Hyundai: Chances 'Good' It Will Make Pickup

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By G.R. Whale

David Zuchowski, CEO of Hyundai Motor North America, said recently in an interview with The Detroit Bureau that "There is a very high probability we get the approval of the truck soon," referring to the Santa Cruz concept pickup truck that debuted at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January.

The Santa Cruz makes no pretenses about being a working pickup; it's a lifestyle vehicle meant for tossing miscellaneous junk in back. Just as crew cabs now rule the pickup world, the Santa Cruz would be more of a throwback to the days of the Subaru Baja, Dodge Rampage or maybe even the Chevrolet El Camino.

The concept's 2.0-liter turbo-diesel claims 190 horsepower, 300 pounds-feet of torque and mileage in the high 30s; Hyundai's crossover Euro V diesels rate 135 hp and 235 pounds-feet of torque with a 2.0-liter, and 195 hp and 320 pounds-feet of torque in the Santa Fe 2.2-liter diesel.

Hyundai says the concept has received positive attention everywhere except Texas. If Hyundai gives the pickup an expanding bed and builds it to carry 4-foot-wide material flat without adding weight, then finds a place to build it and leverages existing platforms to control costs, Zuchowski should get his approval.

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You 2 litre diesel output numbers are very incorrect.

The R22 is just a "bored" out R20.

I have driven a R22 powered Kia Sorento here and the diesels do perform quite well. I drove this back in 2012.

I hope Hyundai/Kia have fixed to more than obvious turbo lag.

Those FE figures you gave are also average FE, not highway if you use the Sorento as a base.

"The Santa Cruz makes no pretenses about being a working pickup; it's a lifestyle vehicle meant for tossing miscellaneous junk in back."

Hmmm........aren't 75% of all pickups lifestyle vehicles? Even full size?

The only thing "bored out" Is BAFO air head.

This seems a lot sharper than the Ridgeline and the diesel seems pretty cool. Hyundai has come a long way, this might not be a bad idea for them.

This fits my needs perfectly! I just need a mini truck to tow my 19' fishing boat or 96 Harley and some odd and ends occasionally so I am quite sure it will be able to tow 2500lbs and the big sell will be the turbo diesel getting high 30's highway. I'll buy one

I think this has to be a true crew cab. 1/2 ton trucks are now effectively treated as a family car.

Their cars don't last 5 years, how long will a pick up made by hillbilly's in Alabama last. 5 Years.

@TJ.. Made by Hillbilly's in Alabama? How effing rude and insensitive to others. Your mother would be real proud of you. Do you even know anyone in Alabama? I do and they would not appreciate being termed a "Hillbilly". How about you focus your opinion on the Santa Cruz truck, this article or something about your lack of respect for people in general.

Make it Hyundai. I may not want it, but I know others will and it sounds like its going to have a great fuel economy.

Hillbillies? In my factory time and my Army time, if you wanted something done, someone to work hard until the mission was completed, someone to create a tool to do the job, grab a hillbilly.
I worked with a lot of them and nobody works harder, is more ingenious, or has a better sense of humor.
Hillbilly is no insult in my book.

This has the looks and the engineering. We've had a few KIAs, my d-i-l still runs her 08 Sorento and it's a trooper (no pun intended) and it will be replaced with probably a '16 or '17.

If Hyundai gets a decent ad campaign going--better yet, sub-let the advertising to KIA, they have all the good ads--I'd expect this to sell like hotcakes.

Timing. Pricing. Perception. Attention.

Too tiny for my needs but I bet it will sell well especially w the Diesel engine

@tj I'd rather hang out with hillbillies, rednecks, and coonasses any day than effete snobs like you. As for the trucklet, somebody will buy it. I'll keep my 78 Dodge

@TJ--So are you against foreign manufacturers making their vehicles in America. Employing American workers provides jobs which will provide more jobs as those American workers buy goods and services. Maybe you drive a BMW and drink imported beer.

Now I wait for the final approvals and find out when this thing will hit the US market--if ever. If everything comes together quickly enough, I may just end up buying one. I have too much need for a small, economical truck to ignore this rig, but not enough need to accommodate any of the other so-called mid-sized trucks already on the market.

