Americans buy a lot of pickup trucks for a variety of needs. Hyundai
believe that some of those needs can be met with something completely different from any other truck on the market. The Korean automaker’s first truck, the Hyundai Santa Cruz 2022, poses a new answer to almost every problem that a truck can solve. In fact, Hyundai doesn’t even call it a truck. It’s a “Sports Adventure Car”.
Hyundai didn’t even suggest the price of Santa Cruz. It shares many of its parts with the Tucson SUV, which starts at $ 23,700. Santa Cruz will go on sale this summer. It will be built in Montgomery, Alabama.
First things first: It’s small.
There’s no real compact vans currently on sale in the US (though we’d recommend keeping an eye on the upcoming Ford.
Maverick, maybe touch that niche).
The smallest pickups right now are midsize – like Toyota
Tacoma and Nissan
Border. The Santa Cruz is 17 inches shorter than the shortest truck currently on offer and 4 inches shorter than the lowest one. Its bed is only 4.3 feet long (though oddly steep, so it’s only four feet on top). That bed had a trunk built into its floor and a standard roll of tonneau cover.
Front-wheel drive is standard, with an all-wheel drive option. A number of off-road-focused options will be available, like the center differential lock and downhill control.
Inside, Santa Cruz borrows heavily from Hyundai Tucson, with which it shares a platform. An 8-inch infotainment screen is standard, with 10 inches available at an extra charge. Optional blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control with lane centering and a 360-degree camera.
Choose from two engines
The Santa Cruz shuns the large, high-torque, ready-to-pull engine of most trucks. The standard engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 190 horsepower. Optional is a 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with a capacity of 275 hp. With the standard, non-turbocharged engine, towing capacity is 3,500 pounds. The larger engine bumps with up to 5,000 pounds of pull.
Both numbers are surprisingly good for the most compact truck on the market, comparable to what a Ford Ranger, Toyota Tacoma or similar midsize truck can do.
And Santa Cruz probably won’t find current truck buyers attractive. Hyundai says its research “found consumers, often living in urban environments, whose lifestyles include the need to get out of weekend adventures. Many of these customers carry various equipment and equipment that are better suited to an open bed than the typical SUV body design, ”but“ still appreciate the safety utility of a small SUV. Compact, with comfort, passenger space, fuel efficiency and reduced parking. “
For such buyers neither today’s midsize trucks nor current SUVs do well. Maybe Hyundai’s oddly small SAV will do just that.
This story originally ran on KBB.com.