Hyundai Officially Confirms Plans to Build Pickup

Hyundai Santa Cruz 5

From the day the class-busting Hyundai Santa Cruz concept pickup truck debuted at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, speculation about when — not if — it would get the official greenlight was rampant.

Now, according to Automotive News (subscription required), the speculation is over. The U.S. head of Hyundai product planning officially announced that upper management has given its approval for moving forward with creating a crossover utility pickup. What isn't clear is how long it will take for a Hyundai pickup to make it onto U.S. roads. Given the cadence of Hyundai's currently planned crossover and SUV rollouts, it could be several years before the automaker has the right platform available to build a pickup.

There's no question this is the right time for Hyundai to explore other U.S. vehicle classes, especially those that seem to be on the upswing. Both crossovers and SUVs are doing well in the U.S. market as sedan and small car sales struggle, but finding an economical way — meaning a shared platform — to create a new pickup class is likely to be the only way to shore up Hyundai's bottom line.

Hyundai Santa Cruz 2

Hyundai could certainly rack up credibility points by being first in this new class, but hype can wear thin if there isn't a real thirst for what Hyundai is offering.

We remain skeptical that there are many (let alone enough) buyers who want the incremental benefits of a smallish open-trunk micro-pickup with crossoverlike driving dynamics, passenger comfort and fuel economy. It has the potential to possess the worst attributes of two different types of vehicles. Yes, it will look different but there needs to be something more than unique looks — maybe performance, technology or price — to make it a sales success. And if Hyundai's dealership base isn't properly equipped to sell this new vehicle, it had better be ready with a backup plan.

While we don't expect quick movement on this pickup, it will be fun to watch Hyundai try to crack the code in a class no other truckmaker sees. We'll know more when we begin to see spy photos. photo by Mark Williams


Hyundai Santa Cruz 1

Hyundai Santa Cruz 4

Hyundai Santa Cruz 3



This will be papa jim's next truck.

Great looking vehicle. It will find its place in the auto market.

Sweet vehicle, bout time a foreign vehicle enters the little guys truck race other than Honda and GM.

Small unit-body truck?

That market is still AWOL more than 10 years after the introduction of Honda's first swing at this idea. Almost 2 years into the effort to sell Gen 2 Ridgelines, it's still dead in the water.

If Hyundai is smart---and they are---it will look nor sound NOTHING at all like a Ridgeline.

Looks like the El Camino came back

Ridge-line isn't small, if they make a true compact pickup there maybe a limited market for this. Just not sure where? Chicken tax will probably kill the fleet sales

It's not a truck or a car, it's a Cruck.
I have to ask "Why".
Hyundai would be better served to partner up with one of the small truck makers and rebadge one.

Officially? Again. Didn't we here the same thing last year or two years in a row. I had a '84 Mazda B2000 pickup for 320,000 miles. By all definitions that was a small compact. Very useful utility wise. The bed of Santa Cruz is about 1/2 the size of any of the traditional compact pickups, which includes the tried and true USA Ranger. Though the Santa Cruz is shiny and has presence with its' big rims, I don't think it checks-off any of the traditional compact pickup owner necessities . It's just smaller all around. I think to create a small pickup truck market, which is really what we are swinging at, we need more cab forward, ie utilization of the existing space. Maybe an EV actually facilitates that like a VW EV mini bus truck could. But the VW is supposed to be built in Hanover, Germany so then the Chicken tax is imposed. Really though, can't a small SUV or small Van carry all that this Santa Cruz would do.

Hyundai would be better off making it a little bigger and basing it off the Kia Sorento or the upcoming Kia Telluride.

I bet papa jim is upset that Hyundai is giving the green light to this project without consulting with papa first. Papa jim knows everything and has predicted that oil will be so abundant in the next 15 years that the price of gasoline will continue to go down. Papa also has his own predictions on the economy that he claims is 100%. If papa is so right all the time then why isn't he heading up one of the automobile manufactures or at least a kingpin on Wall Street. Where are you papa when your country needs you?

Not sure what to think. Over the last decade the pickup truck has been evolving to more of an egg shape which I am not a fan of.

I thought the truck was developing more into a brick with a larger Peterbilt grill. I must have missed something. The Santa Cruize is obviously less of a brick.

Trucker can't win on the facts, so he hits me with personal shots. Lame.

It looks like a Matchbox truck.
Sides all to high.
Can't imagine that design in a 4 door..
Looks all "show" no Go.

@Jeff, the brick (square body) was around up until the mid-late 90s. Truck bodies have been slowly rounding every corner until we've got something like this Santa Cruz.

Subaru tried twice with the Brat and Baja. Both failed in the market. This car will do no different.

It looks like the Hyundai Pickup will be sold Globally as a " Hilux Fighter" it will be nothing like the Sante Fe. Possibly looking at 2021

I hope that it has a least a 5' bed. I don't think that I would have much use for anything smaller

Looks all "show" no Go.
Posted by: supercrew02 | Aug 22, 2017 4:57:13 PM

No ones talking bout Ford garbage here. We all know Ford is all show no Go.

