Hyundai: Santa Cruz pickup “almost ready”

Hyundai: Santa Cruz pickup

Hyundai has confirmed that it’s moving forward with the development of a mid-size pickup truck.

“We have made the decision, we have not made the announcement,” revealed Dave Zuchowski, the president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America, in an interview with Motor Trend.

The truck was previewed by the Santa Cruz concept (pictured) that made its debut last year at the Detroit Auto Show. Designers have allegedly made a few tweaks to the concept, but the overall look will likely make the jump from the show floor to the showroom floor with only minor changes. Notably, the production model could get four full-size doors for the sake of practicality.

The Santa Cruz will ride on the same unibody platform as the Tucson crossover. Interestingly, it could be offered with a four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that’s currently being developed to power members of the Genesis lineup when the brand launches in Europe in a couple of years’ time. An oil-burner would give the Santa Cruz an edge over the Honda Ridgeline, its closest rival, and allow it to lure Chevrolet Colorado/ GMC Canyon buyers. A final decision on what will lie under the hood hasn’t been made yet, however.

Hyundai expects to sell between 50,000 and 70,000 examples of the Santa Cruz annually. Pricing is tentatively set to start in the vicinity of $25,000, a figure that will make it about $5,000 cheaper than the Ridgeline and roughly $5,000 more expensive than the Colorado.

Motor Trend reports that Hyundai will make an official announcement about its upcoming pickup either later this year during the Los Angeles Auto Show or early next year at the Detroit Auto Show. The Santa Cruz — a name that might not be retained for production — is scheduled to land in 2018 as a 2019 model.

Photos by Brian Williams.

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