Unless they're obscenely fast or do something new and innovative and amazing, the small crossover segment isn't one we care too much about at Jalopnik. I don't like writing about them and you probably don't care that much to read them, unless maybe you're looking to buy one because a car seat won't fit in the battered Triumph TR7 project car you bought for a song on Craigslist.
The 2016 Hyundai Tucson is one such small crossover. Like most of the stuff Hyundai makes these days, it's probably going to be very good. It may not be the most exciting car in the universe but I'll call it now as a solid choice for any buyer looking for a normal, practical everyday vehicle.
I'll tell you also after seeing it in person that it looks pretty good inside and out.
But that's not why I care about the Tucson: this is, the Hyundai Santa Cruz.
The Santa Cruz was the small pickup truck concept Hyundai dropped at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year. That's much more up my alley, and yours too, probably. Everyone (including us) loved it so much that Hyundai is actually considering it for production.
The Santa Cruz is predicated on the idea that maybe, just maybe, you don't need a gigantic truck that can tow a battleship. Maybe you need something small and parkable that you can just throw stuff into when the need arises.
This is why I care about the Tucson. There's a good chance that if the Santa Cruz sees production, it will be based on the Tucson's platform. Hyundai's Mike O'Brien said as much in an interview with AutoGuide:
"The engineering feasibility work has been done," he said, commenting that it's based on an existing crossover platform.
That platform is likely the very same one that underpins the Tucson and O'Brien admits that the trucks specs are, "very similar to a sub-compact CUV." What that means is that he expects a tow rating between 1,500 to 2,500 lbs, so it can tow anything from a jet ski to a pop-up trailer.
Great. But if the Santa Cruz gets greenlit for production — and that's still a huge if — there's the not-small matter of the Chicken Tax, as the Tucson won't be built in the U.S. but in South Korea.
I don't know how this will shake out yet, but I want Hyundai to bring us the Santa Cruz. I'd love to see them shatter the small, foreign pickup truck barrier somehow.
In the meantime, here's the Tucson. I'm a fan. Wouldn't it look better with a bed and tailgate, though?
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