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A Hyundai Truck To Hit The North American Market In 2019

The Hyundai Santa Cruz CUV-Truck Hybrid

Published October 9, 2017

According to Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, a Hyundai truck is poised to hit the market as part of the 2019 model year lineup. The truck, being billed as a lifestyle pickup, will be based on the compact crossover Hyundai Tuscon platform. The concept version of the truck has been revealed on several occasions and is named the Santa Cruz. That moniker should carry over to the production version.

The move to create a Hyundai truck makes sense for the automaker. Pickups are very profitable to build and nearly every market in the world has a booming interest in trucks. Let’s have a quick look at the Hyundai Santa Cruz and see how the automaker is going to try to gain a foothold in a .

What Is A Lifestyle Pickup?

The concept of a lifestyle pickup truck is fairly rare, but it is nothing new. Basically, a lifestyle truck is designed to accommodate a small family or two couples. It features design aspects that allow it to fit in on a jobsite or driving around town. The interior must be well appointed enough to offer a solid cadre of tech and a comfortable ride. Essentially, a lifestyle pickup must be the jack-of-all-trades.

Several automakers have tried to create lifestyle pickups and have met with mixed success. The Honda Ridgeline has been doing quite well in the niche since 2005. On the other hand the Subaru Baja did not, barely eking out a three year production run. There have been few success stories within this niche, so the Hyundai truck is entering a tough market.

On a positive note, the Hyundai truck is being built on the compact crossover platform of the Tuscon. That means it will bring passenger car ride quality and handling to the table. The concept truck has rear suicide doors, adding a cool factor, and the Santa Cruz is reported to have payload and towing capacities that you would expect from small trucks like the Ford Rangers of the past.

What Will Power The Hyundai Truck?

This is a hard section to fill out with any authority. There has been no official statement as to the engine lineup that the Hyundai truck will be equipped with. All that is available are rumors and gossip. So, we shall spread rumors like everyone else.

The first option that has been widely discussed is a four-cylinder naturally aspirated gasoline engine. It will most likely be taken from the Tuscon lineup. That leads us to believe it would be(or at least we hope it will be) the 2.0L Theta II currently available in the Tuscon. This powerplant offers 168 hp and 151 lb-ft of torque. It also offers 23 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway for a combined fuel efficiency of 26 mpg…numbers that fit well with a lifestyle pickup.

The second rumor is a 2.0L turbodiesel. This could be the powerplant that Hyundai is developing for the Genesis luxury sedan. Unofficial output numbers for that engine are 190 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Peak torque should be available at less than 3000 rpm, making for a Hyundai truck that is able to pull early and hard. Since this engine is still in development, there are no fuel economy numbers available.

The Hyundai Truck Will Look Good And Be Practical

Being based on a compact crossover platform, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is small. The designers of the concept Hyundai truck make up for that with a burly facade. Up front, the out-sized hexagonal grille is accented by deeply furrowed headlights and sunken fog-lamp pits. The overall aesthetic is one of anger and determination.

Out back, the bed is short, but features a bed extension. While offering a short parking footprint, the Santa Cruz can have a five foot bed with the extension deployed. In the concept truck, the extension mechanism allows the entire rear section of the bed to slide back. That means that the tailgate, taillights, and rear bumper all move backward. This is a feature that is being discussed for the production Hyundai truck and we hope it makes the final cut.

The three sets of tiedowns and a sliding tonneau cover in the bed add to the cargo practicality of the Santa Cruz. Additionally, the Santa Cruz is designed to be a five-seater, making it a solid option as a main vehicle for a single person or a small family.

Interior and Tech of the Hyundai Truck

The exact tech and interior options of the Hyundai Santa Cruz have not been settled by the automaker. That leaves a lot to be speculated on, but it is reasonable to believe the options will be similar to those found in the 2017 Hyundai Tuscon.

The options that can be found in a 2017 Hyundai Tuscon include: heated mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity, a touchscreen, a rearview camera, power seats, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, LED headlights and taillights, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics, a navigation system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, an option for adaptive xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, heated rear seats, lane departure warning, and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking. Again, this is purely speculation because exact details of the Hyundai truck have not been released yet.

There seems to be a lot of interest in the Hyundai Santa Cruz. The company estimates that it should be able to sell between 50,000 and 75,000 units in the North American market. Here’s hoping they are right and this Hyundai truck catches on.

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