It doesn't look like there's enough space under the hood for an engine. Maybe a little 1.0L direct injection turbo buzzbomb? I bet the dimensions change significantly for production.

It doesn't look like there's enough space under the hood for an engine. Maybe a little 1.0L direct injection turbo buzzbomb? I bet the dimensions change significantly for production.

Hyundai will not be building th Sante Fe, see link I posted. More a Midsized truck..see Toyota Hilux for comparison

@Red--If what you are saying is true then explain why the 2004 MY F-150 went back to a squarer look from the previously aero F-150?

@papa jim--When facts are given to you, you dismiss them even when they are from reliable sources. Numerous times I have provided links to information to substantiate what I state. You ask for proof and when it is given to you, you immediate dismiss it because it disagrees in what you belief. In case you didn't get it I was being sarcastic. You would never admit you are wrong sometimes. May be you are getting old and more set in your ways which can happen when you retire and do not keep up with things. Whether Hyundai brings this vehicle out or not is questionable but if something does not fit in with your narrow views you dismiss it. If trucks are not at least a half ton V-8 powered with at least 350 horsepower then it is no good and no one should buy it. Nothing wrong with that type of truck but not everyone wants the same thing. Not everyone goes to the same church, eats the same thing, has the same political beliefs, or even has the same ethnicity. I disagree with most of your rigid views but I do not disagree with everything you say. Mostly I find you very closed to anything new or to anything or anyone that has a view different than yours.

Hyundai pickup is quite different than concept.

Can't be worse than a Honda Ridgeline .....

RE: Ron dieter

Hyundai won't repeat Honda's horrible situation with Ridgeline of high demand and no capacity to increase production. Honda could at least decrease incentives on Ridgeline if only there were any incentives.

@ johnny..No ones talking bout Ford garbage here. We all know Ford is all show no Go.
"WE ALL" , you have a mouse in your pocket?
Good comeback.
Most of the country must like "garbage" because sales stay very high, year after year, after year. No letting up. Guess garbage is what most like. Hmmm.

I would take that truck exactly as shown... and either skin it or paint it a true color. Outside of that, it's the closest thing to what I've been looking for that's likely to hit the market in the next five years.

Looks to me like another fake truck designed by car people for truck people, except only car people who want to be truck people would actually buy it. Honesty I wouldn't be caught dead in one. I'm not sure what you would put in it, not much space except for maybe what little shreds of dignity you have left after buying such a hideous car.

I hope it gets a diesel and a 5th wheel prep package.

Yawn, another soccer-mom truck but definitely better on the eyes & more sporty looking than Honda's 2nd attempt...this will probably sell well with younger families/teenagers looking for stylish looks limited to beach / soft off-road adventure...

I would take that truck exactly as shown. Posted by: RoadWhale™ | Aug 22, 2017


Please tell us when you last bought a new truck.

Lotsa armchair quarterbacks commenting about we wait and see what the actual truck looks like and how it functions?

Speaking of looks, why all the hate for a more rounded look? Because it doesn't look like the toy Tonka truck you had when you wete a kid? Or because you were a kid when yohr Dad hauked you around in his 80's/90's brick, and you want to recapture those moments?

Nearly all of the pickup trucks from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s had more rounded looks than any modern pickup I've seen, and those are highly desirable. The "brick" look of pickup trucks peaked in the 80's/90's and is now trending back to aero. The rest of the world is moving on, also...e.g., see the new HiLux.

Regardless of looks, function is a totally separate discussion. Hyundai was talking about a highly-configurable bed at one point - will that make it into production? OTOH, there will be many who declare it a wussy vehicle and not a real truck because it doesn't look the way they think it should, or has the wrong number of cylinders, etc., regardless of its capability.

There are also those who will declare it a failure if it doesn't sell 20k units per month, regardless of how profitable it is for the mfr., or how in demand the product itself is.

[critics like papajim] will declare it a failure if it doesn't sell 20k units per month, regardless of how profitable it is for the mfr., or how in demand the product itself is.


Be sure to read what you post before hitting the button! Seriously, if there is "demand" (your word) for the product, it will sell. It by no means would have to sell the 240k units annually that you suggest to be considered a success.

Every current indication shows us that the midsize market has no interest in pickups at those (240k) elevated levels. Zero.

"@Roadwhale: Please tell us when you last bought a new truck."
---- Posted by: papajim | Aug 23, 2017 4:05:00 AM

I assume you mean, "bought one new," at which point my answer is 1983; a Mitsubishi Sport Pickup on the same platform as the Dodge D-50. As I've said many times, I don't like big and my recent ownership of an F-150 just emphasized that point for me. My most recent truck is a '97 Ranger in which I've already put twice as many miles on in two years than I put on the F-150 in four. I like 'em smaller.

As for last time I bought anything new, last year with a Jeep Renegade, '07 with a Jeep Wrangler (classed as a truck), '02 with a Saturn Vue (classed as a wagon) and '96 with a Chevy Camaro. Guess what? I prefer to buy new. They tend to be more reliable than when I buy used.

