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.

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Why It Matters

Hyundai is counting on attracting younger, more active buyers to the Santa Cruz that Honda did with its Ridgeline. A sportier design with greater attention to its target demographic should do Hyundai well. Adding the availability of a fuel-sipping diesel powerplant would only add to the “truck’s” attractiveness to the traditional non-truck buyer. Soccer moms would then have the perfect vehicle to carry kiddos home from practice while their smelly gear stayed in the cargo bed.

Hyundai Santa Cruz

2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept - image 610687

Source: Edmunds

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