Hyundai has finally revealed the Santa Cruz compact lifestyle pickup, a family-friendly vehicle that promises to combine the best attributes of an SUV with the practicality of a pickup.
Designed to appeal to urban buyers, the Santa Cruz provides an open bed suitable for the gear that a ‘sport adventurer’ might want to take to a lake, mountain or beach. A lockable tonneau cover turns it into a secure storage area for more mundane activities, taking shopping bags after a trip to the mall or a school project for the run to class in the morning.
Built around the previous-generation Santa Fe platform, the cabin provides SUV-like space and comfort. Boasting a ‘technical ambience’, the dashboard takes a digital approach with a 10.0-inch edgeless infotainment screen alongside a 10.0-inch digital instrument cluster. Storage of family detritus is enabled with storage hidden underneath the rear seats, while all passengers can enjoy the Bose audio system.
The SUV underpinnings mean that handling and ride are said to be a cut above pickup standards, with a shorter wheelbase, short overhangs and wide track creating a planted stance. Available with wheel sizes up to 20 inches, or 18 inches with off-road tyres, there’s a setup for most conditions.
Each model offers four-wheel drive, with active torque control sending power to the front or rear wheels depending on demands. A sports mode sends more power to the rear wheels for a more dynamic driving experience, with other settings for adverse conditions, road use and, for some reason, drag racing.
The standard powertrain is a 2.5-litre petrol engine with around 190hp and 245Nm of torque. A turbocharged version increases those figures to 275hp and 420Nm, with both variants paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Measuring 4.97m long, the Hyundai Santa Cruz is around 40cm shorter than a Ford Ranger and just 10cm longer than a Ford Mondeo, making it ideally suited to UK roads. However, despite growing demand for more compact, less commercial vehicles, there are no plans to bring the model to our shores.