Santa Cruz, Hyundai's First Pickup, Takes Inspiration From The 2022 Tucson

Gets two 2.5-litre petrol engines, 8-speed automatic gearboxes, and all-wheel drive capability

  • The front end looks similar to the 2022 Tucson.

  • Gets premium interior with high-end features like connected car tech and ADAS.

  • Gets a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated and a turbocharged unit

  • Will be manufactured in Montgomery, Alabama for sale in the USA.

Hyundai has officially stepped into the world of pickups, debuting its first offering, the Santa Cruz. It was first showcased as a concept six years ago at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A couple of weeks back, Hyundai had teased the exterior design of the Santa Cruz, claiming that the pickup was meant for a fun ride and not just heavy-duty work.

The LED headlights and parametric grille will instantly remind you of the 2022 Tucson. But as you make your way to the back of the pickup, you see the open flatbed leading to the horizontal T-shaped LED taillights and the SANTA CRUZ lettering in bold. While we got to see all of these in the teaser, the official debut has unravelled the missing pieces: the pickup’s powertrains and interior.

Inside the Santa Cruz, it is nothing like what you would expect from a pickup. Much like the 2022 Tucson, it gets a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system and an optional 10-inch digital instrument cluster. The cabin features a Bose sound system and ample under-seat storage space. The dual-cockpit design of the seats focuses on comfort as well as easy entry and exit for occupants.

Like all Hyundai cars, the Santa Cruz is tech-heavy. It gets Hyundai’s BlueLink connected car technology with features like remote start, climate control, voice-controlled navigation, stolen vehicle recovery, and remote door lock/unlock. 

As part of the SmartSense Safety suite, the Santa Cruz also gets a bunch of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). These include forward collision detection, blind spot monitoring, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot collision detection, highway driving assist, and driver attention warning.

Under the hood, the pickup gets a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated (NA) engine and a 2.5-litre turbo-petrol engine. The former (mated to an 8-speed automatic) produces over 190PS and 244Nm, while the latter (coupled with an 8-speed DCT with paddle shifters) generates over 275PS and 420Nm. Both powertrains come with  Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel drive. However, there’s no hybrid powertrain option available as of now.

Don’t let the premium interiors fool you; the Santa Cruz is a capable off-roader. Like its prime rival in the US, the Honda Ridgeline, the Santa Cruz gets a monocoque body. Its shorter wheelbase, wide track, and short overhangs help it stay firmly planted. The 20-inch multi-surface alloy wheels can be replaced with 18-inch ones (with thicker sidewalls) on more adventurous terrain.

The Santa Cruz will be manufactured in Montgomery, Alabama, USA. It will be available for pre-booking in the USA by the end of April. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to launch in India, though we would have loved to see a pickup of this size and practicality here. 



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