Today, Hyundai revealed its innovative Santa Cruz Pickup Concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This fresh concept reflects a completely new interpretation of pickup utility for a new generation of buyers, especially Millennials, who represent the second-largest population of car buyers.
SANTA CRUZ CONCEPT Hyundai designers created a bold design that conveys this lifestyle, with a wide, sure-footed stance and an aggressive side-profile rake. The front view features an upright, hexagonal grille with cascading lines framing the sides, dual lens-free, honeycombed headlamp projectors, and prominent LED fog lamps. The side profile is highlighted by oversized wheels, Michelin® tires with a special tread design, centre-locking hubs and yellow Brembo® brake callipers.
For ease of access to the rear seats, Santa Cruz features rear-hinged rear doors which integrate with the front door design. The wheel arches, roof, and bed rails offer tie-down cleats for securing cargo of all shapes and sizes. From the rear, the concept presents highly-contoured bed forms, and for extra utility, the expandable bed can be easily reconfigured for longer cargo, using a unique drawer-like sliding function.
Efficiency is the key of its advanced powertrains, with an environmentally-friendly 2.0-litre turbo diesel powertrain delivering 142kW and 407Nm of torque. Santa Cruz also offers Hyundai’s HTRAC® All-wheel drive system.
The concept is purposefully compact, and although it has four doors and seating for five, its overall footprint is similar to a small Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV). It offers typical CUV driving character, but with a versatile cargo bed that provides separated storage for all they want to bring along. Whatever the day’s activity might bring, gear remains in the back of the pickup, cleanly separated from the passenger compartment.
Gear stays securely locked in the back, under an integrated, rigid tonneau cover that conveniently retracts when not needed. It not only keeps items safe and out of sight, it also keeps the interior clean and fresh.
INNOVATIVE TAILGATE EXTENSION
Santa Cruz offers an innovative tailgate extension that allows the bed length to be expanded whenever those “just in case” moments arise. When fully extended, Santa Cruz’s bed length is similar to a mid-size pickup, providing the ability to carry much more than its compact footprint would suggest, yet only when needed.
Some of the industry’s past attempts to blend pickup-bed flexibility with passenger-car attributes were limited because they didn’t deliver the practical benefits the customer expected. Most tried to straddle the line by attracting traditional pickup buyers with compromised products at a similar price point, failing to deliver any differentiating benefits. Santa Cruz, by design, isn’t an alternative to a pickup, so towing, payload and ground clearance were not primary goals. Rather, Santa Cruz is intended to attract CUV and sedan buyers who are seeking greater utility, without the compromises that traditional pickups often require.
Santa Cruz is for the growing population who sees and pursues the world differently, those who want all the traditional attributes of a small CUV, but need the day-to-day versatility of an open bed. It’s the crossover pickup that meets the unspoken needs of Urban Adventurers.
AUSTALIAN MARKET The Santa Cruz remains at this stage a pure concept only – no plans have yet been announced for its design and production. However, the market opportunities for a Hyundai utility vehicle globally are very real, not least in Australia.
“We have no doubt a tough, good-looking Hyundai ute will be popular with Australians,” said Hyundai Motor Company Australia Chief Operating Officer, John Elsworth. “But this is a concept vehicle and we do not make decisions about which cars to bring to market – those decisions are in the hands of our parent company in Korea. However we’ve made our enthusiasm for a ute very clear – it surely has enormous potential – and we look forward to seeing how things progress in the near future.”