New Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck has identity crisis

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By James Raia
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is getting a lot of attention as the South Korean manufacturer’s first pickup truck. But it already doesn’t want to be stereotyped.

Hyundai has identified its new crossover vehicle, scheduled for unveiling later this year, as an SAV. It’s not a sport utility vehicle or a pickup truck. It’s a sport adventure vehicle.

Hyundai will soon debut the Santa Cruz, its first pickup truck.
Hyundai will soon debut the Santa Cruz, its first pickup truck.

The manufacturer is marketing the new vehicle as combining an SUV, but engineered like a car, with pickup truck characteristics.

Hyundai Santa Cruz: Two engines available

The 2022 vehicle will have a small, open cargo bed and seating for five occupants.

Despite its South Korean headquarters, the SAV will be built in the carmaker’s factory in Montgomery, Alabama.

According to one reviewer, “Comparing Ford F-150s, Rams and Chevrolet Silverados to the Santa Cruz is like comparing a Bengal tiger to the housecat on your sofa.”

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck will begin production in the summer of 2021 in Alabama
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup truck will begin production in the summer of 2021 in Alabama.

Standard with a lockable bed cover, the new Hyundai will be slightly longer than 16 feet, with a four-foot-long bed.

It will be available in models with 190 and 275 horsepower. Hyundai has promoted SAV with a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. It will be reminiscent of the Chevrolet El Camino and Ford Ranchero, as well as the Subaru Baja and Brat.

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James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: james@jamesraia.com.

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Scott R. Ellis
17 days ago

It’s not a sport utility vehicle or a pickup truck.” With a four-foot bed, it’s certainly not the latter.

Richard Hughes
17 days ago

My first question would be, “Can it be flat towed?”

Bob P
17 days ago
Reply to  Richard Hughes

I doubt it as none of their cars can be and it uses the same drive train. It’s like the Honda Ridgeline is an SUV with the back roof line cut off.

Tommy Molnar
18 days ago

A four-door upgraded Subaru Brat?

jason lafrance
17 days ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Exactly what I wanted a brat/baja from a better brand. Day one for me