Monday, June 5, 2023


Surprise! Santa Cruz will debut as first Hyundai pickup truck

By James Raia
After sliding sales for several years because of its emphasis on sedans, Hyundai will soon debut its first pickup truck, the 2021 Santa Cruz.

First teased as a concept in 2015, the South Korean manufacturer will begin selling the Santa Cruz as a complement to its expanding non-sedan lineup. Hyundai recently added the Kona, Palisade and Venue crossovers. The debut date has not been announced.

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

Hyundai sold a manufacturer’s record of 768,057 vehicles in 2016. The tally fell to 688,771 last year.

Santa Cruz will have a unibody construction

Few details of the Santa Cruz have been released, but it’s expected to share underpinning with the 2022 Hyundai Tucson, which has a unibody construction. The Honda Ridgeline is currently the only unibody truck. Ford has also discussed a new car-based pickup, but it’s not scheduled for production.

The Santa Cruz, predicted to have naturally aspirated and turbo-4 engine options, will be made in Alabama. Hyundai announced the plant will spend $410 million in upgrades.

Hyundai may offer the Santa Cruz internationally as it does with its top-selling Santa Fe. The new pickup truck may also soon be offered in hybrid and plug-in hybrid options.

Trims, optional equipment and prices were not announced. The Santa Cruz will join its stablemates and offer an industry-best 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Hyundai also offers a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and complimentary maintenance for 3 years or 36,000 miles.


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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, He can be reached via email:



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2 years ago

Its an urban truck for sure. The bed is of little use in the city. Anything left open and unattended in the bed would be fair game in many urban environments. Reminds me of my old Ridgeline. It at least had a useful hidden, lockable tool box under the bed.

Justin T.
2 years ago

An RV site is probably the worst place to note a unibody ute/pickup since like the ridgeline it won’t haul more than 5k lbs. But these kinds of suburban dad trucks have exactly what 90% of truck owners need, as long as the bed is five feet and not less like it appears in these renders.

2 years ago
Reply to  Justin T.

If you have any problems with it under warranty, they will not fix it. I bought three cars from Allen Turner Hyundai in Pensacola. The first time I had a big repair issue they tried to blame it on me.

2 years ago

Does it come with optional rear facing seats in the back?

2 years ago

The bed looks like it may hold my lawn mower. Unibody means poor towing ratings. Urban cowboy “truck.”
Thanks, but I’m keeping my Nissan Frontier.

Tommy Molnar
2 years ago

It looks like a Subaru Brat with rear doors.

Wayne Caldwell
2 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

My exact thought as soon as I saw the photo.

2 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Actually, almost a clone of the Subaru Baja which has been around for many years. Look at the 2020 model on Google images.

Scott R. Ellis
2 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Yep. Only a “truck” because you can call anything you want by that name.

2 years ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

I see you were thinking the same thing as me. It’s hard to believe someone would try to copy anything resembling it.

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