Detroit Auto Show: Hyundai teases with small truck concept

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Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept     It’s only a twinkle in the eyes of designers and engineers at this point, but that is where everything starts.  This year’s truck twinkle is the Hyundai Santa Cruz — a vehicle with a split personality.  Described as a crossover truck concept, the Santa Cruz is sporty with a two-row cab and a small truck box.  It was interesting enough to capture a lot of media attention at the Show so I wanted to share it.

This is not a replacement for your full-size or even your mid-size truck.  Instead, it recalls vehicles like the El Camino — a small city truck for just doing stuff.  Hyundai says it is for the urban adventurer, and that is probably a realistic view.

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck ConceptSanta Cruz is not a traditional pickup, but it has a wide stance and aggressive side profile.  There is an upright hexagonal grille with dual lens-free honeycombed headlight projectors, and prominent LED fog lamps.  (Yes, I know, you can’t have lens free lights and meet safety criteria; but this is a concept, after all.)

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Highlighted from the side view, the Santa Cruz has oversized wheels, Micheline tires with a special tread design, center-locking hubs and yellow Brembo brake calipers.

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck ConceptRear-hinged doors allow access to the rear seats and are seamlessly integrated.  There are numerous tie-down cleats at wheel arches, roof and bed rails for securing a variety of cargo.  A contoured bed is well integrated and expandable for easy reconfiguration of longer cargo using a self-storing extender.  The tailgate extension is designed to provide mid-size truck bed capacity (in the length), but it isn’t about payload or ground clearance.  More about convenience.

For power, the concept uses a 2.0L turbo diesel powertrain (190hp and 300 lb.-ft. of torque) for achieving an environmentally-sound 30mpg range.  Santa Cruz was also equipped with Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel drive system, a great feature for both inclement weather and getting to sporting destinations.

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck ConceptThe footprint is similar to that of a small crossover vehicle and is designed to seat five.

More important than whether we will see the Hyundai Santa Cruz come to fruition is the fact that — when given the opportunity to create a concept — the brains at the company decided to make it sort of a truck.  That’s what I intend to watch in the future.



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