Reports are also suggesting Zuchowski is also pushing for a small, entry-level compact crossover aimed at the 2015 Nissan Juke, 2016 Mazda CX-3, 2015 Chevrolet Trax, and 2016 Honda HR-V. Zuchowski hints that the crossover will push the design envelope, saying “edgier styling will be really important in that segment.” The small crossover is expected for the 2017 model year.

As for the Santa Cruz mini-truck, if Hyundai’s Korean headquarters gives the go-ahead, it could enter production for the 2017 or 2018 model year. It would be marketed towards urbanites who lead active lifestyles who need the utility of a truck, but don’t need the size or towing capacity offered by modern American trucks.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Hyundai Santa Cruz Will Be Based On The Tucson

Hyundai Santa Cruz Will Be Based On The Tucson

The “green light” for production is all but official for Hyundai’s first pickup-like vehicle, the Santa Cruz, as more and more information trickles in. The latest news comes as Hyundai Motor America’s director of product planning reveals the Santa Cruz will be based on the existing Tucson crossover platform.

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Hyundai Santa Cruz Will Be Based On The Tucson

Hyundai Santa Cruz Will Be Based On The Tucson

The “green light” for production is all but official for Hyundai’s first pickup-like vehicle, the Santa Cruz, as more and more information trickles in. The latest news comes as Hyundai Motor America’s director of product planning reveals the Santa Cruz will be based on the existing Tucson crossover platform.

"We would not be starting from scratch with this vehicle, that is fair to say," said Scott Margason in a recent interview with Edmunds. By doing this, Hyundai would save costs by not developing a stand-alone architecture, along with one to two years of developmental time, Margason figures.

Designing the Santa Cruz off the Tucson’s crossover platform tells volumes about Hyundai’s intended market for the vehicle. Rather than being a direct competitor to players like the Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma, or the Nissan Frontier, the Santa Cruz would be marketed as a “lifestyle” vehicle for those wanting a pickup, but not the sacrifices associated with one.

"We tend to refer to it as more of an open-utility vehicle," continued Margason. "It is a personal-use vehicle." So don’t expect to see a Santa Cruz lugging equipment through a construction site. More to the point, the Santa Cruz’s closest competitor would be the Honda Ridgeline.

Hyundai is still deliberating on whether the Santa Cruz will launch with the 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder that powered the concept version. If chosen, the diesel would likely make the Santa Cruz more appealing to shoppers used to sedans, thanks to its high 30-mpg fuel economy estimations.

Despite its non-truck-like descriptions, Hyundai is targeting Millennial urbanites who lead active lifestyles by camping, bicycling, or even those doing DIY home improvements. The Santa Cruz will come with AWD to aid its versatile repertoire.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Hyundai Reportedly Close To Approving Santa Cruz Pickup For Production

Hyundai Reportedly Close To Approving Santa Cruz Pickup For Production

The rumors continue to swirl around Hyundai’s future product plans as Hyundai USA CEO David Zuchowski revealed the Santa Cruz pickup is close to getting the green light for production.

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Hyundai Reportedly Close To Approving Santa Cruz Pickup For Production

Hyundai Reportedly Close To Approving Santa Cruz Pickup For Production

The rumors continue to swirl around Hyundai’s future product plans as Hyundai USA CEO David Zuchowski revealed the Santa Cruz pickup is close to getting the green light for production.

The only kicker is approval must come from Hyundai’s South Korean headquarters.

However, Zuchowski is confident the project will get approved, as he told The Detroit Bureau during the rollout of the Sonata Hybrid, “There is a very high probability we get the approval of the truck very soon.”

The Santa Cruz concept made its debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show back in January, and caused quite a stir. The truck takes a very different approach to styling and functionality than the more traditional midsized pickups like the Chevrolet Colorado and Toyota Tacoma. Hyundai says the truck targets millennial “Urban Adventurers” who lead active lifestyles and are looking for a vehicle that supports that living. The Santa Cruz’s bed offers space to carry dirty sports equipment or sweaty clothes not otherwise welcomed in the sedan or crossover.

Zuchowski says more than 90 percent of potential buyers the automaker surveyed has like the Santa Cruz concept. “It’s proven very popular,” he concluded.

