We still don’t know a lot about the all-new compact Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck. But we do have a timeline and some teaser photos.
Hyundai just announced that it would do a full digital reveal of the Santa Cruz on April 15. Oh, and they’re not calling it a pickup truck. Nope. They’re calling it a “Sport Adventure Vehicle” — not to be confused with a “Sport Activity Vehicle,” a term BMW likes to use for its SUVs.
But it has a bed, which says pickup truck to us, so if it walks like a duck and talks luck a duck — just saying. Thus, it just looks like it’s going to be the smallest pickup truck currently on the market — perhaps hearkening back to the Subaru Baja of yore.
So, what do we know? It will have an all-wheel drive platform as well as a “flexible” and open bed for gear. While we don’t know what that means exactly, if you look back at the concept revealed back in 2015 at the Detroit Auto Show, the bed of that truck had a rigid retractable tonneau cover and multiple tie-down points as well as an “extender” that would make the bed equivalent to a midsize truck capable of holding a motorcycle.
And if Hyundai holds the line on the concept, that second-row seat will be usable for passengers and car seats. At the time it introduced the concept, Hyundai said its target customer is someone who’s probably already in a compact SUV and would still need all the interior functionality of that vehicle.
One thing we’re fairly sure the production vehicle won’t be getting: the diesel powertrain from the concept. Since, as we’ve previously reported, the Santa Cruz is slated to be built on the all-new 2022 Tucson platform, it would make sense to share powertrains as well. The Tucson’s primary engine will be a 2.5-liter direct injection that delivers 187 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque.
The big question with regard to powertrains: Will it also get the hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions slated for Tucson as well?
The bottom line on the 2022 Santa Cruz
There are still a lot of unknowns here, but it’s clear Hyundai is pushing the envelope and creating a new vehicle segment. While we know Ford is coming out with a compact Maverick, it’s unlikely the two will compete in size or functionality.
Hyundai isn’t a truck maker and, by all appearances, is ignoring the traditional truck capabilities — like towing and payload — in favor of flexibility and interior form.
Nope, this new truck will be a party of one. For now.
So, what do you think? Will this compact activity truck launch a whole new segment or stick around a couple years then go the way of the Dodo?