@PapaJim: Oh, I fully understand how a full-sized truck gives you a sense of Power; it's a heady feeling. But I simply have no need or desire for anything that big; it's too easy to make mistakes when you feel you're the King of the Road.

Fake news. The target market for this the metrosexual NYC version of Jeff S. They'll never build it.

my answer is 1983;


Over 30 years ago. What a joke you are.

That thing is ready to compete with GARBAGE MOTORS junk trucks because that's the only competition they have. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah.

@PapaJim, just trying to make a point.

You keep saying the Ridgeline is a failure because sales numbers are low. I am waiting for this glut of unsold Ridgelines to show up so that some local dealers start actually selling them below MSRP. Where are they?

RE BD "fake truck"

What genuine truck is the Hyundai a copy of? You stated it is a counterfeit, it would be great to know what existing truck this is a knockoff of.

"Over 30 years ago. What a joke you are."
---- Posted by: Jeff S | Aug 23, 2017 10:31:06 AM

Joke, Jeff? Really? Perhaps you'd like a little history.

Prior to buying that '83, my previous two vehicles were purchased brand-new because I could afford them. After purchasing the Mitsubishi I fell on hard times and had to drive whatever I could get for almost 15 years. Because I was single and simply didn't need a truck, I bought a '96 Camaro because A) I could afford it and B) it was fun and sporty (and got good fuel mileage, too.) After I got married I bought the Vue because I needed both economy and reasonable carrying capacity. Yes, I might have bought a truck then, but since I didn't own my own home I simply didn't need one, whereas the covered cargo area let me carry almost (ALMOST) everything I wanted to carry. Ended up renting a trailer... once. On the strength of that, my next purchase was a Jeep JKU Wrangler. Worse fuel mileage but better able to handle the Father-in-Law's dirt/mud driveway. (He always drove 4x4.) A need came up and I purchased an F-150 XLT Lariat with 8-foot bed because it could carry EVERYTHING I needed it for at the time. But... with the exception of the times of that need, it was much, MUCH too large for the roads I typically drive. (Try driving a one-lane road and meet another full-sized truck going the other way.) I tried for 10 years to buy my Ranger from my step-father without luck... he thought he still needed it. I ended up inheriting it for the cost of repairs because it sat idle for 11 years.

No, Jeff, the joke is on you because I bought my first truck and only true SMALL truck brand-new. I would not buy a full-sized truck new if my life depended on it and I find it VERY difficult to "settle" for a modern mid-sized truck because they're so much larger even than my 20-year-old Ranger. Simply put, I won't buy what I don't like. It's not worth the money.

@Road Whale--Not my post must be someone who is using my name. If you like the Santa Cruze then buy it. I will not pass judgement until I see the actual truck on the market. The actual Santa Cruz could be different than the pictures. I don't believe the midsize truck market has peaked and if there is a true compact truck introduced into our market it depends on the price, gas prices, and the economy. I would expect that Hyundai would come out with a good vehicle but it remains to be seen what it will actually be like. I am not that anxious to render an opinion until Hyundai actually puts a truck on the market. I admit I don't know everything unlike some on this post.

Waited around for these a few years back and lost interest. It will be morphed into boredom by succumbing to the "mass-appeal" refinement before production and become another vanilla mundane grocery getter. It probably won't even have a manual transmission!

I doubt it will come with a manual as well if it is even produced. The take rate on manuals has been declining steadily. Most likely this truck if produced will come well optioned at a higher price.

I agree with papajim. People who haven't bought a new truck in almost 40 years should not be taken seriously.

Toyota used to sell a nice, compact truck that got decent enough gas mileage for the average guy who doesn't need to haul anything big to use for his daily commute and for household chores on the weekend. Those versatile vehicles are long gone but this looks like this could be my new daily driver. Can’t wait!

"@Road Whale--Not my post must be someone who is using my name. "---- Posted by: Jeff S | Aug 23, 2017 5:41:08 PM

Won't be the last time, I'm sure.
Just goes to show the moderation on Cars dot com (including PUTC) is very poor and ineffective. There are many easy ways to prevent that kind of spoofing.

"Waited around for these a few years back and lost interest. It will be morphed into boredom by succumbing to the "mass-appeal" refinement before production and become another vanilla mundane grocery getter. It probably won't even have a manual transmission!"----Posted by: Bob | Aug 23, 2017 8:44:11 PM

I'll happily sell you my like-new '97 Ranger, Bob. Only 25K original miles and a five-speed.

The compact truck died because the people demanded more.
More seating, more options, more towing, more power, more size, more debt.
A compact truck is a great market idea, but does the market think so?
Selling an optioned up mini truck with no rear seats, or tiny kid-only seats, still has a narrow market. Price it in the Tacoma, F150, Silverado range and you're David against Goliath and his army of loyal customers.
That's the problem with sound ideas put forth then adjusted to compete outside their market.
The people have to want it, not want to hate it.

The comments to this entry are closed.