By Steve & Tamami Laser
Wherever we travel in Southern California, we can’t go far without spotting a pickup. We see trucks towing boats or trailers, work trucks hauling lumber and supplies, and weekend warriors headed to the mountains, the desert, or the beach, loaded with gear. Hyundai is ready to join the action with a new, innovative truck called Santa Cruz.
As a “Sport Adventure Vehicle,” Santa Cruz combines the comfort and capability of a compact crossover SUV, with the open-bed versatility of a small pickup. In other words, it offers the best of both worlds, in a uniquely styled and sized package.
Up front, Santa Cruz features a futuristic appearance that shares a bold family look with the automaker’s new Tucson crossover. There’s a cascading-style grille with seamlessly integrated hidden signature lighting in a “parametric jewel” design.
While the Santa Cruz is based on the new Tucson platform, it features a unique personality and distinctive profile. Santa Cruz is longer, wider, and taller than the Tucson, and rides on a stretched wheelbase. Details include distinctive wheel arches, and available 20-inch alloy wheels.
In addition to its multi-faceted cargo bed, Santa Cruz wears horizontal, T-shaped taillights, embossed with “Designed in California,” paying homage to Hyundai’s local design team.
The versatile 4.3-foot-long, composite-molded cargo bed offers hidden, lockable in-bed storage, plus a lockable, sliding tonneau cover. Additional features include remote-activated opening for the tailgate, heavy-duty cargo D-rings, LED bed lights, and in-bed 115V power inverter. Bed extension accessories are also said to be in the works.
Powertrains include naturally aspirated or turbocharged 2.5-liter GDI 4-cylinder engines, with estimated output of 275+ horsepower and 310+ lb.-ft. of torque for the latter. Eight-speed automatic and 8-speed Dual Clutch (DCT) transmissions with paddle shifters are available, and so is HTRAC® multi-mode all-wheel drive. Maximum towing capability is targeted at 5,000 lbs. for the Turbo with AWD.
The interior features a dual-cockpit style design with a premium center stack display, along with cutting-edge connectivity, convenience, and active safety features. According to the Hyundai consumer website, Santa Cruz will offer a choice of SE, SEL, SEL Premium, and Limited models with a wide array of features.
An available 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster display provides a wealth of information for the driver. By selecting different drive modes, the displays can change color. For example, in Sport Mode (above), the displays are highlighted in red.
Santa Cruz Limited includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen navigation system, Bose® premium audio, Blue Link® Connected Car System, ventilated and heated leather-trimmed seats, heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and Hyundai Digital Key.
The rear seats offer creature comforts for passengers, along with convenient in-cabin storage located under the seats.
A suite of standard Hyundai SmartSense safety and convenience features includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA), and Driver Attention Warning (DAW). Also available is Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist (BCA), Safe Exit Assist (SEA), Blind-spot View Monitor (BVM), Highway Drive Assist (HDA), Surround View Monitor (SVM), and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCA).
Hyundai says Santa Cruz production at Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) begins in June, with the new models expected to go on sale this summer.
Note: Pre-production vehicles are shown in this story. Features, specifications, and launch timing for U.S. market models is subject to change without notice
News source and photos courtesy of Hyundai Motor America
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