Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Headed To Production

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - November 14, 2019

If you’ve forgotten all about the Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck, we can’t blame you. Hyundai showed off a rad concept back in 2015, but we haven’t heard much since then. In 2017, Hyundai had reportedly given the compact truck the green light and then, in 2018, we heard that the pickup would arrive in the U.S. in 2021. Good news pickup truck lovers! Hyundai has officially stated that production of the Santa Cruz will begin in 2021 and the vehicle will be built at the automaker’s Montgomery, Alabama plant.

At the moment, the facility in Alabama is responsible for the production of the Santa Fe and a few Sonata and Elantra models. In order to handle the production of the upcoming Santa Cruz, the plant will undergo a $410 million expansion project. The funds will go toward adding some extra space to stamping, welding, and parts processing areas of the complex. Adding the Santa Cruz as another model that’s built at the plant will also bring an extra 200 jobs directly and an additional 1,000 jobs in Montgomery and the River Region.

We’re not quite sure what took Hyundai so long to confirm a timeline for the Santa Cruz, but we guess it has to deal with where the vehicle would be built. With car tariffs swirling in the air, building a pickup truck outside of the U.S. would’ve been an expensive venture for a company that doesn’t have a lot of experience in the pickup segment. There’s also the issue of the import tax, which is referred to as the Chicken Tax. It subjects light trucks that are imported into the U.S. to a 25% tariff. With those two things, we’re sure Hyundai was scrambling to make a plan that could see it ensure the truck was built in the country.

Hyundai Santa Fe Pickup Truck

Originally, the Santa Cruz was envisioned as a sleek, two-door pickup that would slot under midsize trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma, and Honda Ridgeline. Last we heard, that’s still the plan for the Santa Cruz pickup truck, as it will be built on the same next-gen platform as the Tucson compact crossover. So instead of a heavy-duty truck, think of the Santa Cruz as more of a compact vehicle that happens to have a truck bed.

When the Santa Cruz goes on sale, it will have an entire market to itself. Midsize pickups are the smallest trucks sold in the U.S., and they aren’t even that popular when compared to full-size offerings like the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and Ram 1500. There is a possibility that the Santa Cruz could be a midsize pickup, which would then see Hyundai compete in a crowded field.

Last we heard, the Santa Cruz was rumored to get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine. That’s still a possibility, though, small cars with diesels have all but disappeared since the concept came out in 2015. Something a little more likely would be for Hyundai to take one of the engines in the all-new 2020 Sonata. That vehicle can be fitted with either a 180-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder or a 191-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder.

Despite all of the unknowns, like what it will look like, what it will cost, how large it will actually be, and what segment it will compete in, we’re still really excited for the Santa Cruz. A compact pickup truck wouldn’t appeal to everyone, but for consumers that think trucks have gotten too large, too expensive, and have too much capability, the Santa Cruz looks like an interesting option.

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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