Hyundai Teases Santa Cruz Pickup, New Renders Point To Potent Ridgeline Rival

In 2015, Hyundai revealed that it was considering entering the white-hot war in the pickup segment with the Korean car giant unveiling the Santa Cruz concept, which did a good job shocking the world. Six years later, Hyundai confirms that production of the Santa Cruz is indeed happening, with the company releasing several teaser renderings of the small pickup ahead of its April 15th debut. Here are some key takeaways that you can get from the Santa Cruz.


It’s Targeting The Small Pickup Market

Thankfully Hyundai is wisely not punching above its own weight class here, and the new truck will be in the smaller end of the size charts versus the full-size arena, which is dominated by the domestic Big 3. The shadows do a good job of hiding finer elements of the design, but it appears that Hyundai will be using plenty of design cues from the Tuscon SUV for the new model. Tuscon’s novel trick grille lighting makes its way to Santa Cruz, and it appears that the headlight and grille design are also derived from the Tuscon. As expected, things get way different in the back, with the Santa Cruz embracing a bold design for the bed area.

The shape alone suggests that the Santa Cruz is targeting the Honda Ridgeline, but the upcoming Ford Maverick will certainly give it more of a fight. The Maverick is promising to be a very capable little truck, and unlike Hyundai, it has Ford’s credibility to lean back on. 


Creating a New Segment?

Hyundai also claims that the Santa Cruz will be all about shattering conventional pickup cliches, with the company claiming that the model will “shatter both SUV and truck segments, creating an entirely new vehicle category.” However, we are waiting to hear more from Hyundai on what that means since the Santa Cruz appears to borrow a few tricks from the departed Chevrolet Avalanche. When that model appeared, the Avalanche was a true trailblazer, and it too promised to be a blend of both worlds, especially in its second iteration when it took vibes from the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV.

In the case of the Santa Cruz, we look forward to seeing if the truck will have a few tricks of its own to help it stand out from this already established mold. Hyundai chose not to dive too deep into technical details this time around, but Hyundai’s release promised that the Santa Cruz will offer “Powerful and efficient powertrain options.” That appears to indicate that the Santa Cruz will offer some form of a V6 engine, with lower trim levels perhaps being equipped with a gas-sipping four-cylinder engine. A crew cab also appears to be the lone cab configuration which is fine with us since it does allow Hyundai to focus on maximum passenger comfort.


When Will We See It?

As mentioned, Hyundai plans to fully unveil the Santa Cruz on April 15th. We look forward to hearing more details in the next few weeks, especially regarding the full suite of optional equipment and whether it will transplant some of the concept’s cool ideas into it. This truck is clearly not designed to be a workhorse, but for buyers looking for something flashy that can do minimal hauling duties in urban settings, look for the Santa Fe to be a very intriguing candidate for consideration.