This might be good for my kids once they turn 16. Useless for me but fine for them.

That is a good looking vehicle. I hope they build it. Neat mix of styling, fuel economy, flexibility and power. could replace a lot of the Subarus and VWs sold in these parts to the skiers / mountain bikers.

I might be a customer for one of these once I retire. All I really need is some type of bed to haul smaller items, something a little smaller and easier to park, and good fuel economy. I doubt this truck will sell in huge volumes but if it sells well enough then that will be good enough. I would like a bed larger than the Ford Explorer Trac and the Subaru Baja

Stuck between giant rigs used as "lifestyle vehicles" and cute toys like this, there must be room in the market for a real work truck stripped down for contractors and farmers that is not gargantuan.

I'll try one of the new "midsize" (ie. as big as an 80s full-size) rigs in a few years, when it is time to get another used truck for the farm. Might even resort to mid-90s F-series to find something basic and durable.

@LF,NPI: "Might even resort to mid-90s F-series to find something basic and durable."

Depending on where you live, I expect such won't be too easy to find. I admit I lucked out on finding one a few years back--a 1990 F-150 long bed, but with one-wheel-drive and a few other niggling issues, it was surprisingly good as a very basic utilitarian truck (though it did have power windows as an XLT Lariat). But then, it started life in central Georgia according to VIN data from Carfax and at 10 years old moved up to Pennsylvania--the rust belt. Nope... it had very little real rust on it and the bed was absolutely clean; it got parked in a lean-to and allowed to sit for nearly ten years. It's now some kid's (actually, I know what kid) first car/truck. As I said, I got lucky--but it was simply too big, too thirsty and for the one person in my household who needs an AT, very simply too clumsy. I put half as many miles on that truck in three years as I put on my Jeep Wrangler in one.

I do agree; I'd love to see a less toy-like compact utility truck. The problem is that the aerodynamic issue alone means that it needs a much more sweeping front end than the old truck so you're not pushing a brick wall through the air. That alone means the lines of the truck need to be 'softer' and less aggressive. This hyundai isn't perfect as evidenced by all the negativity about it. but for those who don't need heavy hauling or towing capacity but instead just an open-air flat bed for carrying things taller than thirty inches or so it's the closest thing to ideal as we will see in this country--until and if it takes off and rebuilds the small truck market as I believe it can.

There are those who disagree adamantly with me. But for many reasons that have nothing to do with public opinion and everything to do with legislation over the years, the so called mid-sized trucks grew right beside their full-sized brethren to the point that those trucks are now as large as their now-antique full-sized brothers. Heh. I guess you could say the kids are growing up while daddy's getting fat and lazy. (Think about it.) It's time for a new generation of truly compact and mid-sized trucks (compact as relates to Chevy Equinox or Ford Edge; mid-sized as relates to mid-sized SUVs like the Chevy Traverse or Ford Explorer).

The interesting thing is that both GM and FCA each have two models already on the market just outside of the NAFTA zone which would meet that need but it's taking a third party actually willing to take a chance to break the ice. Will it work? I think so. But too many who simply don't understand where such a truck CAN fit in the market insist otherwise.

As I said above I could live with this when I retire. I don't need a large truck and I am doing ok with a midsize but Santa Cruz would meet most of my needs as long as the bed is a little longer than the Sports Trac. Would be nice to have something smaller and easier to park with an open bed. When I was living out in the country a full size truck would have been better but I never got around to getting one and just kept the Mighty Max. The size of a truck for someone depends on your needs and wants. My needs and wants are not as great as they use to be.

Being from Texas, I can understand most Texans not finding use for this vehicle, but I'd like to know where these people asked around to see who would like this type of vehicle. There are lots of ranches and farms that need full size trucks for their work. However, there are lots of others who drive their full size lifestyle trucks just to go to Whataburger and HEB. Alot of these truck will never see any real work (you don't see very many F150 Harley Davidson editions hauling tools or hay and stuff).
That being said, There are lots of us who would love something like the Santa Cruz. Funnest and most reliable "cruck" I ever had was the Subaru Baja. And it was actually surprisingly useful at my ranch where it fit in some places that the bigger trucks couldn't get in.

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