Hyundai still decided to enter the American pickup segment, although the probing of this market began back in 2015. However, the Koreans prudently did not engage in a fight with traditional manufacturers of full-size and even mid-size pickups. Instead, they released the Sport-Adventure Vehicle, a compact pickup truck based on the new generation Hyundai Tucson crossover.
The new 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck features a self-supporting body structure, a transverse engine layout and an uncontested four-door, two-row cab configuration. However, it is noticeably more compact structurally similar to the Honda Ridgeline (5334 mm in length), not to mention the frame pickups Toyota Tacoma (5390 mm) or Chevrolet Colorado (5403 mm). The length of the Santa Cruz is 4971 mm, the width is 1905 mm, and the height is 1694 mm. That is, such a pickup simply has no direct competitors in the US market.
You should not count on serious cargo capabilities, because the crossover chassis does not have the most powerful spring multi-link at the rear. And the length of the cargo platform is only 1323 mm, that is, even a regular bicycle cannot fit in it: an additional mount is provided for its transportation, which allows one wheel to hang behind the tailgate. But, like Honda, a separate trunk with a sealed lid is organized in the rear overhang of the body.
The front half of the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck body is almost the same as that of the Hyundai Tucson crossover. The design of the front end is similar to the running lights built into the radiator grille, however, the grille itself and the bumper with headlights are still different. And the wheel arches have the correct round shape instead of the “rectangular” in the crossover. The wheelbase has been stretched from 2755 to 3005 mm. There are wheels with a diameter of 18 or 20 inches to choose from.
The interior of the two models is almost the same. The most obvious difference between a pickup truck is a classic automatic lever instead of push-button remote control. Instead of the usual devices – a 10.25-inch screen without a visor. The centre console is devoid of physical keys: under the large touchscreen of the media system (the same 10.25 inches), only the climate control sensor unit is located.
The rear row of the pickup is still closer than that of the crossover, but a plastic “trough” for small belongings is mounted under its pillow. Among the options, Santa Cruz has a “leather” interior, electric drive and ventilation of the front seats, a sunroof, a remote engine start system, all-round cameras and adaptive cruise control. The automatic braking system is “in the base”.
There are two four-cylinder engines to choose from. The basic aspirated 2.5 GDI (193 hp) is the same as that of the American Tucson, and is aggregated with a classic eight-speed “automatic”. The expensive versions have a 2.5 T-GDI turbo engine with a capacity of about 280 hp, which is equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission. All pickups have HTRAC all-wheel drive with a rear axle clutch.
Production of Hyundai Santa Cruz pickups will begin this summer at the company’s plant in the US state of Alabama, where they make the Santa Fe and Tucson crossovers, as well as the Sonata and Elantra sedans.