Hyundai isn’t a brand you would associate with a pickup truck. It’s usually Ford or Toyota, thanks to their hard as nails appeal. However, pickup trucks aren’t what they once were. Now, they are far from being part of the blue-collar workforce and offer everything that a premium SUV does just with the added practicality of a storage bed.
So, the Santa Cruz is Hyundai’s first attempt at a pickup truck and by the looks of it, it is a mighty one. Based on the upcoming Tucson, the Santa Cruz features a similar design at the front with trendy DRLs integrated into the grille, Then there is the profile, which of course differs starting at the C-pillar, but what is carried over are the 20-inch alloy wheels and flared wheel arches giving it that go-anywhere look. The C-pillar though is raked and manages to blend in the cargo bed. What is quite cool is the hammer-like design for the LED taillamps and the Santa Cruz lettering on the tailgate. It definitely is one of the more cool-looking pickups out there.
And of course, being a Hyundai, and a high-end one at that, the interior is absolutely loaded with tech and equipment. Sure, the design is in line with the rugged theme, but it isn’t compromised features and comfort. You get a fully digital instrument cluster, BOSE audio system, 8.0-inch infotainment with Apple and Android connectivity and a lot more. Also on offer will be a host of safety features. Seating is for five adults and space seems to be generous given the Tuscon is a rather big SUV. Speaking of which, the Santa Cruz, is dubbed to be an SAV (Sports Activity Vehicle) as this way, it is looked at with a more friendly perspective and not a workers tool.
Powering the Santa Cruz will be a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine churning out over 190bhp and around 244Nm and will be mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. There will also be a more powerful turbocharged version that will put out excess of 275bhp which is sure to be the more exciting option.
Now, sure, it isn’t slated for India yet, but the arrival of the Tucson might just pave the way for the Santa Cruz. Yes, there is a very limited audience for such a thing, but just like the Isuzu V-Cross found buyers, this too, although not as hardcore, can be a unique proposition in what is a very niche segment. Until that happens, we can only hope SUVs or shall I say SAVs like these come up more often and keep adding to the unique and rare list.