The Hyundai Santa Cruz is a compact truck that was first shown as a concept at the Detroit auto show in 2015 and hasn’t materialized as a production model since, though Hyundai said in 2018 it would get here “as soon as possible.” It seems 2021 might finally be the Santa Cruz’s year.
Hyundai said Wednesday that it would fully unveil the Santa Cruz on April 15. The images it released revealed a truck that seems a bit bigger than the concept Hyundai showed in 2015, but it otherwise sticks to the same basic shape. The headlights and grille are also quite a bit different, with the latest Santa Cruz adopting a face similar to the new Tucson, meaning that’s also how you’ll judge the truck.
The other thing to keep an eye on here is just how big this will end up being. It was initially positioned as a compact truck, but now has morphed into what Hyundai is calling a Sport Adventure Vehicle. That is a bad omen for those of us hoping this unibody pickup would be genuinely small.
The 2022 Santa Cruz will break new ground within the SUV, Truck and Crossover segments by offering a new category of vehicle unlike anything else in the U.S. market. Santa Cruz boasts bold yet sophisticated design, powerful and efficient powertrain options, a flexible open bed for gear, cutting-edge connectivity and a highly maneuverable all-wheel drive platform that is equally at home in urban and adventure-focused environments. The Santa Cruz will be produced in Montgomery, Alabama this summer.
Automotive News says that the Santa Cruz will compete with the upcoming Ford Maverick, which almost looks properly small. It also sounds like this will be electrified in some fashion (“efficient powertrain options”). And while there is no pricing information yet, I would expect the Santa Cruz to start somewhere in the low 20s.
Beyond the Toyota Tundra and Tacoma, along with some Nissans from the last century, non-Big Three trucks have never quite caught on in the States; we’ll see if the Santa Cruz will be any different. Regardless, I’m just glad this is finally happening. It’s only been six years and change.