I've been pestering companies to make a useful, small truck every chance I get. Almost every time, I'm pretty much told I'm an idiot. Even Hyundai told me that. But this new Santa Cruz concept is pretty much a small truck, and I think it's great.

It's not just that it's a small truck ‚ÄĒ it's even better in that the car this resembles more than anything is the venerable Subaru Brat, a car/truck I've always loved. And, like the BRAT, it seats more than two ‚ÄĒ the Santa Cruz can seat five. Even better than the BRAT, those extra passengers have the intense luxury of sitting inside, not in terrifying in-bed seating with motorcycle handgrips.

Advertisement

The only engine option mentioned so far sounds pretty good to me: a 2L turbodiesel four making 190HP/300 lb-ft of torque. And while Hyundai hasn't said anything about price, they did make a big deal about how modern pickup trucks were averaging around $40,000 ‚ÄĒ too expensive for many, many people.

Hyundai says the car is for "urban adventurers" and people with a "pioneering spirit" and while those words are likely to make you decorate that new rugged truck bed with a Jackson Pollack-like spray of vomit, the actual intent of the vehicle is dead-on. I can think of many, many people who would love a 5-passenger car that can take a lawnmower or big filthy bags of dirt or a sharp, pointy, rusty metal sculpture without turning the inside of your SUV into something that looks like Groundskeeper Willie's sex dungeon.

Advertisement

On a personal note, this is exactly the kind of vehicle I've been wanting for a long time. I sometimes build big, cumbersome things, and I used to keep an old Isuzu truck around just to haul them ‚ÄĒ the Santa Cruz would let me haul and carry my family in reasonable safety and comfort.

Advertisement

There's all manner of tie-downs in the bed and even in the wheel wells for really bulky items, and the bed itself extends out, drawer-like, to accommodate larger cargo. If all this utility, along with the pretty striking and modern good looks can actually make it to production, I think Hyundai would have a surprise winner on its hands.

I actually think I'm more excited by this concept than the Ford GT, which is both the most insane and most rational thing I've ever thought, simultaneously. I really hope Hyundai can bring this thing to market as close as possible to the concept. I guess we'll see.

Advertisement

My fingers are crossed.

Advertisement

Advertisement