What’s more, Zuchowski mentioned his team is also considering a subcompact crossover to compete against the Honda HR-V, Chevrolet Trax, and Jeep Renegade. “This is a growth segment,” The CEO said. “We want a piece of it.” Again, approval would be needed from South Korea, but the possibilities for production are just as promising as the Santa Cruz.

Continue reading for more information

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Hyundai Santa Cruz Could Make it to Production

Hyundai Santa Cruz Could Make it to Production

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.

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Hyundai Santa Cruz Could Make it to Production

Hyundai Santa Cruz Could Make it to Production

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.

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Hyundai Explores Truck Land With Santa Cruz Crossover Concept

Hyundai Explores Truck Land With Santa Cruz Crossover Concept

Hyundai surprised audiences at the North American International Auto Show with the Santa Cruz, a crossover-like pickup truck that blends easy-driving characteristic with functional utility in a stylish package marketed towards Millennials. With a trick extending cargo box, seating for five, all-wheel-drive, and a diesel engine, the Santa Cruz is certainly an interesting concept.

Head over to TopSpeed Trucks for the full review.

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2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

The idea for a crossover truck isn’t a new one. Things like the Honda Ridgeline, Chevrolet Avalanche, and even the GMC Envoy XUV have trotted down that path. Nevertheless, Hyundai’s latest concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show is a truck of sorts. It’s called the Santa Cruz and Hyundai says it combines all the driving dynamics of a crossover SUV with the utility of a small pickup. A quick read of the press release (below) confirms suspicions that the Santa Cruz Concept is a lifestyle vehicle aimed at Millennials who have “unspoken needs” of greater utility.

“Santa Cruz is the perfect vehicle for those that want the attributes of a CUV, but still have dirty stuff that belongs ‘in the back,’” Hyundai says. The idea is tantalizing: to have room for muddy shoes, fishing or sporting gear, and the occasional stack of firewood without giving up the car-like interior and easy driving attributes.

The Santa Cruz does offer an interesting solution for hauling longer loads in its shorter bed. Beneath the bed lining lies a second section that pulls out like a drawer, added length to the bed’s floor and side walls. The tailgate remains fully functional, allowing easy access to the bed. Cargo tie downs line the inside of the box for easily securing items. A hard-folding tonneau cover seals the bed for weather and security.

What’s more, Hyundai has thrown in a 2.0-liter turbodiesel that makes 190 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque. The automaker expects the Santa Cruz to achieve fuel economy ratings in the upper 30-mpg range.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept.

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Crowning the Winner: The 2015 Truck of Texas

Crowning the Winner: The 2015 Truck of Texas

I’ve already given the introduction to how much Texans love their trucks and how every year the Texas Auto Writers Association gathers to crown the winner; the coveted “Truck of Texas” award. Now let’s get down to some results.

Besides the main award, there were 17 other categories that each of the 75 vehicles fell into. These consisted of titles like “Midsized Crossover Utility Vehicles” and “Luxury Pickup Trucks.” Awards were also given for best connectivity, best powertrain, and best technology.

Each vehicle was subjected to a battery of tests that measured its ability to perform its intended function, whether that be towing, going off road, surrounding its occupants in luxury, or proving a great all-round family hauler. The vehicles were all competing within their respective category for the win.

So which truck, SUV, or crossover took home the Truck of Texas award? Continue reading to find out.

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Hyundai: "We have no plans of selling a pickup truck in the US anytime soon"

Hyundai: "We have no plans of selling a pickup truck in the US anytime soon"

We can now finally put this rumor to rest; there will be no pickup trucks coming from Hyundai anytime soon. That’s what the horse’s mouth made very clear when the Korean automaker shut down the rumor that was floating around last week involving Hyundai being in talks with Chrysler LLC to sell a version of the Dodge Ram pick-up re-badged under Hyundai in the US.

In a statement released by Hyundai, the automaker said: ""Hyundai Motor Co. denies that there are any current plans to bring a pickup truck of any type into the U.S. now or in the foreseeable future."

"Hyundai is not in discussion with Chrysler in regard to a selling a rebadged Chrysler Corp pickup truck, or any other vehicle, in the U.S," the statement concluded.

So there you have it, fellas. There won’t be a re-badged Dodge Ram pickup truck in Hyundai’s future, now or in the foreseeable future.

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