Hyundai Santa Cruz Compact Lifestyle Pickup Teased Ahead of Launch

Hyundai has released teaser images of its new lifestyle pickup truck, the Santa Cruz.

Called a ‘Sport Adventure Vehicle’ by Hyundai’s marketing team, the Santa Cruz promises to fill a niche that’s been left vacant since the Subaru Baja departed. Despite Hyundai’s claim that the vehicle is “unlike anything else in the U.S. market,” it looks like being a direct rival for the forthcoming Ford Maverick.

Hyundai Santa Cruz preview profile

Sharing a platform with the Hyundai Tucson SUV, the Santa Cruz promises the refined handling, comfortable ride and both powerful and efficient powertrain options you would expect from a regular car. However, the addition of a load box at the back opens up a world of cargo-carrying possibilities, most likely appealing to those that need to move a couple of bikes, camping equipment or kayaks around, rather than farmers carrying some sheep back to a farm. All-wheel drive adds some off-road capability, albeit some way short of that offered by full-size pickups.

Despite its pickup silhouette, the payload will be significantly below the 1,000kg required by the UK’s HMRC to qualify as a commercial vehicle, so VAT will not be reclaimable. Of course, as the Santa Cruz is unlikely to make it to Europe, that won’t be much of an issue.

Hyundai Santa Cruz preview rear

“Santa Cruz, with its bold styling, breaks open all-new segment territory, both for Hyundai and the industry as a whole,” said Jose Munoz, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor North America. “Open-bed flexibility coupled with closed-cabin security meets the changing everyday needs of its adventure-oriented buyers, while powerful and efficient engines and superb manoeuvrability ensure it is a pleasure to drive in urban or off-road environments. Our customers will wonder just how they managed before owning one.”

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The Santa Cruz was designed at Hyundai Design North America and will be built at Hyundai’s Alabama plant. The production-ready model will be revealed online on 15 April.