For years Hyundai has made a name for itself from its range of reliable, efficient and compact models. Now Hyundai is prepared to enter some unexplored territory with their upcoming Santa Cruz pickup truck. That’s right, Hyundai has finally committed to building their first pickup. So, let’s dig in and share what we know so far.

First of all, the Santa Cruz isn’t an entirely new vehicle from the Korean Automaker as the first concept for it was unveiled all the way back at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. After that showing, the Santa Cruz all but vanished from sight and mind until recently when Hyundai announced that not only would they begin production on it in 2021 but, more importantly, it would be based on the already popular Tucson crossover SUV. What does this mean? There are several takeaways worth noting:

  • Unibody Construction: Most full-size pickups use what is colloquially known as a ladder frame, which essentially means that the bed is separate from the main body of the truck. Just look at any modern pickup and you’ll see the gap between the body and the bed. While unibody construction is common on cars and SUV’s, it is comparatively rare in pickup trucks. What this means for Santa Cruz is that it is not intended for heavy towing, which segues nicely into the next point.
  • Smaller and More Refined: The concepts and still images we’ve seen of the Santa Cruz showcase that Hyundai likely isn’t going for raw power or size. Instead, the Santa Cruz is a more refined vehicle for daily driving and light hauling. Basically, it’s designed to tow your 12 ft fishing boat, not your massive horse trailer. Building the Santa Cruz for lighter hauling duties will likely have the added benefit of lower fuel consumption stemming from a smaller engine and lower torque requirements than what you tend to see in larger trucks.
  • Built for Asphalt: When Hyundai announced the Santa Cruz they defined it as being built for “Urban Adventurers.” What this means is that from the outset this design is not intended to go deep into the woods or haul heavy loads, but instead to support helping a friend move, hauling camping gear, heading out to the beach for a day or grabbing that super neat bench you saw at the Saturday market and couldn’t resist. While this might seem counter-intuitive for a pickup truck, just think of all the times you have ever needed to move a couch and had to figure out how to shoehorn it into a smaller vehicle.

The Santa Cruz is slated to start arriving at dealerships in North America in 2022 and is set to redefine what a mid-size pickup means in today’s world. While we’re eagerly waiting for its arrival why not check out the award-winning SUV that it will be based on!

Read Hyundai's News Release Here

First Look: Hyundai Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Concept

First Look: Hyundai Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz concept in profile

First Look: Hyundai Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz as seen from the rear