Hyundai’s long-rumored pickup is inching closer to reality, but not in time for a pickup truck shortage that is looming in the U.S. Slated to be called the Santa Cruz, the unibody truck was shown in concept form all the way back at the 2015 Detroit auto show. At the time the truck, meant to provide some competition to the Honda Ridgeline, was meant to go into production in 2018 but experienced a delay and is now scheduled to reach production in 2021 at Hyundai’s Alabama plant.
Prototypes have already been spotted testing with heavy camo, but this unobstructed view of the body shell, posted on Instagram, gives a bare bones look at the sheetmetal. Since the Santa Cruz is not at the production stage yet, this is only one of the various prototypes, several of which have already been spotted on the roads in more assembled form. But it gives a clear enough picture of the design.
If this body shell is close to production form, the biggest change from the 2015 concept is the two full rear doors—the concept featured half doors. But the shell keeps the concept’s overall look we saw back in ’15, with a high window sill line and a rakish C-pillar. If it goes into production with these lines, it will pose quite a contrast to the Ridgeline, which has been described as a Honda Pilot with the cargo section sliced off. The Santa Cruz, on the other hand, is expected to feature a more unified look.
Under the skin the unibody truck is expected to be closely linked to the Santa Fe with a front fascia similar to the SUV, while also likely offering engines from the Santa Fe and the Sonata. This means it could receive a 2.4-liter inline-four or a 2.5-liter inline-four, paired with eight-speed automatics, both producing a bit less than 200 hp. That’s right: The Santa Cruz is not expected to have a V6, opting for something smaller, while offering all-wheel drive as an option; the base model is expected to be front-wheel drive.
Does this sound like the right formula for the segment?
The Santa Cruz’s aim, after all, is to offer a unibody alternative to larger, heavier-duty body-on-frame trucks, while also providing a crossover’s comfortable ride. The goals of such a machine, therefore, are different from those of a more dedicated pickup, mixing truck versatility with unibody comfort. But it also needs to be different enough from the Ridgeline, as well as more serious pickups, to seek out its own audience. It appears it’s going to attempt to do so with a distinctive design, a modest starting price and a more compact footprint.
H/T: Motor Trend
Credit: Source link