After nearly a decade of speculations, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is now a reality, exclusive only for the North American market.
The production Santa Cruz wears the concept car’s name, and also the unibody construction, meaning it is closer to a Honda Ridgeline, or in our local Malaysian context, the Ssangyong Actyon Sports, and of course the Proton Arena.
Regular pick-up trucks like a Toyota Hilux normally use a ladder frame-type chassis for superior towing capability, but at the expense of ride comfort and handling.
With a unibody, the Santa Cruz is better suited as an urban lifestyle truck, since its underpinnings is not too different from regular SUVs like the Hyundai Tucson, which the Santa Cruz is based on (it rides on a stretched version of the Tucson's platform).
The Santa Cruz will be manufactured at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plant in USA. Production will begin in June 2021.
The Santa Cruz's also wears the Hyundai Tucson’s front-end design, complete with the Tucson’s trick hidden DRLs that when not illuminated, blends seamlessly with the rest of the grille. The headlamps are positioned at the lower-side of the front bumper.
Two engine options are available – a naturally aspirated 2.5-litre direct injection 4-cylinder that makes 190 hp and 244 Nm, and a turbocharged 2.5-litre direct injection 4-cylinder that makes 275 hp and 420 Nm.
The former is paired to an 8-speed torque converter-type automatic transmission while the latter is paired to an 8-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Both transmission are paired to Hyundai’s signature HTRAC all-wheel drive.
Prices have yet to be announced but American buyers can register their interest with Hyundai.